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Futon
What Tayama Katai's Avatar Tells Us?
Date:25, Mar, 2021
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Tayama Katai was the Japanese male author born in 1872 Japan. I don't know what he is overseas, I suppose his representative work is the short novel Futon (1907) in Japan. Some say it got off to a start of Japanese naturalism. What does Japanese naturalism mean? When the authors nakedly write the stories about each own misery related to libido, those belong to Japanese naturalism automatically. I don't know why they call it naturalism. Anyway, they say it was begun by Tayama Katai with his short novel Futon.

The main character of Futon is the male author in the middle of his 30's. He was already married, but his marriage life's so boring. Everyday just passing by. One day, appears Yoshiko a female college student who looks so beautiful. She says she longs to be his apprentice in order to make a career for herself as one author. Her zeal and beauty make him consent. To say frankly, the author just fell in love with her when they met.

He deposits Yoshiko with his elder sister for keeping up appearances. He really longs to have a love affair with Yoshiko, but it no longer comes true. And days pass by again without anything special. Before long, she fell in love with Hideo the guy in her generation. The two youngsters eventually appear in front of the author, which makes him so mad. He gives expulsion to the two. He loses his beloved Yoshiko. Everything turns to the beginning. After several days, he gets to find her nightwear and futon (bedding) Yoshiko left. He silently thinks of what he lost, buries his face in them. The curtain closes.

Ending? Nothing happened, you may say. I would never disagree with you, sir. And as mentioned above, it got off to a start of Japanese naturalism. Why did the silent story become so popular and important in Japanese literature?

The main character (Tayama Katai's avatar) deeply longs to have a love affair with a beautiful girl out of ethics, but can't. He is (in a sense) the humane one. It is easily supposed others often call him rat fink. In other words, he is the one who cannot start his own story in his life. Isn't he a little like you and me?

I heard some of his novels had been translated in English in 1980's. Futon was translated as the Quilt in English. If opportunity appears in front of you, please check it out instead of me.

about Futon

・Written by Tayama Katai





 

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