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Masuji Ibuse


Masuji Ibuse was born in 1897 in Fukuyama. His father was a well-to-do landowner. He initially wanted to be a painter and asked the painter Hashimoto Kansetsu if he could be his disciple. However, he eventually turned his attention to literature. He studied literature at Waseda University, where he specialised in French literature. Because of a dispute with a professor he left without graduating but soon started writing on his own. He started writing short stories and had his first story published in 1923. His writing owed much to the Shinkogeijutsu-ha school, a modernist school set up in opposition to the proletarian literature of the time. He started receiving critical attention by the end of the 1920s. During the war he was conscripted and worked in the propaganda unit. After the war he wrote a novel satirising the army way of life. He was thought to have retired when he published Kuroi ame (Black Rain) in 1965. This novel, about the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, attracted worldwide attention and was made into a successful Japanese film. He died in 1993.

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Masuji Ibuse
Ibuse Masuji


(only books translated into English)
1929 山椒魚(Salamander and Other Stories)
1930-1938 ざなみ軍記 (Waves)
1937 ジョン万次郎漂流記 (John Manjiro, the Cast-Away: His Life and Adventures)
1950 遙拜隊長 (Lieutenant Lookeast and Other Stories)
1952 本日休診 (No Consultations Today)
1965 黒い雨 (Black Rain)
1970 Two Stories
1987 Castaways: Two Short Novels (contains Oshima no zonnengaki (A Geisha Remembers) and ジョン万次郎漂流記 (John Manjiro: A Castaway’s Chronicle)