By Kuroi Senji (Brill, 2017)
Engaging Banality: Stories of the Salaried Life by Kuroi Senji features three of the best-known works of Kuroi Senji’s early career. “Hole and Sky” (1968), Time (1969) and Running Family (1970) received widespread critical attention in Japan and have been reprinted many times, yet none has been translated until now. Each story in its own way reveals the profound ambivalence increasing numbers of Japanese began to feel toward their lives as their desires were channeled into the nation’s single-minded goal of achieving high-speed economic growth. The stories are preceded by a critical introduction that situates Kuroi’s development and ethos as a writer within the context of profound socio-cultural change spanning the end of World War II through the early 1970s.
Kuroi Senji (b. 1932) has published myriad works of Japanese fiction, criticism, and essays. Former president of the Japan Writers’ Association and Akutagawa Prize Committee member, he has also received numerous awards, including the Yomiuri Prize, the Noma Prize and the Tanizaki Prize
An annotated translation of notable works by a revered Japanese author, Engaging Banality will be of interest to scholars and teachers of Japanese and world literature, as well as general readers.