Life for Sale

Inochi urimasu (Mishima Yukio).png

Life for Sale (Japanese: 命売ります, Hepburn: Inochi urimasu) is a 1968 pulp fiction novel by Yukio Mishima. It was first serialised twenty-one times in the weekly magazine Weekly Playboy between 21 May 1968 and 8 October 1968. It was published in hardcover format by Shueisha on 25 December 1968. It was published in paperback by Chikuma Bunko on 24 February 1998. The novel was translated into English by Stephen Dodd and published in paperback format in the United Kingdom by Penguin Classics on 1 August 2019. The English translation will receive a wider release in paperback by Vintage International on 21 April 2020.

In 2018, the novel was adapted as a BS TV Tokyo television drama starring Aoi Nakamura as Hanio Yamada.

Plot

Hanio Yamada is a 27-year-old copywriter for Tokyo Ad who, after a failed a suicide attempt, quits his job and advertises his own life for sale in a Tokyo newspaper. Yamada's life is shaken up when he agrees to the increasingly bizarre requests of those who respond to his offer.

Release

It was first serialised twenty-one times in the weekly magazine Weekly Playboy between 21 May 1968 and 8 October 1968. It was published in hardcover format by Shueisha on 25 December 1968. It was published in paperback by Chikuma Bunko on 24 February 1998.[3][4] The novel was translated into English by Stephen Dodd, the Professor of Japanese Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies,[5] and published in paperback format in the United Kingdom by Penguin Classics on 1 August 2019.[6] The English translation will receive a wider release in paperback by Vintage International on 21 April 2020.[7]

Reception

Publishers Weekly gave the novel a positive review, writing, "Mishima's pungent insights into the challenges of postwar Japanese life are threaded brilliantly throughout" but felt, "The novel handles its female characters poorly, using them in a disposable way that feels dated."[1]

David Barnett, writing for The Independent, called the novel "funny and horrific and curious and thoroughly entertaining and should win Mishima a new generation of fans."[8]

James Smart of The Guardian wrote, "It may be only a footnote in his career, but this surreal tale offers a trenchant critique of a city that has misplaced its soul."[9]

Writing for the Evening Standard, Ian Thomson gave the novel a rave review, calling it "a sexy, camp delight. Beneath the hard- boiled dialogue and the gangster high jinks is a familiar indictment of consumerist Japan and a romantic yearning for the past."[10]

Writing for the New Statesman, philosopher John Gray said, "Life for Sale is not a great work of fiction, but it succeeds in capturing vividly the bathos of the self-pitying modern nihilist."[11]

Andrew Taylor, writing for The Spectator, praised the novel, writing, "This existential crime novel has an arresting premise and Mishima plays it for all it's worth."[12]

Television adaptation

The novel was adapted as a BS TV Tokyo television drama in 2018, starring Aoi Nakamura as Hanio Yamada.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Fiction Book Review: Life for Sale by Yukio Mishima, trans. from the Japanese by Stephen Dodd". Publishers Weekly. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  2. ^ "命賣ります". CiNii. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  3. ^ 佐藤秀明; 三島由紀夫; 井上隆史; 山中剛史 (August 2005). 決定版三島由紀夫全集. 新潮社. pp. 448–452. ISBN 978-4-10-642582-0.
  4. ^ 佐藤秀明; 三島由紀夫; 井上隆史; 山中剛史 (August 2005). 決定版三島由紀夫全集. 新潮社. pp. 540–561. ISBN 978-4-10-642582-0.
  5. ^ "Professor Stephen Dodd". SOAS University of London. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Life for Sale". Penguin Books UK. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Life for Sale by Yukio Mishima". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  8. ^ Barnett, David (25 July 2019). "The life and death of Yukio Mishima: A tale of astonishing elegance and emotional brutality". The Independent. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  9. ^ Smart, James (8 August 2019). "Life for Sale by Yukio Mishima review – a Japanese pulp classic". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  10. ^ Thomson, Ian (1 August 2019). "Life for Sale by Yukio Mishima - review". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  11. ^ Gray, John (31 July 2019). "Yukio Mishima's dark fantasies of imperial Japan". New Statesman. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  12. ^ Taylor, Andrew (3 August 2019). "Capers in crime: Life for Sale, by Yukio Mishima, reviewed". The Spectator. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  13. ^ "連続ドラマJ 三島由紀夫「命売ります」". BS TV Tokyo. Retrieved 8 November 2019.


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