Translation Works
To Japanese
The 1st Selected Works
Floating Clouds
ENGLISH / Lane Dunlop published
FRENCH / Corinne Atlan published
Originally Published by:
Rokko Shuppan (1951)
  • A controversial work that incisively portrays a woman determined to survive as long as possible amid post-war chaos
  • A monumental post-war work by an author who was the leading figure in the genre of women's literature at that time
From French Indochina to Tokyo to Yakushima Island. Where is this roaming love ultimately headed for?
In the midst of World War II, 22-year-old Yukiko Koda heads to Vietnam to work as a typist for the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in connection with a study of forestry in French Indochina. There she meets Tomioka, a researcher working for the ministry. Tomioka appears coldly ruthless at first glance, but he has something in him that attracts women, and Yukiko's heart is excited. Although Tomioka has a wife in Japan, where the war situation is deteriorating, he and Yukiko enjoy a fleeting period of sweet romance amid the balmy tropical warmth. But when the war ends and Yukiko goes to Tokyo relying on the friendship of Tomioka, who has returned to Japan somewhat earlier, she finds him to be distant and aloof.
Lonely and without home, family, or money amid the post-war devastation of Tokyo's streets, Yukiko becomes increasingly desperate but firmly resolves to survive. Still, she cannot stop thinking of Tomioka. Meanwhile, Tomioka, though he has resolved to live a quiet life with his wife, is indecisive and ends up continuing his relationship with Yukiko.
Facing serious business difficulties, Tomioka attempts a double suicide with Yukiko, but the attempt fails. Soon after, he begins an affair with the young wife of a bar owner, much to the disillusionment of Yukiko; but she is now pregnant with his child. Yukiko later has an abortion and goes back to Tomioka.
After his wife dies of illness, Tomioka decides to go and work at a forestry office on Yakushima, a small Japanese island just to the south of the country's main islands. The islands remind his unfocused heart of the lush natural environment of French Indochina. Yukiko travels with Tomioka despite her ill health. Then, one day, while Tomioka is away in the forest, she dies alone of a lung hemorrhage.
GENRE: Popular fiction