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The post-war period in Japan was one of immense social change as Japanese society adjusted to the shock of defeat and to the occupation of Japan by American forces and their allies. Osamu Dazai’s The Setting Sun takes this milieu as its background to tell the story of the decline of a minor aristocratic family.The story is told through the eyes of Kazuko, the unmarried dauThe post-war period in Japan was one of immense social change as Japanese society adjusted to the shock of defeat and to the occupation of Japan by American forces and their allies. Osamu Dazai’s The Setting Sun takes this milieu as its background to tell the story of the decline of a minor aristocratic family.The story is told through the eyes of Kazuko, the unmarried daughter of a widowed aristocrat. Her search for self meaning in a society devoid of use for her forms the crux of the novel. It is a sad story, and structurally is a novel very much within the confines of the Japanese take on the novel in a way reminiscent of authors such as Nobel Prize winner Yasunori Kawabata – the social interactions are peripheral and understated, nuances must be drawn, and for readers more used to Western novelistic forms this comes across as being rather wishy-washy.Kazuko’s mother falls ill, and due to their financial circumstances they are forced to take a cottage in the countryside. Her brother, who became addicted to opium during the war is missing. When he returns, Kazuko attempts to form a liaison with the novelist Uehara. This romantic displacement only furthers to deepen her alienation from society....

Title : The Setting Sun
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780811200325
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 175 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Setting Sun Reviews

  • Gaurav
    2018-11-21 18:13

    The Setting SunOsamu DazaiWhat is it with Japanese literature, I always feel a sense of awe whenever I plunge myself into artistic universe of the country of rising sun and Osamu Dazai does no harm to the reputation of it. I find that plot development and action have often been of secondary interest to emotional issues and most of the modern Japanese authors stressed upon consciousness of narrators and perhaps that why it has resonated so well with me. Though I’ve started to read Japanese literature last year only (so couldn’t really claim myself to be master of it :P) however I find most of the modern Japanese authors- whether it is Kwabata, Abe, Mishima or Dazai for that matter- have been able to portray problems or rather ironies of human existence and so effortlessly put forth the condition of human consciousness on the canvas of art that it’s only second (to me) to modern Russian literature. You may well find traits of nihilism, existentialism well evident in the works of probably all great modern Japanese authors. I guess perhaps world war, fate of Japan in it played major role in the way modern Japanese literature has come out; for people there might have felt disaffection, utter loss of purpose and the difficulty in coping up with defeat in the World War II might have also played major role in it. Besides, Japanese society has been strongly influenced by western culture, wherein it left its aristocratic roots to rapidly developed into industrialized society; the sense of alienation in urban life, crisis of purpose must have also played a great role the way the modern literature of the country has panned out. Coming back to The Setting Sun after this (unintentional) carefree preamble, well it is set in modern Japan after World War II, the book revolves around a family which struggles to cope up with crisis of daily life after the War as most of the Japanese families struggled during this stretch when the society was in transition from traditional to a modern one- city dweller, industrialized one. The sudden change in the social architecture of the country after World War II brought fundamental changes in the society as a whole while most people found difficult to get along with as these rapid changes did not provide them enough time to get adapt to it. But perhaps, those difficulties brought up great Japanese works in literature as we know that irony generally brings out beauty. The face of Japan changed at a very fast pace as per rules of economics and convenience- as it mother of all changes. However, below this rapid change, the moral and spiritual life of the country also went similar but gradual changes- as habits always take time to change. In the modern Japan, the family structure gradually lost its value, the long cherished traditions of the country also went under slow death. The Setting Sun is one of such stories about a family consists of three main characters, namely Kazuko- the protagonist, her mother and her brother, Naoji through whom the author brings up a number of social and philosophical problems of that time period. It’s through the sad eyes of Kazuko that Dazai takes the reader through a tragic yet beautiful (of course, filled with a tinge of heart-wrenching pain) sojourn of post–war tragedy wherein you could witness (with distressing pity) the pillars of aristocratic tradition being rooted up by turbulence brought up by need of the hour; Dazai narrates the suffering of Kazuko and her family through those times, the suffering which underlines destitute existence of the Japanese society during post war era.The book talks about eminent struggle of the protagonist- Kazuko- to come in terms with the rapid changing world wherein she’s not sure about her inclination whether it's about the aristocratic heritage or the new uprising world which is derived by convenience and desires. Eventually, she battles herself to survive along a fine thread lingering between the customary world and a developing modern sphere of humanity. The nihilistic traits of grief, sadness, bleakness, suicide, absurdism and despair of life are as evident as water in a vessel of glass and I found that these traits in other major works of Dazai too -No Longer Human andSchoolgirl.In fact, it could said be authority that post-war philosophy and literature is highly inspired form these abovementioned traits- whether it may be existentialism of Sartre, absurdism of Camus or any other modern and post-modern movement of literature. The harrowing experiences of World Wars certainly contribute to sudden rise in popularity and development of these schools of thoughts in post- war times. All these art/ philosophical movements works on similar themes that existence somewhat lingers upon absurd situation of life and one has to accept this state of absurdness, and in fact that very realization is the onset of true of existence wherein one has to take responsibility of one's life.There are some very vivid pieces throughout the book which are so tragic that they render heart-wrenching affliction that you actually feel the agony of characters and in fact feel like crying with them; I’ve not come across such deplorable reading experiences for quite some time. There is one scene where Kazuko has been given job to look after lumber pile, the officer, who allocates her the job, provides her a book which could read if she may feel bored. After end of day, she runs up to him and hands over the book; she wants to extend her gratitude to him but somehow words fail to come out from her mouth. In this distressing silence she looks at his face, and when their eyes met, tears flown down in the eyes of both. It may across as a quite simple episode to a naïve reader but an active reader would only able to understand that so powerful it is that you actually feels a deep connect with the protagonist and feels like crying with her, such is the influence of mesmerizing prose of Dazai that it brings out emotions to life. The books present contrasting choices made by the characters, the choices which represent altogether different philosophical treatments; we have Naoji who could not able to sustain ravages of life in post-war era on one hand and finds comfort in the clutches of death while Kazuko keeps on lingering with courage and bravely fights out traditional society on the desire to live rather than succumbing to the teasing embrace of death; to live at any cost, perhaps that’s the most humane instinct. There are several incidents like episode the burning of eggs of snakes and fire outbreak where you can associate with self- pity and guilt felt by the protagonist; guilt and sense of pity which may strip oneself from all veils one may have developed to comfort oneself against the chilly reality of life and existence of oneself may stand naked without false sense of comfort, and which may be quite nippy realization.When mother discovered that I had burned the snake eggs, she certainly must have felt that there was something ill-omened in the act. This realization brought home to me the feeling that I had done a terrible thing in burning the eggs.I was aghast at the sudden realization of what had caused the fire. It was only then that it occurred to me that the disaster had taken place because the previous night, after I removed the unburned sticks of firewood from the furnace, I had left them next to the woodpile, thinking that they were already out. This discovery made me want to burst into tears.Though it is quite obvious that there is a connection between author’s life and the book- in fact in any of his works for that matter, however it would be immature of a reader to confine the book as an autobiographical account of Dazai.The Setting Sunmay quite confidently said to be one of his more objective works, and yet you may come across the derivatives from Dazai’s own personality- much in Naoji, in the novelist Uehera, his mentor, and even in Kazuko, the narrator of the story. One of the distinguishing factors of the books, which I feel separates it from other works of Dazai (including No Longer Human too which otherwise is a great achievement in modern Japanese literature), is strong character of Kazuko who keeps on struggling to live rather than accept death as her fate. Another facet of the prose of Dazai is that, which is not known to many, he puts last remark in the conversation first and then goes back to the steps leading to it; it may come across as a technique similar to stream of consciousnessof modernism but I would say it’s more close to flashback technique, as also mentioned by translator of the book. Another jewel in the feather of Dazai is that he was able to use small incidents such as burning of snake eggs to convey large meanings which again come across as similar to minimalist approach of post-modernism but it has got it roots in Japanese poetry wherein each word is supposed to be vital part of whole. The book, by the depth of its understanding of the Japanese of today, evokes and reveals aspects of the Japan as nation in whole. It would be ingenuous of a reader to considerThe Setting Sun as a sociological document rather it is a powerful and beautiful novel by one of the greatest Japanese authors of modern times.To me, it occurs, as one of those books which leave you emotionally exhausted after you finish them, all your feelings get drained off our conscience, and you actually feel nothing and become oblivious to the emotions which otherwise might have been surged due to surroundings. In fact, I’ve been so attached with book that even after 3-4 days of finishing it I’m quite struggling to start a new one. Perhaps this verbose outburst may help me in coming to terms with my reading choices :) Overall, it was a marvelous experience, quite vivid and full of human sensibilities which has got power to bring out your most deep rooted emotions, as you expect Dazai (or Japanese authors as a whole) to be, and something peculiar which I’ve experienced a few times.4.5/5

