Masuji Ibuse< Back to author list
At Waseda University, Ibuse was greatly influenced by the works of Shakespeare and Basho; he was also an avid reader of French fiction and poetry. Ibuse went as far as to pawn a watch to try to understand the necessities of writers.
In 1918 Ibuse met naturalist writer Iwano Homei. Homei's literature was appealing to Ibuse and would later influence some of Ibuse's literary works. Ibuse befriended student Aoki Nampachi in Waseda, Aoki was a mentor and a great influence in the writings of Ibuse, Aoki's influence can be found in The Carp, where Ibuse ideolizes Aoki's friendship and represents his feelings towards this friendship in a carp. Ibuse started writing his first essays in 1922, shortly after the death of Aoki. Ibuse often found inspiration in his loneliness and in his encounters with geishas, his first literary works where in the style of prose, he had severed ties with Waseda University and started writing for small magazines.
One of Ibuse's first contributions was for the magazine Seiki, it was originally written for Aoki in 1919 and titled The Salamander, in 1923 it was renamed Confinement.
Ibuse was known and appreciated for most of his career, although it wasn't until after the war that he became famous. In 1966 he published his most well known work, Black Rain, which won him international acclaim and several awards including the Noma Prize and the Order of Cultural Merit, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Japanese author. The novel draws its material from the bombing of Hiroshima with the title referring to the nuclear fallout. Ibuse was not present at the time of the bombing, but uses the diaries of survivors to construct his narrative. His earlier story Kakitsubata (The Crazy Iris, first published in 1951) deals with similar themes.
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