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Kyoka and his (really rather strange) kind - Off the Cliff

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Sun Jan 11th, 2015


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06:16 pm - Kyoka and his (really rather strange) kind
So, do we remember Izumi Kyoka? The Taisho writer who wrote the work that Demon Pond is based on? Unlikely hero of a series of weird tales/ semi-shounen ai novels illustrated by Ima Ichiko? There's a translation of several of his stories out now, Japanese Gothic Tales, which I've been reading verrry slooowly, on account of Kyoka is just as impenetrable in English as he reputedly is in Japanese. The first two stories not so much- The Operating Room is a youngish work with an eye-rolling level of divine decadence, The Holy Man of Mount Kōya a 'hits the (gaijin) spot' weird/ gothic tale.

But the third, oh the third. One Day in Spring follows no rules I can make out; landscapes are described minutely but I can't follow how the people move about in them; emotions are ascribed to characters with no evidence of their existence. (The fact that a man and a woman, hitherto strangers, pass each other on the road is *not* evidence that they're passionately in love. Though the same idea is expressed in The Operating Room. One of Kyoka's divine decadent kinks, evidently.) Those reviews at Goodreads give you an idea of the WTFery. And then I got to the point where the protagonist looks at the main female character's notebook and sees a series of squares, circles, and triangles. 'What is it? Tell me the name." "Master Triangle, Round Round, Lord of the Square." And suddenly, by god, I'm in Suzuki Seijun's Kageroza. 'Based on Kyoka's story,' says the review, which is about the size of it- what little I can recall of Kageroza. Suzuki dispensed with the egregious lion dancers plot point, fortunately.

Further reading.

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