- About the Book
“Few writers have led as storied a life as Setouchi Jakuchō. Writer, translator, feminist, peace activist, Buddhist nun . . . even this list cannot contain the impressive sweep of her career. Along the way she has also been daughter, wife, mother, mistress, lover, role model, and femme fatale. Through each twist and turn, she has reacted with both feisty verve and self-reproving reflection. Basho (Places), superbly translated here by Liza Dalby, enjoins readers to accompany the author as she travels again over the familiar terrain of her life story, journeying through the places where she once lived, loved, suffered, and learned.” —from the Foreword by Rebecca L. Copeland
In this scintillating work of autobiographical fiction, Setouchi Jakuchō recalls with almost photographic clarity scenes from her past: growing up in the Tokushima countryside in the 1920s, the daughter of a craftsman, and in Tokyo as a young student experiencing the heady freedom of college life; escaping to Kyoto at the end of a disastrous arranged marriage and an ill-starred love affair before returning to Tokyo, with its lively community of artists and writers, to establish herself as a novelist. Throughout, Jakuchō is propelled by a burning desire to write and make a living as one. Her memories, remarkably sharp and clear, also provide a fascinating picture of everyday life in Japan in the years surrounding World War II.
- About the Author(s)
Setouchi Jakuchō, AuthorSetouchi Jakuchō (1922–), born Setouchi Harumi, was a prolific essayist and novelist before taking Buddhist vows and becoming a nun of the Tendai sect at the age of fifty-one. Since then she has continued to publish and is celebrated in Japan for her sermons and social activism and for her acclaimed modern Japanese translation of Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji), published in 1998. Jakuchō received Japan’s Order of Culture in 2006.
Liza Dalby, TranslatorLiza Dalby is an anthropologist and writer specializing in Japanese culture. She is the author of numerous books, including Geisha (1983, 2008), Kimono: Fashioning Culture (1993), and The Tale of Murasaki (2000), a historical novel about Murasaki Shikibu.