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Extra resources for Writers and Society in Modern Japan
It seems that in coining this phrase Ito Sei g8 From Flight to Self-destruction 39 had several factors in mind, prominent among which was the low social origin of the writers concerned, which in a sense facilitated their subsequent flight. The naturalist writers who formed the bundan belonged to the provincial middle and lower classes-for instance, lwano Homei's father was a minor police official, Tayama Katai was the second son of a low ranking samurai, Chikamatsu Shiiko's and Kamura lsota's families had been farmers for generations, Kasai Zenzo's father was a small-town businessman and merchant.
For the children he ordered sushi [an expensive dish of portions of cold rice covered with fish or egg] and for himself sake. He felt that in his present mood nothing but sake could raise his spirits. He drank it greedily, at the same time savouring each cup as though it was something extremely precious. In a large mirror in front of him he saw a reflection ofhis own face-pale and dark with hollow cheeks and sunken eyes. He looked at it with a distant feeling as though it belonged to someone else.
Later, under the influence of Christianity, literature became to him a medium for expressing individual conscience which he came to consider as the ultimate moral value. Out of this consciousness that the liberal intellectual had failed grew Tokoku 's theory of a free individual- free from the tyranny of the State and society. In his essay 'Naibu seimei ron' (About the The Meiji Literary World 21 Inner Life) he declares spiritual freedom to be the highest value in man's life. The role of the writer is that of a fighter for spiritual freedom (seishin no senshi); literature was to be a bastion of the spirit, where worldly success or achievement did not carry much significance.