7 November 1865|
Misato, Akita, Japan
|Died||1 September 1952
|Resting place||Kenchō-ji, Kamakura, Japan|
|Occupation||Writer and literary critic|
|Alma mater||Chuo University|
|Genre||novels, literary criticism, short stories|
Kosugi Tengai (小杉天外, November 7, 1865 – September 1, 1952) was the pen-name of a novelist in Meiji, Taishō and Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Kosugi Tamezō. He is considered the founder of the naturalism movement in modern Japanese literature.
Kosugi was born in what is now Misato, Akita Prefecture. He moved to Tokyo in 1886 to attend the English Law College (the forerunner of Chuo University, but soon dropped out to devote himself to writing full-time. The start of his career was hardly auspicious. When he brought a sample of his writing to Mori Ōgai, he was encouraged to “look for another profession”. Undeterred, he visited Ozaki Kōyō, who confided to Izumi Kyōka that Kosugi would “never realize his ambition” to become a novelist. However, in 1890, Kosugi became a disciple of literary critic and satirical author Saitō Ryokuu, and began writing political novels under Saitō’s direction.
He published his first novel, Hatsusugata, a story about a geisha and her relationship with men from different social strata in 1900. He followed with a sequel, Hayariuta, in 1902, which was one of his most successful works. Kosugi attempted to write in a realistic and objective manner, without intruding the thoughts or comments of the author into the story narrative, which was considered rather revolutionary for the time. In the forward to Hatsusugata, he commented that he "seeks to move the reader not by the unusual, but by what is normal and average.". Familiar with Zola and other French authors, his experimentation towards realism is considered a forerunner of a Japanese style of naturalism. Although often compared to his contemporary, Nagai Kafū, Kosugi has been criticized for having two-dimensional characters who meet predictable fates based on family or environmental situations.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tengai Kosugi.|
- Campbell,, Alan. editor (1993). Japan:An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Kodansha. ISBN 406205938X.
- Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Irmela. Rituals of self-revelation: shishōsetsu as literary genre and socio-cultural phenomenon. Harvard University Asia Center (1996). ISBN 0-674-77319-5