There are all kinds of seas.
        There is the bluish black sea beside the city. Here the relationship between land and sea is clear and the land girds the sea. Beside the sea there is no smooth beach. The sea has tried to eat into the land and crash against the jagged barrier of concrete ware­houses, cranes with powerfully opened jaws and black gas tanks, but it couldn’t. It flows continually with the sewerage and drainage of the city, gives off a foul stench and is silenced. There is a rotten smell, it is a dead sea. Here the sea itself does not change character according to time. It only changes color. Red sea, orange sea, grey sea. These colors are always muddy and stagnant. Even when the sea reflects moonlight, the thin surface of shimmering silver forces you to remember all the more the bluish black of the sea lying underneath.
          Neither do the canals that open into the sea flow with fresh water. They are stagnant with the same colors as the sea and give off a stench. Those canals look like the last writhing claw marks of the sea trying to eat into the land.
            A motorboat had run over that sea. In the boat there is a man holding the tiller who lost a limb in the war, a widow who wore a lot of jewelry and me in my youth.
              A steel ship, left with its stern sunk in the water, crouches darkly drenched in daylight. Being in a gaudy frame of mind, that abandoned ship looked romantic to me. But that mood didn’t last for long.
                The motorboat ran over the water aimlessly and finally entered a canal and began to go upstream.
                  A dredging boat had been working its crane. The stuff scooped up from the bottom of the river is piling up. The color of the dirt was unusually black and shone with a gummy smoothness. The river suddenly narrows, the motorboat cringes and slips past the dredging boat.
                    I had an unpleasant notion. With the smell of the black dirt in my nostrils, I thought of my own bare ankles. If I set foot on the dirt, the sticky, shining soil would break through the eight spaces between my toes as if it were sticking out tongues. That sensation passed vividly through my mind.
                      Suddenly, there was shouting. The river bank is a broken, concrete road. When I looked up I saw wide-opened mouths on dirty faces. Lots of mouths with red membrane peeking out hover above the river bank.
                        Slum children are running along with the motorboat as it goes upstream.
                          The widow stood up in the wavering boat. She acts like a movie star on a stage bright with footlights. She smiled arrogantly and her right hand moved in a big gesture. Pieces of caramel she had gripped in her hand flew out and were scattered on the river bank road. The shouting got all the louder and the smile on the widow’s face deepened.
                            The children crawl about on the road gathering up the pieces of caramel. One child stood at the edge of the bank and raised both hands begging. The widow broke off bananas one by one from a bunch and began to throw them. The bananas make a sharp, heavy sound landing on the concrete road.
                              Each time her arm goes up and down the ivory bracelets on her wrist make a sound as they come together. It is a hard, clear sound but it reaches my ears as a sticky sound. Suddenly, the smell of the muck was stronger.
                                I longed for a sea cleared to azure, white­capped waves shining in the sunlight and wind filled with the fragrance of the tide. The motorboat came back down the canal and put out on the sea. This time the abandoned ship is no longer something romantic. It was no more than a reddish black heap of rusted metal. The wind came up and the one empty sleeve of the man grasping the tiller kept flapping about. The wind brought the smell of the drainage and sewerage. With it another bad smell......the smell that suddenly became strong earlier in the canal. It was finally clear to me then. It is not the smell of muck, it is the mixed smell of the woman’s body and make-up.
                                  I hated the widow intensely. That smell sank into a corner of my heart and would never go away.
                                    As a youth I was sitting alone on a sand dune.
                                      A sea cleared to azure spread out before me and there were white-capped waves shining. A rather strong sea wind stroked my cheeks.
                                        I don’t get bored looking at scenery, but somewhere there was dissatisfaction and uneasiness. The sea before my eyes was distinctly alive and moving. I expected that the water connected with the sea beside the city, but those two seas were different things. When I ran about in the motorboat on the sea by the city I didn’t feel the slightest fear of the water that spread out all around.
