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The wall that kobo built: four short stories by Abe Kobo 1971

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THE WALL THAT KOBO BUILT: Four Short Stories by Abe Kobo by ANDRAS HORVAT B.A., University of British Columbia, 1968 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts in the Department of ASIAN STUDIES We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 1971 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l umbia V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada This thesis is divided into three parts: Chapter I, Chapter II, and the Appendices; each of these parts f u l f i l l s different purposes. Chapter I concerns itself with Abe Kobo's l i f e and working environment. Although the argument that a man's lif e and his works should be kept separate, may be valid when we examine the works of an author of our own cultural-Unguistic environment, such an examination of style, devoid of human experience would be meaningless when applied to the works of a man who is l i t t l e known and whose culture s t i l l remains to be studied by most North Americans. This thesis, therefore-, examines both the man and his works. Furthermore, Japanese critics, as can be seen in the first part of Chapter I, would never consider separating the author's personality from his literary creations. Chapter I comes to the conclusion that a connection does exist between Abe and his heroes, albeit a much more subtle one than the typical one-to-one, author-hero relationship of Japanese confes- sional literature. Chapter II is an examination of seven of Abe's stories, four of which, "Oshimusume" [The Deaf Girl, 1949], "Inu" [The Dog, 1954], "Yume no heishi" [The Dream Soldier, 1957] and "Toki no gake" [The Cliff of Time, 1964], are translated and appended at the back of this thesis. Two of the remaining three, "Akai mayu" (Red Cocoon 1950, trans. John Nathan 1966), and "Dendorokakariya" (Dendrocacalia 1949, trans. M. Jelinkova 1965), are available in English, though the remain- ing one "Kabe—S. Karuma shi no hanzai" [The Wall, The Crime of S. Karuma Esq., 1951], an extremely long short story remains to be trans- lated. These three works represent not only stepping stones in Abe's career, they also testify to the painstaking experimentation in which Abe was engaged before abandoning the surrealist style of his early years. In the second part of Chapter II, the four translations men- tioned above are examined in chronological order and are analyzed in detail to show Abe's change in style at about the time he wrote "Yume no heishi." Some facts concerning Abe's politics are also explained. Appendix I and II contain the four short stories in chrono- logical order: first the translations and then the originals. Appendix III Is a l i s t of Abe's original works, in order of publication. The corpus of this thesis, four translations, three stories in the original, several novels in translation, as well as the works of criticism consulted, should provide the basis for some tentative conclusions. First, Abe's style is not confessional, but descriptive and explanatory. Second, Abe abandoned the politically directed surrealism of his early days for a more subtle, documentary style. Third, Abe's heroes struggle with outside forces against which they are powerless; their defeat is intended to prove some failing present in a l l of us. It is hoped that the materials introduced, and the conclusions arrived at in this thesis will help to form the basis for more detailed research. Table of Contents Chapter 1 1 Chapter II 19 Notes 44 Appendix I i The Deaf Girl 54 i i The Dog 66 i i i The Dream Soldier 79 iv The Cliff of Time 91 Appendix II i Oshimusume 105 i i Inu 112 i i i Yume no heishi 118 iv Toki no gake I 2 6 Appendix III List of Abe Kobe's Original Publications 135 Bibliography 140 The introduction of Abe Kobo's Zj?^ works to a wider audience, presents a number of problems. First of a l l , despite the Woman in the Dunes, trans., E. Dale Saunders, 1962) received, l i t t l e is known about Abe outside Japan. Second, the information regarding Abe's l i f e and works that is available in Japanese, is written by critics whose concerns differ considerably from those of critics in North America. and environment, I have sketched a short biography of Abe, trying to show which events in his li f e have influenced aspects of his literature. The problem of differing critical vantage points is much more difficult to deal xdLth. It is Impossible to sum up, in a few words, the critical concerns of the Japanese reading public, to say nothing of the criticism which emanates from the bund an x£Jy§i » Japan's literary world. It is the differences that make themselves most apparent. An almost exclusive concern with the l i f e and personality of the author, at the expense of more objective information concerning techniques of plot, description, and characterization, is one quality which might perplex many foreign critics. However, i t would be useful to keep in mind the fact that literature in Japan is a popular pastime, readily accessible to people world-wide critical acclaim which (The In order to deal with the f i r s t unknown, the author's l i f e on the street. Magazines such as the Bungei Shunju "^C^cL^y^* Chuo K o r t n ^ / ^ , Bungakkai j r g ^ , Bungei ^ |- , Shincho gy;^ t Hihyo ^L"^"' a n c* Usn:*-°^|fl' not to mention the monthly anthologies of taishu - j ^ ° r P°P ul a r works, are a l l for sale in bookstores and sometimes even in railway stations. It is in the above-mentioned magazines that the literature of modern Japan thrives; i t is also in their pages that the questions of literary interpretation are debated. Literary criticism in North America is the occupation of professional scholars, not a popular pastime practiced by men of letters. Perhaps i t is their close proximity to an attentive reader- ship that has made Japanese critics concern themselves with describing the person as well as the works of authors. From the point of view of objective criteria, bundan critics are a breed apart from the scientific critics of North American universities. Although the university critics display perhaps too great a desire to establish elusive objective crite- ria—Northrop Frye mentions in the preface to his Anatomy of Criticism that there is a Ph.D. dissertation which is devoted to measuring percentages of gloom in the novels of Thomas HardyJ—Japanese critics on the other hand seen to spend an inordinately large amount of their time listing "Influences" and "isms" which they are not at a l l eager to define. In one short four page article in his Muchi to koma, Haniya YutakaS^/^j^^] attributes Abe's genius to the influence of no less than nine other writers including Kafka, Rilke, Shiina Rinzo j^/^J$&^-> Hanada Kiyoteru ^\"53 ^$$> 3 1 1 ( 1 Haniya himself. Bundan critics rarely write about a work with the intent of interpreting its meaning to readers; rather, they use a given work as a springboard for their own subjective extemporizations. Eto Jun 5*X-|̂j[̂|» l n an article entitled "Modern Japanese Literary Criticism," divides the critical art into two spheres: creative popular criticism and academic criticism. Naturally, he favours the former type: I personally do not take sides with the idea that literary criticism i s , or should be, a kind of science, an idea generally accepted by academic critics.... However, I am interested in the idea that literary criticism can be a creative art, a genre of literature relying far more heavily on the art and personality of the critic than on abstract theory.^ Unfortunately, bundan criticism can often rely far more on the personality of the critic than on the character of the work in question. Very often criticism tends to degenerate to personal remini- scences of the critic and come to have very l i t t l e connection with the literary skills or personal message of the author. Honda Shugo Jf^^^jC^p takes up at least a quarter of his article on Abe describing how Abe grew a beard at about the time he went to Czechoslovakia in 1956, or that his father was a doctor and so was some other young author's father, or how Abe distributed a drug to guests at a party and that the drug did not take effect. This kind of celebration of the man is not at a l l limited to literary memoirs such as those of Honda and Eaniya. It would appear that there is altogether a greater emphasis on the author as a man in Japan than in North America. Isoda Koichi , writing in Bungakkai, introduces his article by describing Abe's unorthodox appearance at a meeting of writers. Abe wore shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, while the others, mostly I-novelists came in grey suits. Isoda comes to the conclusion that the I-novelists made a distinction between their images as people and as characters in their books, while with Abe there was no such contradiction. The implication, quite obviously, is that Abe is more sincere than the I-novelists who only claim to write sincere books. But then, an author's sincerity is purely a bundan concern; no North American professor of English would spend too much time on such a vague and seemingly naive issue. There are, however, very good historical reasons for the evolu- tion of this exclusively Japanese critical attitude. Brett de Bary sums up the reasons as follows: Perhaps the roots of this concern can be traced to the foundations laid by Tsubouchi Shoyo's j^i^^j^JShosetsu Shinzui ;]^$^J|&(Essence of the novel) inl885. For despite TsuboucmNs insistence that i t was the aesthetic beauty of a novel which justified its existence, he included as basic criteria the plot. This emphasis on realism, which the early Meiji novel had learned from its European models, was in the Japanese case never fully dissociated from certain moral qualities of the book's creator—his personal sincerity and the "truth" of the tale told. This equation of artistic realism x^ith personal honesty has not only resulted in the perversion of realism to confessionalism, i.e. suffer- ing in order to write about i t , but also in the elevation of the author's personality to a level at least on a par with his works. Seen in this light, the personality and works of Abe Kobo are considerably at odds with his literary environment. He writes no I-novels, there is not a trace of confessionalism in his works, and, in comparison with his fellow authors, he makes few remarks in public about his role as author, or intellectual. Unlike Oe Kenzaburo ^ ^ I ^ ^ ^ p , Abe makes no statements about being a spokesman for his generation, neither does he indulge in the personal glorification that Mishima Yukio - S - J l ^ ^ g j ^ was famous for. As for the "isms," such as "surrealism," a trend which is never defined by a single critic, these would suffer from any definition. Eto Jun's paraphrasing of Yokomitsu Riichi'sY^jt/^Y—Neo-sensationist manifesto (Shin kankaku-ron ^"^'^'^^ »̂ should offer sufficient proof that the Japanese fascination with "isms" is part of the larger fascination with western concepts in general. "[It is] a synthesis of dadaisme, cubisme, expressionlsmus, futurismo, symbolisme and 'a part °f realism:"^ Japanese critics have not abandoned this practice of f i l l i n g their articles with foreign concepts. Iijima Koichi — writes in an article on Abe, "As he [Abe], himself has said, 'From existentialism, I moved to surrealism, and then from there to communism.'" The frustrating aspect of this listing of recipes is that the critic never goes into any more detail than just the above sort of naming of parts. Of course, one could easily devote a whole book to a portrait of the Japanese literary world. In fact i t would be a very useful topic for further investigation, because at the moment one can rely only on the frustrations of other students of Japanese literature when they encounter the treacherously vague, seemingly empty criticism that emanates from the bundan. Finally, i t would appear that the Japanese enjoyment of the personality of the author is what stands in the way of much systematic criticism. The above quote from Iijima's article is evidence that i t is automatically assumed that the author's own comments about his l i f e and works have a peculiar authority. In North America, authors are considered somewhat poor critics of their own works. They are regarded as simply the media for their creations. For a l l these above reasons, this essay has relied very l i t t l e on bundan sources for its appraisal of the author's works. There is enough source material, in fact there is even too much, on Abe's l i f e , but then the biographical information is often present at the expense of more detailed analyses of such criteria as characterization, plot, symbolism, and concrete comparison with other representatives of a particular genre. Kazuya Sakai, while lamenting the dearth of critical analyses of Abe's works, mentions the tendency of writers with an international reputation of being misrepre- sented by the press and the powerful publishing houses.^ But then, after a l l , in Japan authors are accorded treatment which is reserved only for movie stars elsewhere. Donald Keene sums up the l i f e of the Japanese author In the following manner: He is followed in the streets by autograph hunters, his face is on magazine covers, his every activity is reported widely in the press. His rewards are correspond- ingly heroic: in 1956 for example, four novelists enjoyed higher incomes than any movie actor, entertainer or professional athlete, and novelists have frequently since the war led the entire country in income.^ While public concern is not restricted to the novelist's personality alone (cf. note no. 25), the information above, should be sufficient evidence for the argument that Japanese critics, and pre- sumably the reading public as well, display a greater interest in the l i f e of an author than people elsewhere. Such a desire to know the background of the man with whom one is dealingj is reflected in other aspects of Japanese daily l i f e . The exchange of extremely detailed calling cardsj is a custom practiced even by university students. Having to prepare curriculum vitae when applying for any position, including janitor, or salesgirl, also testifies to the above cultural trait. The following short biography of Abe is written to introduce both the man and his works. While much purely personal information has been left out,where possible, relationships between the author's experiences and his literary creations have been pointed out. Although, due to the necessarily small number of works examined, the relationships presented are in the manner of possibilities as opposed to indesputable facts. Abe was born in Tokyo in 1924. His father, a medical doctor, was working for the Manchurian School of Medicine In Mukden, and Kimifusa (cf. note no. 1), was born while his father was on an extended research assignment in Tokyo. The assignment over, the family moved back to Mukden. Abe was only one year old at this time, but he was to be brought up in Manchuria until the age of sixteen. From then on he would hover back and forth from Tokyo to Mukden, finally settling in Japan after the war. The result of this constant moving around was to make Abe aware of the problem of the kokyo ttfgjb or home-town. To the Japanese j the furusato ffl^ljS , — a more sentimental reference to home-town—is the object of much nostalgia. The population of Tokyo temporarily drops each New Year, when Tokyoites crowd trains to return to their furusato. It is impossible to say just how many people return, but i t is evident that the home-town does occupy an important place in the spiritual lives of Japanese. The fact that there is even a special word in Japanese, satogaeri ^ Ij3 \j , to describe returning to the village to vi s i t friends and family, or graves of relatives, also indicates the importance of the home-town in Japan. To Abe, the concept of the home-town is meaningless. He makes this clear in an abbreviated chronology or nempu, which I quote in its entirety: I was born in Tokyo, and brought up in Manchuria. The place of family origin on my papers, however, is In I'- Hokkaido, and I have lived there too for a few years. In short, my place of birth, the place where I was brought up, and my place of family origin, are three absolutely different places. Thanks to this fact, i t is a difficult matter for me to write even an abbreviated l i s t of important dates In my l i f e . Essentially, I am a man with no home-town. That is one thing I can say. And the feeling of home-town phobia which flows at the base of my emotions, may be attributable to such a background. I am put off by anything which is valued only because i t is stationary.il One critic quotes Abe making a similar remark but coming to a slightly different conclusion: Perhaps i t was because a l l these places, my place of family origin, of birth, and of upbringing, were a l l different that in later l i f e I have become reluctant to talk about my past. What am I supposed to answer i f someone asks where I'm from? (Perhaps i t is just such a background that has made me shy away from I-novels.) l z In fact, Abe never wrote what could be considered an I-novel in the tradition of pseudo-realistic confessional novels. Although his first novel, Owarishi mi chi no shirube ni Vj^J^^ f T n e Road Sign at the End of the Street, 1947], was confessional in intent, Abe himself hardly considers the work as worthy of the name, novel. In fact none of Abe's early works had much in common with previous Japanese litera- ture, let alone I-novels. In one sense though, Abe was incorrect about himself because many of his novels deal with homelessness, alienation, poverty, and lack of belonging to home-town groups, problems which are paralleled by Abe's own personal experiences. Abe claims to have read a collection of world literature when he was s t i l l in middle school—equivalent to junior and early senior high school. He was very much impressed by the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, an author to whom he has been likened on point of style by many critics. He claims also to have been active as a critic in literary discussions in noon hour debates with his friends but despite the deep literary interest that such precocious behaviour might imply, Haniya Yutaka, the novelist and critic who was to help Abe publish his first work, was surprised at just how l i t t l e Abe knew about literature when he met the young writer some ten years later: This novelist who used existentialist terms so freely, except for having read Nietzsche and Heidegger, knew nothing about European literature other than what he may have gleaned through a fragmentary reading of two or three authors. When i t came to Japanese literature, he had read absolutely nothing.-^ Abe was probably not as interested in literature as he claims to have been. All his other hobbies, such as insect collecting, geometry and drawing designs, were indicative of a scientific bent, but his Interest in insect collecting was to stand him in good stead in Suna no onna. The hero of that novel is an insect collector who finds a sort of purpose in li f e by hoping to have his name attached to a heretofore unknown insect. Abe also exploited his knowledge of mathematics in an earlier novelette, Baberu no to no tanuki y\Vy 1 [/h^O)^^ [The Badger of the Tower of Babel, 1951], in which the hero of the story, a poet and amateur mathematician, solves equations for pleasure. Abe did not do well in foreign languages; someone interested in a literary career might have been expected to do better. In 1940 Abe went to Tokyo to attend Seijo kotogakko ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ a well-known college.*^ Ee maintains, he did not join in school activities and preferred to read instead. In the same year he took i l l and had to return to Manchuria to recuperate. While he was sick, he read Dostoyevsky. Japan became involved in the Pacific War in the following year. Abe recalls: "While feeling an emotional revulsion against the rising tide of fascism, I also felt at once a desire to be part of the movement. I feverishly read Nietzsche, Heidegger and Jaspers."''""' No doubt Abe had become alienated from Japan's war aims as a feeling of estrangement is always apparent in the sadly lost characters of his heroes. As the war progresses his mental state gradually deteriorates. He displayed l i t t l e interest in his education both at college and medical school, and he received consistently poor marks in military training, signs of his alienation from the purposes of war-time society. He read Kafka, but claims that his first impression was not too strong. Undoubtedly he must have re-read Kafka since that time because many of his works, notably Kabe—S. Karuma shi no hanzai S'fllU^l^ljpThe W a l l> o r t n e Crime of S. Karuma Esq. 1951] are definitely influenced by Kafka though Abe's critics, particularly Sasaki Kiichi ^̂ -̂̂ -ĵ t~~~ t r y t o discount relationship between the two authors' works, maintaining that Abe's humour is essentially different from Kafka's depressing fatalism."