  • Praj
    2018-11-29 18:59

    The plum trees baffled by the reflection of the blossoming tangerines swayed over the little pond pondering the resemblance of the fruit to the radiance of the rising sun. Overlooking the groves of pines, the path from bourgeois to proletariat was burdened with the desolation of social hierarchy. The love for the rising sun made the nimble ocean embrace the tears that flowed through vestiges of human dignity. The memories of the “last lady of Japan” engulfed in the intense flames of the rainbow burgeoning in the perturbing breast; the yearning of love residing in the ashes. The crackling of the viper’s eggs precipitating the tortuous truth within the delicate moonflowers caught between personal and communal war. The silk kimonos drenched in human depravity bared the testament of a revolution simmering within the purplish-blue hues of the setting sun. Man was born for love and revolution; the phrase that had snatched my nocturnal tranquillity bestowing the mind with claustrophobic sentiments of Kazuko’s moral insurgency. The hostilities of a transitional era, the vulnerabilities of human survival and the solemnity of self- esteem tapping the helplessness of civilization; like the emptiness of the sky just before the moon arises, the segregation emerging from the changing horizon is daunting and at times engulfed my own solitary apprehensions as I heard Dazai’s empathetic voice reciting the woes of a evolving Japan and its trapped people."If it is true that man, once born into the world, must somehow live out his life, perhaps the appearance that people make in order to go through with it, even if it is as ugly as their appearance, should not be despised. To be alive. To be alive."Dazai dips into the post-war Japanese society dwelling in between the swelling didactic intensity to the likes of Chekov, Balzac and the moralistic spirituality of a ‘Tale of Genji’. Onset of modernity in the traditional Japanese society had brought along disintegration of class hierarchy with aristocracy vanishing into the humiliated corners of societal mores. The inability of the Japanese people to adapt to the new social order is portrayed through the protagonist's susceptibilities that adhere to the new environment of an egalitarian existence. Dazai through the sublime voice of Kazuko, claims the Japanese war was an act of depression with the Japanese people becoming the core victims of the psychological malady. Kazuko’s aristocratic heritage had trickled down into speckled manifestations of her mother’s societal and domestic etiquette. Naoji’s self-labeling of being a “high-class beggar” is an oxymoron that elaborated the impoverished state of the Japanese aristocratic rank in the aftermath of the WWII and the subsequent land reforms. Analogous to his No Longer Human, Dazai trades on the similar grounds of desolation, humiliation, suicide , declining of traditional mores, rebellion to modernity, despair and individualistic war of morality and survival ; all of them being the ominous salient features of a post-war culture. ”Like a leaf that rots without falling” describes the agony of Kazuko and her family’s impecunious existence. It is not at all a surprise that Dazai once again brings up the objective outlook of being a communal outcast. Dazai, himself born into an aristocrat family always viewed himself to be a societal exile; searching for the sanguinity of death. The raison d'être of my fondness towards Dazai’s prose is that Dazai steadily becomes an animated participant in his scripted prose. Through the numerous anecdotes and characterizations, Dazai proficiently interlocks his personal chronicles with those of his sketched actors. Kazuko’s evident struggle between the worlds of “realism” and “romanticism”, defining the safeguard of her privileged ancestry and the festering rebellion to become a “self-styled lover”, becomes emblematic in the struggle to survive in a world where personal desires to live weighs more than customary obligations to the Japanese customs. Dazai romanticizes death through the usage of symbolic metaphors of ‘black snakes’ and ‘swollen hand’ and the refuge of a feeble human soul in the abstraction of addiction. The suicidal tendencies that find chief prominence in Dazai’s prose, somehow in a bizarre manner nurses my disquiet soul in finding harmony through these troubled fictional characters. The moment when one finally unshackles the floating suicidal shadows only to plant the optimism “to be alive”, everything around swiftly brightens up like a rainbow on a sundrenched day. Even the air smells different. I wonder if Kazuko felt related emotions when she decided to stay alive and become a revolutionary in a varying land where the beauty and honor of humanity was defiled by societal doctrines that was itself cramped between the archaic conventions and modernity."In our lives we know joy, anger, sorrow, and a hundred other emotions, but these emotions all together occupy a bare one per cent of our time. The remaining ninety-nine per cent is just living in waiting." When one waits on the periphery of survival, at times the futile lingering brings with it vast emptiness ravaging the validity of birth. The agony prevailing over whether was it best not to be born, either succumbs in the deathly silence of Naoji’s Testaments or Kazuko’s righteous rebellion for love. The wretchedness of morality and despair gets washed in the alcoholic eddy as piteous souls like Uehara and Naoji stagger into an inexorable hell. However, when rainbows of salvation are formed within the courageous breast, love and revolution becomes the most gratifying thing to human beings. In the espousing “moral revolution”, Kazuko became the pictogram of a brave soul who rebelled the traditional mores and rebelled for the desire of love and life; redefining the norms of the rising sun that no longer abided the principles of the judicious old, but pursued the people of the setting sun hovered by the shadows of black vipers and faint fragrances of crushed moonflowers, into strengthening the spirituality of life rather than making death the ultimate pleasant sanctuary.

