Abstract

In the years following the Manchurian adventure, literature in Japan became more and more nationalistic; it fell into a “dark ravine.” Proletarian literature, which had seen a spectacular rise after World War I, declined rapidly after the death of the leftist writer, Kobayashi Takiji, in a police station at Tsukiji, Tokyo, on February 20, 1933. Writers previously devoted to liberal, progressive, and radical ideas were converted to orthodox thinking. In the late thirties and during World War II the few authors who still nurtured leftist ideas were completely silenced. Some, like Hirabayashi Taiko, went to jail. It was only in the first post-war years, with the release of political prisoners and encouragement given to freedom of expression, that literature once more began to show its former diversity and vitality. As the Occupation continued, various limitations were placed on the activities of the Communist Party, but, as we shall see, leftist authors still have their following.

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