The Setting Sun
I wonder what he really thinks of me. I wonder if he has thought of me as of a rainbow in the sky after a shower. And has it already faded away? If it has, I must erase my own rainbow. But unless I first erase my life, the rainbow in my breast will not fade away. That's kinda why I liked it. I could be basing that on my own "loves" that were a lot of talking myself into and build ups grown out of wanting something to be there. Because of that, I can picture the rainbow and feel its shape.
It is colorless because it is blind. I have no sense of realism. And that this very fact might be what permits me to go on living sends cold chills through my whole body. Twelve years have passed and I have yet to progress a step beyond the Sarashina Diary stage. What in the world have I been doing all this time? I have never felt myself drawn toward revolution, and I have not even known love.
The Setting Sun
The older and wiser heads of the world have always described revolution and love to us as the two most foolish and loathsome of human activities. Before the war, even during the war, we were convinced of it. Since the defeat, however, we no longer trust the older and wiser heads and have come to feel that the opposite of whatever they say is the truth about life. Revolution and love are in fact the best, most pleasurable things in the world, and we realize it is precisely because they are so good that the older and wiser heads have spitefully fobbed off on us their sour grapes of a lie.
This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution. And, though it may be childish of me, I can't go on in simple compliance. From now on I must struggle with the world. I thought that Mother might well be the last of those who can end their lives beautifully and sadly, struggling with no one, neither hating nor betraying anyone. In the world to come there will be no room for such people.
The dying are beautiful, but to live, to survive- those things somehow seem hideous and contaminated with blood. My side has worms and Kazuko's side has snakes like the snake omens her mama fears, maybe. Kazuko values the beautiful uselessness of her mother the natural aristocrat , craves her love, admires the defeat as she resolves to not do what the "victims" her mother, brother and love Mr.
Toward the Setting Sun | Grove Atlantic
Uehara all give into giving up, rather. It was kinda creepy feeling to me that she worshipped her mother as if she were a doll or on a stage screen instead of someone to depend on. When the room became faintly light, I stared at the face of the man sleeping beside me. It was the face of a man soon to die. It was an exhausted face. The face of a victim. A precious victim. It needs more, many more valuable, unfortunate victims. In the present world, the most beautiful thing is a victim.
Start a revolution without a Jesus love. I love Kazuko for doing something, no matter where the love came from throwing herself blindness, girlish fantasies, whatever. Staying the same as helplessness is only as glamorous as staring at a picture. You can't take it with you. My point, I guess, is that her mama never fought for anything. Kazuko may have loved the victims but I love the revolution. They'll leave you alone every time, those victims. Little girls forever What is that foriegn feeling, anyway?
View all 5 comments. Jul 12, Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it Shelves: japanese-fiction. An analysis of sickness and love in the grip of large scale sickness and destruction. An analysis without recourse to logical analysis - like poetry. But also heroic and perpetually necessary. Through his own egocentricism and resolute determination to remain authentic, Dazai wrote a book that gets to the heart of a universal individualism, while at the same time advocating for transient beauties and dissolution and suicide. So instead of looking toward thinkers for a way out, she looks toward nature, in the classical Japanese way, to the hope that autumn chrysanthemums will restore her sick mother a mother who is sick and unnamed throughout the book, and so a symbolic stand-in for Japan itself.
But the flowers don't do it, for nothing but heroic love can restore whatever remains of meaning in a devastated world. View all 20 comments. Jan 10, Kimley rated it it was amazing Shelves: 20th-century , japanese. I pretty much walked around the city in a daze for quite a while not knowing what to make of any of it.
I frankly still don't know what to make of any of it So I can't even imagine what it must have been like for not just the Japanese but for everyone to go from a pre-nukes world to witnessing the near annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is the story of one aristocratic family in Japan in the years immediately following the war and their struggles to cope not only financially but intellectually, emotionally, morally and spiritually.