                                          However, placed in a boat in the middle of the wide expanse between beach and horizon, I felt intense fear. Each particle of water is alive and aiming for me baring its teeth. The Sunlight glares in the sky and on the sea. That light is too strong. The sea wind is too salty. They are the glitter and smell of inanimate life, but still the fact that they are really alive and aiming for me gives rise to my fear.
                                            Suddenly, I remember vividly the smell of that canal. At that moment I missed the human odor of that mixed smell of muck and body.
                                              “It’s no good being attached to this sea”, I thought. “It’s safe if I’m on the sand dune”, and I let my eyes roam over the sea. At that moment, one of the white lines of waves that were coming in constantly in rows suddenly swelled up high. “The water has risen”, I thought. The high wall of water strides intact toward the beach
                                                It was not an illusion. Far out at sea a black warship appeared about the size of a match­box. It is the wave from the warship. Even after I know what it is, I can not get rid of the uneasiness that the sea is trying to invade the sand dune and claim relationship by force.
                                                  The wave broke with a crash. I blocked my ears and raced back away from the sand dune and ran along a country road. As I kept running a long distance the waves from the warship stopped. The uneasiness didn’t go away, but I headed for the bathing beach.
                                                    I bought and drank a lemonade at a shop sheltered with reed screens. In front of that shack there is a square glass box. A small crane had been put in the box and boxes of caramels and packages of candies are piled up. When you operate a handle and button outside the box the crane opens its jaw and bites at the candy on the bottom with its sharp teeth.
                                                      My body was glued fast to that glass box. The sea spread out behind me. Sky, water, beach and trees disappeared and only the small crane held my eyes. That toy repeated the same movements as the crane on the dredging boat. One after another the candies slid out from an opening in the belly of the box. I recalled that the figure of the widow standing up in the motorboat looked like a dumb animal. The crane repeats the same movements over and over again.
                                                        “Don’t do it anymore.”
                                                          A voice called behind me. When I turned around a young girl was standing there. Her deeply tanned face was familiar. My family, who were vacationing, rented rooms on the second floor of a general store. This is the daughter of a fisherman next door.
                                                            “You really like it, don’t you?”
                                                              “I thought I would stop, but I couldn't.”
                                                                With a look of amazement, the girl said,
                                                                  “How silly!”
                                                                      “Won't you come and catch locusts?”
                                                                        I began to walk beside the girl. We had decided to go back once to the store and set out with a limed stick. We chose a short-cut and walked along the narrow road that was overgrown with weeds on both sides. Suddenly, the girl stopped.
                                                                          “Wait just a minute.”
                                                                            She pulled the skirt of her kimono way up and squatted in the weeds. Her small, round buttocks were dark brown. Sea wind and sunlight had penetrated deeply there. She looked like a small, strange animal crouching in front of me. I stared at the dark brown skin with the feeling that I had lost my hold on something. When the animal smell came from the body of that widow I hated it intensely, but it was something in front of me to hold on to. In fact, it was even all too clear to me.
                                                                              The two seas are different. Even the land beside them is different. And I realized that, after all, I am a person who lives on the land by the dead sea which gives off that awful stench.

