Translation Works
To Japanese
The 1st Selected Works
School of Freedom
(Jiyu gakko)
ENGLISH / Lynne E. Riggs published
Originally Published by:
Asahi Shimbun Publications (1951)
  • A recipient of the Order of Culture and designated a Person of Cultural Merit, Bunroku Shishi humorously presents a portrayal of turbulent post-war Japan.
  • Film versions made by two different directors in 1951 were both box office hits.
$$Newly liberated households and society are a school of freedom.&&
The story takes place in post-war Tokyo. News agency employee Iosuke Minamimura has a large frame but is lazy and not inclined to physical activity. Moreover, he spends most of his salary in bars and, some months, he does not give his wife, Komako, any money at all. To obtain her living expenses in this situation, Komako tailors children's clothes and teaches English language classes near her home, and manages to earn an income roughly comparable to Iosuke's net earnings.
One day, when Komako goes to wake her husband, who is uninclined to leave the house before noon as usual, he informs her that he left his job a month ago. Furious that her husband has been deceiving her for a whole month, Komako throws him out of the house.
After Iosuke leaves, Komako does ask acquaintances about his whereabouts but is surprised to find that she does not miss him at all. Getting a taste of liberation rather than loneliness, she becomes accustomed to going out freely, not having to worry about anyone else, and the circle of her social interactions expand.
Iosuke also enjoys a feeling of liberation and freedom after leaving home, but stopping to take a nap on a park bench before returning home after a nightlong drinking session, he awakes to find that he has been robbed of his wristwatch, wallet, monthly train pass, cap and everything else that could be removed from his being. Unable to return home, Iosuke takes the help of an elderly vagrant. Using some money he has found by chance, he begins living with the old vagrant and makes friends with others living nearby.
Komako and Iosuke are enjoying their freedom though occasionally feeling concern over each other. What are they both heading toward?
GENRE: Popular fiction