Yūzō Yamamoto

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At the Mitaka house, summer 1938

Yūzō Yamamoto (山本 有三 Yamamoto Yūzō, July 27, 1887 - January 11, 1974) was a Japanese novelist and playwright. His real name was written 山本 勇造 but pronounced the same as his pen-name. He was born to a family of kimono makers in Tochigi-city, Tochigi Prefecture.

After graduating Tokyo Imperial University, in 1920 he made his literary debut with the play The Crown of Life (生命の冠, Seimei no kanmuri). Later, with the writers Kan Kikuchi and Ryūnosuke Akutagawa he helped to co-found the Japanese Writer’s Association and openly criticized Japan's wartime military government for its censorship policies.

After World War II he joined the debate on Japanese language reform, and from 1947 to 1953 he served in the National Diet as a member of the House of Councillors. He is well known for his opposition to the use of enigmatic expressions in written Japanese and his advocacy for the limited use of furigana. In 1965 he was awarded the prestigious Order of Culture.

Yamamoto’s large European-style house in Mitaka, Tokyo, was condemned by Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers with its power of eminent domain during the occupation period from 1945 to 1953. The mansion was then used as an archive and research lab by non-profit organizations for years, until it was converted into the City of Mitaka Yūzō Yamamoto Memorial Museum in 1996. There is also a museum dedicated to him in his hometown of Tochigi-city.

Selected works[edit]

  • A Woman’s Life (女の一生, Onna no isshō)
  • Towards the Truth (真実一路, Shinjitsu ichiro)
  • The Crown of Life (生命の冠, Seimei no kanmuri) a play
  • Two Women and War (戦争と二人の夫人, Sensō to futari no fujin)
  • Kindred Spirits (同志の人々, Dōshi no hitobito) a play
  • Waves (波, Nami)
  • A Stone by the Roadside (路傍の石, Robō no ishi)

External links[edit]