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A Dark Night's Passing
Shiga Naoya Showed His Childishness?
Date:28, Feb, 2021
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Shiga Naoya is the Japanese late novelist who had lived from 1883 to 1971. Have you ever heard? No problem if no. He already passed away about 50 years ago, will never complain. And “A Dark Night's Passing” is his only full-length novel on and off written from 1921 to 1937. Oh, how long! It took 16 years. As you know, the years mattered to the world very much. In 1929 October, America got Wall Street Crash. That caused the Great Depression that went on over the world. America was the worldwide moneylender at the time, borrowed many countries like Germany and France. Then she fell down, all fell down. And another disaster visited Japan in 1923. Tokyo was attacked by the quake, they all met destruction.

What did Shiga Naoya describe in the turbulent times? He wrote the story about his family. “A Dark Night's Passing” is the tale about a Japanese male novelist who wanders over Japan, who so worries about his father and his wife. His wife cheated, he suffered. Through many scenes, the unfaithful wife finally vows to go with her husband forever. It is the long story in short.

Shiga Naoya had released short stories depicting his private life like a feud with his father, before published “A Dark Night's Passing.” Patriarchy was solid and dominant in the early 20th century Japan, few children could conflict with fathers. Fathers were the Absolute in each family. So I suppose admired many usual youngsters who read short stories by Shiga Naoya.

Then, is “A Dark Night's Passing” also the refection of his private life? I cannot agree, since I have nothing to prove his real wife cheated actually. Instead, I know what proves he cheated. Around 1923 when the earthquake gave great damage to Tokyo, he had love affair with a woman who worked at a tea house in Kyoto. And he wrote the short story about his actual affair, published to the public. To say frankly, I feel very hard to understand what he considered. Was it harassment to his wife? Did he long to get divorced? Anyway, he released what proved he had cheated by himself. And they did not get divorced after his cheating came to light.

What did "A Dark Night's Passing" mean? I suppose Shiga Naoya just longed to declear he was not wrong, and wanted his wife to say she was willing to go with him forever. That might be the message of “A Dark Night's Passing.” How infant! you may say. I agree with you. But we are hard to find the evidence that says Shiga Naoya was never such an infant man, are not we?

About A Dark Night's Passing

・Written by Shiga Naoya





 

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