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review 留学 Ryūgaku

In the early 1950s Shusaku Endo spent several years as an exchange student studying in Paris Around him existentialism Sartre and Beckett were making the city the literary and philosophical capital of the world But for Endo the experience was deeply alienating and he came away infected with tuberculosis his studies incomplete and. Foreign Studies is actually a collection of two short stories and one novel but all of them deal with the topic of studying abroad specifically in France And since it s Endo I picked it up as soon as I saw itThe first story is A Summer in Roan and is about a Japanese student in the village of Roan Though everyone is kind he feels like he doesn t belong and the longer he stays the he feels like a coward for remaining polite and in the villageThe second story Araki Thomas has a factual tone and talks about one of the Japanese students who went abroad in the 17th century and came back to a closed country and persecution to Christians This is the same period that Silence takes place in but the protagonist is a Japanese rather than a foreigner The factual tone makes me wonder if it s a mini biography but I haven t done any research so I can t tellThe third and longest story probably can be classified as a novel is And You Too It follows the path of Tanaka who came to Paris to study Sade It s complicated than the other two since there is a Japanese community in Paris so Tanaka must negotiate both a foreign culture and a culture that is home but not uite and which will influence his standing when he returns homeAll three stories are rather bleak and they convey a sense of discontent and distance In the introduction by Endo which really should be read only after you ve finished the stories he mentions that this book arose out of his struggle in trying to reconcile two seemingly different culturesWhat is interesting is how his views have changed His younger self thought that there was no way that Japanese people could understand French culture and vice versa but twenty years later he became convinced that meaningful communication between East and West is possibleI feel that the sense of alienation that Endo describes in this story is universal to anyone who has lived overseas We are in a totally different country after all But I think his characters have chosen to look at the differences with bitterness and that leads them to a state of mental anguish Personally I think that to see insights to see slights and microagressions and to read malicious meanings into perfectly kind actions is the road to an unhappy lifeI would recommend this book to anyone especially those who have lived overseas for any period of timeThis review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

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留学 Ryūgaku

Having convinced himself that there could be no cultural commerce between East and West Foreign Studies consists of three linked narratives exploring this theme The first part “A Summer in Rouen” concerns Kudo a Japanese student invited to France in the 1950s It is a lucent snapshot of a young man who feels adrift in a Western. A little dated as the globalised world and mass travel has changed things enormously since this was written but the reflections on not fitting in being foreign are timeless Subtle and thoughtful

Shūsaku Endō ´ 5 Free read

Country The second part “Araki Thomas” sees Endo on familiar territory as he tells of an apostate Japanese Catholic who has visited 17th century Rome “And You Too” the third part is the story of Tanaka a Japanese scholar of French literature who visits France in the 1960s to research the life and work of the Maruis de Sad. It is made up of three short stories of Japanese men living in France for their study just after and decades after the warThe scholarship and expectation from people and the difference between the ideal self and the actual self without any talent can be overwhelming from time to time This book captures the hardship of alienation and the loss of confidence very well through the word of the introspective narrators


10 thoughts on “留学 Ryūgaku

  1. says:

    An excruciatingly shy and even asocial Japanese assistant professor comes to Paris right after World War II to complete his doctoral work on the Maruis de Sade He’s one of a very small group of Japanese scholars in France since the war just

  2. says:

    Foreign Studies is actually a collection of two short stories and one novel but all of them deal with the topic of studying abroad specifically in France And since it's Endo I picked it up as soon as I saw itThe first story is 'A Summer in Roan' and is about a Japanese student in the village of Roan Though ever

  3. says:

    This for me wasn't the best of Endo's novels although it contains the similar theme of the great divide between eastern and western cultures The third story that occupies the majority of the novel felt overly bleak and depressing and

  4. says:

    This is very introspective and sad like a lot of Japanese literature I've read There were moments in this book where I felt that the author had

  5. says:

    A little dated as the globalised world and mass travel has changed things enormously since this was written but th

  6. says:

    Although not the best of Shusaku Endo's books The Samurai and Silence seemed better Foreign Studies is perhaps the closest to a memoir Built as a collection of short stories the longest spanning about 100 pages this book follows the Japanese on a first student visit to Europe The three stories cover each a facet of this story with the longest of the three focusing on the life of Tanaka the French literature st

  7. says:

    It is made up of three short stories of Japanese men living in France for their study just after and decades after the warThe scholarship and expectation from people and the difference between the ideal self and the actual self without any talent can be overwhelming from time to time This book captures the hardship of alienation and the loss of confidence very well through the word of the introspective narrators

  8. says:

    from 65 mostly a book about the feelings of inadeuacy and loneliness experienced by lecturer Tanaka during a stay in Paris to research the Mar

  9. says:

    Interesting look at Japanese expats in Europe through the ages 2 short stories and one novel covering the same topic Melancholic in tone Well written I would give it a higher star rating if it hadn't have depressed me so

  10. says:

    I read this set of novellas while living in Beijing That was a head trip