The war itself is scarcely mentioned but it weighs heavily on every page - the anger, resentment, confusion, disbelief. Dazai's style is so simple and straight-forward that even when you know something is coming, the ease in which he states it frequently ends up being quite shocking. The story deals primarily with the three members of the immediate family. The elderly, dying mother who is broken-hearted that the family can no longer afford to live in their Tokyo house and must move to a small house in the country. Her grown daughter who is the main focus of the story and who is grasping at anything, no matter how remote or abstract, that could possibly give her life any purpose or meaning.
And the son who actually fought in the war and who is seeking to remove himself as far from reality as possible with drugs and alcohol. Some of them make it and some of them don't Sadly Dazai himself did not and committed suicide in about a year after this book, which had given him his greatest success, came out. View all 17 comments. Mar 13, Elie F rated it really liked it Shelves: japanese. Oba Yozo, the protagonist in Dazai's No Longer Human, is my earliest literary crush at the age of early I loved Yozo's struggle against the abyss between himself and the society which ended with a total failure.
The Setting Sun is similar, also a confession-style story told by Kazuko and also her brother Naoji who is struggling with an engulfing propensity to isolation. But unlike Yozo who thinks family is a nonsensical entity, Kazuko and Naoji regard their family and its aristocratic stat Oba Yozo, the protagonist in Dazai's No Longer Human, is my earliest literary crush at the age of early But unlike Yozo who thinks family is a nonsensical entity, Kazuko and Naoji regard their family and its aristocratic status as a potential source of salvation, but the fragile familial tie breaks eventually and leaves them in total despair.
Returning to Dazai after reading other post-war Japanese writers such as Mishima and Kawabata, I feel that Dazai's nihilistic despair is less aesthetic but more abysmal.
Reflection and introspective confession sucks one into the abyss of one's moral depravity independent of one's surrounding. Victims of a transitional period of morality. That is what we both certainly are. For Dazai, unlike Mishima or Kawabata, moral revolution itself already constitutes beauty, but what's more tragically beautiful is the unchanged water below the surface of revolution: one can call it depravity, or tenderness. View 2 comments. Oct 26, Magdalen rated it really liked it Shelves: japan. Despite the absence of action "The setting sun is a quite interesting book which gives the reader an insight of Japanese culture in the post war era.
Here Dazai shows the struggles of an aristocratic japanese family. He is straight forward and sometimes rather lyrical and always precise. Given the fact that the book is slow paced the final chapters make up for it. I fancy Osamu Dazai's prose, his views towards life and his autobiographical writing. I liked Naoji and his letters made me love h Despite the absence of action "The setting sun is a quite interesting book which gives the reader an insight of Japanese culture in the post war era.
I liked Naoji and his letters made me love him more. He slaps society's values by proving that depression can be indeed a disease of the high class. It's a book that will overwhelm you with so many feelings. Not my first time reading Dazai, discernibly, just like any of his other works this one is full of existential Japanese impact. The characters are well-sketched but samey, they don't seem to have any direction or tend to grow, moreover, I couldn't myself draw any connection with the characters at any point.
The setting is okay and the plot is not forced but isn't that captivating either, I found it Not my first time reading Dazai, discernibly, just like any of his other works this one is full of existential Japanese impact. The setting is okay and the plot is not forced but isn't that captivating either, I found it rather plodding. Though it's not amongst Dazai's autobiographical works, a lot of instances in the book draws heavily on his own experiences.
It's not something that I'd go out of my way to recommend but, you might want to check out this book. It's just so depressing that you may kinda end up liking it lol. Deary me, isn't it tough to be an aristocrat with no money and no other skills in postwar Japan. Deary me, isn't it tough to be an artist with no money and no other skills in postwar Japan. Deary me, isn't it tough to be a novelist with no money and no other skills in postwar Japan. I could go on, and it is entirely possible I missed the point, but you perhaps see my petit-bourgeois biases c What I learnt from reading The Setting Sun one hot September Sunday afternoon in my garden in Abiko: 1.
