Tokyo Damage Report

Death of a Political Youth now downloadable.

What is DEATH OF A POLITICAL YOUTH? A book, dummy. A banned book. Who's it by? Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe. Download the whole thing here as an .rtf file. Last year I translated Kenzaburo Oe's novella SEVENTEEN. You can read it here. Seventeen – besides being funny – is important because it got banned for […]



(if you're just tuning in, parts one and two are down the page) Since I’d joined the Imperial Way Party, this was the first time I’d ever heard of, and understood, the real ambitions behind it. And in that moment, I not only learned the truth of politics, but also I felt as if I’d […]

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Oe’s Death of a Political Youth, PART TWO

CHAPTER 2 The Imperial Way Party hosts regular “Discipline and Self-Improvement” parties for the younger members. At this party, there was a rare argument. I was lost in thought, in the farthest corner of the auditorium, when I heard the accusations fly all around my head, like so many lines in the most dramatic play. […]

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Kenzaburo Oe’s Death of a Political Youth

Last year I translated Kenzaburo Oe's novella SEVENTEEN. You can read it here. Seventeen – besides being funny – is important because it got banned for making fun of the uyoku (the black van militia right-wing guys).  It was translated into English. But what the English version doesn't say, is that the  SEVENTEEN novella is […]


SEVENTEEN, now downloadable!

No, not the girls' magazine. The Japanese novella that was banned after the first printing, on pain of death! The novella I just translated into english for your reading-and-or-Emperor-disrespecting pleasure.   The novella you can download here for free! All in one place.   Let me back up a second: Last year, I posted my […]


Kenzaburo Oe’s Seventeen: the conclusion.

  After I swore my allegiance at the Imperial Way Faction’s headquarters, Sakagibara said to me, “Now you’re officially the youngest member of the Organization.” But, it didn’t look like I was their first attempt at recruiting youth: besides me, I quickly discovered that there were three shifty-looking twenty-year-old fellows also at the headquarters. But […]


SEVENTEEN, part seven

What is SEVENTEEN??     And with that, the music came on – ferocious, hateful, and at a volume that threatened to break the speakers, it reverberated throughout the entire city. “We must kill them to save our own lives! It’s the only righteous thing to do!” We shouted as we stood to applaud. From […]

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Kenzaburo Oe’s SEVENTEEN, part six

What is SEVENTEEN??   Chapter 3   “Wanna be a sakura, yo?” came a voice from close behind me. (sakura: literally cherry blossom, but it’s also a slang term for a militia temp-worker: someone hired to beef up the crowds at right-wing rallies) I was waiting for the train. As usual I was all alone, since […]


Kenzaburo Oe’s SEVENTEEN, part five

What is SEVENTEEN??   When we last left our hero, he was in the middle of an 800 meter run in gym class.   Life is Hell, I reflected. Society is Hell too, and the Devil is a fat man in immaculately pressed sweatpants and a baseball cap, holding a flare gun, and there is […]

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Kenzaburo Oe’s SEVENTEEN part 4

What is SEVENTEEN??   CHAPTER 2    I did not open my eyes in a good mood the following morning.   My head was pounding, my body had a slight fever, and my arms and legs felt heavy. I felt like I was in a coma, and that everyone in society was having their cheerful breakfast, […]

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What is SEVENTEEN??   When we last left our hero, he was exiled to the shed in the backyard, and his last remaining friend – Gang, the stray cat – had abandoned him. How can it go downhill from here?   There seems to be some kind of scared white piglet inside my head that […]

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Kenzaburo Oe’s SEVENTEEN , part three

What is SEVENTEEN??     I felt a chill running from my bones to all my viscera, as I turned away from my family and walked to the backyard. Beneath the summers' night sky was a second layer of rose-colored sky, as if two skies were overlapping. Humidity and dust rose from the ground, suffusing my […]

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