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The Shade of Blossoms

Shohei Ooka; Dennis C. Washburn




Univ of Michigan Center for

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Ooka Shohei (1909-88) was a distinguished member of the Japanese literary establishment for more than four decades following the end of the Pacific War. He was a prolific writer and active translator of French literature, most notably the novels of Stendahl. A protege of the influential critic Kobayashi Hideo (1902-83), Ooka secured his reputation with such works as the novel Fires on the Plain and the memoir Taken Captive: A Japanese POW's Story that recount his experiences as a soldier in the Philippines during World War II. While the war was the defining experience for Ooka, his work exhibits enormous range and depth. The Shade of Blossoms, for which he was honored in 1961 with both the Mainichi and the Shincho literary prizes, is a novel of manners, and certainly the setting of the novel, the demimonde of the Ginza bar scene in the 1950s, and its subject, the aging bar hostess Yoko, seem far removed from the universe of battle. Nonetheless, The Shade of Blossoms not only shares key elements of style but also extends in important ways the moral concerns of his earlier works. The Shade of Blossoms provides a disturbing view of lives at the margins of Japanese society. Ooka's is a powerfully ethical literature that describes the inner search for meaning and identity in a world where received values have been disrupted by war or by social upheavals.

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Other editions: Hardcover - 2004, 2004, Softcover - 1998, Hardcover - 1996, Softcover - 1989, Hardcover - 1978, 1968

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