^ His interest in mathematics was not spoiled by the war. He worked at the subject assiduously, completing his third year textbook by the end of his second year. In 1943, he entered the Faculty of Medicine of Tokyo University but was unable to take an interest in anything. He entered, "not because I really wanted to but because I could think of nothing else to do."17 Re describes the early years of his medical training as being kuhakut " a void." 1 8 As a response to 19 this condition, he began reading Rilke's The Book of Images. Around Christmas of 1944 he heard rumours that defeat was nearing. His hopes returned, and he felt that he must engage in some kind of activity. He plotted with a childhood friend who was at that time also attending school in Tokyo, to return to Manchuria by means of sick-leave papers, which Abe would forge. They left school without notifying the authorities and came under kempei, or secret police, sur- veillance. Abe's experiences at the Korean port where they landed were to become the subject of the play Seifuku^j ̂ [Uniforms 1955]. His friend's father was supposed to have business connections with mounted Manchurian bandits. It was Abe's intention to join such a horde, although i t is difficult to say just what could have prompted him to wish to do so. His desire certainly testifies to a search for adventure, something which is s t i l l evident in his works. But such a desire may also be taken as proof of a certain immaturity, perhaps a necessary companion to adventure, but a quality for which critics s t i l l take Abe 20 to task. i t is interesting to note that his attempt to join the bandits and his own descriptions of his war-time alienation have been deleted by Shincho Sha, the publishers of Abe's more recently selected works in their neropu. It would appear that the more famous Abe becomes, the less real information becomes available on him. It is ironic that Abe, whose works deal with alienation, should be alienated from his public by his publishers through this kind of censorship. But this practice is under- standable i f one appreciates the fact that Japanese authors are not necessarily writers of fiction. Their opinions are constantly sought on a l l sorts of problems quite unrelated to their profession. The publisher might feel that Abe's status as an oracle may be adversely affected i f his readers knew that he wanted to pillage the Manchurian countryside as a boy. When Abe reached Manchuria in 1945, he found i t very quiet. There, the war appeared far from being over. Abe felt as i f he had been tricked. He spent his restless days helping his father In his medical practice. In August the war suddenly came to an end. With the war over, Abe hoped for a world where everything was possible.^ His dream turned into a nightmare when Mukden f e l l into a state of total anarchy. An unfortunate event which was probably a consequence of the non-function- ing of many government agencies was the outbreak of a cholera epidemic that claimed the l i f e of Abe's father. This period of anarchy profoundly affected Abe. While he did not immediately start writing on the spot, the experience of living under such circumstances was to make him aware not only of the infinite possibilities of human relationships but also the limitations of each Individual human being. The heroes in his novels a l l seem to experience trials under extreme conditions which they do not understand, and never have a hope of understanding, yet they continue to live with their inexplicable environments. There is certainly a parallel between Abe's heroes and the picture of himself which he describes below. My intention is not to show that the relationship there is an exact one, but rather that circumstances in his own li f e have awakened Abe to certain conditions of humanity which many Japanese have not been able to experience to the same degree. The following passage is quoted by many of his critics: During the war I was an existentialist. Then I wrote The Road Sign at the End of the Street. The idea was that existence precedes essence, but that theory Is somewhat self-denying. The more you try to hang on to i t the more i t bounces away. It was during my post war experiences that my existentialism first began to break down. I was in Mukden for about a year and a half. You see, I witnessed the complete breakdown of social stand- ards. I lost a l l faith in anything constant. And I think i t did me good.... For quite a while I lived in a condition of absolutely no police-protection. No government, no police. Then you know, your outlook on the world changes a bit. What's more, at the time I didn't have any knowledge of social sciences at my disposal. I was like a child who had been left in the jungle. At any rate, I took on an animal-like approach to things. I was permeated with this idea: "OK. Ue can manage. Things aren't a l l that different, vou know."22 It Is difficult to be absolutely positive about the relation- ship between authors' lives and their works, though as has been explain- ed, in Japanese literature, the relationship is sometimes a very close one. In 1946 in Manchuria, Abe was s t i l l far from his literary career. He went into business, bottling soft drinks. He was quite successful until he got the Idea of making sugar from cellulose. Eventually his enterprise failed when he tried to market soft drinks in solid, concentrated form. A Chinese landowner wanted to finance his venture, but after considering the matter carefully, Abe finally turned the man down, although i t moved him emotionally to have had so much trust placed in him. Abe was only twenty-two at the time. Having decided to repatriate, he boarded a ship at the end of the same year, but just as the boat steamed into the Japanese port, cholera was discovered on board. The ship was quarantined outside the harbour for ten days, during which time several passengers experienced nervous breakdowns. Those ten days were to serve as the background for his novel Kemonotachi wa kokyo o mezasu (j"^<T)"p) J ^^^>^J^\£~^ ^•'^ ie Beasts Aim for Home, 1957]. A translation of the above would no doubt yield valuable insights into Abe's attitude towards home, i.e., the kokyo of the t i t l e . In his recently translated play, Tomodachi 7?j^^- (Friends, 1967, trans, by Donald Keene, 1969) and, Suna no onna (The Woman in the Dunes, 1962, trans, by E. Dale Saunders, 1964), his treatment of the family in the former, and the villagers in the latter, leaves l i t t l e doubt in the mind of the reader that Abe regards organized society with much suspicion. That is to say, Abe considers neither the family nor the village as particularly good havens from urban alienation. Returning to medical school in 1947, he was granted permission to re-enter a year below his classmates, but he was no more diligent than during the war. Becoming a doctor was probably not his idea, as in Japan the oldest son usually takes the profession of his father quite automatically. Immediate postwar Japan was hardly a student's paradise, and Abe complains of suffering from malnutrition, extreme poverty, and having to make money on the black market when not living off the kindness of friends. When he finally graduated in 1948, one of his professors 23 said, "If you promise never to become a doctor, I ' l l let you graduate." By that time Abe had already begun his literary career with the publication in 1947 of a portion of Owarishi michi no shirube ni in Kosei ^ / j ^ ' ^ s permanence on the literary scene was assured, when, in 1948, he became a member of the Yoru no kai j^Jt)^ [Evening Club], a group of artists and critics which included Hanada Kiyoteru ̂ £.©^^p Haniya Yutaka, Sasaki Kiichi and Okamoto Taro fS|;$-£f ̂ . In 1950 he joined the Seiki no kai {df^<n/f? » [The Century Group], with Teshigahara Hiroshi ̂ j]^^]^^ > w h o w a s t o direct the filmed versions of his famous novels to come. Abe himself organized the KSjogai bungaku sakuru j^j /̂  ^— *J / [The Factory Row Literary Circle], but by 1958 we find him in the much more artistic and less politically oriented Kiroku geijutsu no kai % £ / 5 ^ l ! L f ^ ^ / ^ [ T h e C i r c l e of the Documentary Arts]. It should be clear from the above biography that Abe's career as an author was not the result of a long-cherished childhood desire, rather, the culmination of circumstances later in his l i f e : his loss of direction during the war, combined with the inspiration he received from reading the works of Mike and European philosophers. Unlike Kawabata Yasunari (l| $ ? ^ J | ] ^ > Tanizaki Jun' Ichiro ̂ d^^f^f^ or Nagal Kafu ^ f t / t e f , who diligently studied foreign literature with the intention of writing beautifully constructed works, Abe engaged in no such studies neither did he decorate his stories with any purely literary qualities. Abe's writings, especially during his early days, are primarily philosophical in intent, although i t is rarely possible to reduce any of his stories to clear, logical statements. One example of Abe's philosophical style should suffice: Apparently everything I needed to know was there. But what was I to do? Should I pretend to approve of the future and await the opportunity to proclaim the whole thing publicly? If there was any moral value in justice, I should act thus. If not, should I recognize that I myself was my future enemy and comply with dying? Per- haps I should i f there was any moral value in honor. If I did not believe in the future, I should have to accept the fir s t alternative. If I did believe in i t , then I should have to recognize the second.2^ The above passage is from a work Abe completed in 1959. Despite the many improvements Abe made in his style, especially in description and characterization, such lapses into abstract argument find their way into many of his later works, notably Tanin no kao /(^/^(fl^^ (The Face of Another, trans, by E. Dale Saunders, 1966), and Moetsukita chizu ^ J ^ ^ t t - t e f c i C j (The Ruined Map, trans, by E. Dale Saunders, 1969). It should be pointed out that Abe's heavy argumentative style has not prevented him from enjoying literary success for as Donald Keene mentions, "A surprisingly large part of the Japanese reading public will not only suffer but even welcome novels on quite difficult subjects. I would like to suggest that Abe's non-aesthetic, philosophical style finds its origins in this author's wartime and postwar experiences. Those hardships showed him just how l i t t l e , man controlled his own destiny. The passage below Is but one of many in which the hero is overcome by the power of circumstances: Suddenly my body felt like lead, and I was overcome with a feeling of numbness; my words faltered. I felt quite as i f I were looking into the limitlessness of space, gazing at the stars, the tears welling up In my eyes with the effort. It was like a balance between the finitude of thought and a sense of physical helplessness which was neither despair nor feeling. 2^ Abe's later period is characterized by a move towards a more simple, descriptive style. This, along with other stylistic changes, will be the subject of the following chapter. As a description of three of Abe's early works, the short stories "Dendorokakariya" y^-^Q 77?Jl\Y (Dendrocacalia, 1949, trans, by M. Jelinkova 1965) and "Alcai mayu" ̂  ^ ^ (The Red Coccoon 1950, Eng. trans, by John Nathan 1966) and the novelette "Kabe" [The Wall, 1951], would facilitate an understanding of the four short stories appended to this thesis, they will be Included as part of the corpus of this chapter. These three stories would serve to increase the scope of any examination of Abe's work. Furthermore, they far outshine the reputations of "Oshimusume" P^t^tf) [The Deaf Girl 1949] and "Inu" [The Dog, 1954] the fi r s t two translations in this thesis. "Yume no h e i s h i " ^ , ^ fjL [The Dream Soldier, 1957] and "Toki no gake" ̂ $Y>% [The Cliff of Time, 1964], also translated here, are on the other hand, every bit the equals of "Akai mayu" and "Dendorokakariya." Both these later works were turned into plays: Nihon no nisshoku 9 t T h e E c l l p se of Japan, 1959] and Toki no gake (part two of a collection of three one-act plays B5 ni natta otoko [The Man Who Became a Stick, 1 9 6 9 ] , ^ \ - % ^ Z ^ o . The three earlier works, "Dendorokakariya," "Akai mayu," and "Kabe," a l l signify stepping stones in Abe's literary career. "Dendoro- kakariya" represents Abe's departure from his early gropings for a style of his own. The following remarks by Honda Shtigo seem to cor rob- orate Abe's confusion prior to writing "Dendorokakariya: it When I first read fOwarishi] in this magazine [Kosei], I thought i t was something x^ritten in the style of Shiina Rinzo. For a l l that, though, i t was a frightfully d i f f i - cult work. It was the sort of x̂ ork that seemed to have no beginning, and where i t was going I could not t e l l . Talking of "Thus i t i s " and "symbol of existence" and "home-town," i t was the sort of x̂ ork from which a l l one could hear vrere the groanings of something big being born. Though I understood that behind "Thus i t i s " there x*as "Why must i t be thus?", beyond that [Owarishi3 was a strange and obscure x>?ork. ' There is also evidence to the effect that Abe himself considered Haryu: Compared to those days "Akai mayu" and "Kabe" are cases in which the theoretical becomes much more concrete. Is there any one work to which you could point and say that, having written i t , your course became clearer? Abe: I'd say "Dendorokakariya." What I was trying to do at that time was to l i f t the veil off various phenomena. You say "theoretical." Well, I think I was engaged in a struggle to establish within myself a materialism, the sort of materialism that x-rould take the veil off theories by confronting theories. "Kabe" was a result of that struggle. 2 8 Simply put, "Dendorokakariya" describes hox̂  a man, Mr. Every- man, turns into the vegetable Dendrocacalia. The reader is at no time sure why Mr. Everyman (in the Japanese the name is Komon-kun, which does not quite convey the straightforwardness of the English) is turned into a vegetable, except that a sinister individual, known as K, the director ti Dendorokakariya" his f i r s t major work. He made this fact clear in a now often quoted interviexj with Haryu Ichiro of the botanical gardens, wishes to plant him in a patch which will be kept at a constant, ideal temperature. Abe shares an affinity with Kafka for substituting Latin letters, often K, for proper names, prob- ably to give his readers fewer facts of which they can be sure. K, for example, could mean Kafka, or Kobo, or just K. Mr. Everyman had already felt the symptoms of his turning into a vegetable coming on even before his encounter with K, but K's presence and his eventual invitation to the botanical gardens seal Mr. Everyman's fate. One does not have to go outside the story to discover Abe's message. Mr. Everyman, that i s , humanity, is turning itself into vegetables. The surrealistic technique of describing the detailed process of how man turns into vegetable simply emphasizes the above message: How unusual? Mr. Everyman could feel the pull of gravity. The face of earth drew him irresistibly, as i f he were glued to the ground...and so, in fact, he was. Glancing down, he was alarmed to find his feet firmly rooted and himself turned into a plant: A soft, thin form of greenish brown neither tree nor grass.^ When at the end of the story K, whom Mr. Everyman refers to as Harpy, places the soon to vegetate hero in the plot, he syas: "This spell was by no means your illness alone but [that] of people the world over: You cannot get rid of that Harpy so simply. We shall be unable 30 to protect our fire unless we a l l join hands." This statement does seem to be an exhortation for everyone, perhaps "workers," in the world to unite. But against what? Abe answers that question by means of a dialogue between Mr. Everyman and K, in which K addresses Mr. Everyman as Mr. Dendrocacalia, while Mr. Everyman keeps refering to K as Harpy. In brief, K labels Mr. Everyman In the manner that botanists, or insect collectors, for that matter, label flora and fauna. Such labelling represents the standardization off man in an industrialized world. That is why we must protect our "flame." Mr. Everyman's calling K "Harpy, 31 Neptune's woman, an obscure creature with the form of a bird—..." represents the romantic attempt of man to explain away something which he does not understand, perhaps a world which he does not control, or Is at least not sure of. This point of view is in conflict with K's, who confronts Mr. Everyman with, "No, Mr. Dendrocacalia. Greek mythol- ogy is rather unscientific...and harmfully useless too; you*know.... 32 Have you read Timiryazev's Life of Plants?" Therefore, i t is others' definition of ourselves against which we must rebel. The "flame" is the sanctity of the individual and his right to define himself in terms of any nonsense, even Greek mythology, that he may choose. Mr. Everyman goes to the public library to look for precedents to his dilemma. A man in black (K was also dressed In black) points to the passage of Dante's Infemo where suicides are punished. Mr. Every- 33 man is puzzled, "I may have committed suicide without knowing..." Abe, by means of this work, hopes to awake his readers to the problems of alienation through standardization, i.e. the giving up of individual quirks for the sake of physical comfort and a feeling of security, just as Mr. Everyman turned into a Dendrocacalia and gave up his idea of Greek mythology for K's scientific interpretation of his world. Not-? Mr. Everyman is "'in the Botanical Garden. There every precaution is taken to make the climate that of Hahashima. It's a paradise in a way, you'll see. As well as being under special government protection care is taken that no harm can possibly come to you.'"-^ By this Abe means to say that modern man commits a sort of suicide by his drive for security. By insuring against every uncertainty, we simply perpetuate the boredom of everyday existance. Hence we are no better than vegetables. "Akai mayu" bears some resemblance to "Dendorokakariya." The beggar-hero of this story turns into a cocoon after being unable to find a house of his own. Here we begin to find a pattern that emerges in many of Abe's early stories, namely one of metamorphosis, or a change of form. Mr. Everyman turns into a vegetable, the beggar into a cocoon, and in the short story "Inu," the artist-hero's wife and her dog change identities. "Akai mayu" also shares a political concern with "Dendoro- kakariya." Hie latter story contains an exhortation to join hands, while the former talks of a poor man who wanders between walls, i.e. between other people's property: "I slowly walk the narrow crack divid- ing house from house and wonder-wonder-wonder how there can be so many 35 and none, not one, for me." The narrow crack dividing house from house is the only place which does not belong to somebody. Walls keep people in or out of every other area, and i t is these walls that have fascinated Abe, as symbols of false security. In "Akai mayu" Abe tries rationally to pursue the irration- ality of poverty. The beggar says, "besides, I haven't found a con- vincing reason why there is no house for me."^ The beggar discovers though, that there Is no logic to ownership. He asks a housewife to explain why her house is hers, and not his as well. The result, "No answer, and the woman's face becomes a wall and seals the window off. So this is the reality that lurks behind the smile on a woman's face. A wall! This same transfiguration always gives substance to that weird logic where something can't be mine because i t belongs to someone else." In the above passage we see the single most important, constantly recurring symbol in Abe's works: the wall. If the reality that lurks behind a woman's face is a wall, then that wall is not really a physical, but a mental one. Perhaps we can see the physical walls of her house as being extensions of that mental concept. The last two lines of "Kabe" serve to confirm such a theory: "A plain that extends as far as the eye can see. In its middle stand I, a wall that grows ceaselessly, s i l e n t l y . 