                                                                                There are all kinds of seas. You expect that the waters of the seas of the world all connect, but still there are all kinds of seas. If you transplant a tree lush with leaves from land beside one sea to the side of another sea, it will not necessarily be equally green.
                                                                                  There are times when the sticky, shining black sap is overflowing in a tree that seems to be withered and dead. The fact is that that tree is alive. Sometimes it will really wither and die if you transplant it to different ground.

                                                                                   A Children’s Song

                                                                                    If you made all the seas
                                                                                      Of the world into one
                                                                                        What kind of big sea would it be?

                                                                                          If you made all the trees
                                                                                            Of the world into one
                                                                                              What kind of big tree would it be?

                                                                                                If you made all the axes
                                                                                                  In the world into one
                                                                                                    What of big ax would it be?

                                                                                                      If you made all the people
                                                                                                        In the world into one
                                                                                                          What kind of big man would it be?

                                                                                                            If the big man with the big ax
                                                                                                              Cut down the big tree
                                                                                                                And threw it with a big splash
                                                                                                                  In the big sea
                                                                                                                    What kind of big sound would it be?

                                                                                                                      Twenty-odd years passed. During all that time I lived in the city. One noon my friend Konno visited me unexpectedly. He is a painter who lives in a rural harbor town. The sea there is a rough and lively sea.
                                                                                                                    He was with a boy.     “You know, this boy has been accepted for the next exhibition.” He mentioned the name of a well-known art show. The boy is sixteen or seventeen and has close-cropped hair.
                                                                                                                          “That’s exceptional for being so young, isn’t it.”
                                                                                                                            “They’ve decided to put him on television since he’s the youngest up to now. They’ve dragged me out too since he’s my student. He pays for his painting supplies working as a fisherman.”
                                                                                                                              The boy looked at me with shining eyes. His eyes were clear and reflected white-capped waves and a glittering sun.
                                                                                                                                “As a matter of fact we’re going to the television studio now, but we’d like to use your place to have our lunch.”
                                                                                                                                  The boy opened a wrapped package.
                                                                                                                                    “The boy’s family made some sushi for us. How about you having some too.”
                                                                                                                                      The boy took out a piece of sushi and offered it to me. He spoke in a simple dialect. The sushi was almost the size of a rice ball and had a slice of red, raw fish stuck on it.
                                                                                                                                        If the round, dark brown buttocks of the fisherman's daughter appear suddenly before my eyes now, I don’t feel that I have lost hold of anything. I accepted with amusement the ball of sushi that filled up his hand.
                                                                                                                                          The next day Konno and I stood before the boy’s painting at the exhibition hall.
                                                                                                                                            The bow of a fishing boat had been painted over the full face of the picture. Both the boat and the sea were painted in red rust color, but it was not a color of decay. It is a strong color composed of vigorous sea wind and sun. Both the boat and the sea are drawn in strong, straight lines.
                                                                                                                                              There are hardly any curved lines. It was a realistic painting, but the strong color and strong lines created an abstract effect. The sea that was reflected in the boy’s eyes came out in the painting.
                                                                                                                                                “It’s not bad, I think”, Konno says looking at the painting.
                                                                                                                                                  “Not bad. I’d like to see the sea at your town again. It’s been so long.”
                                                                                                                                                    “How about coming along when I go back? I’ll feed you delicious fish. ......Besides, I think you'll be all right this time.”
                                                                                                                                                      “I think I’ll be all right.”
