Translation Works
The 1st Selected Works
TITLE
Musashino fujin
(Musashino fujin)
AUTHOR
Translator
ENGLISH / Dennis Washburn published
RUSSIAN / Aida Souleimenova published
Originally Published by:
Shinchosha (1950)
KEY POINTS
  • An outstanding work from the author's early years, stemming from an effort to employ methods of the French psychological novel in the Japanese literary climate
  • A representative work of the postwar era and a bestseller that was also made into a film by Kenji Mizoguchi
SYNOPSIS
A story of chaste love that unfolds in the natural surroundings of Musashino
 
Michiko lives with her husband, Akiyama, in a house left to her by her father that is situated among the vestiges of an old-growth forest in Musashino. Michiko is 29, and 41-year-old Akiyama is a French teacher at a university. Living across the road from Michiko and Akiyama are a businessman called Ono, his flashy wife Tomiko, and their daughter Yukiko. When the war ends, Michiko's cousin Tsutomu returns from Burma.
Tsutomu goes along with Tomiko's request that he become Yukiko's private tutor, and he comes to live in Michiko's house. Tsutomu has experienced despair on battlefields, and his heart is soothed by strolls around the vast area with Michiko, with whom he has been close since they were young. Eventually, feelings of romantic love blossom between Michiko and Tsutomu. This fans the flames of jealousy in both Tomiko, who has been trying to attract Tsutomu's attention, and Akiyama, who is naturally jealous of his wife. Consequently, Akiyama and Tomiko become involved with each other, and the two married couples become enmeshed in a tangled web of adultery, vanity, and betrayal.
Michiko and Tsutomu are convinced of their mutual love, but Michiko's old-fashioned sense of morality does not permit her to move further ahead with their relationship. Michiko vows that, if she can maintain an unchanging love for Tsutomu, who so greatly excites her emotions, there will come a time when they can be together. Soon afterward, however, Akiyama shows Michiko a photograph of Tomiko and Tsutomu in an apparently intimate situation. Her vow having been undermined so quickly after it was made, Michiko has nowhere to go, so she takes an overdose of sleeping pills. The last word to leave her lips is Tsutomu's name.
 
GENRE: Popular fiction
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2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018