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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

20th Century Japanese Literature in Grade School Terms

20th Century Japanese Literature is often considered an impenetrable morass of nature poetry, vague description, and suicidal authors. In order to improve on this reputation and open these works up to a wider audience, we undertook an intensive program - and after months of study, we discovered that the most prominent authors (including two Nobel Prize winners) could best be understood in terms of a grade school class. This intensive research has infallibly determined that all of the writers mentioned below pretty much conform to the simplistic stereotypes I’ve reduced them to, both physically and in terms of their writing.


Mishima is someone who'd be awesome to have as your friend, like you could call him up and just tell him things and he'd understand, or else he'd be at a party and he'd be making everyone laugh and have a good time even if he was sad or pissed off about something.


Tanizaki is that funny fat kid in your class who everyone laughs with and at, and then after everyone's laughed at him he goes home and stops smiling and masturbates for five hours, and then his mom walks in and she's like "Oh, Jun'ichiro..." and he doesn't care and keeps wanking.


Kawabata is that spaced out kid that eats paste and never blinks, but sometimes gives this really strange smile even if there doesn't seem to be any reason for it.


Dazai is that guy who's pretty smart and funny, but he's kind of an asshole too and if you piss him off he doesn't really forgive you and you just end up feeling bad, even though you really have a lot in common.


Kobo Abe is that kid that's really into science and math and doesn't have any social skills.

KENZABURO OE (Nobel Prize)

Kenzaburo Oe is that kid that gets perfect grades but cries if he gets like one answer wrong on a test or something, and all his friends are girls but not in a cool way, and he's always telling on you if you try to do shit to him.


Banana is that girl that everyone likes and you'd kind of want to marry some day, but not quite yet because she doesn't seem all that exciting, even though she makes awesome cookies.


Haruki Murakami is the most popular kid in class, but he's actually really bland and you can't imagine him doing anything in the real world.


Akutagawa is the really smart and sarcastic kid who gets a little depressed sometimes.


...and Natsume Soseki is the teacher. He thinks he should really be teaching high school or college, and he's pissed off at having to dumb down his material for kids he considers beneath him. He has his lunch alone in the classroom and takes a lot of paper airplanes to the ear. Despite this, he still thinks of himself as "the cool teacher.”