1 0 Abe maintains that we each have such a wall within ourselves. The mayor In "Yume no heishi" laments that his town is not like those in China; i t is not surrounded by walls. In fact, however, villagers, who f a i l to understand an old policeman who has corrupted himself in order to be able to belong to the village, are a more secure wall than any made of clay. So far we have seen the following three special characteristics in Abe's works: 1) metamorphosis described in surrealistic fashion; 2) use of symbols e.g. the wall; and 3) the pursuit of certain social inconsistencies to their logical conclusions. Abe's conclusions are, of course, rarely logical except within the context of his stories. Men do not turn into vegetables or cocoons or walls. In order to appreciate Abe's stories we have to share with Abe his conviction that unless men develop themselves Into Independent personalities, this is exactly the fate that awaits them. Abe is not saying that we must learn how to communicate so that we may combat alienation; rather he asks what communication there can exist between alienated vegetables. Abe says i t specifically In a conversation with Sasaki FdLichi: Abe: When people speak of "human relations," etc., they are advocating the restoration of Man, a pro- position that virtually no one questions. Man is alienated because of the complexity of society. To restore Man, one has to restore the human connection; that is what they are saying. In my opinion that is a negative way of thinking. Sasaki: Alienation in Japan has always been thought of in a negative sense. However, because without alienation there can be no progress, I am of the opinion that i t will be necessary to look at the pro- blem of alienation In a positive way.39 The above statements are not only indicative of a cosmopolitan con- cern with alienation, a problem of industrial societies, they are also peculiarly Japanese in that people in Japan experience standardization to a much greater degree than do the citizens of other industrialized countries. The above three points indicate the existence in Abe's works of some stylistic parallels to the novels of Franz Kafka. The descrip- tion of a bizarre physical change in order to intensify an already existing mental reality was introduced by Kafka in "The Metamorphosis," possibly his greatest work. Gregor Samsa, a clerk, wakes up one morning to find that he has turned into a bug. The beginning of "Kabe" bears a striking similarity to this plot. When Abe's hero, also a clerk, wakes up in the morning, he feels a strange emptiness in his chest. Later on he discovers that his identity has been stolen by his calling card, which now goes to work instead of him, pets his secretary for him, and incites his clothes, shoes, and other belongings to rebel against him, i.e. to refuse to define his social standing. As i f this was not enough, the doctor he sees concerning the hollowness in his chest pushes him out of the window of his clinic. The hero then wanders towards the city zoo, where he is arrested without reason and tried for absorbing a camel in his eye. It would be unfair to say that "Kabe" and "The Metamorphosis" are parallel in every detail. Cer- tainly i t tjould be unfair to Kafka, for, while Abe did win the 1951 Akutagawa Prize for "Kabe" (he had previously won another prize for "Akai mayu"), his story does not have the unity of form, or the drama- tic intensity that Kafka's work has. "Kabe" is s t i l l very much an experimental work, and one feels that Abe allowed his imagination to roam just so as to adhere to surrealistic form. The similarity of openings and the sudden change from normal to extreme, however, cannot be overlooked. There is one more point at which the two works converge, The hero of "Kabe" absorbs a picture of the barren Spanish plains into his chest while waiting for the doctor to examine his complaint of feeling hollox*. After being thrown out of the doctor's office, the hero absorbs a camel because a camel Is a dry-weather animal. This above sequence of images can be taken as a not particularly clever way of showing that the hero is alienated, i.e. his chest is empty and he is attracted towards phenomena, plains, camels, as well as lions and walls, which give concrete form to his empty spiritual condition. This technique is parallelled by Gregor Samsa's, or rather the bug's, clinging to a picture of a woman when his sister tries to drag out a l l the furniture that Gregor used while he s t i l l looked human. Kafka says: Did he really want his warm room, so comfortably fitted with old family furniture, to be turned into a naked den in which he would certainly be able to crawl unhampered in a l l directions but at the price of shedding simultaneously a l l recollection of his human background?... then on the wall opposite, which was already otherwise cleared, he was struck by the pic- ture of the lady muffled in so much fur and quickly crawled up to i t and pressed himself to the glass, which was a good surface to hold on to and comforted his hot belly. This picture at least, which was entirely hidden beneath him, was going to be removed by nobody.*'40 In clinging to the picture, Samsa reaches out for something human, while "KabeT's hero attracts the objects which best describe his already dehumanized condition. The technique, whether i t be symbolism, imagism, surrealism or whatever, is similar in both stories. Its purpose is to show the emptiness, the loneliness in the heart of modern man. Both stories are in fact about losses of identity, "The Metamorphosis" to a bug, and "Kabe" to a calling card. In another sense, Gregor Samsa's turning into a bug points to his always having been a bug, in fact, even to his desire to be treated as a bug—just as S. Karuma's loss of identity to his calling card point to the unhappy reality that he has always been nothing more < than his calling card. The wall that grows within his chest, in the middle of that plain, is physical testimony to a mental reality. The same thing can be said about Komon-kun in "Dendorokakariya." It is exactly in this wall image that the second parallel between Kafka and Abe lies. Albert Camus analyzes Kafka's The Castle this way: "The great hope of K is to get the Castle to adopt him. Unable to achieve "this alone, his whole effort is to deserve this favor by becoming an inhabitant of the village, by losing his status as a foreigner that everyone makes him feel. What he wants is an occupation, a home, the li f e of a healthy, normal man."^1 In essence the desires of K and those of the policeman in "Yume no heishi" are identical. "If I were to retire," the policeman daydreams, "I wouldn't have to run for my l i f e , like other resident officers. I could even settle down and stay here. Maybe I could get together with a widow that's got some land and pass my last days in peace." (p.80) Both Kafka's castle and Abe's village are impenetrable. Perhaps Abe was even quite consciously thinking of Kafka's novel when he put the follow- ing words in the village mayor's mouth: "In China...no matter where you go, they got castle walls separating one village from another." (p.85) The third parallel, that of taking Inconsistencies to their logical conclusions, each author achieves, as Abe has said, in order "to l i f t the veil off various phenomena," (cf. p.20)» In Kafka's case, he wishes to show his readers the uselessness of blind faith, be. that in a God, a father figure, a policeman, or anything beyond man himself. In this sense, both Kafka and Abe place the responsibility of explain- ing the universe on man's own shoulders. Readers constantly complain of Kafka's oppressive pessimism, but this Is only true as long as we are "completely tied to our shortsighted sensual need for meaning." If we care to interpret Kafka's work in a more detached fashion, i.e. not hoping to escape from ourselves through a complete identification with the hero, but rather to confront a new and perhaps frightening aspect of ourselves, we can see that Kafka is actually liberating us from our enslaving habits of belief. Abe achieves a similar end in "Kabe"(as well as in the previous stories mentioned above) when he makes Mr. Karuma consult a handsome shop-window-manikin on his sickness. The manikin tells him to see a travelogue on going to "The End of the World" t££3lp̂ >jp, This Mr. Karuma does, but, as we see by the last two lines of this work, even though one goes to the. end of the world one cannot escape from the wall which is growing in one's own breast. Such a message may be taken with the same sort of pessimism with which one can view Kafka. Or one can see within such a work the positive exhortation to action—the establishing of an identity that extends beyond our own calling cards, neckties, beautiful monogrammed briefcases—beyond the wall created by the property which we own. Let us turn now to an examination of changes in Abe's style and message as seen in the four stories translated at the end of this thesis. Even without analyzing these stories in detail, i t is possible to notice a sharp line separating the earlier two stories from the later two. The first two stories belong to Abe's surrealistic period, the time during which Abe simply allowed image after Image to flow with very l i t t l e control—or sophistication—from his mind. Essential- ly, i t is just such a refusal to control one's style that characterizes surrealism. "The basic idea is derived from a combination of dadaism and Freud: the automatic, illogical, uncontrolled fantasies and asso- ciations of the mind represent a higher reality than the realistic, deliberately manipulated world of practical l i f e and ordinary litera- ,M ture. Surrealist painting, poetry, and cinematography are well- known, but surrealism in novels is rarely heard of. Surrealists look- ed down on the novel, considering i t a bookish, outmoded art form, which lacked the spontaneity of the visual arts. Thus, surrealism is usually associated with the paintings of Salvador Dali, or with a wave of film-making during the 1920's. One cinematic masterpiece from that period, Un Chien Andalou (1929), a cooperative effort of Dali and Luis Bunuel, shows the young Bunuel slitting open the eye of a gi r l with a razor blade in the first scene. This sequence was to show how we should begin to look at reality with new eyes, i.e. with a new view of perception. Essentially, i t is an artist's comment on art. Abe, on the other hand, from the very beginning had harnessed his surrealism to politics. In "Oshimusume" for example, the image, "...night and day quarrelled and chased one another round and round the globe. Winter squeezed itself in the space between them and became a season there," (p.54) is immediately followed by, "...and one came to differentiate between kings, vassals, merchants and beggars from the bend of their backbones." (p.55) Abe had to exercise some will in allowing his mind to wander from the disorder of the seasons to the order of society. The realationship between Abe's surrealism and his political message is more evident in "Akai mayu" (cf. pp.23-4) than in "Oshimusume." There is reason to believe that Abe was consciously using the above technique in that even the title of chapter seven of his "Baberu no to no tanuki" is entitled "Baberu no to ni hairu ni wa shuru-riarizumu no hoho ni yoranakereba naranu" /^s^W/Of]/^ l - ^ J ^ I ^ l J • *)f 1 ) 7 % the Tower of Babel one must make use of surrealism]. This chapter Is replete with references to surrealism, Freud, and a host of other Euro- pean intellectuals. "Oshimusume" too offers proof of Abe's surrealism, though in a more natural aesthetically pleasing fashion. The story is a kaleido- scope of images rooted in some otherworldly conflict between man and a giant that very closely resembles God. Unfortunately, the characters of "Oshimusume," the boy and the g i r l , are typified more than described, and the set remains undefined beyond the statement that the action takes place on a "mislaid streetcomer." (p.58) With "Inu" we are a l i t t l e closer to the reality which we perceive with our senses, not that there was no appeal made to our senses in "Oshimusume." The giant's long soliloquy beginning with "Materializing in someone's imagination in the guise of a law of nature had the flavour of white bread..." (p.56) is a veritable l i s t of sensuous images, but they are so overdone as to appear to be huge trimmings for a tiny roast. In "Inu" there is a greater control exercised over the mixture of real and unreal. While the intent of the tale is to show how woman and dog change identities, the change occurs gradually. Furthermore, the orthodox climactic build-up is not typical of Abe's early style. In "Dendorokakariya," the ful l translated t i t l e of which is "Dendro- cacalia or, how Mr. Everyman became a Dendrocacalia," the reader is aware from the very beginning of the story that man will turn, in fact, man has already turned, into a vegetable. In "Inu" we are not aware of any concrete metamorphosis until, "To my surprise she [the dog] really grinned," (p.75) which is well past the middle of the. story. In "Dendorokakariya," the metamorphosis takes place in the second para- graph. It is evident then, that although "Inu" was written well before the dramatic change in style referred to above, i t already represented a move towards a more controlled use of the supernatural, allegoric change which was so abundant in Abe's early stories. By the time we read "Yume no heishi" we begin to wonder i f i t could have been written by the author of "Oshimusume." With the former story's lack of any adventure into the supernatural, one also notices greater attention to characterization, and, while such a tendency was evident in "Inu," perhaps due to the comic nature of that story, its characters never rose above parodies. In other words, Abe was s t i l l typifying characters instead of describing them. However, the policeman in "Yume no heishi," a story Abe wrote only three years after "Inu," appears as a full-fledged tragic character who thought he knew how to control his social environment, x^hile a l l along he was the victim of the very thing he thought he could manipulate. Abe paid very close attention to developing the policeman as a personality. He introduced him by means of a long monologue beginning with "There's a thing or two I know about this village...." (p.79) and ending some two pages later with, "Besides, I've never heard of a deserter that's made i t yet." (p.82) The economic brush-strokes such as "The mayor's dull voice trembled over the sound of chinaware being hurriedly put away," (p.84) with which he pinpointed the corruption of the village elders, is indicative of a maturity one could not sense in his earlier stories. "Toki no gake" goes so far as to dispense with setting a l - together in order to delve yet deeper into the mind of the boxer-hero. When compared to "Kabe," this story represents a complete about face in his style. "Kabe" consisted of nothing but scenery, though not necessarily a scenery which added up to any conventional view of reality. This theory of most action occurring independently of the character is corroborated by the inordinate amount of explanation in which Abe ceaselessly indulged in "Kabe." This tendency to explain has been pointed out by Ichikawa Takashi ^pu|^_in his essay, Abe Kobo no bunsho $F%fyJ£M^ '•Abe K ° b ° ' s S t y l e l « A 5 Ichikawa maintains that there are a large number of connectives such as no_ de and kara, words which are used to explain causes and reasons. Ichikawa counted ten no de and twelve kara in the first ten pages. It is difficult to say If this is absolutely conclusive evidence, but the theory would seem to be borne out by the fact that most of the action, such as having one's name stolen, having one's clothes rebel on one and being tried for absorbing a camel, are passive, and the hero does spend much of his time trying to explain to himself what is happening. Incidentally, Abe's heroes have a tendency to lose their way, especially in his later works. In Suna no onna, Niki Jumpei / f^^- ' l jp^ falls into a trap laid by the villagers. The hero of Moetsukita chizu loses himself while looking for a missing person. The question which Abe poses is how can a detective find someone while he himself is also lost. In their constantly puzzled state of mind, Abe's heroes do not display much decision-making power, although i t is possible to see a positive chronological trend in this regard. While the deaf g i r l hard- ly makes a choice at a l l , the artist-hero of "Inu" decides to marry the model and to train the dog; the policeman decides what should be done about the deserter; and the boxer decides to start and to quit boxing. While in his early stories his heroes had entirely no control over the action, in his later stories they gradually gain a kind of autonomy. This is not to say that they ever come to control their en- vironment to the degree of the heroes of popular fiction, such as tele- vision dramas. Mr. Everyman, or the beggar, of S. Karuma, or the characters of "Oshimusume" and "Dendorokakariya" were flat but neces- sarily so; they stood for the crisis of humanity, its very everydayness, living by force of habit, the sort of l i f e from which Abe wanted to jolt his readers. As the giant of the whirlwinds says in "Oshimusume," "The life which has germinated inside cripples such as yourself... somehow seems to have a poisonous effect on my stomach." (p.65) Despite the greater characterization the Abe hero has receiv- ed, he has not changed to the same radical degree that Abe's overall style has. Whether his dog has started smiling, or his own son has just upset his life-long plans for settling down, or he is fighting a losing match, Abe's hero never controls his own fate. We only have to look at the conclusion of each story to understand this fact. In "Oshimusume," the g i r l is abandoned by her giant-god; in "Inu," the realist-artist is confronted by a super-dog, whose threats make him cry out for help; in "Yume no heishi," the policeman is forced to leave the village dragging the body of his son behind him; and in "Toki no gake" the boxer also cries for help as he is knocked out of the ring. There is a sort of falling from grace implied in his being knocked out and one feels that he is wiser for the experience. What he most desperately wanted was to get to the other side of the c l i f f of time, the place where the champions go—but, he learns, "the steep- est c l i f f is on the other side of the champion," (p.102) All of Abe's heroes experience this falling from grace, from a state of blissful unknowing. The best example of falling from a state of haughty igno- rance occurs in the opening chapters of Suna no onna, in which the hero, Niki Jumpei is physically lowered to the hell of the sand pit. In "Yume no heishi" Abe tells his readers, what in Suna no onna he ex- presses with symbols: "It is only now that he [the policeman] was forced to peer into the hell that separates the pursuer and the pur- sued." (p. 83) In his early stories Abe left his heroes in their unhappy predicaments, suffering as vegetables or cocoons. He gives the heroes of his later stories a somewhat better chance. The policeman and the boxer are simply made to abandon their futile attempts to climb their respective symbolic walls. It is interesting to note that the hero of Suna no onna, Niki Jumpei, also abandons his useless struggle to climb a wall—this time a solid sand wall,—as opposed to the symbolic ones in "Yume" and "Toki," only to discover water in the sands. One feels that Abe gives more hope to his later characters to find that water hole in the barren sands than he does to his earlier people. There is reason to believe that Abe abandoned his surreal- i s t i c technique quite suddenly in 1957 with the publication of Kemono- tachi wa kokyo o mezasu. It is difficult to ascertain whether or not this change in style was related in any way to the differences of opinion concerning the Hungarian uprising which caused a splitting of ranks in the Communist Party, an organization from which Abe was purged in 1962 along with his close friend and mentor, Hanada Kiyoteru. It is possible to point to a deemphasis of political content in his works from as early as "Inu" (1954). That story concerned itself with the troubles of an artist and the only arguments i t contains are the somewhat short passages on realism