                                                                                                                                                        I thought that I loved the rough sea at that harbor town. But whenever I get to the land beside that sea, inevitably my system gets all out of order. Without learning from experience I went several times, but each time the odd change would occur in my body. When I got back to the city beside the muddy, rusted sea the strange condition immediately stopped. The fact that my body comes back to life in the sooty, dirty air relates, in a sense, to strength. But I want to be able to go and live contented on all kinds of land beside all kinds of seas.
                                                                                                                                                          Konno said he would feed me delicious fish, but I felt as if I wanted to swallow the sea at his place.
                                                                                                                                                            But again, this time, my system got all out of order the following night after I arrived and, unable to stand it, I caught the train the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                              Five more years went by.
                                                                                                                                                                During that time I kept going to the harbor town where Konno lives and I would feel my system getting out of order and I would come back. I can be on intimate terms with the sea stagnant with drainage and sewage, but I always fail to take into my system and digest the sea at the harbor town. Even more than the roughness of that sea, my body can not get intimate with the intense brightness and glitter.
                                                                                                                                                                  I hadn’t gone to Konno’s place for more than a year.
                                                                                                                                                                    One noon a telephone call came from him. It was the season for exhibitions and he had come to Tokyo and was staying at an inn in the Ueno district.
                                                                                                                                                                      “I brought some sardines that were netted this morning. They’re the most delicious fellows about the size of your finger. How about coming right over and getting some?”
                                                                                                                                                                        A large painting had been propped against the wall of the dim corridor at the inn.
                                                                                                                                                                          “What’s this painting?”
                                                                                                                                                                            Konno mentions the name of that boy.
                                                                                                                                                                              “His final judgement failed him this time. I hear the guy suddenly appeared at this inn the other day and said to the landlady, ‘Here’s a picture for you, Ma’am’, and he left this painting and went away.”
                                                                                                                                                                                I bent over in the narrow corridor and looked closely at the painting. The craggy surface of the oil paint was right before my eyes. It was a painting in red rust color, but in the faint light there seemed to be a sadness in the painting that was different from the rust color composed of vigorous sea wind and sun of five years ago. He had drawn a land-dragged net abstractly over the whole face of the picture and painted a rust colored beach and several fishing boats very small in the background. Delicate curved lines had been put in for the outlines of the fishing boats.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I was attracted by the change.
                                                                                                                                                                                    “It’s interesting, isn’t it?”
                                                                                                                                                                                      “Do you think so? I think it's fairly good, too. But the landlady seems to think she'll sell it for him somewhere for the price of his paints.”
                                                                                                                                                                                        “Shall I buy it?”
                                                                                                                                                                                          “It would be nice if you would.”
                                                                                                                                                                                            We left the painting and went into Konno’s room.
                                                                                                                                                                                              “You know, that guy’s been in Tokyo for the past two years. He’s working now, at Sportsland in Shinjuku.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                “I didn't know that.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                  “He works in the office, but he has charge of displays and things like that. He’s living with a bar girl and seems to want to separate now but he can’t get away. It means he’s suffering like a grown-up.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was thinking about the change in the red rust color in the painting. “You used to like places like Sports land. How about it? Shall we go take a look?” Konno said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I got up right away holding a bamboo basket of sardines.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Still, it’s an awfully big painting. But I’ll have him carry it over later. It'll be all right.” “No. I'll drop in when I have a chance and get it.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sportsland is a place I’ve always loved since my boyhood. It’s where all the vulgarity and craft and excesses of city life mix to the brim with innocence. There are American-made electric shooting devices and old-style cork-gun shooting galleries. There are complicated machines for baseball games next to goldfish scooping. When you hit the belly of a red, metal ogre with a hard ball he groans and lifts up a metal staff he holds in one hand. Red lights go on in his eyes and opened mouth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Konno brought the boy from the office. The dose-cropped head had given way to long hair and the boy had become a young man.