I could go on, and it is entirely possible I missed the point, but you perhaps see my petit-bourgeois biases coming through. Namely, that while I was sympathetic to the narrator who is stuck tending to her dying mother, the rest of the characters whining about their hard lives of selling their inheritances and going into debt so they could go out boozing every night, just brought out judgementalism in me, as perhaps I was supposed to feel? As crappy as their post-aristocratic lives were, they still were alive unlike many of their compatriots.
With more sensible disposal of their assets and a bit of hard work they could have been sitting pretty instead of heading to an early grave. Oh, yeah, it was symbolic. Ok, whatever. I must say that Donald Keene's translation read very well I have no idea how accurate it was, but it was easy to read although I did skip quickly through a few pages, particularly the layabout aristocrat's self-indulgent suicide note and various bits of no-doubt meaningful scraps of scripture that left me looking at my garden thinking about all the weeds that needed trimming.
I guess the book was well done, and maybe of great interest to other Japan hands, but it just wasn't a book for me. View all 4 comments. Jun 07, AC rated it really liked it Shelves: novels-japanese-asian , japan. I'm not sure what to say about this - I can see that it was an important book -- there are moments of lyrical beauty in it - But it is very hard to adjudge a book written in Japanese when read by an English only speaker On the other hand, the angst of the writer and the character -- Dazai himself committed suicide -- is Death is not a very revolutionary act.
It is clinical Even if they ultimately prove impossible to sustain. Of course, this is the problem with a lot not all, but still a lot I'm thinking mainly of kitsch -- and its descendants. In philosophy, almost nothing will likely last of the past 65 years, apart from Quine -- and possibly nothing from the last years -- Though such sweeping statements will always prove false, I guess And I haven't read much in epistemology.
The breakthroughs in science will last That, too, is a genre. View all 9 comments. In the same fashion as his predecessors, Natsume Soseki Kokoro and Tanizaki Junichiro Naomi , Dazai provides an insightful historical account in The Setting Sun , as much as he draws a story of intense emotional appeal. All three of these prominent novelists have written, so deftly, about a Japan in a period of great uncertainty amid rapid change. This change can be interpreted as a period of natural transition or one of unpredictable upheaval. Dazai's story is set in post-war Japan and recoun In the same fashion as his predecessors, Natsume Soseki Kokoro and Tanizaki Junichiro Naomi , Dazai provides an insightful historical account in The Setting Sun , as much as he draws a story of intense emotional appeal.
Dazai's story is set in post-war Japan and recounts the fall of an aristocratic family. This upper-class family loses everything they possess; all their remaining wealth disappears, and with it their status and privilege too. Through the narrator and heroine, Kazuko, and her brother Naoji, Dazai takes us through a poignant series of tragic occurrences. His straightforward manner of prose is concise, lucid, and compelling.
The best aspect of this novel is the beauty and power of its heroine. I was moved by her intelligent and self-less manner. This work is Dazai's magnum opus and has influenced generations of writers after him, and should be read by those who love Japanese literature.
Feb 22, Zak rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction. So the more we read farther, the more we feel guiltily embittered. However, there are a few points worth sharing with my Goodreads friends as follows. In that case, your mother is good for ninety! Scoundrels live a long time. The beautiful die young. Mother is beautiful. But I want her to live a long time. I was at a loss what to say. My lower lip began to tremble, and tears brimmed over. Finally, this novel is readable in its first three fourths but, after that, its readers should read it wisely and leave it at that.
View all 6 comments. Oct 12, Jacquelyn rated it really liked it. This is the first time I've read anything by Osamu Dazai. Apparently, Dazai was a tragic figure - he became addicted to morphine and made several suicide attempts before he succeeded in The translator's notes say that he was considered one of the great chroniclers of contempory Japanese life.
The story is about the decline of the aristocracy after the war. The images that Dazai brings to the reader are startling in their hue and weight - the mother who sips her soup from the end of the spo This is the first time I've read anything by Osamu Dazai. The images that Dazai brings to the reader are startling in their hue and weight - the mother who sips her soup from the end of the spoon, fluttering it as she does so, like a sparrow. We encounter the family's reduction in means, and their attempts to fit into a rural village, where they moved after they lost the mansion.
