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- DescriptionSan'ya, Tokyo's largest day-laborer quarter and the only one with lodgings, had been Oyama Shiro's home for twelve years when he took up his pen and began writing about his life as a resident of Tokyo's most torious neighborhood. After completing a university education, Oyama entered the business workforce and appeared destined to walk the same path as many a salaryman. A singular temperament and a deep loathing of conformity, however, altered his career trajectory dramatically. Oyama left his job and moved to Osaka, where he lived for three years. Later he returned to the corporate world but fell out of it again, this time for good. After spending a short time on the streets around Shinjuku, home to Tokyo's bustling entertainment district, he moved to San'ya in 1987, at the age of forty. Oyama ackwledges his eccentricity and his inability to adapt to corporate life. Spectacularly unsuccessful as a salaryman yet uncomfortable in his new surroundings, he portrays himself as an outsider both from mainstream society and from his adopted home. It is precisely this outsider stance, however, at once dispassionate yet deeply engaged, that caught the eye of Japanese readers. The book was published in Japan in 2000 after Oyama had submitted his manuscript-on a lark, he confesses-for one of Japan's top literary awards, the Kaiko Takeshi Prize. Although he was astounded actually to win the award, Oyama remained in character and elected to preserve the anymity that has freed him from all social bonds and obligations. The Cornell edition contains a new afterword by Oyama regarding his career since his inadvertent brush with fame.
- Author BiographyOyama Shiro is a pseudonym. Edward Fowler teaches Japanese literature and film at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of San'ya Blues: Laboring Life in Contemporary Tokyo, also from Cornell.
- Author(s)Oyama Shiro
- PublisherCornell University Press
- Date of Publication11/08/2005
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Place of PublicationIthaca
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintCornell University Press
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight314 g
- Width127 mm
- Height203 mm
- Spine18 mm
- Translated byEdward Fowler
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