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Japan's First Modern Novel, Ukigumo of Futabatei Shimei

3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  54 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Hardcover, 381 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by University of Michigan Press (first published 1887)
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Hasegawa Tatsunosuke (1864-1909)*

Nota bene:
The reviews of two related books have been combined into one and posted for both books. If you've read the one review, you've read the other. I apologize in advance for the length, but there is much in Hasegawa's life and work that interests me.

The 1880's were a time of great change in Japan and witnessed the birth of the modern novel in Japanese. Throughout the Tokugawa era (1603-1868) the novel was an officially despised form of popular entertainment
I enjoyed this one much more than I thought I would. It's the very first Japanese novel written not in classical, but in modern Japanese. I haven't read the afterword yet, but I heard that the language was greatly influenced by rakugo author Sanyutei Encho; also it's quite obvious that Futabatei Shimei learned some stuff from Russian literature.
It's a story of a young guy named Utsumi Bunzo, who is living in Tokyo with his aunt O Masa and his beautiful cousin O Sei. Bunzo and O Sei are sort of b
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
Apr 21, 2012 Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf) rated it it was amazing
In the summer of 1868, Japan ushered in an "Age of Enlightenment" known as the Meiji Period. Previous centuries of Japanese rule under a strict shogun society were quickly erased. Japan raced headlong into a decidely modern world with strong Western influences. As Japanese society began to open up, schools sprang up in Japanese cities teaching Western history, philosophy and Western languages such as English and Russian.

When the Meiji period began, Futabatei Shimei was only 4 years old. Schoole
David Haws
Oct 24, 2011 David Haws rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-fiction
The exuberant narrative asides are a little annoying—although certainly understandable in a first novel, they tend to come off as “juvenile self-regard.” But I find it hard to believe that he really didn’t complete the novel, and imagine he just refused to re-write the “happy ending” demanded by his editors. Since An Adopted Husband (その面影) is so similar, you have to wonder why Futabatei (when he started writing his own novels again) didn’t just re-publish the completed work.

First, I guess, sinc
the commentary is outdated, but it's good enough for a first-time intro to futabatei. the translation really doesn't do justice to the nuances of his prose (especially the humor!), but i guess it's also accurate enough.
Jan 30, 2013 Naotaka rated it really liked it
A very good novel despite being only 150 years old that many people can easily understand.
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Futabatei Shimei (二葉亭 四迷) was a Japanese author, translator, and literary critic. Born Hasegawa Tatsunosuke (長谷川 辰之助) in Edo (now Tokyo), Futabatei's works are in the realist style popular in the mid- to late-19th century. His work Ukigumo (Floating Clouds, 1887) is widely hailed as Japan's first modern novel.
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