The Flowers of Buffoonery

(Author) (Translator)

Product Details

$14.95  $13.90
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.28 X 7.97 X 0.26 inches | 0.24 pounds

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About the Author

OSAMU DAZAI was born in 1909 into a powerful landowning family of northern Japan. A brilliant student, he entered the French department of Tokyo University in 1930, but later boasted that in the five years before he left without a degree, he had never attended a lecture. Dazai was famous for confronting head-on the social and moral crises of postwar Japan before he committed suicide by throwing himself into Tokyo's Tamagawa Aqueduct. His body was found on what would have been his 39th birthday.

Sam Bett studied Japanese at UMass Amherst and Kwansei Gakuin University. Awarded Grand Prize in the 2016 JLPP International Translation Competition, he has translated fiction by Yoko Ogawa, Yukio Mishima, and NisiOisin. He also co-hosts Us&Them, a Brooklyn-based reading series showcasing the work of writers who translate. His translation of Yukio Mishima's Star (New Directions, 2019) won the 2019 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Together with David Boyd, he is the translator of Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs.


This beguiling novella from Dazai (1909-1948) revisits the protagonist from the author's No Longer Human at a younger age...Dazai brings wit and pathos to the chronicle of Yozo's four days at the sanatorium, as Yozo's jocular banter with an art school classmate, a younger cousin, and a nurse belie a deep despair. In a few artful strokes, Dazai has sketched a memorable character.-- "Publishers Weekly"
What I despise about Dazai is that he exposes precisely those things in myself that I most want to hide.--Yukio Mishima
Dazai was an aristocratic tramp, a self-described delinquent, yet he wrote with the forbearance of a fasting scribe.--Patti Smith
Dazai's usual concerns in a lighter, more comic key, ... captures the sweetness under the pretended bravado of these baffled youth.--Andrew Martin "The New York Times"