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Your painting is sold!”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                “Thank you very much.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The simple accent had disappeared, but there was none of the affability of city ways. There was a glint of defiance in his shadowy eyes. I put both of those rust colored paintings together in my mind and looked closely into those eyes. But it was ambiguous whether or not white-capped waves and shining sun were there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The painting I had bought was much larger than I had thought. It wouldn’t fit inside the car and so I tied it to the roof of the car and brought it back. It was about the size of two shoji screens and took up almost the whole wall of my room.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I pointed at the painting and said to a friend who visited my room, “It’s pretty good, isn’t it.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “But it’s a little too healthy, don’t you think? It’s too bright, too strong............”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “You could say that about a painting he did before, but I can’t think that about this one.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “I especially don't like the way he drew that pine tree.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Pine tree? Where has he drawn such a thing?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                “What do you mean, where?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My friend gazed at me with a look of amazement. He went up to the painting and swept his fingers across the surface almost touching it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “That’s a land-dragged net, isn’t it? ......”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The instant I finished saying it that part of the painting changed completely into the trunk of a pine tree and branches that reached way out. The rust colored trunk of a pine tree soaked with sea wind and sun was painted there realistically.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Net? Where is there a net?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “No. It’s a pine tree. It was a pine tree.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I burst out laughing, but at the same time I also felt unsteady. The rough, living sea beside the harbor town had suddenly come rushing into my room.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried shaking myself from side to side on my chair. But there was no premonition of the odd change. It was because of the dimness and narrowness of the corridor at the inn that the painting looked abstract. It was not on account of the strong color and strong lines. Really, as my friend said, the smell of sea wind came from the painting. But it didn’t have strength enough to cause the odd change in my body.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are all kinds of seas, but it would be difficult to make them all into one. I recalled the shadowy eyes of that young man. The shining sea still remained in those eyes. Seized by uneasiness, I faced the rust colored sea in the painting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Translated by Warren Carlisle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                YOSHIYUKI Junnosuke
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Entered the English Literature Faculty of Tokyo University, but abandoned the studies halfway. After hard work, started a literary magazine Ashi (Reeds) together with his friends (1945). His work Genshoku no Machi (Primary Colors Street) was considered for the Akutagawa Prize, the highest literary award for new writers in 1952. His left lung being affected, began recuperation life (1953). Won the 31st Akutagawa Prize with his work Shuu (Shower) ─one of his stories written during his convalescence (1954). Steadily worked up his position as a representative of the so-called “third group of new writers” by publishing such works as Otoko to Onna no Ko (A Man and a Girl) (1958), Shofu no Heya (A Prostitute’s Room) (1959), Yami no nakano Shukusai (Festival in the Dark) (1961), Suna no ueno Shokubutsu-gun (Plant Groups on Sand) (1964). Successfully displayed quite a unique style in groping for mysteries of life in the abyss of the female body, blending polished delicacy of presentation with soft sense of wit and humor which indicate his delicate nerves and keen sensibility. Among his works there are Sure Sure (Close to) (1959), Call-girl (1962) and Gikoteki Seikatsu (Technical Life) (1975).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Work Posted)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sabita Umi (Rusted Sea) was first published in Gunzo Magazine in April, 1964. The protagonist gazes at the sea, shifting his perspective, from his boyhood to the present day. The dark blue sea putrid with urban wastes is in sharp contrast with the clear blue sea of the fisherman’s village. The protagonist feels scared at the clear blue sea, having lived so long in the city. Some twenty years later, he meets a boy living in the village and working his way up to become an artist while being a helper to a fisherman. The boy paints the sea red rust colored, intense colors with bold lines. The painting is representational but is abstract at the same time. Based on the writer’s unique sense of colors, the tense relationship between the human soul and body which are undermined by urban life is sharply expressed by depicting the mental and physical discomfort while facing the sea. Sabita Umi was translated into English and published by The Japan P.E.N. Club in September, 1967.(From The Japan P.E.N. News No.20 1967)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YOSHIYUKI Junnosuke
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YOSHIYUKI Junnosuke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Novelist. April 13, 1924 – July 26, 1994. Born in Okayama City and raised in Kojimachi, Tokyo. Junnosuke was the eldest son of YOSHIYUKI Eisuke, an author belonging to the Shinko Geijutsuha (New Breed Artists), a group of novelists formed during the 1930s to counter Proletarian literature. Attended the English Literature Department of the University of Tokyo and contributed works to a literary coterie magazine, but withdrew from school before graduation. Repulsed by social trends both during and after WW2, his literary vision focused on private stories depicting conflicts of human psychology, especially looking into his consistent theme of the uncertainty of life and sex arising from closed human interactions of soul and body. Received the Akutagawa Award in 1954 for Shu-U (Sudden Shower). Together with such contemporaries as YASUOKA Shotaro, MIURA Shumon, and ENDO Shusaku, he was known as Daisan-no-Shinjin or The Third New Faces. Became a member of the Japan Art Academy in 1981. One of the leading writers of the modern literature.

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