versus abstract art. Could Abe have been referring to his own predicament when he put these words in his hero's mouth: "This is off the subject, but I thought I'd t e l l you that after I began living together with my wife, I completely lost a l l interest in abstracts. I admit, you were right about me. I seem to have become entirely a realist." (p.75) whether Abe meant this state- ment to apply to his own state of mind or not, we cannot be sure, but we do have proof that he really did move much closer to a realistic style very few years later. The period of change is summed up in the following manner in a recent appraisal of Abe's works: ...the discovery of the limitations of his early period, brought about a change towards the realistic in his style. The flights within reality which could be ex- pected from this new realization, backed UP forecasts that Abe would begin activities anew with the sort of intention that could be described as being a departure from despair. Let us trace the relationship between his works and this stylistic change. The stories "Dendorokakariya," "Akai mayu," "R62 go no hatsumei" t R G ^ f ^ Q ^ ] , "Henkei no kiroku" [ S k ^ t C ^ l , up to "Bo" [/f̂ p.], we can classify as belonging to his early period, due to their dream-x^orld-like quality. That is to say, instead of establishing a direct relationship with an outer reality, Abe moulded a special world within the confines of his room. His characters too he expressed through changes of form. However, when we come to Kemonotachi wa kokyo o mezasu, he establishes a setting which is completely true to l i f e , neither does he deform his characters for the sake of allegory, he writes with a realistic style. Finally, i f we take Ishi no me [fea 1 a s a n example, we can see that i f for no bther reason than its claim to being a detective, story, that novel shows an awareness of reality. One is tempted to try to show a relationship between Abe's change of style and the misunderstanding he had at around the same time with the Communist Party. Of course the fact that his change of style and his political troubles occurred at the same time Is not reason enough to claim any causal relationship between his literary and polit- ical activities. The Communist Party and its literary ally, the Shin-Nihon Bungakkai ^ f r ^ ^ ^ g ^ , of which Abe was also a member, did not approve of avant garde authors. Socialist realism, the style of literature most commonly endorsed by communist movements around the world, dic- tates that an author should write stories easily understood by the masses and depict heroes who exemplify communist ideology by their superhuman feats of courage. It is argued that only through socialist realism can authors lead the masses and further the cause of socialist victory. One would have to be naive to believe that Abe, whose heroes are more likely to Inspire suicide than martyrdom, ever took such a theory of art seriously. In 1956, Iijiraa Koichi paraphrased Abe as having likened socialist realism to door-to-door selling. Based on an outmoded style, naturalism, socialist realism Is a formless, mechanic- al sales job. At another point Abe is quoted as saying that realism robs a work of its autonomy. Why did Abe say such things so close to the time that he made his break with surrealism? Why did he switch to a more realistic style when he had so often criticized, "those who have settled down to a li f e of habits, those, who fear the world of strange images, different from reality, and keep their distance from that world .just as they keep their distance from snakes."^ Unfortunate- ly i t is impossible to come to any clear conclusions concerning the above questions on the evidence of only four short stories and a few of his early works. It is, however, possible to clear up the question of Abe's a f f i l - iations with the Communist Party. His past membership has prejudiced at least one c r i t i c , Edward Seidensticker, who wrote of Abe: Hotta, i t may be noted in passing, makes his political views clearer in his writings than do numbers of his comrades in the fellow-travelling or communist left. The Woman in the Dunes and The Face of Another, both by Abe Kobo, have been translated into English and therefore provide easily available testimony to this fact. Abe was a member of the Communist Party (he has since been expelled) when he wrote both novels, but the reader is likely to think of Kafka or Beckett long be- fore he thinks of Mao or Stalin. 4^ Abe wrote Face of Another in 1964, two years after he had been purged from the party, and Woman in the Dunes was published in June 1962, four months subsequent to the purges. If we believe what Abe says below, then i t would appear that Abe had ceased being an active member long before 1962, that i s , well before the publication of both works. As has already been mentioned, i t would have been a pretty futile effort in any case to look for elements of socialist realism, or affirmations of the party line, a. la Mao or Stalin in any of his works even during his active period. Judging from his short stories, even as a communist, Abe could only have been an extremely individualist one. Professor Seidensticker seems to imply that although Abe does not make his alle- giances clear in his works, he is a communist just the same. The follow- ing is a recently recorded discussion between Abe, Hotta Yoshie S^QM^B and Shimao Toshio Jf? |fefiji£$ii> In which Abe clears up the manner of his break with the Party: Abe: That's really my fault. You see, I'm kind of lazy and I haven't bothered to make anything public. Actual- ly i t had to do with my going to Czechoslovakia and writing Too kiko l%_1lfc&ZAz ^' T t w a s d u r l n £ t h e t i m e of the Poznan demonstrations (June 1956), so i t was quite some time ago. Shimao: I guess that'll be over ten years ago. Hotta: Poznan. Well, that's a bit before the Hungarian uprising (October 1956). It would be about the time of the Sunakawa Case. Anyway, what did you xjrite? Abe: I wrote that there'll be trouble. (Laughter). And that's exactly what happened. When I was writing, the troube was only half over, but I wrote that this would occur, that i t is obvious and inevitable. Then the Party got mad. Actually, I had written the whole thing with the best of intentions. (Laughter.) But. they didn't take my good-will seriously. Well there's much more to i t but when another few people have died, I ' l l write about i t . It's impolite to hurt the living. It's true I've been slighted but I guess I'm just too kind. You might say it's a fault of character. (Laughter.) Hotta: Then, eventually you quit on your own? Abe: No, I hadn't been active for a while, but they nevertheless purged me, for good measure. " In this short overview of Abe's life and works, we have examined the following: 1) The bundan, i.e. the environment within which Abe works, and its differences from the North American literary world; 2) Abe's early days and a number of tentative relation- ships between them and his works; 3) three of Abe's better known early works and what '., they meant in terms of plot, symbol, characterization and message; 4) developments in Abe's style as seen in the four stories presented in the body of this thesis. Such an essay as this, working with only seven stories from an output of well over a hundred novels, novelettes., plays, scenarios and essays can only come to tentative conclusions. Looking back over the previous thirty or so pages in which we examined some of Abe's more salient characteristics of style and content, these three points come to mind: 1) Abe has dropped his attachment to surrealism in favour of a style more closely related to the reality which we perceive with our senses; 2) he has maintained his interest in symbols, notably walls; and 3) he has toned down the politicad content of his stories in favour of a more philosophical appeal. While "Oshimusume," and "Kabe" present extreme problems of translation, to say nothing of enjoyment, "Yume no heishi," and "Toki no gake" not only make smooth reading, but also by their very simplicity of style contribute to greater communication between author and reader. It can be said that, while Abe's present-day stories are deceptively simple, his early fiction presents just the opposite problem. Uno Koji ^P^f said of "Kabe" when i t won the Akutagawa Prize in 1951, "In a word, 'Kabe' is a novel which only appears to be something, while really i t is nothing; at places i t is even stupid."^^ As for Abe, Uno had these words, "If this author continues in his present direction, his chances of development are nil."-*'*- These are harsh words, which testify at least as much to the critic's inability to accept a new style, as to the author's ineptness in convincing the critic of the worth of his work. Uno's words are not simply reactionary venom; they contain a grain of truth. For one, people expect a novel to be more than just a string of abstract images. It is extremely conceited for an author to think that his string of images is better than another person's just because his are written down; this is a problem of evaluation when there is a conscious denial of artistic control. Abe's early works, despite a minimal amount of organization, just enough to permit us to glean an image here, a message there, lack the unity that entices a reader to formulate a meaning for himself. The images in "Kabe" are so Ill-organized as to discourage attempts at interpretation. Nor does i t urge us to re-read, as do the works of Kafka. Truly, one feels after having read "Oshimusume" that " i t is nothing" but a string of images. Another feeling one is likely to get in reading Abe's early creations is that the author holds nothing back. After a l l If he ex- ercises l i t t l e or no conscious control on the flow of his subconscious, he cannot impose too much order on his work. He can leave no clues for an attentive reader to pick up. By contrast, in his later works, Abe has hidden symbols which in his early days were floating on the surface. We have already seen how in "Yume no heishi," the clue to a fuller understanding of the story lies in the wall symbol. But even without this discreet s3'mbol, the story presents a monumental self-realization on the part of the author. At this time, 1957, Abe must have realized that universal themes require particular settings. It is perfectly appropriate to present the universal tragedy of the anxiety and fear of the outsider who desperately wishes to belong, by means of an old policeman daydreaming of a blissful retirement, while peeling potatoes and warming his feet by a stove. It is the realization that the uni- versal depends on the particular, on that very individual that Abe wanted to protect in "Dendorokakariya," that has ensured Abe's perma- nence on the Japanese literary scene. 1. Kobo is the Sino-Japanese, or on reading of Kimifusa, the personal name Abe uses in everyday l i f e . Kobo is Abe's literary name. In accordance with what has by now become custom among students of Japanese literature, a l l Japanese names will be given surname f i r s t . The Hepburn system of romanization will be used throughout. Long vowels will be signified by a dash above "a," "o," and "u," and an " i " after "e," and " i . " No diacritics will be provided for common place names, such as "Tokyo," "Hokkaido," etc. 2. For some critical opinions on this state of affairs, see: Tom Wayman, "English Art or Science?" UBC, Alumni Chronicle, Vol. 24, no. 2, 1970, p.12. 3. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. (New York; Atheneum, 1969), p. 19. 4. Eto Jun, "Modem Japanese Literarv Criticism," Japan Quarterly, April-June 1965, 177-186. 5. I-novels were and are s t i l l a popular novel form in Japan. Their worth as literature is s t i l l a much-debated topic. Some consider the genre as the purest form of literature and see i t as constant proof of the sincerity of the author, while others feel that "confession for the sake of literature" cannot be at a l l sincere. For an excellent account of this genre, see Howard S. Hibbett, "The Portrait of the Artist in Japanese Fiction," Far Eastern Quarterly (May 1955), 347-354. For a representative selection of postwar I-novels, see Jay Gluck, ed., Ukiyo: Stories of Postwar Japan, (New York; Grosset & Dunlap, 1964). See also Edward Seidensticker, "The Pure and the Impure in Modern Japa- nese Literature," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, (Harvard Univer- sity, 1965). 6. Brett de Bary, "Oe Kenzaburo: Voice of the Postwar Generation," Papers on Japan From Seminars at Harvard University, Vol. 5, 1970. 100-125. 7. Eto Jun, "An Undercurrent in Modern Japanese Literature," Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 23, (May 64), pp.433-445. 8. Iijima Y J o l c h l ^ ^ ^ y ^ — , "Abe Kobo, ami wa muzai no bungaku," u &^&%&Mt^M<7)fl1g. [Abe Kobo or Innocent Literature], Hihyo ^EttPf, Jan.r 1959, p.141. (see original below) 9. Kazuya Sakai, "A Study of Abe Kobo's Novels: Some Remarks on Contemporary Japonese [sic] Fiction," an unpublished paper delivered at the Fifth Annual Conference of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast, Mexico 1970, pp.1-3. 10. Donald Keene, "Elevation of the Novelist: Japanese Writers Today," The Commonweal, 68, May 9, 1958, p. 144. 11. Abe Kobo, Ryakunempu ttfefy^fclAbbreviated Chronology]. As this reference reached me in the form of a single page photocopied from a book, no information is readily available concerning t i t l e , publisher, or date of publication. Judging from the last entry in the time line, the book was published in 1965. This fragment is on page 487. (see original below) rbnIt", far^t>%%fcis**;^&t>'>tfi>^* 1c 1c- & t W i-.ft^Pi-lft-rJ^AM Tzk-^-tot- 12. Muramatsu Tsuyo^shi ^ f '^ > | l , J , "Kaisetsu," [Commentary], Nihon no bungaku Q ^ ^ ^ C ^ [The Literature of Japan], Vol. 73 (Tokyo: Chuo Koron Sha, 19b8), p. 547. 13. Haniya Yutaka, Muchi to koma 1^£-$£^[The Whip a n d the Top], (Tokyo: Mirai Sha, 1957) p.242. (see original below). 14. Some critics translate kotogakko as high school. This word- for-word translation, though correct for the postwar 6-3-3 system of public instruction, is inaccurate when referring to the prewar 6-5-3 academic track. A student, by the time he reached his fi r s t year of kotSgakko was about seventeen, almost the same age as North American college freshmen. Furthermore, the education he would receive at that e l i t i s t institution would correspond more.to college than to high school work. 15. Abe Kobo, Shin'ei bungaku sosbo 2_ Abe Kobo shu nempu ^y/^^ r d e •2-^W&%%P{Wk [Chronology to the Library of Avant Gardfe Literature II; Selected Works of Abe Kobo], (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1960), p.277. Much of the information on Abe's early l i f e comes from this chronology, (see original below) 16. Sasaki Kiichi, "Abe Kobo," in Sengo no sakka to sakuhin fj^g"^ (fiif^SthJ^vh [Post-war novelists and their works], (Tokyo: Mirai 73ha, 1967), p.162. 17. As quoted in a biographical note in John Nathan, "Two Short Stories by Abe Kobo," Japan Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 2, p.219. 18. Abe, Shin'ei bungaku nempu, p.278. 19. The Japanese ti t l e is Keisho shishu ^ ^ ^ - f e . It seems to to correspond to "The Book of Images," probably tne larger revised edition of 1906. It is unlikely that Abe read them in the original, as he was not very good in foreign languages. It i s , however, possible that the Japanese translations were altogether a different collection of Rilke's poetry. 20. Hisamatsu Sen'ichi /}£ ̂ j f " - et al. , ed., "Abe Kobo," Gendai nihon bungaku daijiten p̂ £|k [Dictionary of Modern Japanese Literature], (Tokyo: >M.ii Shoirf, 1965)", pp.24-25: Abe Kobo has attempted from a position isolated from the traditions of Japanese literature, with allegory and satire, to lay bare the alienat- ed condition of man in a capitalist society. In his works abstract ideas are prone to stand out. It is not unlike him to tend to lean to- wards the immature. That, we daresay, is an unavoidable blemish when (we consider that he is) challenging the as yet undeveloped world of avant-garde works. (see original below) 21. Abe, Shin'ei bungaku netnpu, p.273. (see original below) ^. 22. Konda Shugo s^f-9# fflJSL, Monogatari sengo bungaku shi ̂ ?"|||| [Tales of Postwar Literature], (Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1965), p.538. (see original below) r" Vzf AJFZ. *r - lb ihJ-f b*)-^ ̂ , l£ffcW*If T̂ £. = t r ^ o Z i|Q, - W ; l : - f | ' T L ^ ^ W ^ , 18*I |£3ttr. \t1^^-i® 23. Muramatsu, "Kaisetsu," p.547. (see original below) 24. Abe Kobo, Inter Ice Age 4, trans, by E. Dale Saunders, (Tokyo: Tuttle, 1971), p.217. 25. Donald Keene, "Elevation of the novelist...," p.145. 26. Abe Kobo, Inter Ice Age 4, p.219. 27. Honda Shugo, Monogatari, n.536. Owarishi michi no shirube ni has since its publication been variously described as romantic, philosophical, or both. Abe himself hardly considers the work as being a novel, but rather a series of crnfessions. He claims he has quite forgotten just what it's a l l about, but perhaps the decidedly autobiographical intent of the work might explain its author's lapse of memory. A recent article on Abe's literary debut, Yomiuri Shimbun Sha ̂ ,^7 Ŝ Sl̂  e d > ' Sengo bundan iiken shi ^ i ^ ^ j f e f [Incidents in the Postwar Literary World] (Tokyo: yomiuri Shimbun Sha;̂ '"' p.112, gives away the book's origins: "This novel takes the form of the notebook of a bottler of soft drinks who is captured by some mount- ed Manchurian bandits." 28. As quoted in Kurahashi Ken*ichi , "Abe Koro ron," [ A b e K 5 h 5 ] ' S e n ^ ° b""Bak"i temh5%o kadai, [Post-war Literature: Its Scope and Themes], ed. Kokubo Makoto / K i ^ L ^ ^ C (Tokyo: Shinko Sha, 1968) p.327. (see original below) L v * ?, % ^ ^ Wfl&zMms t fry 29. Abe Kobo, "Dendrocacalia; Or, how Mr. Everyman became a Dendrocacalia," trans. M. Jelinkova, New Orient, Vol. 4, April 1965, p.50. 30. Ibid., p.56. 31. Ibid., p.55. 32. Ibid., p.55. 33. Ibid., p.54. 34. Ibid., p.55. 35. Abe Kobo, "Red Cocoon," trans. John Nathan, Japan Quarterly, April-June 1966, p.217. 36. Ibid., p.217. 37. Ibid., p.218. 38. Abe Kobo, Kabe, (Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1969) p.138. (see original belox^) 39. Abe Kobo, Sasaki Kiichi et al., "Moetsukita chizu o megutte" Xf£*X^%Vi'1P&M'lL<P)/(.K?"2 ' ^ n T b e R u ^ n e d Map) Moetsukita chizu furoku ' ffl^fe ( T oky° : Shincho Sha, 1967), (a transcribed panel discussion m the notes appended to The Ruined Map), p.6. (see original below) 40. Franz Kafka, "The Metamorphosis" i n Selected Short Stories of Franz Kafka, trans, by Willa and Edwin Muir, (The Modern Library, Toronto; Random Rouse, 1952) pp.57-60. 41. Albert Camus, "Hope and the Absurd in the Work of Franz Kafka," trans, by Justin O'Brien, rpt. i n Ronald Gray ed., Kafka: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays, Twentieth Century Views (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962), p.151. 42. Johannes P f e i f f e r , "The Metamorphosis," rpt. i n Gray, ed., Kafka. 43. Abe Kobo, Kabe, p.97. 44. Calv i n S. Brown, general ed. The Reader's Companion to World L i t e r a t u r e , (The New American L i b r a r y , 1963) p.429. 45. Ichikawa Takashi, "Abe Kobo no bunsho: :'S. Karuma s h i no 1 ^ hanzai' n i t s u i t e , " ^ ^ g ^ f ' r S • filL ?${<h%Z§.j l - ^ Z — [Abe Kobo!s S t y l e : points concerning "The Crime of S. Karuma esq."] Gengo Seikatsu [Language L i f e ] , Oct. 1955 p.38. , 46. Saegusa Yasutaka , Gendai s h i no naka no sakkatachl * * ^ f . ^ 1 F t 7 ^ i T l ^ " f C ^ 7 [Authors i n Modern H i s t o r y ] , (Tokyo: Yushindo, 1966) pp.222-223. (see o r i g i n a l below) 47. lijima, "Abe Kobo arui wa muzai no bungaku," p.141. 48. E. Seidensticker, "The Japanese Novel and Disengagement," Journal of Contemporary History Vol. 2, Mo. 2, 1967, p.181. 