Translation Works
To Japanese
The 2nd Selected Works
Shame in the Blood
(Shinobu kawa)
ENGLISH / Andrew Driver published
Originally Published by:
Shinchosha (1961)
(1965) (pb)
  • A masterpiece that describes the pure love of an impoverished couple brought together by their tragic pasts
Thinking of the first taste of joy, I am suddenly hit with an impulse to weep
Shino and I, a private university student, met at the Shinobugawa restaurant. Though I call it a restaurant, it was really little more than a small cookshop, and Shino was working there. During the daytime, I tended to suspect that Shino's interest in me went only as far as her business, but at night, I always managed to convince myself that her affection for me was real, and I would end up making my way to her restaurant.
In the course of visiting her, I found out that she too, like myself, had a close tie with the Fukagawa district, so we went strolling in that area. We came to learn that we both had unhappy family backgrounds, and our feelings for each other deepened. Finally, I proposed marriage to Shino.
Soon after that, Shino's father became bedridden and critically ill, and agreeing to the one request Shino made of me, I went to meet her father. Shino's family was temporarily living in a shrine building. In that building, Shino's extremely emaciated father spoke to me his last words, which were "Take good care of my daughter." Then he passed away and, with that, the family lost their temporary living place.
Shino and I returned to my snow-bound hometown, where we had a modest wedding ceremony witnessed by my parents and my younger sister. That night, listening to distant sounds of horse-drawn sleighs, Shino said "from now on, I'm going to think only of you and me." Shino, who was 20 and had never lived in a real house, and I were each starting to build dreams about our new lives. (Shame in the Blood)
GENRE: Literary fiction
AWARDS: 44th Akutagawa Prize
(Given for the most excellent among outstanding short works of literary fiction)