First Advisor

Jon Holt

Date of Publication

Winter 3-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Japanese


World Languages and Literatures




Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) -- Characters -- Women, Narration (Rhetoric) -- Case studies, Japanese literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism, Performative (Philosophy), Women in literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 68 pages)


Dazai Osamu (born Tsushima Shûji) was a post-WWII writer who wrote a number of works using a female narrator. This thesis research focused on the reasons as to why Dazai may have written using female narratives, taking into consideration the time period and social milieu in which he was writing, as well as his own personal history with women. In addition, the history of male authors utilizing female narratives was explored, as well as the ideas of gender in the Japanese arts. Dazai works were also compared with Tankizaki Junichirô's to see how the roles of women in their works differ. The four main Dazai works analyzed were "Magic Lanterns" ("Tôrô"), "The Schoolgirl" ("Joseito"), "December 8th" ("Jûnigatsu yôka"), and "Villon's Wife" ("Biyon no tsuma"). The conclusion was that Dazai was using female narrators as a different approach to further critiquing himself, with the female narrator being used to critique a Dazai-like persona in the works.


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