Biography of the great authors
By Akihiko Kaminoyama
Learns from Shotaro Ikenami

There is better life just because man has death.

Shotaro Ikenami is a famous writer of the period novel in Japan. According to the newspaper article, the period novels attract attention of people again in Japan. There is a theme which can be expressed only by a period novel. It might begin to give feeling fresh to people again.
Honestly, I do not so like the period drama of television. If the scene patternized too much is displayed repeatedly, itfs just a comedy for me. I think that it is not good for a period drama to fall into mannerism. The period dramas of new feeling would be called for now and the period novels in response to it would be called for.

Shotaro Ikenami was born in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1923. A father was a clerk of a cotton wholesaler. It seems that the family at the time was rich. Bankrupt of the wholesaler began to lead his father to ruin. The father failed in trade. He came to be addicted to alcohol.
Parents were divorced when Shotaro was seven years old. With the mother, Shotaro returned to the parents' home of the mother in Asakusa. A seven-person life of great-grandmother, grandparents, an uncle, and them started.

Shotaro at this time was an atrabilious child. He rarely laughed. The great grandmother still loved him very much.
He graduated from the old system elementary school at thirteen years old, and found a job at the commission house- the present securities firm. He lived a quite rich life there. In ten years until he was inducted into the army, Shotaro was awake to literature. He read novels in and outside the country from one after another.

1946 after the end of World War II, The drama "Yukibarehisnow finejh written by Shotaro was accepted for the theater culture prize of the Yomiuri Shimbun. Shotaro asked him to take him as a pupil, and was accepted.
The words which Hasegawa said at this time is wonderful.
gIn this work of becoming a writer, the severity of difficulties spoils flesh. There is a fear of soul becoming slender moreover, however, it is the work which has worth very much.h (Shotaro Ikenami, gThe walk way of a novelh, Asahi Bungei Bunko). One day, since Shotaro fell into the severe slump, he cannot write a novel. Then Hasegawa said that when he was slump, he also could not write, and he showed the following phrase.
I want a statue of the Goddess of Kannon. Itfs the long rains of early summer, yesterday and today too.
It means that I want to cling to the Goddess of Kannon since I cannot write many days. Soon, Shotaro went into the world of the period novels from the drama, and became a best seller writer. He won the Naoki Prize in 1960, Yoshikawa Eiji Literature Prize in 1977 and Kikuchikan Prize in 1988. He passed away in May, 1990.
He was telling like this about the charm of the period novels.
gI think that the novel of this field would be continuing development. A new writer has been begun to begin to produce a fresh period novels. The readers are also coming to hold interest in the characters of people who lived in the old world. Thatfs the story.h
He says that man's way of life has not still changed so much in all ages.
gOnly one may be very different. It is a view to "death." Old people did not have a time of not considering "death." (Omission) But the present age is a time of fearing "death" and praising "life." It is the time of forgetting that there is "life" just because "death" occurs.h People of the Age of Civil Wars was always facing "death" and "life." He says, gA theme is produced there.h
In many period novels, writers discover people who existed really, and give body and substance to their living and life. In a period novels, the fact which exists in fragments serves as a foundation. But most talks built on it are the fictions which the writer created. There is the real attraction of the period novels. I would like to expect a new period novels.

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