The Autobiographical Narrative in Modern Japan:
A Study of Kasai Zenzo, a Shi-Shosetsu Writer
This study offers both a chronological description of the literary career of Kasai Zenzō (1887-1928), as well as an historical examination of shi-shōsetsu (a Japanese autobiographical/confessional literary genre) during and after his lifetime. Zenzō was one of the most important shi-shōsetsu authors, living in the Taishō Period (1912-1926) in which this genre was in the height of its ascendancy. In shi-shōsetsu, the “I” novel, the author recounts details of his or her personal life with only a thin veneer of fiction. This genre was believed to be an ideal form of prose writing and an expression of individual depth, created without the fabrications normally found in conventional fiction, making it one of the most striking features of modern Japanese literature. Kasai, living his entire life in poverty, turned to Zen Buddhism for spiritual solace and became both a major architect of the Taishō shi-shōsetsu and its defining author.
“Some authors deserve to be the subject of monographs, yet linger at the edges of literary consciousness, outbid by more colorful contemporaries ... One particular casualty of the flaring center is Kasai Zenzō, in his day a major figure, in this day the subject of occasional vigorously defensive economium, but by and large left aside by the thriving industry of literary criticism in Japan ... Yet this writer is well worth attention, as Professor Nakagawa Masako of Villanova University explains in this valuable biography and study, the only one of its kind in English.” – Dr. Linda H. Chance, Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Table of Contents
Foreword by Dr. Linda A. Chance
ISBN10: 0-7734-5396-2 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-5396-8