Brings the work of an important contemporary Japanese writer to an English-speaking audience


Furui Yoshikichi deals with the human dramas of growing up and growing old, but by probing further into the recesses of the mind and memory, he touches upon the deepest mysteries of human existence. As if to balance the somber themes of madness and death, Furui also shows a great sensitivity to the dark humor inherent in everyday life.Yōko is the story of a sensitive young man’s relationship with a beautiful young woman beset by an unidentified mental illness linked to the traumatic transition from carefree child to responsible adult. Her vivid but distorted perceptions of the world highlight the process by which reality and identity are created and provide the centerpiece for a touching, if somewhat unusual, tale of a young couple’s deepening love. Yōko won the Akutagawa Prize in 1971.Furui explores a range of human experiences on the borderline between life and death, the present and the past. Here, in particular, we find a surprisingly vital legacy of the literature and culture of premodern Japan coexisting with modern concrete and commuter trains.

Furui Yoshikichi was born in 1937 in Tokyo. He received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in German literature from Tokyo University, and after graduation he spent several years as a university instructor and publishing translations.

"An important author who portrays troubled individuals caught between the demands of society and the horror of solitude. Till now, his work has been hard to find in the West, though he has received major literary prizes in his homeland."—William Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review

"This important author's work has been hard to find in the West, and one is grateful for the translations and accompanying commentaries by Donna George Storey."
--William Ferguson, New York Times Book Review

- William Ferguson