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Book Title: The Floating World In Japanese Fiction|
Loaded: 1168 times
Reader ratings: 6.2
The author of the book: Howard Hibbett
Edition: Tuttle Publishing
Date of issue: April 1st 2002
ISBN 13: 9780804834643
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 765 KB
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Taking up half the book, the introductory essays to this collection of stories are a chore to get through, but the fiction itself is wonderful. "The Floating World" is the term used to describe the pleasure-seeking world of prostitutes, rakes, and the wealthy all to be found in the red light districts of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in late 17th century Japan.
One favorite scene describes an old prostitute visiting a Buddhist temple to see the Hall of the Five Hundred Disciples:
"When I peered in, I saw that each of these holy figures (whatever sculptor had carved them) was different from all the others. People said that since there were so many you couldn't help discovering a familiar face among them."
Rather than spotting one or two that look familiar, the prostitute recognizes in every statue the face of a former lover. In a delicious bit of irreverence, all of Buddha's five hundred disciples seem familiar.
The two authors primarily featured in this collection, Ihara Saikaku and Ejima Kiseki, are the two best this genre has to offer, but I recommend finding a collection with a smaller introduction and more content. I also would have liked a more nuanced translation, as this one came across a little flat.
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