49. Abe Kobo, Hotta Yoshie, Shimao Toshio, "Aklyoi yomoyama banashi,"^^!:^^)^,^ [Conversations of an Autumn Evening], Hihon no bungaku furoku ^ f-f'ifc [Notes to The Literature of Japan]. ed. Chuo~Koron Sha, vol. 73, (Tokyo, Chuo Koron Sha, 1968) p.6. (see original below) % wOtt- 't"KLvt, % te Tx-a i - \j, ? rf et 50. Honda Shugo-^tono^aferi sengo'bungaku shi, p.542. (see original below) 51. Honda, p.541. (see original helot?) TRANSLATIONS THE DEAF GIRL Once upon a time, such a long time ago that no hand of no watch, no matter how fast i t were xround backwards could ever reach i t , in a country that cannot be found on any map, a giant—no scholar knows the type of eyes or nose or mouth he had, nor can his words be found in any dictionary—suddenly woke up and felt awfully hungry. The giant smacked his lips and took out a handful of seed from a bag. The seeds became like dust in the wind and were so small that they rose easily. If one took a closer look, however, each seed had the exact features of a human being. The giant scattered a l l the seeds into the air and disappeared, turning into a number of whirlwinds. As a result of those seeds, gradually, humans began to sprout on this earth. Towns were built, songs fill e d the air, and night and day followed each other in proper sequence. And when humans bore fruit yet more beautiful than that of the wheat or the animals, the whirlwind giant appeared on the streetcorners of the cities and at the bases of the mountains, to collect his first harvest. At which time the land met with various misfortunes. To begin with, night and day quarreled and chased one another round and round the globe. Winter squeezed itself in the space between them and became a season there. Innumerable inconveniences, called incidents, carved wrinkles into the faces of the people, and one came to differen- tiate between kings, and vassals, merchants and beggars from the bend of their backbones. Men let ambition rule their lives. Furthermore, the whirlwind giant changed himself into every and a l l the possible shapes of human experience, brandishing his har- vest scythe. Ko matter what sort of object people encountered, i t would turn into a whirlwind and suddenly blow through the giant's insides leaving nothing but a l i t t l e hollow behind. Life was the task of diligently f i l l i n g up the hollows, and the giant's insides seemed to be a size beyond anyone's imagination. People had not a moment to rest their arms. As one would begin f i l l i n g up a hole, the whirlwind would already have passed through the giant's insides, con- tinuing to leave behind new hollows. At times there were people whose hands were even faster than the whirlwind. They spent the days they saved forestalling the advent of the giant's scythe. But what permanence can there be in happiness . one cannot share with the poor? One day they too shall be ruined. As for now, only cripples who are badly misformed, poor people who are bad for the digestion, or those who have lost a l l palatability by turning themselves into stone, wood, and sand, have managed to avoid the giant's harvest. There could be neither happiness nor misfortune for people who had been thus left behind. These people knew well, better than anyone e l s e that happiness was only another name f o r general un- happiness and that happiness can only be found i n the a c t i v i t y of reg- u l a r l y f i l l i n g i n the hollows l e f t a f t e r supplying the giant's stomach. There occurred something, however, which came to upset t h i s state of a f f a i r s . This group of unhappy people seemed to have i n c r e a s - ed i t s numbers i n o r d i n a t e l y . Perhaps a fallow period had a r r i v e d . The giant's i n s i d e s became empty, and the whirlwinds ran throughout the c i t i e s d i s p l a y i n g ominous portents. The disappearance of the pieces of scrap paper which became entangled i n the whirlwind was s t i l l a l l r i g h t . So were the swallows which too would d r i f t out of s i g h t a f t e r a short encounter. But the b i t s of shrapnel and the gasoline soaked airplane wings and other such items were too much f o r the giant to handle. One day while the giant was holding h i s d i s p e p t i c stomach,' he dreamt of the taste of the many harvests of o l d . " M a t e r i a l i z i n g i n someone's imagination i n the guise of a law of nature had the flavour of white bread, something one could never t i r e of. One time, entering as r e l i g i o u s f a i t h i n t o a conver- sion T enjoyed the taste of a r a r e , j u i c y steak. The discovery of a s c i e n t i s t had the flavour of w e l l - s a l t e d t r o u t , while going through the heart of a poet i n the shape of a song, tasted of mellowed caviar. Love tasted of butter; friendship of asparagus; revenge, of red p i c k l e d ginger; jealousy, of hot peppers; the f i g h t i n g of c h i l d r e n had the flavour of I r i s h potatoes; i n s u l t s tasted of raw onions. Then there were a l l those v a r i e t i e s of s i n f u l f r u i t s . . . g r a n t e d , the b i t t e r tears of death were an indispensable element to digestion, and granted also that the lemonade of panic was necessary as a refrigirant though i t did not of itself contain any nutrients, the fact remains that i f a l l one has is the bitter medicine and the lemonade of these days, though they be of one's own making...it is sad indeed! What a skin-and-bones state of affairs! Ah well, I can't ask for more than my due. If I could just have a meal of Irish potatoes smeared with butter." Just thinking such thoughts made his digestive acids gush forth burning his stomach walls. The juices which welled up reverberat- ing in his parched throat, reminded him of something quite different. Unable to bear the sensation, he got up. Opening his nostrils wide, he sniffed around for something. It was nothing but the wine of love...from beer which is a tired kiss, white wine that is unrequited love, a l l the way to acts of unmentionable strong drink and beyond. The whirlwind opened its greedy mouth and became opaque like a living being. It began to ferret around the corners and the cracks in the walls of towns which even their inhabitants had forgotten. It must have been wine so sour, so unmatured as to have no name. But then, perhaps i t had simply gone unnoticed. For that reason, on yet another day a gust of the whirlwind of love passed through the body of a deaf-mute g i r l , a girl whose skin was like old candles and whose sinewy limbs resembled those of a spider. It happened in the following manner. As usual the g i r l was diligently doing her needle work in her apartment, a wooden floored narrow room, the roof of which formed a stairwell for the apartment above. It faced onto a mislaid streetcorner. The sunlight which until then (—suddenly somewhere a wall clock struck three, though of course the gi r l could not hear that—) had been hesitating on the top ledge of the wall, suddenly shone into her room. Just then a young man carrying a basket cut across the street and came this way. Every day at this time, the young man, an errand boy for a laundry, brought work for the gi r l - torn socks and underwear. At the window s i l l , a pantomime ensued. She took the bundle of dirty clothes from the boy and handed over to him her finished work. But as she did so, her fingers touched the boy's hand ever so lightly. Her smiling counte- nance was suddenly covered with wrinkles. He picked up the bundle which had fallen because she had withdrawn her hand too quickly. But he did this with a very sullen expression on his face. With a grand flourish, he fixed his short hair which, in fact, was so short i t needed no fixing. He left quickly, without a smile, causing the g i r l to become very sad. Her mouth remained wide open, her hands dangling on the window s i l l . However the g i r l became aware of something strange. A whirlwind was circling around like some living thing by the window s i l l where the young man had just stood. On first glance, i t did not appear much different from the usual whirlwind, but on second thought i t x̂ as rather uncanny considering there was no wind. The g i r l became terribly ashamed. The thought occurred to her that perhaps the boy had not l e f t completely but rather having been in such a hurry, a part of him remained in the form of a whirlwind. She was puzzled as to what to do. As she watched over i t for a while, the whirlwind suddenly seemed to want to go through the window and into her room. The g i r l , struck with fright slammed the window shut. Even then the wind did not show any signs of wanting to leave. She did the latch and tried to scare i t away by clenching her f i s t s . However, not only did the wind not move away, i f anything i t came yet closer to the window and even rattled on i t n o i s i l y . In the meantime the whirlwind began to change i t s e l f into something which could only have come from some stagnant pool. A~t length, the wind became a fluttering membrane and despite the g i r l ' s resistence, i t entered her room through a slight opening in the window. The wind passed through the petrified g i r l leaving behind only a deep black hollow, and disappeared within an instant. The giant was muttering to himself somewhere. "But natural- ly. This too i s some kind of xd.ne. It has to be xdine." In a while as he became progressively tipsy he sx^ayed his head from side to side gleefully. "Well, no matter v/hat you say, this suits my stomach a lo t better than airplanes dipped i n gasoline." The g i r l pained by the holloxj i n her breast unthinkingly raised her eyes to the sky and called out to the giant. "Dear Rod, what shall I do? Ijm in love. I've fallen in love and I feel some- thing has been stolen from my heart. What can I do to heal this sad scar?" Of course there was no answer. (Even If there had been, what could i t have meant to a deaf-mute girl?) The g i r l realized that she had to do something on her own. She looked around and saw a pile of rags in a corner of her room. She didn't think i t was particularly good form, but as there was nothing else around, she had no choice but to use them as stuffing, for the time being. The next day at the same time the same thing happened, but she couldn't use the rags again. They were after a l l the tools of her trade and she wasn't going to misuse them. She realized that she had to grow up and plung the wound herself. She did have to make do with some rags though. Plugging up the hole just by growing up was far too difficult a task for a deaf-mute g i r l . The giant made a sour face. "What the devil...This wine definitely tastes of rags." The whirlwind, however, never grew tired of coming. It made its appearance the next day and the next, right after the errand boy from the laundry had left. Within a few days the g i r l began to smell of rags. She did not look any different from before, but in fact most of her body had turned into rags. This was partly because the g i r l , who was not very bright, kept forgetting her experiences with the wind almost after they occurred, and besides she didn't really know how to change her appearance. The giant cried out in despair. "Why, they're a l l such an ill-formed lot! What can the matter be with them?! Their streets are f u l l of tears and yet they say they lack water. Though fire covers their plains and mountains, they say they lack warmth. The sun xdLll have to split in two to stop me from starving!" Even though he spoke in this manner, the whirlwind was not at a l l ready to give up gathering in his harvest from the g i r l . It's unbelievable that there should be no way of improving this wine. With that in mind, one day he attempted to lead on the relationship of the young man and the g i r l . On that day the whirlwind entered the body of the g i r l for good, becoming a seductive inner voice to her. "Well, g i r l ! Just what are you going to do, carrying that heavy burden a l l by yourself? Open your heart to the young man and share your burden with him. Be relieved of your troubles and climb the tower of love. Climb together, holding each other's hands. Love's sweetness increases with every upward step. You are s t i l l on bitter earth, the place that comes well before the swee tness. "I thought so too. But I have no faith in myself. You see, I am deaf." "Deaf! And what's that got to do with i t ! ? " Death conquers a l l , but is not love yet stronger than death?" "I can only say the words I learned at school. Almost as i f I were using a typewriter, I move my fingers in the air or adjust my lips in as many ways. Besides the teachers at the deaf and dumb school never taught us words of love." "What kind of school is there that teaches words of love? Everyone makes those up by himself. People hardly have any words of their own these days. Only when i t comes to words of love do they make them up each of their own individual accord without anyone teaching them." "But everyone laughs at my voice. They a l l say i t sounds like a flute." "A flute?! But isn't that just wonderful! It is said that the words of love should be spoken in a sweet whisper. Should you whisper like a flute, without a doubt you shall be even more success- ful. Lovers whisper to each other, their eyes closed, their words carried by the breezy sound of a flute. Delightful!" "Excuse me but what's a whisper?" "It's a wind that enters the very soul of man." "And what sound does wind make?" "Well, it's not something you can describe in a word. It is a flow of air which can sound as the rustling of the grasses and the leaves, or i t can sound hitting a wall, and again i t can sound when i t Is being split by the telephone lines. You see i t has a l l sorts of sounds. In other words i t is the sound of air which has caused itself to tremble." "Did you say air? I cannot see i t , can I? Does air feel round, or does i t have a square shape?" "Obviously you can't see air, and its neither square nor round. If anything i t feels rather light. Especially the air of the whispers of love. That is like thin gauzy silk that quivers on lovers' sighs." "What colour would that be?" "Well, there are fairy tales in which roses bloom from heroine's lips, so I guess i t must be a rose colour." "I just love bright red roses! Will red do?" "Of course I t ' l l do. As long as the words are or your own making, they'll do." "Somehow, I've gained confidence in myself. I feel I am able to whisper words of love." And as the g i r l smiled to herself, so too did the whirlwind, who among the rags was thinking of the next day's delicious wine. The following day the g i r l went to the remnant store. Order- ing something entirely different from the usual, she completely took the storekeeper by surprise. "Leht me haehv thihs muhch ohf your vehry behst, vehry lightehst, bright rehd sihlk." And with that she emptied her purse. Although the cloth was fairly big, the girl had wanted something even bigger. When she returned home, she carefully made a beautiful ribbon, which, when she was finished, turned out to be almost twice the size of her face. Should that ribbon respiring like some living being be seen even by an invisible breeze! The g i r l clapped her hands and l e t out an u n c o n t r o l l a b l e p e a l of j o y , much l i k e a sound a r a b b i t might have made, at which the r i b b o n wri thed i n unison w i t h the g i r l ' s innermost thoughts. The g i r l then t i e d the r i b b o n l i g h t l y to the index f i n g e r of her angular r i g h t hand and continued her incoherent f l u t e - l i k e l a u g h t e r . The usual time came. S u n l i g h t f i l l e d the room, and as before the young man approached c a r r y i n g the laundry b a s k e t . The g i r l was i n a s ta te of c o n f u s i o n , and when the boy, t h i n k i n g i t strange that she should hide her r i g h t hand behind the window and exchange the bundles w i t h o n l y her l e f t hand, nonchalant ly peered i n t o her room, the g i r l ' s face suddenly turned r e d . Not the whole of i t but j u s t a s o r t of spot about the s i z e of the n a i l of her l i t t l e f i n g e r reddened, and then spread to cover the r e s t of her f a c e . At the same time she thrus t the index f i n g e r of her r i g h t hand, along w i t h the r i b b o n , r i g h t i n f r o n t of the b o y ' s f a c e . C l o s i n g her eyes , she q u i e t l y kept blowing at the r i b b o n , a l l the while g i v i n g out a sound very much l i k e that of someone blowing a i r i n the open mouth of a b o t t l e . Although she had to pause s e v e r a l times to swallow her hear t which had climbed to the base of her t h r o a t , the g i r l , i n her f ire-consumed head q u i t e b e l i e v e d that her whisper of love was a success . She thought she could see the l e t t e r s of the alphabet w r i t t e n on crimson cards r i s i n g from her l i p s , dancing , f l o w i n g i n v a r i o u s combinations i n t o the young man's bosom. To the g i r l who could only think of words as v i s u a l images, the scene c o u l d appear i n no other f a s h i o n . . Naturally, as the ribbon was beautiful, the young man's first reaction was to laugh. But he suddenly cut his laughter short. Then, he knit his eyebrows. This perplexed expression gave way to one of fear. Soon after, he burst out of the room and without looking back, he left to spread word of the girl's derangement. The whirlwind, having witnessed this scene, forced a smile. The wind was truly asto- nished at the sight of the g i r l who had kept her eyes closed with yet greater strength and who was continuing to blow on her ribbon. But when the wind noticed the tears weighing heavily on both her eyes, i t clicked its tongue in an annoyed manner and said: "Ts, ts, ts, this is indeed barren soil. I have no use for you any more. The l i f e which has germinated inside cripples such as yourself—life which a l l year long shines-only during the eclipses of the sun—somehow seems to have a poisonous effect on my stomach. What an utter waste of time!" The starving whirlwind again slipped off to continue its wandering through the streets, but i t never once came back to the girl's place. As a result there is s t i l l no sufficient evidence to believe that whirlwinds have a sense of taste. I detest a l l dogs. The sight of one is enough to make me sick to the stomach, but despite this fact I got married. Naturally, you and I are both well aware that a dog and a marriage each present separate and distinct problems. Of course, in my case the important one was the dog and not the marriage. Incidentally, the truly dis- gusting wretches are not the dogs but the doglovers. Those who raise dogs for some particularly useful purpose, such as in order to guard sheep, or to pull sleds, or the owners of small businesses who keep dogs as part of their means of production, these people are okay. It's the ones who raise dogs just to tie them up on the porchsteps of their good-for-nothing houses, it's that bunch I really can't stand. As far as I am concerned, they are the dregs of humanity. My partner in marriage was a model at the studio where I used to teach. For a model, however, she didn't have a single re- deeming quality; no sense of style, and no intelligence to speak of. And i t wasn't as i f other people had to te l l me about her, no, I was very well aware of her deficiencies myself. As I'm against the use of nude models, in the beginning I never even stopped to talk to her. But F , our friend at the Art Realite Studio took quite a liking to her so she was constantly going in and out of the place and I could not help taking notice of her. Even when she had no business being there, she s t i l l hung about the studio. Somehow she was always around the deserted places like In front of toilets or around the corners of hallways. She was the sort who'd wait for students to try to fondle her as they were passing by. However, i f someone actually tried to pet her she would raise both her hands above her head as i f protecting some breakable object, and protest loudly. Of course she'd allow herself to be petted, giggling a l l the while. You may think this is pretty s i l l y , but i t almost became a custom at the studio. The person who started this custom was, naturally, F . According to him i t was the materialization of flesh, that is to say one of the everyday exercises necessary to make a model out of a woman, but I. thought quite the opposite; was i t not in fact a fleshification of simple matter? So Fauvism doesn't work after a l l . As for the students, they were much happier helping her in her exercises than doing their own. At first I felt we should hire another model. However, the students wouldn't discontinue their custom even with other models and there aren't too many models who'd get used to their particular habit. As a result she was always called back. The students, their faces wrinkled with excitement, would wait to get her alone. With nothing to do, they hung about aimlessly, waiting their turn to embrace her. As soon as three of them would gather, i t was usually for them to analyse her excitedly in aesthetic terms. While in this heated debate, i t wouldn't matter to them one bit that they were supposed to be listening to my lecture. It was a l l rather