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The Youth of ThingsLife and Death in the Age of Kajii Motojiro$
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Stephen Dodd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838409

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838409.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Youth of Things
Author(s):

Stephen Dodd

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838409.003.0023

This book explores the themes of life and death in the literature of Kajii Motojirō (1901–1932). Kajii died at an early age from tuberculosis, leaving about twenty short stories and a larger number of unfinished works. Because of his short writing career, Kajii is viewed as a minor writer in the history of modern Japanese literature. Despite this, there is a considerable body of critical works devoted to Kajii in Japan, although it is largely biographical in nature. Kajii's work asks some basic questions related to life and death, including his own mortality. This book examines Kajii's life and work in relation to modern Japanese identity and how it was formed. It considers the nature of Kajii's literary representation of the body and his role in constructing a language for modern literature. It also discusses various themes that are tackled by Kajii in his writings, from tuberculosis and isolation to self-exploration, fractured identity, modernism, and the commodification of life.

Keywords:   life, death, Kajii Motojirō, tuberculosis, Japanese literature, Japan, mortality, Japanese identity, fractured identity, modernism

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