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The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa 0th Edition
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"Kawabata is an important writer in world literature, best known for delicate, sometimes other-worldly novels like Snow Country. The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa shows another side of the writer, which is experimental and most definitely of this world. Nevertheless, one can see aspects of the novelistespecially his relationship to women and their (in his eyes) short-lived physical beautywhich would be developed and refined in his later work. The book also evokes aspects of urban Japan at the end of the 1920s better than anything else I have read. Donald Richie's introduction is a great asset to the book."Theodore W. Goossen, editor of The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories
Top Customer Reviews
Nominally, the story revolves around The Scarlet Gang, one of many youth gangs running around Asakusa at the time. Their exploits are related by a nameless, first-person narrator, whose association with members of the gang gives him an excuse to wander around Asakusa and observe various aspects of life there, in a detached and casual manner. Often, the things he sees are unrelated to each other, and he flits from place to place without lingering anywhere for too long, which makes his account seem more like a set of anecdotes about Asakusa life than like a coherent narrative.Read more ›
Do not look for a narrative. Do not look for a love story. Look for the scene of the OSAKURA former zone of bohemian life with all tis humanity, beggars, theatre, brothels, women used and neglected. It is a short book divided into many scenes which consists of descriptions or sketches of daily life. It gives a good idea of low Japanese society completely different from the modern technology based system. Thee is no story, there are simply impressions of a slice of humanity which you revisit hundreds of times.
This was my first introduction to Kawabata, and was a wonderful read. It made me want to know more about the time and that world, and to read more Kawabata-an author I have learned to deeply respect and admire and cherish.