The daughter, Kazuko, engages in farm labour which 'coarsens' her. The son, Naoji, is a violent young man who spends the remaining family wealth on drugs and drinking in Tokyo. The defeat of Japan is never explicitly explored, only the effects on the people. The reader - or at least THIS reader - will see some of the trials and humiliations of this family as simply annoying.
After all, as they are being lowered to the working class, there are many already there who would yearn to be in this family's shoes. But the details of the people and their lives are compelling. I will try to find more of Dazai! Feb 16, Anima rated it really liked it. But perhaps, just as it is true of my love, they could not go on living except in the way they do. If it is true that man, once born into the world, must somehow live out his life, perhaps the appearance that people make in order to go through with it, even if it is as ugly as their appearance, should not be despised.
To be alive, to be alive. An intolerably immense undertaking before which one can only gasp in apprehension Life is too dreary to endure. What feelings do you suppose a man has when he realizes that he will never know happiness or glory as long as he lives? Hard work. All that amounts to is food for the wild beasts of hunger. There are too many pitiful people That is what we both certainly are But I think that in this first engagement, I have been able to push back the old morality, however little.
And I intend to fight a second and a third engagement together with the child who will be born. To give birth to the child of a man I love, and to raise him, will be the accomplishment of my moral revolution I am proud of you and I trust I shall make the child who is to be born feel proud of you.
A bastard and his mother. We will live in perpetual struggle with the old morality, like the sun Mar 24, Kao Narvna rated it it was amazing. Osamu Dazai's The Setting Sun was a book I had read quite a few years ago, though not in an especially notable amount of depth. Having read it once again, it has clicked with me far deeper than I recall. This piece of Dazai's in particular tackles illness, addiction, and suicide--all topics not particularly far from home, especially the latter of the three.
Overall, the entirety of the tale gives me a forlorn, almost melancholic feeling--appropriately so. Not all stories must or should have ha Osamu Dazai's The Setting Sun was a book I had read quite a few years ago, though not in an especially notable amount of depth. Not all stories must or should have happy endings, and often the best way to close a negative tale is with acceptance.
With the inclusion of letters to an unlikely and already wed lover, recollections of death, an abundance of emotion was displayed through otherwise hollow words. The familiar settings and circumstances, though unfortunate, also assisted in the displays of content, for me specifically-- view spoiler [most notably in the inclusion of written confessions of love, and an unfortunate suicide note making up all of chapter seven, a rough read for anyone, myself included.
The serpent is both good and evil, representing death and yomi and much as it represented growth and fertility. Snakes are present in nearly all accounts of death or illness throughout the pages of this book, including dreams, gardens, or right beside a person as they past.
Dazai's work contains a large amount of poetic symbolism in a rather general sense, and should be paid close attention to, to fully grasp the meaning of his writing--in my opinion, of course. Her brother is off, supposedly at war, and wrought with addiction to opiates. Their husband has died, they've lost their greatest friends, and overall struggle with themselves, their suitors, and their family toils--death especially.
In due time, the brother, Naoji, does return--though as much of an addict as you might suspect, despite his vows to quit. The character most focused upon is the mother, as she gradually falls into eternal slumber despite her beauty and resilience. Inevitably, their death is what drives the death of the sibling, having not even a shred of anything to live for, and having known their death would kill her. Along with familial issues, there is also the matter of Kazuko's romantic desires with an older, married man similarly making his way towards death and reeking of addiction, much akin to Naoji--conveniently enough, Naoji was a student or apprentice of sorts, if you can call drinking alongside him and occasionally working either of those things.
All in all, the characters and their respective struggles are well tied in to each other, balanced, and fully aware of each other. There is no one sided or two dimensional character to be found, as far as I could see. Though I also recommend doing a bit of background information on the author beforehand, as his life, struggles, and perspective may offer a massive amount of insight into the philosophy behind this title.