humiliat- ing. Commuting to the studio became an agonizing experience. I came to feel that whenever I stepped into that building my brain became a rotten banana. One day I caught a student just as he was trying to fondle her right in the middle of the studio. I slapped him. The fellow remained calm; didn't even blink an eye. Irritated, I slapped him once more. Suddenly, he struck me back. He was several times my strength. "What could be the matter? Just how do these fellows look at art? These guys aren't playing around. On the contrary, they are very much in earnest. She is the cause of a l l this," I thought. F and I argued about this one whole night. I pointed out several of her faults. At first I attacked her habit of constantly winding bandages on her neck, arms, feet, thighs, or some such other place. To which F replied: "She wants to feigh sickness...because she doesn't lead a productive life she wants to become a symbol...why she is exactly what you're looking for?" "That's the sort of sentimentalism that makes me shudder. She's no symbol; she's more like a parasite! Don't you understand you're making a mess of her?" "Of course I know," said F without yeilding an inch, "Her bandages are not in question, you see, because I'm looking at her true self and things like bandages don't get in the way. But you, on the other hand, are fascinated by her flesh which is precisely why you notice such things...." After that F and I had a violent argument over what would happen i f we were to decorate the Venus de Milo with ear and nose rings. But both of us became thoroughly exhausted before we could resolve the question. Next I dealt with her dog. Let me skip that for now though, as I ' l l have to go into greater detail about the dog later on. Finally F said: "You're a l i t t l e too emotional. You sure you aren't suffering from nervous exhaustion? Perhaps there is something you would like to let me in on; I mean about you and her, you know? If it's anything like that, feel free to t e l l me a l l about i t . " I left the studio in a rage;• As I was walking through the corridor I felt something clinging to my legs. It was her dog. Raising my head, I saw her standing before me. So she had overheard our entire conversation! "What are you doing out at this time of the night?" I demanded to know, but she only raised both her arms as i f I was going to try to embrace her, and wiggled her body, giggling a l l the time. I took a step toward her and repeated my question: "What are you doing out at this time of the night?" She only bent her head back farther saying, "The boys from the studio are out there waiting in ambush." "Let me walk you home," I said taking another step towards her. At that moment I landed in her arms. Her hands were a l l over me. No don't say a word. After a l l , it's not the sort of thing you would understand. No matter what you might say, I couldn't help but marry her. To make things worse, she insisted that she couldn't marry me without her dog. I wouldn't have minded an ordinary dog but this one was a regular freak. It consisted of an awfully large head attached to a long and narrow abdomen, and a body that was always twisting and turning. The body had no t a i l but that didn't stop i t from almost splitting down the middle with wagging itself at the sight of absolute- ly anyone. But the head was so heavy that at such times, the hind legs would somehow float up and the whole animal would end up doing a complete somersault. The most p i t i f u l sight imaginable! The animal was utter canine trash. What's more, the beast never barked. "Duh, duh," and wails like some stammering deaf-mute were the best the dog could manage. The only time that animal ever raised a dog-like howl was in the presence of male dogs. Naturally enough, my wife's dog had to be female. I'm ashamed of i t but to be honest I could never bring myself to look the beast in the. eyes. She always flared back at me with an expression of i l l - w i l l like some sexless widow; someone with a seeming overabundance of common sense. She never took her eyes off us no matter what we were doing. When I asked my wife to put the dog outside, she ignored me, saying that she liked i t better that way, being watched by the dog. If I attempted to glare back at her, I wouldn't even have to so much as raise my hand for the bitch to cling to the floor and let out a yelp like someone about to die. Moreover until my wife rush- ed to her side and patted her head, the dog would not quit wailing ever so frightfully. Such demonstrations always left me looking like a fool. I was thinking that i f I had to have a dog, why couldn't I have at least a more dog-like dog. It seems though that the dog was from pedigreed Herman shepherd stock. The fact that one of its parents was supposed to have been flown over from America by its G.I. owner was a source of some pride for my wife. It was just like that dog to ruin the whole thing by being born of an incestuous relationship. But, nevertheless, having chosen the path of marriage, I began my daily struggles with the dog. I continued to fight the dog. She too undefeated continued her struggle with me. At first I didn't think i t would take anything to get the best of a dog. After a l l dogs have neither memory nor self-awareness, and i f I could just pretend not to notice her dis- gustingly fawning manner, at best I should have no more difficulty than fighting a thick shadow. Actually, at one time she used to curl up in a corner and sit there in melancholy fashion, never bothering anyone. But soon I was to understand my mistake in underestimating the bitch. I came to comprehend that a dog can be a bother just by existing. That's just i t ! Why do they hang on the way they do? Their existence, however, isn't their responsibility alone. The reason dogs exist is because we let them. I am completely unable to think of any reason why T must consciously sustain that utterly meaningless object. If there was some meaning to i t , I wouldn't mind i t one bit, but maintaining this dog had no meaning so I did mind. I was thinking that i f I had a pistol, "bang" .just one shot would be enough, when a l l of a sudden the animal let out a shriek and clung to the floor, what a mean, senseless bitch! Her taste in food was another source of irritation. She couldn't munch on bones like other dogs. Cold foods would not do; she only ate hot dishes. If i t was good sake, she would drink quite a bit. The weirdest thing about the dog was that though she could be wretchedly sloppy, at times her behaviour would make you think she could understand human speech. One day when I had washed her toilet pan and left i t on the window s i l l to dry, she must have gotten the urge to relieve herself because she kept sniffing around the usual place in a very puzz3.ed state of mind. She looked terribly foolish. Just as my wife and I x̂ ere laughing at what we thought was animal instinct, a l l 6f a sudden the dog produced some old newspapers from somewhere, and after defecating on them, she used her mouth to carefully wrap the whole thing in a bundle. And i f a l l that wasn't enough, the beast took the package between its teeth, placed i t in my lap and then curled up at my wife's feet ever so comfortably. After that, whenever I noticed the dog eavesdropping on our conversa- tion, I held my words in check. It could be just like the case of "The False Words of Hans, the Talking Horse," simply a groundless fear on my part. A.fter a l l I kept thinking to myself, there's no reason for dogs to understand human speech, but then again.... The idea of training the bitch first occurred to me when she lost a l l pretentions to being a watchdog and came instead to beg for affection from strangers even more than from us. I couldn't stomach the innocence with which that beast would excitedly do somersaults at the sight of even the garbage man. It got to be even worse, espe- cially after the punks from the studio began hanging around outside. At such times the beast would run up and down under the windows, and whenever they saw her those fellows would surely drop by. The bitch became such a nuisance I would get the urge to kick the living day- lights out of her. At such times my wife would restrain me with some banal cliche like, "It's 'cause you don't love her enough," and my sanity would return and I'd put up with i t . Then the dog would turn those mean sharp eyes upwards and give me a sidelong stare as i f gloating in victory. If .only she'd do me the favour of being more like a real dog, a dog-like dog, I wouldn't have to hold her in such contempt. I then began to revamp the dog's German shepherd training along more spartan lines. ...but without any positive results. When I'd begin her exercises, she'd simply l i e on her back and play dead like some over- turned spider or beetle. There was just no way of handling her. Should I get the least bit rough with her, she'd raise a yelp three times above any necessary volume. To my neighbours I must have been the worst of sadists. At that point I changed my plans. This bitch had an awfully big head. Perhaps she really could posses Intelligence. Maybe she was the forerunner of some future breed, the product of mutation perhaps? How would i t be to train her to become a wonder-dog? Perhaps a circus would buy her for a large sum of money; my wife to whom money is everything would gladly let the animal go...besides getting some money, I could finally get rid of that dog...txro birds with one stone, you might say. I made a quick break with past methods, and embarked on training that would integrate the dog's l i f e into that of humans as much as possible. My wife too became interested in this effort, and I enlisted her wholehearted cooperation. The dog too came to have a pleasant disposition, and fawned for affection with three times the usual fervor. But she progressed and came to resemble people to an uncanny degree. She learned to blow her nose using a paper napkin, to smoke cigarettes, even to spit with a masterfully sullen air, then finally to nod and shake her head. It was laughter that she could not manage to learn. It was after a l l too much to expect of her to comprehend the psychology of laughter. The picture I entered in the group exhibition this f a l l was a portrait of the dog trying desperately to laugh. Her expression was rather funny, so I f e l l to thinking that I should paint i t ; almost as i f she were a canine Mona Lisa, you night say. This is off the subject but I thought I'd. t e l l you after I began living together with my wife, I completely lost a l l interest in abstracts. I admit, you were right about me. I seem to have become entirely a realist. Then, just at the very moment I had finished painting that picture, something frightening happened. My wife was out of the room, doing the laundry in the kitchen. The dog was on top of the bed, on the point of leisurely biting into a jam sandwich though both my wife and I were putting up with having to skip a meal. I put my brush aside and felt relieved. I ordered the animal to laugh so as to make a last comparison between the canvas and the model. To my surprise she really grinned. "Well, I ' l l be," I mumbled to myself unintention- ally, "she's finally laughed. Must be in a good mood." To which she answered, like someone moaning "You're in a good mood yourself, aren't you?" It was a l i t t l e muffled but you could pick out the words easily. I was frightened out of my wits. My legs gave way and I sat down quite naturally. I attempted to make a reply but the lump in my stomach would not turn Into speech. I heard the sounds of my wife's footsteps. Gathering a l l my bodily strength, I barely managed to say to the dog, "I beg you please don't speak to my wife. She'd get a heart attack and die on the spot i f you spoke up a l l of a sudden. It's not so bad with me, but please keep quiet in front of her." The dog gave a magnanimous nod with the tip of her nose. It's frightening enough to think that a clog too can come to speak human words. That night the dog waited for ray wife to go to sleep. Here are the words the dog whispered into my ears: "You know, dogs aren't half as stupid as you think. They have brains enough to know just what humans are thinking. You thought you had me pretty well fooled, however, I have a splendid set of teeth. Mind you they're not very good for skinning humans. No, the secret of my success is my ability to appear to be fawning for affection. But whenever I do that, it's only for a purpose and it's the same thing with pretending to put my t a i l between my legs. I had calculated i t a l l beforehand. You better treat me well or I can be pretty mean. 'Cause you1 know you haven't got what i t takes to keep me tied up." (I bet you haven't even thought of dogs talking in this manner.) Well, about ten days ago the programme for the f a l l exhibition came in the mail. My wife browsed through i t , then suddenly raising her head she started coming at me: "Is this supposed to be my portrait! Well I should think that the greenest student could do a better job! "Then from that mouth of hers which until then I had known only as the source of the most common platitudes, she emitted one after another a series of very rare expressions some of whice I hadn't even heard until then. It a l l made ma cringe so much that I couldn't even argue back. By some mistake "A Portrait of my Wife; by S " had been printed on the programme. The next morning, my wife was gone. I tied the dog to the bedframe and gagged her mouth. She was showing her true self now. She was going wild and she bit me. on both arms and legs. Nevertheless, at this point, I the human, am s t i l l the stronger. The dog cannot stand erect and has difficulty supporting the weight of her head. Furthermore, an unfortunate thing at that, she has a decisive disadvantage in that she cannot use her fingers. But her last words before I stuffed the gags in her mouth were: "Don't be so proud! Those who are not masters will lose in the end! I fought with the dog. I shall continue to fight with her from now on as well. As for the ruin of my marriage, well it's just too bad, but I feel no remorse whatsoever. I knew my wife's baseness without your having to t e l l me. I knew i t more than anyone else. Though we lived together only for a short period, the whole affair was a series of hopelessly painful events. When we were eating, she wouldn't feel at ease unless she sniffed her food before putting i t in her mouth. The food wouldn't taste good unless she put i t in just when a l l her saliva was flowing. Then she would chomp on i t as loud as she could. She just couldn't relax without scaratching some part of her body, and she always had her backscratcher with her. She really went in for rings too, x^earing three on each hand and changing them at least once a day. And of course she liked any man that would pet her.... Despite a l l this I shall wait. I shall wait continuing to fight the dog. While I'm waiting, could you do me a favour and somehow get me a job illustrating books or something? Even now that dog is making terrible eyes at me. She is smart and maybe one day she'll find out how to untie the rope. Besides both she and I are on the verge of starvation. I suppose you should have no difficulty understanding what that means. I'm asking you. Please lend me a hand. Even at this moment I feel I'm fighting for humani ty. THE DREAM SOLDIER On a day so cold that dreams froze I had a frightening dream. In the afternoon The dream put on my cap and left. And I did the latch on my door. This story took place about fifteen years ago. Despite the fact that truth has no time, time is the one thing this story desperately needs. That of course may be a reason to believe that there is no truth to the story. The village, tucked away in the mountains, located on a prefectural border, was since the night before entirely engulfed In a snowstorm. There was agony in the howling of the wind. A company of soldiers who from early morning had been engaged in cold endurance exercises had made their way from the town over the h i l l s . Dragging their large straw shoes in the deep snow to the tune of a military song, they crossed the village with unsteady steps, only to disappear like shadows into the snowstorm. The wind died down at nightfall. In the police station at the entrance of the village a solitary old police officer was leisurely peeling potatoes while warming the soles of his feet by the heat of a red hot stove. The radio was on, blaring something that he wasn't listening to. He was immersed in a succession of sweet daydreams. "There's a thing or two I know about this village. I know tone of voice. But his expression abruptly turned to fright and the finger with which he held the potato trembled. After leaving the village, the soldiers continued to march straight towards the mountains. Along the way, they passed through many steep inclines, valleys, and forests, practising their high ter- rain maneuvers. It was well after three by the time they arrived to the last mountain ridge. The wind was raging with yet greater intensity. Despite the fact that the soldiers had difficulty even to breathe, they " were ordered to return double quick on nothing but their empty stomachs. Although they knew that s t i f f punishment awaited them, six soldiers dropped out of ranks. As this was a special exercise to test the effects of exposure to hunger, cold, and fatigue, i t was expected that some would f a l l out of ranks, and for that reason there was a corps of medics following from behind. Upon returning to base, however, i t was discovered that the medics only picked up five stragglers. One of the soldiers, i t seems, had disappeared for good. The soldier is starving. He'll have to call at the village. But should he slip up and be seen in those clothes he might not stop at violence. The old policeman put down the receiver, drew up his shoulders, and slowly returned to his place near the stove. He took a noisy breath through his nose. For a while he just scratched the top of his balding head. He raised his eyes to look at the clock. It was seven thirty. He didn't want to move. It was too cold outside. Besides i t isn't clearly a case of desertion yet. At any rate an awful snowstorm was raging. Could i t not simply be that he became separated from his companions and lost his way? It'd be a fool who'd want to desert in the midst of snow like this. He'd,leave tracks in the snow and they'd surely catch him. He must've just lost his way. By nor-; he must be feeling pretty cold.... To be sure, should the wind keep on blowing, the snow might be safer. The wind hides footprints. Or he may have planned on that. It could have been a premeditated crime? For a l l that, the wind has died down completely. He may have clean fallen into some trap. I guess there's just no successful precedent for crime.... I've received a report. But that doesn't mean I've received an order. Anyway, this fellow i s under MP jurisdiction, so he's none of my business. Deserters, compared to escaped convicts, are s t i l l , just well intentioned cowards. Leave him alone, leave him alone. No good has ever come from butting into other people's a f f a i r s . Besides I've never heard of a deserter that's made i t yet. He thought he heard a light tapping on the front door. He quickly turned around. He tried straining his ears for a while but he heard no noise. Surely he must have been hearing things. However for some reason he began to feel uncertain about things. It wasn't any usual uncertainty either, rather a feeling so close to fear that he could not explain i t to himself. Of course his fear was i n no way directed towards the. deserter. Hatred did not abruptly well up within him regarding criminals. And because he did not feel this hatred he realized the existence of something which ordered him to hate. This was something he had not been aware of until now, having been in the secure position of a pursuer. It is only now that he has come to peer into the hell that separates the pursuer and the pursued. He stood up. Stricken with pangs of conscience, he tried shouting, "I won't allow i t ! " Such shouting has never quelled uncertainty. Moreover this feeling of uncertainty was s t i l l only that very tiny inner feeling, because from the outside there came a much greater feeling of fear to overwhelm him. The inner feeling was after a l l , the uncertainty of being an accom- plice. It was a fear that everyone in the village might have felt. But the reason he could not flee from the uneasiness lay in the outer feeling. He