Item description for Boy by Takeshi Kitano & David James Karashima...
Overview A collection of three short stories features two brothers at a school sports day, another pair of brothers who use astronomy to cope with the loss of their father, and an uncool teenage boy who meets a biker girl in Kyoto.
Publishers Description Internationall renowned film auteu Takeshi Kitano has been applauded for his challenging portrayals of manhood and men, most notably rogue gifures. Discerning fans of his cinematic oeuvre, however, have also appreciated the lyrical sensibility that infuses even his most violent works. In Boy, Kitano's essential vision is filtered through crystalline prose and the prism of childhood; the result is a gem of memory and nostalgia.
While his impressive cinematic output has been compared to, and introduced to the American public by, Quentin Tarantino and the like, Kitano's equally delightful gift for pure word-craft has been a better-kept secret of his native Japan. This first American translation of his literary fiction illustrates the notion of "boyhood" that has underlain all his work--as well as that of many a creator valuing generous and bold invention.
The three stand-alone tales take place at early, middle and late adolescence. In "The Champion in a Padded Kimono" two brothers--one a bookworm and the other a jock--learn a lesson or two about hope and desire on Sports Day. "Nest of Stars" features a different pair of brothers for whom stargazing becomes a poignant way of life. In "Okamesan", a very young history buff goes on his frst solo "field mission" to Kyoto where he runs into a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Tender and funny, Boy is a perfect introduction to Kitano's world and a must-read for fans of the artist.
"The beginnings of Kitano's intense and personal style can be seen in the three early stories contained in BOY. They offer insights into the later films and they have been extremely well translated by David James Karashima, who beautifully captures both the deadpan drollery and the wistful sentimentality." –Donald Richie, The Japan Times Online
"Leave it to Vertical Publishing, magnates of Japanese pop culture in translation, to bring one of Kitano's books to English-speaking audiences. [These stories] radiate a lovely combination of affection and nostalgia, the sort of thing Kitano has mined for the best of his own movies time and again, and they both complement and extend on his other work. They show up his genius for what it is." – Serdar Yegulalp, thegline.com
"BOY's three ostensibly lighthearted tales, so personal in tone and intimate in details about drinking fathers, frightened brothers, and bullying classmates, put Kitano's identification with children in a clarifying light." –Lisa Schwarzbaum, EW.com
"Kitano tells the tales simply and directly, avoiding flowery descriptions and clichéd melodrama, instead creating captivating stories that are subtle yet strongly visual….Much like the boys grow up in the boo, these tales will grow on you." –Mark Rifkin, This Week in New York
Takeshi Kitano is the recipient of the Golden and Silver Lion Prizes, Venice Film Festival, for Hana-bi and Zatoichi. He is also the author of many prose works ranging from memoirs and fiction to social criticism and interview collections. Before he achieved worldwide fame he was one of Japan's most popular television personalities, which he continues to be, thanks to his sharp eye and irreverent sense of humor.Boy is the first literary work by Japan's "Renaissance man" to be translated into English. Mr. Kitano lives and works in Tokyo.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 7.75" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Aug 14, 2007
ISBN 1932234357 ISBN13 9781932234350
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More About Takeshi Kitano & David James Karashima
Takeshi Kitano is the recipient of the Golden and Silver Lion Prizes, Venice Film Festival, for "Hana-bi" and "Zatoichi," He is also the author of many prose works ranging from memoirs and fiction to social criticism and interview collections. Before he achieved worldwide fame he was one of Japan's most popular television personalities, which he continues to be, thanks to his sharp eye and irreverent sense of humor.Boy is the first literary work by Japan's "Renaissance man" to be translated into English. Mr. Kitano lives and works in Tokyo.
Although he is primarily known in the West for his artistic albeit violent yakuza films, in his native Japan Takeshi Kitano is quite the Renaissance man. Beginning his career alongside his manzai partner Kiyoshi Kaneko, Kitano's abrasiveness and quick wit soon surpassed the ability of his partner and he began multiple careers as a television star, talk show host, and film actor. In 1989 Kitano made his directorial debut with his film Violent Cop in which he also stars as the main protagonist. However, alongside this busy schedule of acting, directing, and hosting, Kitano is also an accomplished writer producing volume after volume of social criticism and film criticism alongside an impressive output of humorous essays, short story collections, and novels.
While most of Kitano's films have reached English-speaking audiences through licensed distributors, not a single story or novel had been translated until the release of Boy earlier this year. Written in 1987, the book collects three stories with each concentrating on a young man facing either a trying time or a life changing event in his life. In "The Champion in the Padded Kimono," an older Mamoru reminisces about a field day that occurred some thirty years ago in which he had not only dreaded his brother's participation in the eighty-meter-dash, but anticipated the run of Airhead, an athletically gifted, but mentally lacking, sixth grader whose athletic abilities were known throughout the schoolyard. "Nest of Stars" tells of two brothers who have moved from Tokyo to Osaka after their father died. Their mother, always distant from the rest of the family, has found a new boyfriend. Therefore, the two brothers seek solace gazing at the stars through the telescope that their dad gave the older brother. However, such activities do not protect them from the brutalities of local bullies. The final, and in my opinion, the best story "Okamesan" centers on Ichiro Aoki who, after having an argument with his father, goes to Kyoto in order to delve deeply into his main love: ancient Japanese history. However, during his trip he meets a girl named Jun and his focus on history becomes a little skewed.
The above plot summary is intentionally brief and simple, because the collection of stories itself is quite brief and simple. Although the book numbers some 185 pages, the spacing is quite large and the book could have probably been 120 pages or less if the spacing was smaller. Also, the writing and stories within the volume itself are quite simple and a decently quick reader could probably finish the book in a couple of hours. However, despite it brevity and simplicity, the collection is a fine read because the reader, especially if he or she has viewed Kitano's films can detect an overall cohesiveness of themes within the book.
The son of a father who was absent most of his life, Kitano in his films has often displayed a mistrust of adults, especially parental figures within his films. Parents are often completely absent or are busy in other aspects of their lives. The parents within Boy are either drunk, dead, involved in new relationships, or so caught up with their own careers or the future careers of their children that they cease to be parents and are instead adults with whom the children share a home with. Instead of depending on adults, the boys within these short stories either learn to depend on themselves, siblings, or a loved one. This aspect of the novel casts a dark shadow over an overall light collection, but it is relevant in showing the shifting of the times and the importance of individuality and its struggle against group conformism.
A decent collection that will primarily appeal to fans of Kitano's films, Boy marks the introduction to Western readers to the writing skills of Japan's most internationally famous contemporary filmmaker.
His prose plays out like his cinema Sep 17, 2007
I don't feel that I need to go into the back-story of Takeshi Kitano. If you are looking at this book, then you probably know him from his films. I'll start off by saying that the actual book itself is beautiful, both the cover and its jacket. Next I'll tell you that I truly did enjoy Mr. Kitano's stories. The book contains three shorts, each about childhood. If you have seen Kikujiro or Kids Return you get the idea. They are all coming of age tales. His style is very reminiscent of the great Yuko Mishima but far less flowery. Another literary link I can draw is that it is like Charles Bukowski, in the essence of its raw truthfulness and simplicity. Some parts of the stories seem like a Japanese version of `Ham on Rye', which (for me at least) is a good thing. In summation, I really did enjoy this book and if you are a genuine fan of his, or if you just want to experience a good quick read, then I fully recommend it.