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No Longer Human

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  15,046 ratings  ·  1,266 reviews
Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human, this leading postwar Japanese writer's second novel, tells the poignant and fascinating story of a young man who is caught between the breakup of the traditions of a northern Japanese aristocratic family and the impact of Western ideas. In consequence, he feels himself "disqualified from being human" (a literal translation of the Japanese ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 17th 1958 by New Directions (first published July 25th 1948)
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Cavak Aside from the endless and depressing speculation over whether it's an autobiographical work, it's a timeless piece about why putting on a mask for…moreAside from the endless and depressing speculation over whether it's an autobiographical work, it's a timeless piece about why putting on a mask for social acceptance doesn't work. And conformity is pretty big for Japanese social norms.

Why some people can be smiling and laughing with their friends in one moment yet break down the moment they are alone. To the point where they are so disconnected from their own needs that they mentally refer to themselves in the third-person. And what can happen when they lack the will to break the cycle themselves or seek real support or help. The question of what truly constitutes self-worth is asked throughout the book.

It's through the eyes of a young man, but most people have gone through this type of experience at least once in their lifetimes. Perhaps (hopefully!) not to the extremes of Oba though.(less)
Alberte Norre Let your mind become loose and take it in. Research the difficult words if needed. Try not to read it if you want to feel good or happy, this book…moreLet your mind become loose and take it in. Research the difficult words if needed. Try not to read it if you want to feel good or happy, this book will not tribute to such emotions.

Best wishes.


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Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cowards seeking change
Shelves: favorites, japanese
They say that “time assuages”,—
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do, with age.

Time is a test of trouble,
But not a remedy.
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no malady.

Emily Dickinson, Part Four: Time and Eternity, The Complete Poems


Everything passes. (169)

A gentle breeze brushes the branches of luxuriant trees brimming with cherry blossoms which surround the quaint park bench I chose as my reading spot. A diaphanous cloud softly attached to the sun
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: made-ups
I spent like three years just crazy depressed. Grim thoughts all the time, super self destructive, at once alienating and distributing "cries for help" or whatever you wanna call it... sheesh, man. It was so fucked. I'm really glad I got out of that frame of mind and I hope I never go back. No Longer Human was something I read toward the end of that phase. I probably would have been okay anyway, but this shit helped a ton. Dazai totally nails the impossibly bummed out mindset without being corny ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: にほん
Behind ballads of an orphaned heart,
Lay poetic trance of a love’s facade.
Dreads the ghostly art within hazy shades,
Human shame in comic masquerades.
Inebriated words coughing in notebooks
Empty sake bottles in curls of smoke,
Vice or virtue, the gullible spirit brags
Diabolical tales of a death mask.
“Everything passes”, cried the blue cradle
Slept, the wings of a fallen angel.

A solitary word blissfully prances from the anxious mind, fears the disintegration of its syllables; the distorted enunciation
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, japan
Those days where you wake up with your head in a fog and your body feeling like it's covered in bricks that you have to dig your way out of, and your leg is asleep so you trip getting out of bed, and you're late for work so of course the traffic's bad leading you to road-rage across lanes accelerating then braking back and forth again while muttering to yourself about how stupid everyone is and you're so glad it's Sunday in their fucking world because all the drivers are 90 years old and frail ...more
Horace Derwent
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book, is just another motherfucker for me when i crusade in the holyland on one certain day

i can see why most of the japanese parents don't want their kids to read this book

here's some parts of my review (i don't know how i cud write this, maybe i was possessed by something at the time):

i am sorry for being a human

i need booze, i need drugs, i need vaginas, but i can quit them all at any time when i just need death

i don't need love, i don't need pride, i don't need duty, but it seems i am
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, japan
It's the worst thing when people refuse to bullshit, right? Can you imagine? They might wander off in the middle of a sentence because you're boring. They would tell you when your jokes are lame. They could never hold a job, much less a family. It's not sociopathy, it's more like catastrophic self-awareness. It doesn't work out for Ōba any more than it would work for you.

Didn't work for his big influence, Dostoevsky, either, although I just reminded myself, as I do about once a year, that
This novel was utterly perfect and so masterfully written. The prose is one of the most charming I've come across and I absolutely loved it. It's one of those books which I wish I had a printed copy so that I could smell and underline mostly everything, write comments next to paragraphs etc. Unfortunately, I cannot and that makes me sad.