  • Mariel
    2018-11-13 16:02

    Osamu Dazai's The Setting Sun gave me a foriegn sort of feeling inside, like I felt different, not in a something is about to happen way, exactly. Different when you're yourself playing at being someone else? I wish I could match my heartbeat with its pulse and my impulses as I lapsed into its rhythm. I was creeped out. I was in awe. The best I can do is that it was the kind of foriegness that Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy had. I mean, it isn't a fantasy in the genre sense of the word. But it kinda is in my emotions. The images firing up in my mind's eyes are exactly that: a fantasy. A fantasy of victims, love, suicide, of living as dreaming in nightmares and hopes (childish hopes? I'll be able to tell the difference when I grow up). Throwing yourself on the fires fantasy. What else is there to do? Start a revolution. Emotional fantasy! Can't you just say that, Mariel? I know all about talking myself into shit too, same as Kazuko and her brother Naoji. (Is it any wonder that I kept thinking about Gormenghast? Decay, figurehead costume jewelry stage lights artistocracy, smoke and mirrors depression and love... What's real? Suicide as acting out... Perpetual teenagers... Ellipsis thoughts...) The book jacket says that Kazuko is "a young aristocrat who deliberately abandons her class". Well, what class was left? They don't have any money. I think it is more embracing those fantasy feelings inside that make you feel like something could happen in those moments when you try to know yourself (keep yourself?). She met her brother's drinking buddy, a writer Mr. Uehara, six years before. "One day six years ago a faint pale rainbow formed in my breast. It was not love or passion, but the colors of the rainbow have deepened and intensified as time has gone by. Never once have I lost it from sight. The rainbow that spans the sky when it clears after a shower soon fades away, but the rainbow in a person's heart does not seem to disappear that way. Please ask him. I wonder what he really thinks of me. I wonder if he has thought of me as of a rainbow in the sky after a shower. And has it already faded away? If it has, I must erase my own rainbow. But unless I first erase my life, the rainbow in my breast will not fade away." I'm inclined to believe it is one of those loves that could as easily have not happened at all as it had started. That's kinda why I liked it. I could be basing that on my own "loves" that were a lot of talking myself into and build ups grown out of wanting something to be there. Blindnesses... Because of that, I can picture the rainbow and feel its shape. It is colorless because it is blind. "At this moment, as I stood on the verge of tears, the words "realism" and "romanticism" welled up within me. I have no sense of realism. And that this very fact might be what permits me to go on living sends cold chills through my whole body." Yes, playing... Twelve years have passed and I have yet to progress a step beyond the Sarashina Diary stage. What in the world have I been doing all this time? I have never felt myself drawn toward revolution, and I have not even known love. The older and wiser heads of the world have always described revolution and love to us as the two most foolish and loathsome of human activities. Before the war, even during the war, we were convinced of it. Since the defeat, however, we no longer trust the older and wiser heads and have come to feel that the opposite of whatever they say is the truth about life. Revolution and love are in fact the best, most pleasurable things in the world, and we realize it is precisely because they are so good that the older and wiser heads have spitefully fobbed off on us their sour grapes of a lie. This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution." "I want to believe" "I must go on living. And, though it may be childish of me, I can't go on in simple compliance. From now on I must struggle with the world. I thought that Mother might well be the last of those who can end their lives beautifully and sadly, struggling with no one, neither hating nor betraying anyone. In the world to come there will be no room for such people. The dying are beautiful, but to live, to survive- those things somehow seem hideous and contaminated with blood." Kazuko's relationship with her depressed mother seems to be a mirror image of my own with my mom, like exact opposites in feeling as flip sides. My side has worms and Kazuko's side has snakes (like the snake omens her mama fears, maybe). Kazuko values the beautiful uselessness of her mother (the natural aristocrat), craves her love, admires the defeat as she resolves to not do what the "victims" (her mother, brother and love Mr. Uehara) all give into (giving up, rather). It was kinda creepy feeling to me that she worshipped her mother as if she were a doll or on a stage screen instead of someone to depend on. When the room became faintly light, I stared at the face of the man sleeping beside me. It was the face of a man soon to die. It was an exhausted face. The face of a victim. A precious victim." "The revolution is far from taking place. It needs more, many more valuable, unfortunate victims. In the present world, the most beautiful thing is a victim." What use is the figures and ideals? Start a revolution without a Jesus love. Victims. Huh. I love Kazuko for doing something, no matter where the love came from (throwing herself blindness, girlish fantasies, whatever). Staying the same as helplessness is only as glamorous as staring at a picture. You can't take it with you. My point, I guess, is that her mama never fought for anything. Kazuko may have loved the victims but I love the revolution. They'll leave you alone every time, those victims. Little girls forever... What is that foriegn feeling, anyway?

