New Fiction from Japan’s Most Important Proletarian Author

The Crab CanneryThis collection, translated by Zeljko Cipris, introduces the work of Japan’s foremost Marxist writer, Kobayashi Takiji (1903–1933), to an English-speaking audience, providing access to a vibrant, dramatic, politically engaged side of Japanese literature that is seldom seen outside Japan. The volume presents a new translation of Takiji’s fiercely anticapitalist Kani kosen—a classic that became a runaway bestseller in Japan in 2008, nearly eight decades after its 1929 publication. It also offers the first-ever translations of Yasuko and Life of a Party Member, two outstanding works that unforgettably explore both the costs and fulfillments of revolutionary activism for men and women. The book features a comprehensive introduction by Komori Yoichi, a prominent Takiji scholar and professor of Japanese literature at Tokyo University.

“A miracle happened in the world of Japanese letters in 2008: an eighty-year-old masterwork of Japanese proletarian literature appeared on best-seller lists. Embraced and reviled in its own day, dismissed and forgotten once revolution was declared both impossible and unnecessary, Kobayashi Takiji’s The Crab Cannery Ship, reborn here in zeljko Cipris’s fresh translation, stirred in Japanese a forgotten hunger for a literature that answers to bleak times with an incandescent anger and life-giving solidarity. This volume, which includes two novels never before translated, Yasuko and the Life of a Party Member, gives us a trio of works that speak to readers with prescient urgency.” —Norma Field, Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of Japanese Studies, University of Chicago

January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3742-6 / $25.00 (PAPER)