SBP Blog

"The Japan Times" review 'A Shameful Life'

Michael Palmer - Monday, November 12, 2018

A journey to hell with Osamu Dazai, Japan’s ultimate bad boy novelist. Damian Flanagan dives into the new translation by Mark Gibeau of this classic by Osamu Dazai, A Shameful Life: Ningen Shikkaku

"Dazai is the ultimate bad boy of Japanese literature and “Ningen Shikkaku” is his supreme masterpiece, a novel that still shocks today with its brutal honesty and unflinching, strangely thrilling pessimism. Nothing remotely like it had been seen in Japanese literature before.

To gain a sense of its impact, we should think perhaps of the words of Yukio Mishima when he had previously discovered other similarly morally liberating art works by Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde: “Evil had been unleashed … moralizing was nowhere to be seen.”

As it happens, Mishima loathed Dazai, undoubtedly because he owed him so much in influence. Once, he followed Dazai to a party, styling himself as Dazai’s assassin, and told him to his face, “I hate your literature.” Dazai coolly looked him up and down and replied, “And yet you are here.”"

Read the full review here.

Big thanks to Damian Flanagan for his expertise in reviewing A Shameful Life, and as always a big thank you The Japan Times for covering it. The book is available now! Grab your copy from your favorite retailer here.



Like our blog? Please share it!


Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan

Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

China Smart

Essential essays on all things Chinese that inform and entertain travelers, students, and anyone working or living in China

Forty-Seven Samurai

One of the most spectacular vendettas ever: the history and haiku behind the mass-suicide featured in the 2013 film 47 Ronin

Oh, Tama!

A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

Tag Cloud

year of zen kotaku wanderlust Christianity in Japan book publicity haiku classic literature miyazaki japan behavior buddhist swastika tokyo luke patitsas japan custom pulitzer prize traditional japanese instrumenet kansuke naka new york japan manners Interview larry herzberg polite anime the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me the fourth string zen monk tomoko aoyama death koun kyoto guidebook eli lieberman pottery best behavior in japan book award evil hiroaki sato namethetranslator zen book signing japanese travel japanese Asian Studies manga Shoah kimba the white lion japanese music japan memoir frederik green ex pat literature what do in japan graphic novels japanese book a memoir of sensei and me Spring Festival tk nakagaki takuma sminkey Korea photography blurb diary Olympics bushido travel to japan xu xu university of chicago award china What You Don’t Know, What You Need to Know— A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language japan guide 1960's Japan hitlers cross do it right and be polite Tokyo Olympics new books foreword reviews min kahng jungle emperor forty seven samurai author lucille cara memoir writing japanese history religion Second World War gaijin pot journal' monks wife forty seven ronin 4k book Chinese New Year 20th century chinese literature japan visitor japanese craft huffpost new release tea garden paul mccarthy Poetry japanese drunk poet gallery awa publicity catcher in the rye keanu reeves summer vacation Japanese art IBPA japanese books the asian review of books Chinese Astrology leonard koren gratitude in japan eating in japan education about asia japan times the japan society Alexandra Johnson internment Christianity danica davidson reviews politics and prose zazen japan restaurant american shamisen juddhism hippocampus magazine japanese business VIZ japan book review japan food japanese people center of east asian studies manga biography china history suicide eastern and western philosophy miswest book review steve heller finalist traditional japanese music machiya restaurant the japan times controversy Travel mentorship in japan chinese comics book hoarding lesley university washington dc Chinese history bowing in japan author event Year of the Dog japanese culture memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist The Colorado Review event forewrod reviews indies book reading writing Culture hong kong foreword indies award astrology literary prize amys guide to best behavior in japan china where igo expat in japan japanese bath chinese literature osamu dazai Okinawan literature AAS japan trip japan travel etiquette Korea journal of a zen monk publishing hate drinking in japan the silver spoon simba nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara japanese to english black jack janet pocorobba Basho china guide ancient symbols peace symbol Children's Books tea interfaith literary review frank beyer a memoir travel manners Chiune Sugihara 2020 Olympics japan vacation holden caufield lions roar musical japan etiquette 47 ronin 47 samurai shamisen koto kris kosaka memior will eisner behavior japan ravel shamisen performance holocaust in the woods of memory how to nova scotia the buddhist swastika nazi yukio mishima forest gander podcast review monk wife verticle walt disney Nikolas Bunton donald richie travel literature buddhist tourist tracy franz alan moore book blurb a mejiro novel international book award traditional tricycle magazine no longer human film buddhist symbols hitler osamu tezuka dirt and water literature peace learning in japan World War II a shameful life journal of a zen monks wife in japan brad hawley how to order in japan UCLA huffington post understandind china through comics performance chinese asia gaijinpot books book reviews WWII alan brill classic criterion benjamin franklin award ningen shikkaku learning instruments in japan the inland sea book tour china travel illustration disney book talk journal of a zen monk's wife michael emmerich hiaku henry kiyama expat four immigrants steve alpert kyoto travel green tea PEN AWARD the hidden writer the millions travel Japan japan today oh tama kinokuniya event why we write podcast haibun diy mfa hitler symbol japanese instruments comic history association of jewish libraries kyodo news trip jared cook astro boy Japanese literature China Japan society manji damian flanagan ancient symbol japanese instrument Coming of Age Day japanese books in english amy chavez classic japanese literature sharing a house with the never ending man 15 years at studio ghibli non-fiction memoir nara osaka japan travel stone bridge press japanese cutlure world literature today china vacation janet pocrobba journal expert World War Two ibpa publishing university japanese translation nhk ritual studying in japan fred schodt etiquette china book shun medoruma student teacher diymfa Translation china smart photography osamau tezuka comics Anime/Manga/Comics buddhist priest giajin japanese classic fantasy literature budhist swastika japan travel guide Children's Literature matcha mieko kanai Japanese aesthetics ripe mangoes author talk how to travel in japan author signing kyoto donald keene monks wife Language monk traditional japanese instrument zen monks wife' jing liu stone bridge cafe awards zen monk wife living in japan travel etiquette Art/Design 1960s Korea Japanese holidays japan book amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan foreigner in japan state of belief chapters poetry of consciousness william f sibley dark horse book review japanese customs memoir in japan benjamin franklin awards suehiro maruo 2019 hooked cross classic poetry wife manners japan culture bookstore mark gibeau swastika bird talk and other stories japanese manners guide japanese etiquette symbol studio ghibli doris bargen learning shamisen machiya restaurant guide History announcement jun hazuki Basho's Narrow Road seppuku purification t.k. nakagaki zen monk in japan sensei shaimsen frederik schodt anne prescott translators Spirituality dazai buddhism kyoto journal visitor asian review of books foreword indies rachel manley Chinese culture otakuusa welton gaddy my year of dirt and water janet pocorbba gaijin fiction sensei and me the lion king new york events author tour pacific rim review of books rebecca otowa Ukiyo-e japan books