  • Eddie Watkins
    2018-11-12 18:05

    An analysis of sickness and love in the grip of large scale sickness and destruction. An analysis without recourse to logical analysis - like poetry."A science which is postulated on the assumption that human beings are avaricious through all eternity is utterly devoid of point (whether in problems of distribution or any other aspect) to a person who is not avaricious."This winningly naive thought by the main character, upon reading a book on economics in the wake of WWII, her first foray into such "adult" matters, is emblematic of the stance taken throughout this narrative. It says - Forget all the larger complicated political/economic/etc. analyses and concerns of collective life in times of massive upheaval and destruction and focus on one's own responses to events, however untutored and illogical. Defeatism? Possibly. But also heroic and perpetually necessary. Through his own egocentricism and resolute determination to remain authentic, Dazai wrote a book that gets to the heart of a universal individualism, while at the same time advocating for transient beauties and dissolution and suicide. So instead of looking toward thinkers for a way out, she looks toward nature, in the classical Japanese way, to the hope that autumn chrysanthemums will restore her sick mother (a mother who is sick and unnamed throughout the book, and so a symbolic stand-in for Japan itself). But the flowers don't do it, for nothing but heroic love can restore whatever remains of meaning in a devastated world.

  • Kimley
    2018-12-01 11:54

    In the days, weeks and months following 9/11 I had a really difficult time getting a grasp on reality. I pretty much walked around the city in a daze for quite a while not knowing what to make of any of it. I frankly still don't know what to make of any of it...So I can't even imagine what it must have been like for not just the Japanese but for everyone to go from a pre-nukes world to witnessing the near annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.This is the story of one aristocratic family in Japan in the years immediately following the war and their struggles to cope not only financially but intellectually, emotionally, morally and spiritually. The war itself is scarcely mentioned but it weighs heavily on every page - the anger, resentment, confusion, disbelief.Dazai's style is so simple and straight-forward that even when you know something is coming, the ease in which he states it frequently ends up being quite shocking.The story deals primarily with the three members of the immediate family. The elderly, dying mother who is broken-hearted that the family can no longer afford to live in their Tokyo house and must move to a small house in the country. Her grown daughter who is the main focus of the story and who is grasping at anything, no matter how remote or abstract, that could possibly give her life any purpose or meaning. And the son who actually fought in the war and who is seeking to remove himself as far from reality as possible with drugs and alcohol.Some of them make it and some of them don't...Sadly Dazai himself did not and committed suicide in 1948 about a year after this book, which had given him his greatest success, came out.

  • Hakan
    2018-11-18 12:20

    japonya'da savaş sonrası yaşanan toplumsal değişimin, soylu sınıfa ait bir ailenin parçalanışı üzerinden anlatıldığı mükemmel bir öykü olabilirmiş batan güneş. o mükemmelliğin hissedildiği bölümler var ve bu bölümler için bile okunmaya değer bir kitap. fakat yazar kitaba hikaye içinde bir intihar vakası ile birlikte bir intihar düşüncesi eklemlemeyi uygun bulmuş ve hikayenin merkezini de bu düşünceye kaydırma yoluna gitmiş. bir parçalanma/yıkım öyküsünde intiharın elbette yeri olabilir, bu tartışılacak bir konu değil. ancak yazar öykü içinde intiharın bağlamını/gerekçelendirmesini kısa bir öyküde bir intihar mektubunun içine sıkıştırarak ve dağıttıkça dağıtarak öykünün minimal/kompakt yapısını bozmuş, güzelliğini gölgelemiş.intihar birkaç sayfa içinde hem ölme hakkı olarak, hem toplumsal/siyasal bağlamda, hem genel/geleneksel ahlak anlayışına ve hem de soylu sınıfın yok oluşuna (çelişki?) tepki olarak anlatılıyor/açıklanıyor. bu düşünceler bildiğimiz gibi yazarın kişiliğinden/hayatından bağımsız değil. yazar kendi düşüncelerini hikaye içinde intiharından önce üzerinde yeterince durmadığı kahramanlarından biriyle dile getiriyor ama ne bu kahraman ne de bu küçük kitap bu düşünceleri taşıyabiliyor. intiharın hem kişisel olarak, hem düşünce ve felsefe temeliyle hem de japonya'nın toplumsal değişiminin tüm boyutlarıyla ince ince işlendiği, sorgulandığı ve hem edebi eser hem de yazarın kendi hikayesinde muhteşem biçimde nasıl sonuçlanabileceğini görmek isteyenlere mişima'nın bereket denizi dörtlemesini öneriyorum. şahsen bu dörtlemeyi okumasaydım batan güneş'i daha fazla sevebilirdim.