thought to himself, "Well I guess I too am getting old." Indignation welled up within him, "when the time comes to settle the matter, i t ' l l be settled. It's not just a matter of me myself alone bearing a l l the responsibility." The back of his throat had a strange wet feel to i t . He cut off the air that was going to the stove, put on his sword, turned up the collar of his overcoat, and went outside. The snow was light. It rustled, releasing a pleasant crunch at each step. It's easy to recognize foot prints, but it's impossible to t e l l whether they were made by shoes. Immediately upon rounding the corner on which the fish-market stood, he reached the mayor's house. It was the only house in the village equipped with a Western style window. A bright lamp was burning in i t , and someone's heavy laughter spilled onto the street. As usual i t must have been the head priest's voice. Instead of going around the back way as he ordinarily might have done, he boldly pulled open the front door. The atmosphere in the room stiffened as i f everyone had been startled. The mayor's dull voice trembled above the sound of chinaware being hurriedly put away: "Who is it? At this hour." Little too early for fright. The policeman just cleared his throat and purposely refrained from answering. The shoji screen opened revealing the assistant mayor's face. "Well well now, i f i t isn't the resident officer?" "Come right in, come right up," said the head priest leaning forward. The shoji slid right open. A l l three smelled of sake. "Something awful has happened," the policeman began saying. "What is it? But save your breath, just step right in and close the screen and have a drink." "Some soldier's run away from Mount Kita," the officer con- tinued. "A deserter?" the head priest peered over the edge of his glasses and swallowed the lump in his throat. "If he be coming from Mount Kita, then no matter x-/hat route he takes, he's got to pass this way." "That's the message I got...and i t seems he's aiming at this village." "Aiming at?" the mayor slid a finger along the ridge of his nose in a somewhat annoyed fashion. "Yes, and they say he's damn hungry," the officer added. "That means we're in a bad way." "Why?" the assistant cut off the mayor in a spirited manner. "Deserters are generally traitors aren't they? And probably cowards to boot. What's wrong with going up the mountain, hunting him down and catching him?" "Hold i t a minute! He does have a gun. What's more he's hungry, and he might be pretty desperate." "In China," the mayor sighed, "no matter where you go, they got castle walls separating one village from another." "They're not castle walls," the assistant mayor retorted. "Nope, those aren't castle walls." "Those are ordinary mud walls." "Yup, just mud walls, that's a l l . " Suddenly, they a l l heard a sound, as of a chain grating. Instinctively, they a l l turned towards the noise. It was the wall clock just on the verge of striking eight. The head priest impatient- ly resumed his previous position. "Well then, what are we going to do?" "Like I said, catch the fellow and make mincemeat out of him!" There was a good explanation why only the assistant mayor carried on in such a bragging manner. In a l l the village he was the only man in his thirties who was s t i l l not in the army. Even so, compared to his previous outburst, his tone of voice had weakened considerably. Not wishing to dampen anyone's spirits, the policeman nodded and said, "Yes, by a l l means, after a l l the fellow's a treacherous dog. But then again...." he lowered his voice and tilted his head to one side, "he does have a gun, and you never •can! t e l l what may happen with a hunted down, starving traitor that's got a gun." • "Yes, it's like putting your head in the lion's mouth." That was the head priest speaking with his hands toward the assistant and peering at the policeman's face. "What do you think we should do?11 "What should we do, you say? Well that's..." the mayor leisurely let the words slip while holding his nose. "You sure this deserter isn't a fellow from our village?" "He can't be," the assistant's jaw dropped. "No, a fellow like that's gotta come from some warm, comfortable place," he said in a loud, earnest voice. "But then why did he decide to desert here, in such a cold climate?" "Well for the li f e of me...anyway he won't get away with i t . . . feel sorry for his parents." "Mind you, I heard a story about a widow in some village, and she hid a deserter in her loft for over two months." "That's an old story! No traitors like that around nowadays." "Yes, that's right." "Look at them, a l l with their hearts In their mouths," the policeman thought to himself. "But I guess anyone else would be frightened under the circumstances. They're afraid of being connected with a criminal. Should anyone find out though, i t ' l l be impossible to cover things up without dirtying my hands. If I stopped my ears, the hand that plugged the ear will hear the fellow's cries for help. Plugging the ears itself is a sign that one is already an accomplice... that is to say, these people are completely in cahoots with each other." "Well, i f you'd like to know my opinion..." he said expres- sionlessly, sucking air noisily up his nose. "I think we should let everyone In the village know by means df an extraordinary circular or some such thing, that as there is a deserter approaching the village, a l l doors should be securely fastened, no one should even step outside, that just like during air raid warnings, no light should be allowed to escape through cracks, and that should anyone ask them anything, they are not to answer. Engaging in conversation, means getting involved. For example, at fir s t he asks for water. 'Well, i f it's only a l i t t l e thing like that,' and the fellow gives him water. But next it's food, and i f the fellow gives him food, next he'll be wanting a change of clothing, and after clothes, it's money. And what's he going to ask for next? He's been completely taken care of, but it's no good cause someone can now recognize his face so finally, at the end it's 'Bang!'" Al l three held their breaths waiting for the officer's next words, but as there was no indication that the speech would crntinue, the mayor asked quietly, "And that's i t is i t ? " "After that, I suppose the MP's would come in...." The head priest, stretching himself said as i f the whole thing sounded very unpleasant to him, "It's kinda far to my place, so I better be going." As the mayor started hurriedly to phone the militia guard room, the assistant mayor followed the priest and left his seat. "Guess that fellow'11 be starting to wander around the village any minute no*7." It took less than an hour for the message to permeate the length and breadth of the village. As i f a typhoon warning had been announced, every house had its shutters barred, a l l the weak spots had been boarded up. There were some who even prepared bamboo spears or hatchets by their places of rest. After ten o'clock, the whole village with the exception of the police station, sank into total darkness. An animal-like fear enveloped the place. Despite their fear though, most families, gradually went to sleep. Only the old policeman, as i f waiting for something, stayed up a l l night continuing to strain his ears for sounds outside. Of course, the villagers, behind thier boards and shutters had no way of knowing.... The next morning, just as dawn was beginning to break, from beyond the hi l l s to the south, there came the shri l l sound of a train whistle continuing to blow in rapid succession for a long time. The foreboding cry streamed unmercifully into the village beneath the low clouds. Most of the people woke to its sound. The people who under- stood i t s meaning quickly opened thei r shutters. The policeman, his eyes bloodshot for lack of sleep, gazed through the south-facing windows towards the h i l l s . His eyes could c l e a r l y see the single s t r a i g h t , gray l i n e , which extended beyond the h i l l s . The whistle stopped blowing. In a while the assistant mayor, carrying a p a i r of s k i s , appeared accompanied by two men. " I t seems somebody's thrown himself i n front of the t r a i n again. I think I ' l l go and take a look. I t might've been that t r a i t o r . Want to come along?" "No, I better stay. Could get a c a l l from town." In no time the three skiers came upon the gray l i n e that extends beyond the h i l l s . Nodding at each other, they begin to follow i t s path. The old policeman f i n a l l y l e f t the window and crouched i n front of the f i r e . When the assistant mayor returned he found the policeman dozing i n the same po s i t i o n . The assistant t r i e d waiting s i l e n t l y u n t i l the old man woke up. He gave up after the policeman didn't open his eyes for a very long time. But, just when he was about to give up, the old man opened his eyes and asked i n a whisper, "Well...Did you get a look?" "Yes, I sure d i d . " "Well, then you " "You must have known a l l along?" "Yes, I knew." "Then was i t you that made him do it?" "Well, you see...I, now, you know just how ashamed T am...he didn't have to do i t so close to the village. It must have been out of spite towards me...I can't think of a fellow like that as my son... but you might do me a favour and keep quiet about this." "But the two fellows I went with, they already know." "I suppose you're right." "His body wasn't badly deformed or anything. His gun was lying right beside him. They'd covered him with a branch." "Well..." "By the way, hadn't we better erase the foot prints under your window?" "I suppose you're right." Ten days thereafter, the old policeman left the village, dragging a small trailer behind him. On a day so hot that dreams melted I had a strange dream. In the afternoon Only my cap returned. THE CLIFF OF TIME ...I just gotta win see...cause it's uln or lose and I'm not taking any chances just to lose... Hey, this milk's left over from yesterday! It's gone bad. Can't help that. No matter i f I put i t in the fridge, i t s t i l l goes bad. I guess it's cause the milk's alive. See. It's alive. Yeah, really, it's like a living thing y'know. And because it's alive i t just eats itself up. It completely loses its food value. Now this here's a mess a l l right...and like they even stamped the date on i t , right on the l i d . It's not just for show, y'know, after a l l the expense they went to, printing the date on the package. "Please consume contents within 24 hrs of purchase" get it? Wow, that new punching ball they got, the red one...that's got a real good punch y'know...like one, two, one, two, one two. I think I'm pretty sensitive when i t comes to sounds. I react to them real well. Like when I'm In the ring I can t e l l just what condition I'm in from the kind of sound the rosin makes on my soles. Once in the middle of a match I got into a real f i t and I kept going back and forth to my corner to put some more rosin on my shoes. I guess they kind of laughed at me for that. Oh, hello...Mr. Kimura, I was in good shape yesterday... yeah, in real good shape. There was a real good looker too, cheering me from the ringside. Looked like she was saying: "Gee I like that guy," 'n' things like that. Really got fed up with myself...! guess I just gotta win... My diet's begun to t e l l on me lately. I- wake up in the middle of the night and find I've been dreaming about rice balls. Worse than that, I fight too many matches. It's no good, fighting too many. You size the guy up like someone you can handle and i t turns out you were too kind on him. But then i f you don't get any matches, next time you can't even get into the training sessions. But i f I go on like this, in no time I ' l l drop out. No kidding. I ' l l drop out in no time. I better take quality over quantity...choose only good matches...but no, I guess that's just asking for too much. The other day, darnitall, I went so far as to weigh myself In...and then the guy doesn't show up...I could've cried...after going to a l l the trouble of losing weight and all...I got the money a l l right. It costs some money to get yourself as far as the scales. But doesn't the whole thing just burn you up. If i t wasn't for my boxing, I'd be just in that time of li f e when I can really enjoy food. No one'd raise hell just on account of a few pounds here or there. I guess when I got started though, I didn't have any trouble at a l l . It's just that I'd work out more than other people, so although I'd eat just a l i t t l e , it'd turn into fat right away. It's no fun when they keep on reminding you about your weight. I started boxing cause I got fed up with having my l i f e laid out for me, but this boxing's just the other way around. That's why I get depressed. But, I mean, I could never commit suicide, no never. It's only guys with brains tbat do that sort of thing. No, I wouldn't go in for that, not at a l l . Key you really got scalped didn'tcha?...your hair, I mean... it's a good idea to go to the barber before a match. 'Cause y'know i f you have hair coming out a l l over the place, you look twice as bad when you lose. One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. Hey, today I'm in pretty good shape, man. Uh, hey, uh, Mr. Kimura, you know, the other day I drew my fortune. And what should come out but "Windfall." You know it's those pieces of paper you get with the packs of peanuts. You put in 10 yen and you push the lever. Well, I thought that's that,, but then I get another. I thought i t was kinda strange but the next one says "Windfall" too. Like the whole thing really floored me, cause i t was really strange, I thought...but with the next one...put in another coin, I get the same thing. Really i t was a l l pretty amazing y'know. I didn't know such things could happen. Y'know I got this busted hand, but I thought with luck like this, what the hell, why not ask the boss to line up a match for me anyway. I'd have no excuse losing with luck like that... Okay, let's go, sparring One, two, keep i t up V71th your right, one, two, Okay, jab now, jab, jab, jab, Upper straight Three to the right, one two, three, Right upper. Hey, what's that noise?...oh yeeah, probably the downstairs door...even the door's made of iron around here... "thrrrump," I can hear i t close in my stomach. Something's the matter with me today. I just can't keep track of anything. Any of you guys got an extra towel? Towel, yeah, I forgot mine. I think, maybe I'm going off the deep end. They told me that seeing as how i t was before a match I didn't have to do any roadwork. So what do I do come 5 a.m....I fly out of bed like a stupid fool.... They said no need to worry about weight either, and I did intend to get a good night's sleep...that's why last night, before going to bed, I listened to some music, cause I thought I'd get some sleep...Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto...good, isn't i t , that kind of music...Swan Lake too, really effective I mean.... I like jazz more, but jazz's no good i f you want to go to sleep, y'know. I don't quite know how to put i t , what's really awful is getting up early. Really awful...no matter how people say roadwork's tough, I think running is a whole lot easier than getting up...when you get up, change your clothes...there's not an awful lot you can do about it...sleepy, cold, thinking the sooner summer comes the better... that's a l l you ever...it really gets you down, like. Of course saying such things doesn't help one bit. I'm doing i t cause I like i t , and even when I think I hate i t deep down I really like i t . Would I let myself get pounded like that, and s t i l l go back again for more i f I really hated i t deep down? It's got its good points though. First, you always know where you stand, see? It's either black or white, and that way l i f e has a kind of certainty about i t . Jab, jab, jab, jab! I guess it's the jab that's causing a l l the trouble. If only I could get that jab coming I'd feel relaxed. I'm confident about my straight punches. The thing is to keep the other guy in check with the jabs. Jab, j ab, j ab, j ab. Upper straight What's the time? I t ' l l soon be time for the match...dammit...1 feel awful...oh, yeah, I almost forgot, I bought some red socks. Fed is supposed to be lucky, that i s , for people born in August, and I guess that's me...they do say that about red...for people born in August. So I bought them, the socks...What?...you mean it's white?... Really? But not for people born in August?...awful isn't it?...Mr. Kimura likes to make fun of people like that. Strange thoughl..it's different for different people, isn't it...red socks are no good then? But I'm in good shape at least. I've been pretty lucky these days. I had a row of "Windfall's for my fortune didn't I? And I sleep like a log at night. The other day when I was getting a massage i t hurt so much I felt like my muscles had rotted away or something, but after a good night's sleep, suddenly I felt fine. I guess it's all on account of experience. Hey, even when I try shadox^-boxing like this, my hand feels real light...I'm sure to x^in, I am...as for my hand, you know when I get inside that ring there xron't be a thing x>?rong with i t . I've just gotta x^in, there's no two x̂ ays about i t . . . i f I lose this time, I ' l l lose my rank... ROUT® 1 It's a l l right! Uhen I hear the sound of the whistle close to my ears...it's just a sign that I'm relaxed...the rosin on my shoes makes a nice sound too. I ' l l v/in a l l right...cause I've lost four times in a rox<7 now. ..I've strained myself... fighting like this when my hand hurts...yeah I'm overdoing i t . . . . A boxer's body is his investment and you can't overstrain i t , but I guess I've been told often enough to know better, it's just that I'm too impatient...even though I'm rested noxj, I think I ' l l lose my place anyway...and i f I should do that, i t ' l l be the end for me...once you lose ground you can't fight your way back up too easily...it's really hard...cause the competition is tough.... A straight punch and then an upper Get in the middle, in the middle Watcha doin' Hit'm Yeah that's i t Footwork, do your footwork Okay uppers, one two I understand...shut up you guys...after a l l I've been around here long enough to know what to do.... From tenth place to ninth...then from ninth to eighth... eighth to seventh...seventh to sixth...each time you go up the ranks you have to beat five opponents... the coach put i t that way...so a champion amounts to ten times five, that i s , fifty defeated boxers... well it'd be nice i f I could get far enough to be a champion, but I guess I can't. I suppose I ' l l belong to the defeated fif t y . . . i t ' s either one or the other, being a champion, or one of the defeated fifty...I think about that, sometimes... from seventh place to eighth ...from eighth to ninth and from ninth to tenth...pretty awful isn't it?...like the only reason I'm boxing is so I can help some other guy to climb up the ranks...why is i t like this...maybe I'm a hopeless case after a l l . . . (GONG) Okay, deep breath Hey man, look at that body, pretty good eh? Now, don't stop after just one and two One two three four Put a l l you've got into i t and keep going, got it? Keep i t up and up Is where you'll go Don't take any jabs now see Wave your arms around Give him the slip, duck now Get in the middle there One two three four Give'm a pounding and you'll go up (POUND 2) ...Y'know, I think I really am lucky. The last time when I changed jobs, yeah, that musta been February 18... What's more I got to work sharp at eight that day...then to top i t a l l , this is the 38th year of Showa...well now that makes three eights one after another. And the character eight sort of fans out at the bottom and that's really lucky. I think I have a promosing future after a l l . I've gotta win...cause i f I lose this time I ' l l lose my place... To the right, to the right, round to his right C'mon, a straight one now Get a move on Hit to the right, up front Fight right right right Keep going around him, body punches All right, that's a good boy Okay you're winning Y'know I put down everything I do each day in a notebook... like what I did. that day...every day...yeah, really, and I haven't missed a day yet...at first I write down the date, then the number of hours I slept, the time I got up, then the time I spent on road-work, roughly the distance I ran, what condition I was in...and then, oh yeah, what I drank before breakfast...green tea, or juice, or milk... the kind and quantity