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“Unforgettable People” by Doppo Kunikida

Doppo Kunikida is a renowned naturalist and romantic writer. When young, he was baptized as a Christian. He later participated in Sino-Japanese War as war correspondent and founded a women’s magazine “Fujin-Gaho”, which still exists today.


The story starts with a serendipitous encounter of two young men, one an aspiring writer (Otsu) and the other a would-be painter (Akita). The self-proclaimed writer comes to explain one of his manuscripts entitled “Unforgettable People”.

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Otsu depicts three people he met in his journeys. What they have common is them being part of nature. He never talks to them; just observes them. The big ego of an ambitious young man is eroded and melted by his encounter of vast nature and trivial human beings who lead routine lives against its backdrop. He is impressed deeply by those people and given power to move on while recognizing he is the same with them, being nothing.




You can enjoy Doppo’s beautiful language in the masterly translation of Jay Rubin. This story makes us think about life. I would strongly recommend it!

 

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