  • Baran
    2018-11-30 12:57

    Japon hassasiyetini kurcalayan, Japonya'da soylu bir ailenin güçten düşüp yıkıma gidişini naif ve derinlemesine ele alan harika bir kitap.."Ben yemek odasına geçtim. Dayımın sevdiği hamur işini yapmaya koyuldum. Sonra Çin odasına dört kişilik yemek götürdüm. Dayım, doktor, Naoji ve yengem için. Dayımın Tokyo'dan getirdiği Maruneouehi Oteli sandviçlerini Anne'ye göstermek için onları yastığının kenarına koydum." Ölmek üzere olan annesini mutlu etmek için otuzuna merdiven dayamış, soyluluktan fakirliğe terfi bir kadının çocuksu naifliğinin ve anne sevgisinin tavan yaptığı bu noktada çarpıldım...

  • Larnacouerde SH
    2018-12-02 16:03

    "Herhalde bir şeyden emin olunabilir: Insan, yaşamak için rol yapmak zorunda."Dazai'nin kalemi hakikaten enfes; sade fakat oldukça derin.Üzerine ne denir bilemiyorum.

  • Magdalen
    2018-11-29 18:15

    Despite the absence of action"The setting sunis a quite interesting book which gives the reader an insight of Japanese culture in the post war era. Here Dazai shows the struggles of an aristocratic japanese family. He is straight forward and sometimes rather lyrical and always precise. Given the fact that the book is slow paced the final chapters make up for it.I fancy Osamu Dazai's prose, his views towards life and his autobiographical writing. I liked Naoji and his letters made me love him more. He slaps society's values by proving that depression can be indeed a disease of the high class. It's a book that will overwhelm you with so many feelings.

  • Sinem A.
    2018-12-09 14:16

    çokkk uzun zamandır okumak isteyip bulamadığım kitaptı. istediğim kadar varmış. sadelik ve derinliği etkileyici .

  • AC
    2018-12-01 14:11

    I'm not sure what to say about this - I can see that it was an important book -- there are moments of lyrical beauty in it - But it is very hard to adjudge a book written in Japanese when read by an English only speaker.... On the other hand, the angst of the writer and the character -- Dazai himself committed suicide -- is.... it is no longer a very revolutionary act. Death is not a very revolutionary act. It is clinical... and while it may have shocked the bourgeois sentiments of the 19th century, the 20th century has shown that life, and living -- are, indeed, the revolutionary acts. Even if they ultimately prove impossible to sustain.Of course, this is the problem with a lot (not all, but still a lot...) of the modernist literature I am reading -- a certain moral puerility. I think the painting/art of modernism has, over all, held up better - though some of that too will not last. (I'm thinking mainly of kitsch -- and its descendants). In philosophy, almost nothing will likely last of the past 65 years, apart from Quine -- and possibly nothing from the last 100 years -- Though such sweeping statements will always prove false, I guess....And I haven't read much in epistemology.The breakthroughs in science will last... obviously. That, too, is a genre.

  • Argos
    2018-11-23 19:02

    Yazarın otobiyografisi olarak değerlendiriyorum. İntiharından önce yaşadığı fırtınalı düşünce dünyasını ve ruh halini soylu bir Japon ailesi üzerinden anlatıyor. Düşüncelerini bazen ablanın (anlatıcı) bazen de erkek kardeşin kaleminden çıkan mektuplarla anlatıyor. Jaguar Yayınlarının kardeş kuruluşu Olvido yayınlarından.

  • Ludmilla
    2018-11-11 17:17

    senenin son kitabı. icindeki mektuplara bayildim. 3/5

  • umberto
    2018-11-19 13:50

    I found reading “The Setting Sun” by Osamu Dazai a bit disappointing, especially in its second half around one fourth, since its readers have been overwhelmed by his seemingly destructive obsession. So the more we read farther, the more we feel guiltily embittered. This might be another genre worth studying/doing research for advanced degrees in good and great universities worldwide. I’m not sure if this literary symptom is related to any existing literary theory or any field of psychology/psychiatry and if there is, this should be an emerging issue on why we should study for more in-depth understanding so that we can find how to cope with this semi-dangerous idea, learn to look at the bright side and find practical solutions for the readers in general to apply, keep going, be busy and be useful to their communities as much as possible. However, there are a few points worth sharing with my Goodreads friends as follows.First, I think its English title is sarcastically interesting because it is the opposite of “The Rising Sun” as normally used in Japan before World War II. The influence from this novel has formed the idea of “people of the setting sun – the declining aristocracy” (back cover) as narrated and portrayed by Dazai to signify his opinion on the Japanese people suffered from the war. Second, I liked this dialog between Mother and Kazuko, the lady protagonist because of its masterly-written sentences and, I think, his readers would find it hard not to be emotionally moved and thus cannot help weeping in sympathy: … “Really? In that case, your mother is good for ninety!” “Yes,” I said, a little perplexed. Scoundrels live a long time. The beautiful die young. Mother is beautiful. But I want her to live a long time. I was at a loss what to say. “You are being difficult,” I protested. My lower lip began to tremble, and tears brimmed over. (p. 10)Third, be careful while reading each chapter since Dazai has applied his flashback technique as informed in the introduction (p. xv). For instance, Chapters One-Five, obviously narrated by Kazuko, Chapter Six, ambiguously mixed-narrative by Kazuko and her brother (?), Naoji, and Chapter Seven, Naoji’s written journal (I preferred this term to ‘testament’ as translated there). Finally, this novel is readable in its first three fourths but, after that, its readers should read it wisely and leave it at that.

