Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yojiro Ishizaka

I think Yojiro Ishazaka wished he could tell the young people in his life things, too.

I discovered him more or less by accident when I was doing "cultural expeditions" with my children years ago: there's a permanent Yojiro Ishizaka exhibition in the building next to the Hirosaki Library.

A university professor, born and raised in Hirosaki, he wrote innumerable books during his long (1900 - 1986) life. His novels were so wildly popular that today I counted at least 50 movies that have been based on his books.

You would think that anyone that popular would have been translated into English! But the only translation I know of is the book Hannah Sawada (Hirosaki University) translated for her students and published last year. I think he's "too Japanese." And when I say "too Japanese" I mean that he's not what Westerners think is Japanese. His characters are too forthright - they make long speeches that cut to the heart of the issues at hand.

When I first read his books (10 years ago?) they simply blew me away.

Lately Mary, John and I have been watching the movies. They've lost their shock value - but they still make me think!


Peter said...

Aitsuto??... What's the title? I've also been drawn in to the pleasant differences of the Japanese perspective of "media" as opposed to the American one. (read: shameless plug from this anime enthusiast, watch RahXephon! Sorry.) The Japanese have a way of making movies, books, (cartoons) in a way that doesn't insult your intelligence.

Laurie Elliot said...

Aitsu to Watashi (i.e.That Guy and Me)...

Peter from Wisconsin? Does this mean Peter Mesyk?!

I'm not much of an Anime fan... but we do watch all the Ghibley Anime. Are you familiar with that company? And I'm crazy about old films. They feel more exotic somehow - I guess because I live here new films a bit ordinary.

Laurie Elliot said...

Last sentence: - I guess because I live here, new films seem a bit ordinary!