of foods...and after meals, i f I had anything to drink...and then the time I left for work, and i f I had a snack, I put that down, and whatever I drank after...and when I really felt worn out and took a nap I put that down and of course whatever I ate after that...well, this was until I got into training... Then the time I left work and arrived to the gym...I took my weight, and wrote that down...next something about shadow boxing... then sparring...without f a i l I put down my partner's name...then the punching bag...when I finished with the punching bag I went back to shadow boxing...trying to remember the number of times, of course... same with the punching ball, how many times I hit it...then I wrote down the dumber of rope skips and pushups and situps, and other exercises... and then, after that, oh yeah, baths and showers...then at the end I took my weight again, the time I left the gym...then liquids, supper and beverages again...if I had a snack before I went to sleep, I honestly put that down...when I went to bed,..whether I got a massage or not what sort of vitamins T took...then after that, some general remarks... I write this down every day...no kidding every day...keeping my purpose in mind...because after a l l this sort of thing isn't for everyone...y'know like a match begins long before i t really begins... every day is a match...I guess you have to go to this much trouble i f you're going to outdo someone by yourself... whether I win or lose right now. ..it's because I came this far in this strict fashion... (GONG) You landed that jab real well eh Better than the first round If you land a jab, then.you can hit V Understand? Now, deep breath one two three Okay Got what I said? Dya understand?f No good! You keep coming from the left! From the right! the right! see? You have a big swing cause you go from the left Bad form, really Right, inside Outside's no good Circle round the right and inside, see? (ROUND 3 ) Yeah, Yeah, to the right, the right Yeah, an upper Land a jab now, jab Come on Not so wide Hey, too big Big, Big, s t i l l big Now from the right and inside Don't overdo i t now, don't strain yourself Lightly on the left Nov? get close to his body Goddammit! When you start going down, it's really fast... there was a time when I had as many as thirty people backing me, it's dwindled down to seven now...I feel ashamed even going to the company... "It is our most sincere desire that you be crowned with victory for your earnest efforts"...those people don't know how I feel...like i t or not •fifty people get defeated.. .but i f i t xreren't for those fi f t y , there'd be no champion...maybe i t is us that should be getting the thanks... they're making a fool of me as i t i s . . . Somehow, my hands are getting awfully heavy, and that won't do, not at a l l . Man, I feel like I've got no defences...It really hurt that day, when I got the massage...my muscles really felt like they were rotting...really.. .1 guess I'm just no good any more...man this is awful, I've never fought a guy with a punch as strong as...unless I do some fast footwork it's gonna hurt bad...Suppose he punches me up so bad that my tongue swells. I won't even be able to go out and work... ...When you really start going down, in this line of work, wow! you go down quick...it's like descending with a torn parachute... whether you hang on just for sake of a clear conscience, or you let go, basically i t amounts to the same thing...what about champions?1 you say...what the hell you think, champions go down real fast man... they go down faster than anyone else...the steepest c l i f f is one the other side of the champion...the only difference I guess, is which side you f a l l from, this side or the other side...cause either way you're going to f a l l , you know...damn awful just thinking about i t . . . (ROUND 4, 2MIN. 16SEC.) ...Wow, where am I? Have I been sleeping? Feels like the bottom of a river. There're fish swimming above my face... Four? Did he say four?...I hope he didn't expect me to hear that; he's got an awfully weak volce...CouId i t be that I'm down... maybe that's what i t is...cause it's sure difficult breathing...ray chest's gone bad too. I get i t now...this is the smell of the mat... never mind, it's s t i l l okay...he said four didn't he...there should s t i l l be another six seconds... I've been overdoing things, I guess, just piling one thing on another...one thing about a downhill boxer; he's always in demand... he's a good stepping stone for anyone wanting to go up...there's not an awful lot you can do about i t cause you keep on getting more and more challenges...the time I was on my way'up, I guess I was also on the look- out for guys like that...what about that guy...what the hell was his name...the guy who let me fight him the first time I got a place in the ranks...I haven't seen him once since then...wonder i f he's quit... Well, I suppose it's time I got up... Naw! not just now, how about after I've rested a l i t t l e more. Did he say four? I can do i t comfortably in six seconds. If I wanted to, I could get up right now. Let's see, first I'd raise the rest of myself on my right elbow. Having done that I'd pull ray right leg up arid then move my weight onto my left knee. And that would just about do i t , wouldn't it? Beautiful, isn't it...the blue sky, I mean, really, the sky is blue y'know...but why can I see the sky?...Is there a crack in the ceiling someplace?...Stupid isn't it? I mean thinking about the ceiling is kinda stupid...doesn't matter, that sort of thing has nothing to do with me anyway.... Al l right, I ' l l get up. I ' l l try and aim for that spot above his left eye and meanwhile I ' l l avoid him with some footwork. It looks like he's got a scar around there. To think I was knocked down so quick, right after we'd gotten into the fourth round...your whole career can change...if you get knocked down just once...my career...it doesn't matter...watch this, I ' l l give him such a jab he won't be able to move a muscle...okay I ' l l get up right now! Raise the rest of myself on my right elbow. ..pull up my right leg...then firmly rest my weight on my left knee.... This is weird...I seem to have become two people...am I standing up like this? What about the ring? where's i t gone to?...all this noise ...it's so noisy I don't know vrhat's what any more. Okay, Yeah man! I gotcha a l l right... I guess my brand new red socks did nothing. I'm through ...yeah, there's no crying over i t now...there's no two ways about i t , cause either way leads to a dead end...four years and six months is it?...and I'm right back where I started...that's okay though, cause when I get home I ' l l have a real good meal...I'll forget about by note- book and eat as much as I bloody well please...1'11 smoke, and drink too...and I ' l l put away a whole package of that sweet yokan... I ' l l make up for every single past failure...I've had to do without a lot these past years.... Obh! my head's begun to ache! Oh no, i t hurts so bad I won't be able to go to sleep for another three days...painful as hell ...feels like I ' l l explode...Do something, somebody, please anything!...  10.6: E ^ Q S - S i Q « y &Q«<r «S-gQ;gy io?: ^ l r ^ - i < ? ^ ^ ° »V^-W«^t8'W4j-U-J»e-«i»!i3i' i«*>J-« P -U0 #!f@ A»if l ss-ttlfflfret^-ttas^^' ^Qim^^'^omn^^^^^^^^^ * - © * ' «SifN ^ K Q S ' &»*mH8<©;r th^Q^iv^^nmis, «l>tfJ8m»JQ&E!i' { < G ^ S ^ r ^ A J ^ * ^ A ) . R ' ^•QQ-U-SQ^^^^^^mmQ 0 v ^ 4 ^ v ^ & ^ * i t P 3 3 ^ A J 4 i / £ ^ £ G ^ £ V £ U ! £ * © * i M - £ K ? A J ' £^£QfcKS§!^ !2 +<BR':R AJ . 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R ^ ^ S f c i * ^ * ^ ' ^ t ^ ^ w ^ ^ e r o H ^ K t p * , ^ ' * < ^ K e A j > ^ r SM^-T^S  The following chronological l i s t of Abe's o r i g i n a l works i s abstracted from the neirpu of a recent c o l l e c t i o n of the author's works: Shincho Sha ed., Nempu, Abe Kobo shu - shincho nihon bungaku 46 [Time Line to Volume 46 of Shincho's Japanese L i t e r a t u r e - Selected Works of Abe Kobo], (Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1970) pp.578-534. Unlike i n the text and notes, Chinese character equivalents w i l l not be supplied f o r t i t l e s e i t h e r i n t h i s l i s t or i n the bibliography. Those i n t e r e s t e d i n the characters are referred to the above nempu. Works which have been consulted f o r t h i s thesis are marked with an a s t e r i s k but only under t h e i r o r i g i n a l dates of p u b l i c a t i o n . The actual e d i t i o n s used are l i s t e d i n the bibliography. „ 1946 Mumei shishu, [Nameless Poems].. (Abe published t h i s anthology at h i s own expense; the work appeared i n mimeographed form.) 1947 "Owarishi michi no shirube n i , " [The Road Sign at the End of the S t r e e t ] . Kosei. "Bokuso," [The Pasture]. Sogo Bunka "Sei no kotoba," [The Words o f L i f e ] , an essay. Kindai Bungaku. "Itansha no kokuhaku," [Confessions of a H e r e t i c ] . ' Jigen. "Na mo naki yoru no tame n i , " [Nameless i n the Night]. Sogo Bunka. "Wareware wa senso o kaku miru: zetsubo e no hanko," [This i s the Way We View War: A Reaction to Despair], an essay. Kindai Bungaku. "Busshitsu no f u r i n n i t s u i t e , " [Concerning the Immoral Conduct of Ma t e r i a l Things], an essay. Kindai Bungaku. "Aru yoru no kubomi n i , " [In the Hollow of a Certain Night]. ]^_ndai_ Bungaku. " P r o f i l e : S h i i n a Rinzo," an essay. Sogo Bunka. "Kyoko," [Falsehood]. Bungaku Kikan. Owarishi mi c h i no s h i rube n i , [The. Road Sign at the End of the S t r e e t ] . Mayoshimi Sha. 1949 "Hakumei no hoko," [Twilight Wanderings]. Kosei. "Ongaku to yoru e no s a s o i , " [An I n v i t a t i o n to the Night and Music]. Kindai Rungaku. "Dendorokakariya," (Dendrocacalia, trans, by M. Jelinkova 1965). Hyogen. "Bungaku to j i k a n , " [Time and L i t e r a t u r e ] . Kindai Bungaku. *"0shimusume," [The Deaf G i r l ] . Kindai Bungaku. "Yume no tobo," [A Dream's Escape]. Ningen. 1950 ""Mittsu no guwa: Alcai mayu, Kozui, Maho no choku, [Three Fables: The Red Cocoon, The Flood, and The Magic Chalk], Ningen. 1951 "Kabe: S. Karuma s h i no hanzai," [The Wall - Tine Crime of S. Karuma Esq.]. Kindai Bungaku. Baberu no to no tanuki," [The Badger of the Tower of Babel]. Ningen. "Te: t a ippen," [The Hand: Another Volume]. Gunzo. "Ueta h i f u , " [Starved Skin]. Bungakkai. " S h i j i n no shogai," [The L i f e of a Poet]. Bungei. "Kuchu rokaku," [A Castle i n the A i r ] . Bessatsu Bungei Shunju. "Chinnyusha," [The Intruders]. Sjiincho. *Kabe, [The Wall] a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s . Getsuyobi Shobo. 1952 "Noa no hakobune," [Noah's Ark], Gunzo. "Suichu t o s h i , " [Underwater C i t y ] . Bungakkai. "Buruto no wana," [A Trap f o r Brutus]. Genzai. " Y a i n no sojo," [Disturbance i n the Dead of Nigh t ] , an essay. Kaizo. "Teppoya," [The Gun Shop]. Gunzo. "Isoppu no saiban," [Aesop's T r i a l ] . Bungei. Chinnyusha, a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s . M i r a i Sha. Ueta h i f u , a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s . Shoshi v u r i i k a . 1953 " R62 go no hatsumei," [Tlie Discovery of R62], Bungakkai. "Shojo to uo," [The F i s h and the V i r g i n ] . Gunzo. "Suta no kaidoku sayo n i t s u i t e , " [Restoring a Star to L i f e ] . Bungakkai. 1954 "Panikku," [Panic]. Bungei. *"Inu," [The Dog]. ICaizo. "Henkei no ki r o k u , " [Record of Changes]. Gunzo. "Shinda musume ga u t a t t a , " [The Dead G i r l Sang]. Bungakkai. "Seifuku," [Uniforms], a play. Gunzo. "Dorei k a r i , " [Slave Hunting]. Bungei. Kiga domei, [Starvation League], Kodan Sha. 1955 " D o r e i k a r i , " [Slave Hunting], part ?.. Bungei. "Mocho," [The Appendix], Bungakkai, " B o , " ("Stick," trans, by John Nathan, 1966). -Bungei. "Dorei k a r i , " [Slave Hunting], a play. Shin Nihon Bungaku. "Corotsukl," [The B u l l y ] , Bungakkai.' Dorei k a r i , Kaisokusen, [Speedboat] Seifuku, c o l l e c t i o n of pl a y s . Aoki Shoten. 1956 "Shudan," [A Means]. Bungei. "Ninniku shokuyo hantai chinjo dan to sannin no s h i n s h i t a c h i , " [Three Gentlemen and the Committee Against Cannibalism], Shin Nihon Bungaku. "Tantei to kare," [He and the Agent]. "Kagi," [The Key], Gunzo. "Eikyu undo," [Perpetual Movement] a play. Bungakkai. "Kenka," [A Quarrel]. Bungakkai. "Mirachekku kun no boken," [The Adventures of Milachek], an essay. Shinmei'en. P.62 j*o no hatsumei, a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s and a play. Yamauchi Shoten. 1957 "Yuwakusha," [The Seducer]. Sogo. *"Yume no h e i s b i , " [The Dream S o l d i e r ] . Bungakkai. "Te," [The House]. Bungakkai. "Namari no taraago," [The Leaden F.gg], Gunzo. Too o i k u : hangaria mondai no h a i k e i , [ T r a v e l l i n g through Eastern Europe: Background to the Hungarian Problem], a c o l l e c t i o n of essays. Kodan Sha. Kemonotachi wa kokyo o mezasu. [The Beasts Aim for Home]. Kodan Sha. Moju no kokoro n i keisanki no te o, [Savage Hearts and Computer Hands! ] c r i t i c i s m s . Heibon Sha. 1958 "Yurei v;a koko n i i r u , " [There i s a Ghost Here,] a play. Shingeki. "Emban kuru - hiz a y u s u r i no e i y u t a c h i , " [The discus comes: Knee-shaking Heroes]. Gendai Geiiutsu. "Shisha," [The Envoy]. Bessatsu Bungei Shunju. Sabakareru kiro k u: e i g a g e i i u t s u ron, [A Judged Record: Ideas on F i l m A e s t h e t i c s ] . Kodan Sha. " S a t s u j i n ga akuna no de wa n a i , " [It's not the Murderer that's E v i l ] , an essay. Chuo Koron. "Toshi zuho," [Perspective], CunzS. "Ningen sokkuri," [Just Like a Human Being], a play f o r t e l e v i s i o n . Gendai Geijutsu. "Kawaii onna," [A Cute Woman], a musical. Gendai Geijutsu. Yurei wa koko n i i r u , a c o l l e c t i o n of plays. Shincho Sha. *Daiyonkan Hyoki, (Inter Ice Age 4, trans, by E. Pale Saunders). Kodan Sha. 1960 "Kyojin Densetsu," [The Tale of the Giant], a play. Bungakkai. "Eizo wa gengo no kabe o hakai sum," [Filmed Images Destroy the F a l l of Language], an essay. Gunzo. "Jiken no h a i k e i , i c h i - hachi no su j o sodo k i , " [A Record of the Movement at Bee's Nest C a s t l e ] , an essay. Chu5 Koron. "Nawa," [The Trap]", Gunzo. "Chichindera Yapana," [C i c i n d e l a Japana]. Bungakkai. "Pengoku," [ H e l l ] , a play f o r t e l e v i s i o n . Gendai Geijutsu. I s h i no me [Eyes of Stone]. Shincho Sha. 1961 "Tanin no s h i , " [Death of Another]. Gunzo. 1962 _ "Monro no gyakusetsu," [The Paradox of Monroe], an essay. Shincho. "Ogon doro: kotsu no shoguntachi," [The Road Paved with Gold: The Generals of the T r a f f i c War]. Sekai. "Ningyo den," [The Tale of the Mermaid]. Bungakkai. " J o s a i , " [ F o r t ] . Bungei. *Suna no onna (The Woman i n the Dunes, trans, by E. Dale Saunders 1964). Shincho Sha. 1963 "Benki n i matagatta shi s o , " [Thoughts Astride a T o i l e t ] , an essay. Bungakkai. 1964 "Tanin no kao," [Face of Another], Gunzo. *"Toki no gake," [The C l i f f of Time]. Bungakkai. *Tanin no kao (The Face of Mother, trans, by E. Dale Saunders, 1966). Shincho Sha. *Mukankeina s h i , [An Unrelated Death], a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s , Shincho Sha. Suichu t o s h i , a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s , Togen Sha. "Mokugekisha," [The Witness], a play for television. Shin Nihon Bungaku. Omae ni mo tsumi ga aru, [Even You are Guilty], a collection of plays. Gakushu Kenkyu Sha. Enomoto Buyo, [Enomoto Buyo], Chuo Koron Sha. Sabaku no shiso, [Desert Thoughts], a collection of essays. Kodan Sha. 1966 "Kabu no muko," [Beyond the Curve]. Chuo Koron. 1967 "Toshi ni tsuite," [Concerning the City]. Shincho. "Tomodachi," [Friends], Bungei. "Enomoto Buyo," a play. Chuo Koron. "Dorei k a r i , " rpt. i n SMngeki. Ningen sokkuri, a collection of works. Hayakawa Shbbo. *Moe.tsukita chizu (The Ruined Map, trans, by E. Dale Saunders, 1969) Shincho Sha. Tomodachi, (Friends, trans, by Donald Keene 1969) Enomoto Buvo, a collection of plays. Kawade Shobo. 1968 " M i r i t a r i i rukku," [Military Look], an essay. Chuo Koron. "Itansha no pasupoto," [Passport for a Heretic], an essay. Chuo Koron. "Uchinaru henkyo," [Inner Regions], an essay. Chuo Koron. Yume no tobo, a collection of short stories, Tokuma Shoten. 1969 "Kaban," [The Briefcase], a play. Bnngei. "Bo n i natta otoko," [The Man who Became a Stick], a play, Bungakkai. "Ne nashi kusa no bungaku," [Literature that i s like Grass without Roots], an essay. Nami. Bo n i natta otoko, a collection of plays, Shincho Sha. Kabe, a collection of short stories. Shincho Bunko. Abe Kobo. "Dendrocacalia, or, how Mr. Everyman became a Dendrocacalia." Translation and notes by M. Jelinkova in New Orient Vol. A, (April 1965) , pp.50-56/ . "Dendorokakariya," (Dendrocacalia). Abe Kobo shu, [Selected Works of Abe Kobo], Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1970, pp.467-481. . Friends. Trans, by Donald Keene, New York: Grove Press, 1969. . Inter Ice Age 4. Trans, bv E. Dale Saunders. Tokyo: Tuttle, 1971. . "Inu," [The Dog], Abe Kobo. Yume no t obo, [A Dream's Escape], Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1968, pp.167-178. . Kabe, [The Wall]. Tokyo: Shincho Bunko, 1969. This edition contains: "Kabe - S. Karuma shi no hanzai." "Alcai mayu," "Kozui," Maho no choku," "Jigyo," and "Baberu no to no tanuki." . Nempu, shin'ei bungaku sosho 2̂  Abe Kobo shu nempu [Chronology to the Library of Avant Garde Literature I I ] . Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1960. . "Oshimusume," [The Deaf G i r l ] , Abe Kobo. Yume no toho [A Dream Escape]. Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1968, pp.155-166. . The Ruined Map. Trans, by E. Dale Saunders. New York: Alfred A. Knofp, 1969. . Ryakunempu, [Abbreviated Chronology] (see note no.11). . "Sakuhin ga meijiru," [My Work Commands Me to Write]. Mainichi shimbun sha gakugei bu ed. Watakushi no shosetsu saho, [How I Write]. Tokyo: Sekka Sha, 1966, pp. 107.-105. _. "Stick," and "Red Cocoon," Translation and notes by John Nathan in Japan Quarterly Vol. 13, No. 1, (April-June 1966) pp.214-220, _. "Toki no gake," [The C l i f f of T i m e ] , Abe Kobo. Mukankeina shi, [An Unrelated Death]. Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1964, pp.227-244. Abe Kobo. "Watakushi no bunsho," [My Style], Gengo Seikatsu, [Language L i f e ] , October 1955, pp.56-58. . The Woman i n the Dunes. Trans. E. Dale Saunders. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964. . "Yume no heishi," [The Dream Soldier]. Abe Kobo, Mukankeina shi, [An Unrelated Death]. Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1964, pp.213-226. , Hotta Yoshie, and Shimao Toshio. "Akiyoi yomoyama banashi," [Conversations of an Autumn Evening], Nihon no bungaku furoku, [Notes to the Literature of Japan], ed. Chuo Koron Sha, vol.73. Tokyo: Chiio Koron Sha, 1968, pp. 1-9. . Sasaki K i i c h i , and Teshigahara Hiroshi. "Moetsukita chizu o megutte," [On The Ruined Map]. Moetsukita chizu furoku, Tokyo: Shincho Sha, 1967, pp.1-8. (A transcribed penel discussion i n the notes appended to The Ruined Map.) Association for Asian Studies. Bibliography. Published annually in September in the Journal. Bersihand, Roger. Japanese Literature. Trans. Evans, Unity. New York: Walker and Company, 1965. Brown, Calvin S., general ed. The Reader*s Companion to World Literature Toronto: The New American Library, 1963, p.429. Camus, Albert. "Hope and the Absurd i n the Work of Franz Kafka." Kafka: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. Ronald Gray. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962, pp.147-156. de Bary, Brett. "Oe Kenzaburo: Voice of the Postwar Generation." Papers on Japan From Seminars at Harvard University, Vol.5, 1970. pp.100-125. Eichner, Hans. Four German Writers. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,.1964. Eto Jun. "Modern Japanese Literary Criticism." Japan Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 1, (April-June 1965) pp.177-186. . "An Undercurrent i n Modern Japanese Literature." Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 23, May 1964, pp.433-445. Fitzsimmons, Thomas. "Man Without an Image." Saturday Review, 10 September, 1966, p.60-61. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays. New York: Atheneum, 1969, pp.3-29. Gluck, Jay ed. Ukiyo: S t o r i e s of "The F l o a t i n g World" of Postwar Japan. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964. Hanatia Kiyoteru. "Kaisetsu," [Commentary], Chikuma Shobo ed. Shin'ei bungaku sosho 2_ Abe Kobo shu, [The L i b r a r y of Avant Garde L i t e r a t u r e : Selected works of Abe. 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