  • Mattia Pascal
    2018-12-08 13:01

    Beklentimin üstüne çıkan bi' kitap. Kitabı okumadan evvel bildiğim Japon yazarların büyük çoğunluğunun intihara meyilli olmalarından çok, bunu denemiş olmalarından dolayı Osamu Dazai ile ilgili olarak da biraz araştırma yaptım; Japonya'nın zengin ailelerinden birisine mensup, varoluşunu huzursuzluk, uyuşturucu ve alkol bağımlılıklarıyla ördüğü sarmalında tam 5 kez intihar girişiminde bulunmuş ve sonuncusunda başarılı olmuş; sevgilisiyle birlikte kendini bi' köprü üzerinden nehre bırakmış...2. Dünya Savaşı'nın hemen ertesindeki büyük, yavaş ve sessiz değişimin egemen olduğu Japonya. Büyük savaşları tarih kitaplarından çok, savaş ertesi yazılan romanlarda, sıradan roman kahramanlarıyla okumayı seven birisi olarak, bu incecik romanın epey duygu yüklü olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Savaş öncesi ve savaş sonrası Japonya'daki sosyo-ekonomik değişim, roman kahramanları Anne, Kazuko ve Naoji'nin fiziksel ve ruhsal değişimleriyle paralel bi' şekilde ilerliyor. Anne, savaş öncesindeki Japon kadını gibi; suskun, gelenekçi bi' kadın. roman ilerledikçe yaşlanıyor ve hastalanarak ölüyor. Kazuko ise gelenekçi annenin tersine sürekli hata yapan, bocalayan değişimin habercisi bi' kadın. Naoji ise "yazarın kendisini kurguya dahil ettiği," uyuşturucu ve alkol bağımlısı, geleneği, soyluluğu sorgulayan bi' adam.Eski Japonya'yı simgeleyen babanın ölümü ve Naoji'nin Pasifikte asker olarak orduya alınmasıyla başlayan ve ailenin savaş öncesi soyluluğun simgesi olan büyük ve lüks evlerinden Çin mimarisinin egemen olduğu bi' dağ evine taşınmasıyla toplumsal çözülmenin anlatıldığı ve askerden dönen Naoji'nin varoluşçu bunalımlarına dayanamayıp -belki de ancak yazar Dazai'nin yazabileceği- ablası Kazuko'ya yazdığı duygu yüklü mektupla intihar ettiği bi' çöküşün romanı.

  • Gertrude & Victoria
    2018-11-29 19:51

    In the same fashion as his predecessors, Natsume Soseki (Kokoro) and Tanizaki Junichiro (Naomi), Dazai provides an insightful historical account in The Setting Sun, as much as he draws a story of intense emotional appeal. All three of these prominent novelists have written, so deftly, about a Japan in a period of great uncertainty amid rapid change. This change can be interpreted as a period of natural transition or one of unpredictable upheaval. Dazai's story is set in post-war Japan and recounts the fall of an aristocratic family.This upper-class family loses everything they possess; all their remaining wealth disappears, and with it their status and privilege too. Through the narrator and heroine, Kazuko, and her brother Naoji, Dazai takes us through a poignant series of tragic occurrences. His straightforward manner of prose is concise, lucid, and compelling. The best aspect of this novel is the beauty and power of its heroine. I was moved by her intelligent and self-less manner. This work is Dazai's magnum opus and has influenced generations of writers after him, and should be read by those who love Japanese literature.

  • Jacquelyn
    2018-12-04 13:11

    This is the first time I've read anything by Osamu Dazai. Apparently, Dazai was a tragic figure - he became addicted to morphine and made several suicide attempts before he succeeded in 1948. The translator's notes say that he was considered one of the great chroniclers of contempory Japanese life. The story is about the decline of the aristocracy after the war. The images that Dazai brings to the reader are startling in their hue and weight - the mother who sips her soup from the end of the spoon, fluttering it as she does so, like a sparrow. We encounter the family's reduction in means, and their attempts to fit into a rural village, where they moved after they lost the mansion. The daughter, Kazuko, engages in farm labour which 'coarsens' her. The son, Naoji, is a violent young man who spends the remaining family wealth on drugs and drinking in Tokyo. The defeat of Japan is never explicitly explored, only the effects on the people. The reader - or at least THIS reader - will see some of the trials and humiliations of this family as simply annoying. After all, as they are being lowered to the working class, there are many already there who would yearn to be in this family's shoes. But the details of the people and their lives are compelling. I will try to find more of Dazai!

  • Zak
    2018-12-01 15:06

    (3.75*) A bit quirky but overall an enjoyable read about the decline of aristocracy in Japan after the war.

  • Kao Narvna
    2018-11-15 13:07

    Osamu Dazai'sThe Setting Sunwas a book I had read quite a few years ago, though not in an especially notable amount of depth. Having read it once again, it has clicked with me far deeper than I recall. This piece of Dazai's in particular tackles illness, addiction, and suicide--all topics not particularly far from home, especially the latter of the three. Overall, the entirety of the tale gives me a forlorn, almost melancholic feeling--appropriately so. Not all stories must or should have happy endings, and often the best way to close a negative tale is with acceptance. With the inclusion of letters to an unlikely and already wed lover, recollections of death, an abundance of emotion was displayed through otherwise hollow words. The pacing was appropriate slow/quick where need be, enough for emotions to stick to me without any hesitation. The familiar settings and circumstances, though unfortunate, also assisted in the displays of content, for me specifically--(view spoiler)[most notably in the inclusion of written confessions of love, and an unfortunate suicide note making up all of chapter seven, a rough read for anyone, myself included. (hide spoiler)]A constant theme throughout this piece is the presence of snakes--a creature with a significant amount of duality within Japanese culture. The serpent is both good and evil, representing death and yomi and much as it represented growth and fertility. Snakes are present in nearly all accounts of death or illness throughout the pages of this book, including dreams, gardens, or right beside a person as they past. Dazai's work contains a large amount of poetic symbolism in a rather general sense, and should be paid close attention to, to fully grasp the meaning of his writing--in my opinion, of course.(view spoiler)[ The main character, Kazuko, takes us through her living after her father's passing, living with her solemn and eventually ill mother. Her brother is off, supposedly at war, and wrought with addiction to opiates. Their husband has died, they've lost their greatest friends, and overall struggle with themselves, their suitors, and their family toils--death especially. In due time, the brother, Naoji, does return--though as much of an addict as you might suspect, despite his vows to quit. The character most focused upon is the mother, as she gradually falls into eternal slumber despite her beauty and resilience. Inevitably, their death is what drives the death of the sibling, having not even a shred of anything to live for, and having known their death would kill her. Along with familial issues, there is also the matter of Kazuko's romantic desires with an older, married man similarly making his way towards death and reeking of addiction, much akin to Naoji--conveniently enough, Naoji was a student or apprentice of sorts, if you can call drinking alongside him and occasionally working either of those things. All in all, the characters and their respective struggles are well tied in to each other, balanced, and fully aware of each other. There is no one sided or two dimensional character to be found, as far as I could see.(hide spoiler)]I fully recommend this writing to anyone with interests in Japanese, classic-contemporary literature. Though I also recommend doing a bit of background information on the author beforehand, as his life, struggles, and perspective may offer a massive amount of insight into the philosophy behind this title.

