Paulownia: Seven Stories from Contemporary Japanese Writers

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(4.5 stars; 8 reviews)

Paulownia is a collection of seven stories by three Japanese authors from the late 19th and early 20th century.

Mori Ōgai was an army surgeon who was sent to study in Germany, where he developed an interest in Western literature. His most famous work is The Wild Geese (Gan). This collection contains his short stories Takase Bune, Hanako, and The Pier.

Nagai Kafū's writings center mostly around the entertainment districts of Tokyo with their geisha and prostitutes. Here, his stories The bill-collecting and Ukiyo-e are presented.

Shimazaki Tōson was one of the representatives of Japanese naturalism, which we can see in his stories A Domestic Animal and Tsugaru Strait.

Taketomo Torao, the editor and translator of this volume, translated many Western works into Japanese, for example the Rubayat, the Divine Comedy, and works by Shakespeare. He was also a writer in his own right.

(2 hr 25 min)


Foreword and Introduction 13:23 Read by Availle
Takase bune by Mori Ōgai 26:20 Read by Availle
Hanako by Mori Ōgai 14:54 Read by Availle
The pier by Mori Ōgai 12:16 Read by Availle
The bill-collecting by Nagai Kafū 27:23 Read by Availle
Ukiyoe by Nagai Kafū 9:28 Read by Availle
A domestic animal by Shimazaki Tōson 14:18 Read by Availle
Tsugaru Strait by Shimazaki Tōson 27:51 Read by Availle


Loved it, but be warned there is a recurrent death theme.

(5 stars)

A good listen if interested in multi-generation Japanese culture

(3.5 stars)