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Oda Sakunosuke - Japanese author

Oda Sakunosuke (織田 作之助) October 26, 1913 - January 10, 1947, was a Japanese author. He is often grouped together with Dazai Osamu and Sakaguchi Ango as the Buraiha, "the school of irresponsibility and decadence." Literally meaning ruffian or hooligan school this was not a matter of a true stylistic school but a label bestowed upon them by conservative critics disparagingly critical of the authors shared attitudes and the subject matter they wrote about. Their writing stands in contrast to the tradition and morals of the ultra-nationalistic literature that was critically and state condoned at the time.

Oda�s writing career spans both pre and postwar Japan. An Osaka native, he wrote mostly of life in Osaka and the customs and manners of the common people. In 1939 his story Zokushu was a candidate for the Akutagawa Prize. The following year he published Meoto Zenzai. Named after an Osakan sweet shop, it follows the life of a married couple whose marriage survives despite the persistent wastefulness, debauchery, and unkept promises of an erring husband.

Oda�s characters usually did not fit into what were traditionally considered appropriate either in their humanness, or their stubborn individuality as in Roppakukinsei, or out of the cruel necessity of survival. In the story Sesou, Oda described the first months of the occupation period following Japan's surrender to end World War II which were marked by food shortages so severe that government rations were not enough even to sustain life. People were forced to turn to the black market just to procure the food they needed for their own survival.

During his lifetime, several of his works were banned, but he was also championed by others for his ability to write candidly about the human condition with the sympathy and wit for which his native Osaka is famous. As well as being a fiction writer, he wrote radio drama scenarios and submitted a script to a magazine that was later made into the film Kaette Kita Otoko.

In 1947, suffering from a lung hemorrhage, Oda died in Tokyo Hospital. After the funeral, Dazai Osamu, his friend and fellow writer, published an emotional eulogy blaming the critics for Oda�s sudden death. More than likely it was from a recurrent bout of tuberculosis.

He is buried in Osaka.

In 1963, a monument was erected by his friends and colleagues near Hozenji Temple in Osaka. Hozenji Yokocho and its surrounding alleys were the setting for Meoto Zenzai.

In 1983, under the sponsorship of the Osaka Bungaku Shinkoukai, a literary prize was established in Oda�s name to commemorate the 70th anniversary of his birth with the aim of carrying on the long tradition of Kansai Literature. It is awarded annually to an outstanding work of fiction by a new author.

Article text is from Wikipedia and licensed under terms of the GFDL. The original article can be found here.
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