  • Haiiro
    2018-11-13 17:09

    Dazai Osamu với Tà dương đã cho tôi một ấn tượng khác hẳn so với Thất lạc cõi người. Và tất nhiên là khác hẳn hẳn so với các tác phẩm văn học Nhật đương đại khác dù theo lời bình của nhà văn Kakuta Mitsuyo ở cuối sách thì văn phong của nó cấp tiến chẳng thua gì văn học thời nay cả (vì không tiếp cận được ngôn ngữ gốc nên chỉ có thể tin lời bà).Trong khi ở Thất lạc cõi người, Dazai đã thể hiện những diện mạo khá rõ ràng của một bệnh nhân tâm thần, một con nghiện hết thuốc chữa, một thanh niên suy đồi hết đường cải tạo... thì ngược lại câu chữ trong Tà dương lại toát lên vẻ tinh tế mà tôi thấy thật kì quặc nếu không nghĩ rằng tác giả của nó cũng phải là một người tinh tế lịch lãm, viết ra thơ thở ra văn. Kì quặc như nhìn thấy một người mổ lợn to béo ngồi tỉ mẩn với từng mũi thêu hoa lá uyên ương cây cỏ vậy.Thú vị là cậu em Naoji lại là hình chiếu của Dazai ngoài đời - điều này sẽ rõ ràng hơn nếu đã đọc qua Thất lạc cõi người. Việc tác giả đã tự bỉ bai mình khá nhiều trong những cuốn tự thuật và việc Naoji chỉ là một nhân vật phụ trong Tà dương làm trong đầu tôi cứ xuất hiện những hình ảnh kì quái rồi tự thấy buồn cười, giả dụ như tưởng tượng trong khi cô chị Kazuko thao thao bất tuyệt, nghiêm túc thực hiện cuộc phỏng vấn (truyện viết theo ngôi thứ nhất của Kazuko) thì Naoji - cũng tức Dazai - đang đứng ở xa xa khung hình cười cợt và làm những trò lố bịch không chịu được. Ôi chà, cái đầu óc tôi...Dù nói văn phong của Tà dương cũng hiện đại như văn học thời nay, nhưng bối cảnh thì vẫn là xã hội cũ. Hiểu biết của tôi về Nhật Bản thời này xấp xỉ bằng 0, có khi còn âm, nên dù là một trong những "tiểu thuyết Nhật Bản hay nhất thời hậu chiến" nhưng đọc cũng không lấy gì làm vui thú cả, chưa kể lại còn có những hệ tư tưởng mình chả thể nào hiểu nối. Vẻ đẹp của nó, cơ hồ chỉ có thể mơ mơ màng màng cảm nhận được thôi. Có điều giả dụ nếu có chọn một tác phẩm để đưa vào sách vở của NXB Giáo dục thì làm gì có ai chọn Takuji Ichikawa hay thậm chí là Haruki Murakami thay vì Dazai Osamu, hehe.

  • Deniz Balcı
    2018-12-11 12:20

    Dazai'den okuyucuya, kendi hayatı ile kurulacak bağ ile yumruk atan kısa bir roman! Japonya intihar eden yazarların diyarı. Nasıl ki Akutagava'nın bazı otobiyografik öykülerinde deliliğinin, sanrılarının korkunç yansımalarını görebiliyorsak, bu kitapta da Dazai'nin esrarkeşliğin koynunda, alkolikliğin pençesinde intiharın aklında nasıl şekillendiğini görebiliyoruz. Kitap boyunca Dazai kendi soyluluğuna tükürüyor, içine düştüğü ve kendi yaratmadığı durumların pençesinden nasıl kurtulamadığına küfürler savuruyor. Varoluşçuluk giysisi ne kadar Sarthe, Camus gibi yazarlara biçilmişse de bence en zengin sorgulamaları Dazai gibi yazarlar Doğu'da yapmışlar zaten. Ben çok etkilendim.