Hadn't I watched Bungo stray dogs and hadn't I identified as Osamu Dazai and hadn't I loved this character so much I would probably not have read this book soon
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
What is it with young men in so much Japanese literature? Whether it's Murakami, Mishima, Soseki, or Dezai they always come across as either lonely, shut-off or damaged (or some combination of the three). Yozo feels about as radically alienated from the world as any character could be. Even bitchy little Holden Caulfield never carried half as much angst as the main character in No Longer Human seems to have. And the loneliness he feels is all the more painful because of how deeply internalized ...more
I guess, lost, alienated, young men are my favorite people when it comes to literature; Holden Caulfield, Clay, Tyler Durden, and now Yozo. Yozo's detached from the rest of the world, he's pretty convinced that he's not just another Human being. This reminds me so much of Catcher in the Rye; while the prose is nothing like Catcher in the rye, it still seems like Japanese CITR to me. No Longer Human is the loneliest piece of fiction I've ever read. It was painful to read about Yozo, isolated from ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: I am terrified
Recommended to Mariel by: the stupid, the proud
No Longer Human... Yozo believes halfheartedly (it doesn't beat strongly enough to be whole) himself to be an outcast. He feels nothing in himself to connect himself to himself, let alone others. I have to say that I didn't feel he was different from other people. All along I was disregarding the not being human parts. It wasn't different to feel behind blank walls, a gravity for numbness and not having to think. I kinda think (aha!) one has to know themselves a bit before they can begin ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the very beginning of No Longer Human, Dazai lays out his narrator's plight in clear, stark terms:

Although I had a mortal dread of human beings I seemed quite unable to renounce their society. I managed to maintain on the surface a smile which never deserted my lips; this was the accommodation I offered to others, a most precarious achievement performed by me only at the cost of excruciating efforts within.

The narrator, Yozo, born into a wealthy political family in rural northeastern Japan,
ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, japanese
No Longer Human - a book with which I was not comfortable - a book which constantly frustrated me. Was that why I read it in a day - to be done with it - to be able to put it back on the shelf? But still, four solid stars - recommended to those who suffer - i.e. humans

A story of a man with a lifelong depression - a depression which leaves him incapable of maintaining any kind of positive human relationship. I could almost relate to that except that this character, Yozo, never seems to learn hide
Khashayar Mohammadi
I couldn't stop thinking about Yukio Mishima while reading this book. A strange and eerily atmospheric book that sucked me in from the very first chapter. Although the whole dissociation with humans was a bit overtly explicit for my taste, I enjoyed reading it very much.
Jon Nakapalau
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Caught between the past and the present a young man (Oba Yozo) finds that he is becoming more and more alienated from society and any sort of future. His decent into existential crisis is the reason why this book is so often compared to The Stranger by Albert Camus.
Gertrude & Victoria
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-library
I consider this book to be the bible for the disaffected artist. No Longer Human was the final novel written by Dazai Osamu. It is also his magnum opus and a true-to-life representation of the restless and tormented spirit that Dazai was. This work could be taken, at least to a certain extent, as an autobiographical account of the writer himself.

Oba the main character recognizes, from early childhood, his place in the world, which is no place, neither here nor there. He feels pangs of alienation
Ben Loory
the opening of this book, which is a description of three photographs taken of a man over the course of his life, is one of the most best and disturbing things i've ever read. just an absolutely thrilling beginning. the rest of the book doesn't quite live up to it, although it often comes close. it feels a lot like The Stranger or Notes from Underground. i only wish it built more instead of kind of petering out.
May 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, 2015
Fails to deliver and didn't captivate me or draw me in in any serious way at all. Time passes, and things happen, but I feel like there's no reason for me to care. I don't feel anything reading this, and that's odd considering the topics dealt with. 177 pages blow by and leave no mark or trace at all. There are beautiful passages here, to be sure, but the book is, in my opinion, largely forgettable. Perhaps an issue with the translation?
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nippon
The quiddity of No Longer Human was a game of antonyms. I found the novel heartbreaking because of the protagonist’s clarity; this isn’t a ready world for such vision.
Alex V.
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
No Longer Human is brutal, and about as accurate a portrait of the skewing effects the twin corrupters of narcissism and depression can have on a life. The narrator, based closely on Dazai's own life, is insufferable, not only to those around him but to himself and yet like a corrosive fog, he consumes everyone and everything with whom he comes in contact.

