CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE LITERATURE: An Anthology of Fiction, Film, and Other Writing Since 1945 by Howard--Ed. Hibbett

CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE LITERATURE: An Anthology of Fiction, Film, and Other Writing Since 1945

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Japanese literature since WW II dwells on themes both traditional and new. Howard Hibbett's anthology exhibits this duality as a marriage of East and West grown from the ashes of the war. Memories of devastation together with an assimilated Western technology, commerce, and fashionable despair are here enfolded by Japan's rich symbolic vision of enduring culture and society. Hence the imagery of myth and tradition, as found in manners, gestures, garments, etc., thrive alongside the omnipresent TV, desolate sexuality, and lifeless modern apartments. As Hibbett says in his short introduction, this literature is absorbed in ""the complex realities of present day urban life."" But he has chosen his selections not only to reflect the modern sensibility of recent Japanese literature but also its diverse quality; for, as he points out, this small nation publishes as many books each year as the US and relishes its pot boilers, ephemeral stories, and films no less than its high literature--with major authors, like Mishima, writing at every level. The stories, plays, poetry, and film scripts here, by all the most prominent writers--including Kawabata, Tanizaki, Mishima, and Kono, as well as some previously untranslated works by lesser knowns--demonstrate the variety and energy and yet restrained style of postwar Japanese literature. This uniquely comprehensive selection should awaken wider interest in current Japanese writing and disabuse any English-speaking reader of the belief that Japanese literature is only remote and inaccessibly Oriental.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1977
Publisher: Knopf