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The Crab Cannery Ship

and Other Novels of Struggle

Kobayashi Takiji and translated by Zeljko Cipris

Publication Year: 2013

This collection introduces the work of Japan’s foremost Marxist writer, Kobayashi Takiji (1903–1933), to an English-speaking audience, providing access to a vibrant, dramatic, politically engaged side of Japanese literature that is seldom seen outside Japan. The volume presents a new translation of Takiji’s fiercely anticapitalist Kani kōsen—a classic that became a runaway bestseller in Japan in 2008, nearly eight decades after its 1929 publication. It also offers the first-ever translations of Yasuko and Life of a Party Member, two outstanding works that unforgettably explore both the costs and fulfillments of revolutionary activism for men and women. The book features a comprehensive introduction by Komori Yōichi, a prominent Takiji scholar and professor of Japanese literature at Tokyo University.

2 maps

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. vii-9

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Translator’s Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

Incorrigible internationalism and love of travel take me to various points of the globe; so it was that I happened to be in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May of 2008 when a Japanese friend—a single mother and newly unemployed factory worker—informed me by e-mail that Japan had a brand new best-selling book: Kani kōsen (The Crab Cannery Ship) by Kobayashi Takiji. This was astonishing news in...

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pp. 1-17

Kobayashi Takiji was born on October 13, 1903, in the village of Shimokawazoiin Akita Prefecture, a snowy agricultural region of northern Japan. It was the year before the outbreak of the Russo- JapaneseWar. His father Suematsu was the second son of a small landholder, but his older brother Keigi had invested family funds in business and failed, leaving Suematsu to deal with the consequences...

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The Crab Cannery Ship

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pp. 19-96

“Buddy, we’re off to hell!” Leaning over the deck railing, two fishermen looked out on the town of Hakodate stretched like a snail embracing the sea. One of them spit out a cigarette he had smoked down to his fingertips. The stub fell skimming the tall side of the ship, turning playfully every which way. The man reeked of liquor. Steamships with red bulging bellies rose from the water; others being loaded with cargo leaned hard to one side as if tugged down...

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pp. 97-219

The snow-plowed street crunching beneath their feet was hard to walk on. By the time they reached the Sapporo Courthouse both Okei and her mother were drenched with sweat. Inside the gate some twenty policemen clad in overcoats stood about in clusters of two or three. Seeing the mother and daughter enter, a ruddy-faced policeman with a fearsome beard hurried over to them. “What’s your business here, ma’am?” Startled, Okei and her mother stopped in their tracks. Hurriedly removing the triangularly folded kerchiefs that covered their heads...

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Life of a Party Member

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pp. 221-293

i was washing my hands in the bathroom when groups of guys from Factory Number 2 who were starting to come back from work passed just under the window, talking loudly and making a racket with their shoes and wooden zōri. “Not ready yet?” asked Suyama, bringing up the rear. He worked at Factory Number 2. My face covered with soapsuds, I turned around and frowned slightly. Suyama and I had agreed some time ago to avoid returning from the factory together. If we did, it would make us more...


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pp. 295-299

Works by Kobayashi Takiji

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pp. 301-322

E-ISBN-13: 9780824837907
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824836672

Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 859157375
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Crab Cannery Ship

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Subject Headings

  • Political fiction, Japanese -- Translations into English.
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