  • Lör K.
    2018-12-09 19:12

    Read for free hereThis was a hard book for me to review, and took me a long time to figure out how to write. This book made strange feelings develop within me, the melancholy feeling of nostalgia, for a life I had never lived. The feeling of not belonging, and recollection as though reading my own memories back. The feeling of familiarity, as though this was my own diary I was reading back. The Setting Sun is by far one of Dazai Osamu's best works. Since I started reading his publications, I was most excited to read The Setting Sun, right behind No Longer Human which I have yet to dig my teeth into. It's not hard to see why this is celebrated as one of Dazai's best works. It took me much too long to read this, truly, taking me five months to get through the whole of this novella. But in itself, I felt so low when reading it, I couldn't bring myself to read it. I felt like weeping whenever I opened it, and it took me time to grow accustomed to Dazai's way of writing, to be able to come to it and sit and read through it.The writing itself is pure art, and seems as melancholy as our main character feels. It fills the reader with a strange sense of longing, familiarity, the sense of familial values, and a life not lived to full potential. A sense of betrayal, love, loss and many other things of which I could list all day long.Most noted throughout the novel, was the presence of snakes within the story. Snakes are an animal with a large amount of symbolism in Japanese culture - it represents both good and evil, and death and fertility. There is so much different occasions of a snake being present during this book, during death, during loss, but also during dreams. The symbolism itself, should really be appreciated in order to appreciate this story as much as one would like to. This book is a masterpiece. With this in his works, it's truly not hard to see why Dazai is considered one of the best post-war authors within Japanese Literature. He tells a tale, and takes the reader along with it all, through every feeling, transports us around Japan with every single word. He creates a world within which the reader can resonate with, despite us never knowing it. We know his words, despite never having heard of the book before picking it up.The Setting Sun is a work of art, and I won't be forgetting this book any time soon. It's truly a masterpiece, and I feel that it needs to be appreciated more within this era of books. It's something that grasps and shows the symbolism of life and death, shows us that not every story has a happy ending; it shows us the truths of life.

  • Astrid Reza
    2018-12-05 17:59

    Family in a lyrical way is sad. In Dazai’s terms quiet depressive. The whole narration is in a very sad nearly cold tone of manners. This book tale about an aristocrat Japanese family seeing their lives falls into pieces after the war. I fall in love deeply with Kazuko character shown in her desperate letters to Uehara. A blend of desperation, love and the beauty of sadness in her do make her portrait rather sensuous. And yes, this novel is quite depressing in making people want to kill themselves (a no-no reading when you’re depressive). Indeed, Naoji, Kazuko’s brother did kill himself in this novel. Ah, the amazing obsession on death colors this novel pretty blatantly.

  • David
    2018-11-23 14:53

    I re-read this as I remembered so little about it. It's charming and depressing. I liked the early part, but the angsty aristos and artists annoyed after a while."Any man who criticizes my suicide and passes judgment on me with an expression of superiority, declaring ... that I should have gone on living my full complement of days, is assuredly a prodigy among men capable of tranquilly urging the Emperor to open a fruit shop. ... I am better off dead. I haven't the capacity to stay alive. I haven't the strength to quarrel with people over money. I can't even touch people for a hand-out."

  • Sahar
    2018-11-12 18:00

    "Life is too dreary to endure.the misery, loneliness, crampedness, they're heartbreaking." Splitting one's own personality into different characters was something I've been always looking for in different works but I finally found it in this story. Through each character Dazai mentioned his ideas and believes about life, love, in fact everything, but in my mind the Naoji's testament was the apogee of Dazai's own testament. Although the story sometimes might seem uneventful, it's a must-read book.

  • Andrew
    2018-12-01 14:59

    It's unfortunate that Dazai doesn't get widely read in this country, because this is some amazing shit. If Japan had a Rimbaud, it would be this dude. While it's an often bleak story of aristocratic life at loggerheads with the modern age, it's an unbelievably touching portrait of a family, akin to many of the Japanese films of the postwar era.

  • Descending Angel
    2018-11-13 11:50

    Probably the most Japanese novel I've read. There is some interesting ideas, symbolism and parallels to Dazai's life but ultimately its disappointing. Some of the novel's writing is cliché and even cringy, especially at the beginning, the best parts come in monologues/letters that express anger and confusion in the transitional period that its set in.

  • ktulu81
    2018-12-02 17:01

    ”Mamma, rimproverami, prego!”“Per cosa?” “Dicono che sono un debole…”Davvero? Un debole… Non credo di doverti rimproverare più per questo.”La bontà della mamma non ha confronti. Ogni volta che penso a lei, mi viene da piangere. Morirò, per scusarmi con la mamma.Leggere questo breve ma intensissimo romanzo è stato come assistere all’autopsia del cadavere dell’autore e vedere esposte sotto una luce cruda e spietata le cause di tanto dolore e della sua fine prematura.Ho trovato molto commovente il fatto che il finale lasci uno spiraglio aperto alla speranza. Speranza che però è riservata ad altri, dotati, a differenza dell’autore, del coraggio e della forza vitale necessaria a sfidare la “vecchia moralità” e a passare il guado del “periodo di transizione” che per lui è stato fatale.

  • Victor Morosoff
    2018-11-26 13:55

    Greu de fixat in cuvinte cartea lui Dazai. Dar atmosfera sa, emanata cu statornicie la fiecare pagina, e frumoasa si trista, ca tot ce e adevarat pe lume: imposibilitatea adaptarii, imposibilitatea de a tine pasul cu o lume care nu mai are loc pentru idealisti si visatori, imposibilitatea de a mai fi. 3,5/4

  • Pawit Mahattanasing
    2018-11-14 16:57

    วิเศษสมคำโฆษณา สร้างตัวละครหญิงได้ดีเหลือเกิน ชดช้อยด้วยจริตมารยา กระแดะอย่างน่ารัก แทรกอารมณ์ขันกระจุ๋มกระจิ๋ม เล่าเรื่องครอบครัวหนึ่งแทนภาพการเปลี่ยนผ่านยุคสมัย แม่เป็นตัวแทนยุคเก่าที่กำลังเสื่อมสลาย ลูกทั้งสองยังเกาะกุมอยู่กับความเสื่อมสลายนั้นและพยายามอย่างยิ่งยวดเพื่อก้าวพ้นไปสู่สภาวะใหม่ ผมอ่านจนจบแล้วจู่ๆ ก็นึกถึงฉากสุดท้ายในภาพยนตร์ The Bare-Footed Kid