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Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human: The Manga Edition

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Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human: The Manga Edition

"I've led a life full of shame. Human beings are a complete mystery to me."

This manga version of novelist Osamu Dazai's masterpiece NO LONGER HUMAN—the #2 bestselling novel of all time in Japan—tells the story of Yozo Oba, a young man growing up in Japan in the immediate aftermath of World War II, who finds himself caught between the disintegration of the traditions of his aristocratic provincial family and the impact of the new postwar world.

Oba is tormented by a failure to find value in himself or human relationships despite being surrounded by women who love him. He creates the persona of a buffoon who mocks himself while entertaining others. But inside, he is tortured, and as he moves from childhood to adulthood, he becomes addicted to sex and alcohol. Largely autobiographical, No Longer Human explores Dazai's own sense of failure and alienation, which drove him to self-destruct with alcohol and numerous suicide attempts.

Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) is Japan's second most popular novelist (after Soseki), and his works are seeing a huge surge in popularity among young people worldwide thanks to the success of the recent manga, anime and film series Bungo Stray Dogs, whose protagonist, a detective called Osamu Dazai, has similar character traits to Yozo Oba. Fans of manga and anime are turning to the original No Longer Human novel, whose themes of alienation from society and an inability to reconcile social appearances with the inner self—told with great wit, irony and pathos—strike a deep chord among readers today.

About the Author:

Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) was the pen name of Shuji Tsushima, the tenth of eleven children born to a wealthy landowner and politician in the far north of Japan. Dazai studied French literature at the University of Tokyo but never received a degree. He first attracted attention in 1933 when magazines began to publish his work. Between 1930 and 1937, he made three suicide attempts, a subject he deals with in many of his short stories. Despite his troubled life and rebellious spirit, Dazai wrote in a simple and colloquial style, conveying his personal torments through literature. Dazai's life ended early in a double suicide with a married lover.

Manga adaptation by Chika Ito. Chika Ito was born in Kanagawa Prefecture and has created many manga in her home country, including Manga Carmilla Girls Only and Keita's Oboko Diary. This is her first publication in English.

Translation by Makiko Itoh. Itoh is the author of the Just Bento cookbook series and has translated many Japanese works into English including Zen Wisdom for the Anxious, and Modern Japanese Ikebana. She writes regular columns on food for The Japan Times.

-- Recommended for readers ages 16+ due to mature themes and graphic content --


Praise for Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human:
"The novel has a timeless quality: The struggle of the individual to fit into a normalizing society remains just as relevant today as it was at the time of writing." —Japan Times

"[No Longer Human] is remarkable…What makes it so in part is its utterly beguiling frankness, which somehow avoids bitterness and self-pity while not lacking in rancour or humour." —Peter Selgin, award-winning author and illustrator, for Craft Literary magazine.

"Dazai's brand of egoistic pessimism dovetails organically with the emo chic of this cultural moment…and with the inner lives of teenagers of all eras." — Andrew Martin, The New York Times.

"Today, such a writer might be castigated, condemned and turned into an instant pariah: Perhaps his books would be taken from bookshops. Yet when Osamu Dazai's short, electrifying novel, "Ningen Shikkaku" (No Longer Human), was published in 1948, it triggered a huge "Dazai Boom."…" —Damian Flanagan, The Japan Times: "A journey to hell with Osamu Dazai, Japan's ultimate bad boy novelist"

The Cult Classic That Captures the Stress of Social Alienation… The Japanese novelist Osamu Dazai wrote, better than almost anyone, about the thin line between isolation and belonging." —Jane Yong Kim, The Atlantic.

**Featured in ComicsBeat.com list of "45 Best Manga of Fall 2023"

"Since about the time of Osamu Dazai's death in 1948, the publishing firm of Tuttle has been instrumental in bringing translations of Japanese literature and culture into forms suitable for the English-speaking audience." —ICv2

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Dazai Osamu
Tuttle Publishing
Year of publication
21 Nov 2023
Number of pages
JPY 1,900

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