Anyone blessed enough to not have depression in them will likely not find much to like in this book, but for the rest of us, Dazai is
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't put it down today and read most of it in one sitting.

I've come to sympathize with Yozo, the narrator, a twenty-something haunted by his feelings of inadequacy since childhood—or the feelings of being "disqualified as a human being" as the original title in Japanese suggests.

Yozo had an aristocratic upbringing. Servants catered to his every need. Mother and father, naturally, were distant. After being "violated" by the servants, and being unable to tell anyone
Oct 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, fiction
Second Review [3.75 stars]

Keenly interested in a column in a Thai newspaper dated November 5th, 2017 showing a book cover of a translated novel in Thai titled สูญสินความเปนคน, I recalled reading this book No Longer Human last year and it has roughly similar meaning as compared with the Thai title. Incidentally, I need time to have a look at the Thai version since, I think, it's interesting to read and compare the Thai version translated from Japanese into Thai as a second language (L2) with the
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who like suicidal memoir and depressing fiction
After reading a brief synopsis, I never thought I'd be able to finish this book without weeping at least once. Surprisingly enough, I read through the entire book without shedding a single tear but I ended up feeling extremely depressed from a debilitating ache in my chest. If you are someone who struggles with alienation, depression and habitual dread of human being then this book will impose itself on your mind/existence and offer you an immense sense of comfort and belonging. I read this book ...more
Adam Dalva
An absolutely incredible frame narrative sandwiching 150 pages of good, disturbing, self-analytical writing in the vein of, say, Knut Hamsun's Hunger or Notes from the Underground. The frame - the opening a description of three photographs, the ending a major insight on human nature - goes a long way toward redeeming the strange, alienating notes of misogyny, violence, and illogic that Yozo and his narrative occasionally suffer from.

This reminds me of Proust in some ways in its vivid
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 added it
Shelves: japanese
The Bourgeois Anti-Bourgeois Novel

Well, supposedly no longer human, but really very human, very bourgeois. I have heard this is assigned in the Japanese school curriculum: and nothing gets assigned in an official curriculum unless it supports the middle class. (Sorry, I've been reading too much Bernhard recently, especially "Gathering Evidence.")
Abdulrahman The
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Good novel. Average translation. Ending is pretty good.
With only 177 pages you would think No Longer Human would be a breeze and yet it was one of the heaviest books I've read among the thick ones. The author, Osamu Dazai, committed suicide shortly after it was published. Depressing, despairing, and detached, it tells of Oba's story, his struggles to fit in and cope in a world where finding life's purpose is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But what is more difficult than trying to find a purpose only to find yourself an outlier and outcast ...more
Dazai, you are one morose motherfucker. It's too easy to call him a Japanese De Quincey, a Japanese Wertherian hero, or some such thing. He's nothing of the sort. I imagine that lots of mopey middle class Japanese kids hold this book as tight as we held our copies of Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar, but unlike those other two books, you have the sense in No Longer Human that it's not only one person collapsing, but a whole civilization. And yet there's no melodrama. It is as terse and dark ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"(...) and how I was cursed by the unhappy peculiarity that the more I feared people the more I was liked, and the more I was liked the more I feared them—a process which eventually compelled me to run away from everybody."
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i read this and automatically thought the stranger but while i hated the stranger i absolutely loved this.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard-hitting and so very human.

Deemed by many to be semi-autobiographical of Dazai’s own life, and indeed his suicide note to the world.
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Osamu DAZAI (太宰 治, real name Shūji TSUSHIMA) was a Japanese author who is considered one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan. A number of his most popular works, such as Shayō (The Setting Sun) and Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human), are considered modern-day classics in Japan.
With a semi-autobiographical style and transparency into his personal life, Dazai’s stories have
“Now I have neither happiness nor unhappiness.

Everything passes.

That is the one and only thing that I have thought resembled a truth in the society of human beings where I have dwelled up to now as in a burning hell.

Everything passes.”
“I am convinced that human life is filled with many pure, happy, serene examples of insincerity, truly splendid of their kind-of people deceiving one another without (strangely enough) any wounds being inflicted, of people who seem unaware even that they are deceiving one another.” 334 likes
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