Translation Works
To Japanese
The 1st Selected Works
Toward Dusk
(Yugure made)
FRENCH / Silvain Chupin published
RUSSIAN / Yura Okamoto published
Originally Published by:
Shinchosha (1978)
(1982) (pb)
  • A controversial work that became a social phenomenon. It gave rise to the slang term "yugure-zoku," referring to couples comprising an older man and a younger woman
A curious relationship between a man and a woman subtly portraying the secrets of sexuality
A married middle-aged man, Sasa, meets 22-year-old Sugiko at a party. Interested in Sugiko, who points out that she is a virgin, Sasa asks her out, and the two embark on a peculiar relationship.
While lying in bed, Sugiko will not open her legs. Sasa lubricates the groove of her tightly clenched thighs with olive oil and lays himself atop her. Sugiko enthusiastically participates in all the sexual amusements the two engage in but stubbornly continues keeping things within certain bounds, thereby retaining her virginity. Restricting herself to pseudo-sex, Sugiko says, will enable her to have a beautiful wedding ceremony with a pure-white wedding dress. Later, however, it becomes increasingly apparent that Sugiko also has a relationship with a young man.
Although frustrated that he cannot perceive Sugiko's true feelings and mildly fatigued, Sasa is not overcome by such emotions as jealousy or anger. The couple continue their mutual explorations in bed until, one day, their bodies are accidentally but effortlessly joined in sexual union. At that moment, Sasa realizes that Sugiko has already lost her virginity. He also understands that the loss must be attributable to the younger man. Eventually, Sasa and Sugiko bid each other farewell.
While somewhat pornographic, this controversial work sheds light on profound aspects of humanity expressed in the form of the sexual tactics and strategies men and women employ in their relationships.
Genre: Literary fiction
Awards: 31st Noma Literary Prize
(Given for outstanding works that contribute to the progressive betterment of the quality of Japanese literature)