Dazai Osamu wrote The Fairy Tale Book (Otogizoshi) in the last months of the Pacific War. The traditional tales upon which Dazai's retellings are based are well known to every Japanese schoolchild, but this is no children's book. In Dazai's hands such stock characters as the kindhearted Oji-san to Oba-san ("Grandmother and Grandfather"), the mischievous tanuki badger, the fearsome Oni ogres, the greedy old man, the "tongue-cut" sparrow, and of course Urashima Taro (the Japanese Rip van Winkle) become complex individuals facing difficult and nuanced moral dilemmas. The resulting stories are thought-provoking, slyly subversive, and often hilarious.In spite of the "gloom and doom" atmosphere always cited in reviews of The Setting Sun and the later No Longer Human, though, Dazai's cutting wit and rich humor are evident in the entire body of his work. His literature depicts the human condition in painfully blunt and realistic terms, but, like life itself, is often accompanied by a smile.
in Tsugaru /Kanagi, Japan , June 19, 1909
died June 13, 1948
genre Literature & Fiction
About this author
Osamu DAZAI (太宰 治) was the pen name of Shūji Tsushima. Although his father wanted him to be a politician, he insisted on being an author. When he applied to the Tokyo University French Literature Department, he was 20 years old. For most of his lifetime, he was a drug addict, an alcoholic and a sufferer of tubercolosis.
His last book Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human)(1948) is an authobiography. It documents his childhood, university years, and the time in which he acquires tuberculosis in detail.