This Scheming World (9784805317105)

Current Stock:
Tuttle Publishing
Date Published:
20 short stories
Number of Pages:
Trim Size:
5 1/8 X 8

A Great Classic of Japanese literature and the masterpiece of novelist Ihara Saikaku—now in a completely new and revised edition with introduction by noted scholar David J. Gundry

The culmination of Saikaku's perceptive genius, the 20 short stories within This Scheming World recount raucous events and incidents on New Year's Eve as everyone tries to settle their debts for the year, as is the New Year's custom. Crafty money lenders attempt to collect their money from equally crafty debtors, and Saikaku portrays his characters with so lifelike a touch that, even though three centuries have passed since his time, it seems as if they were our contemporaries.

The new Introduction by Saikaku expert David J. Gundry explains how and why this entertaining work still resonates with modern readers today.

The finely-crafted tales include stories of:
  • Philanderers who slip off to hide in the homes of their mistresses
  • Hustlers who leave town suddenly on "very important" business trips
  • Connivers who become actors for a day to hide-in-plain-sight on stage

"The New Year's Eve is more precious than a thousand pieces of gold. It is the Great Divide between winter and spring, which none can pass over without copper and silver." —Ihara Saikaku

About the Author:
Ihara Saikaku (1641-1693) has been called "the greatest popular Japanese novelist of the 17th century." He began as a successful merchant in the up-and-coming city of Osaka. The tragedy of losing his wife and daughter moved him to abandon his business and become a roving Buddhist monk and for twenty years he wrote haiku verse and prose. Saikaku founded the Ukiyo-zoshi (Floating World) genre of literature, which flourished between the 1680s and the 1770s.

Masanori Takatsuka, a graduate of Hiroshima Koshi, and David C. Stubbs, a graduate of Florida State University, were both faculty members of Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan.

David J. Gundry is Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of California, Davis. He has published numerous articles on Japanese literature as well as the book Parody, Irony and Ideology in the Fiction of Ihara Saikaku.