This chapter contains a translation of Brief Night, one of Kubota Mantarō's many dramas in the turbulent years between the tail end of the Meiji era and Japan's postwar reconstruction. Called “the poet of Asakusa” for his delicate portrayals of the common people of his native Tokyo neighborhood, Kubota's dramas are essentially elegies to a way of life that even in the Taishō era was on its way out. Brief Night is typical of his plays—in a nutshell, it is the portrait of a pampered son (Isaburō) of a now deceased shopkeeper; the young man's poor judgment and taste for the bottle bring about the ruin of his house. The drama focuses on the negotiated breakup of Isaburō's marriage to Ofusa.
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