Apr 21, David rated it it was ok Shelves: big-red-circle. I re-read this as I remembered so little about it. It's charming and depressing. I liked the early part, but the angsty aristos and artists annoyed after a while.
I am better off dead. I haven't the capacity to stay alive. I have I re-read this as I remembered so little about it. I haven't the strength to quarrel with people over money. I can't even touch people for a hand-out. Jan 21, Andrew added it Shelves: japanese-fiction. It's unfortunate that Dazai doesn't get widely read in this country, because this is some amazing shit. If Japan had a Rimbaud, it would be this dude.
While it's an often bleak story of aristocratic life at loggerheads with the modern age, it's an unbelievably touching portrait of a family, akin to many of the Japanese films of the postwar era. Mar 12, BookishStitcher rated it it was amazing. Published in after Japan's loss in WWII, Dazai-san wrote a book about an aristocratic family that falls into poverty after the war. The various members of the family fall into ruin because they don't know how to cope in this new world. Dazai-san committed suicide shortly after this book.
Triggers: Suicide, drugs, 4. Read for free here This was a hard book for me to review, and took me a long time to figure out how to write. This book made strange feelings develop within me, the melancholy feeling of nostalgia, for a life I had never lived. The feeling of not belonging, and recollection as though reading my own memories back.
The feeling of familiarity, as though this was my own diary I was reading back. The Setting Sun is by far one of Dazai Osamu's best works. Since I started reading his publications, I was Read for free here This was a hard book for me to review, and took me a long time to figure out how to write.
It's not hard to see why this is celebrated as one of Dazai's best works. It took me much too long to read this, truly, taking me five months to get through the whole of this novella. But in itself, I felt so low when reading it, I couldn't bring myself to read it. I felt like weeping whenever I opened it, and it took me time to grow accustomed to Dazai's way of writing, to be able to come to it and sit and read through it.
The writing itself is pure art, and seems as melancholy as our main character feels. It fills the reader with a strange sense of longing, familiarity, the sense of familial values, and a life not lived to full potential. A sense of betrayal, love, loss and many other things of which I could list all day long. Most noted throughout the novel, was the presence of snakes within the story. Snakes are an animal with a large amount of symbolism in Japanese culture - it represents both good and evil, and death and fertility.
We know more about how birds and reptiles and fish navigate than we do about mammals such as whales or wildebeest, but one part of the puzzle is revealed in the latest edition of Current Biology. Richard Holland of Bangor University's School of Natural Sciences, who has also studied navigational systems in birds, has looked at the navigational systems used by tiny soprano pipistrelle bats.
What the latest research has revealed is that, despite being nocturnal creatures, these bats use the direction of the setting sun over the Baltic Sea to re-calibrate their internal magnetic compass. Hiding the setting sun's rays and showing a mirror image to half the bats, the scientists then released bats from a special release box which tracked their footprints as they left the cage. As the direction of their exit has been found to accurately reflect the direction of flight, the scientists saw that adult bats exposed to the mirror image of the setting sun had re-calibrated their internal magnetic compass to this new information, and had followed that trajectory on their flight.
Instead of heading for the Baltic Sea, as the adult bats who saw the setting sun had done, they few east. However, not all bats use the same system. Earlier research by the team had shown that homing bats, who do not undertake lengthy migrations rely on their ability to see the polarised refraction of the sun set to recalibrate their internal magnetic compass.
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Another factor revealed by the research is that young bats undertaking their first migration did not innately know the direction of flight, meaning that it is a learnt behaviour. This is at odds with birds, who inherit the sense of direction of their migration route. Studying bats as a 'model' can provide us with a greater understanding of the different mechanisms used by mammals to navigate over large distances.
The study involved some 54 bats, half of which acted as control. Those bats whose internal calibration had been confounded, would have had their natural navigation system re-set at the next dusk, to continue their journey. Explore further. More from Biology and Medical. Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors.
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