the scarlet gang of asakusa simply by yasunari

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Yasunari Kawabata June (1899 –1972) was a Japanese copy writer whose was awarded the Nobel Award for Literary works in 1968 for his auxiliary, poetic and ingeniously colored type of writing. Not any Japanese writer had received the award prior to Kawabata. Besides fictional works he as well worked being a reporter to get Mainichi Shimbun of Osaka. The conflict and the reality all of Kawabata’s relatives passed away while having been young a new profound influence on his your life. Kawabata dedicated suicide in 1972. Many speculations have been manufactured about his reasons, such as poor health, a possible failed love affair, or the problems caused by the suicide of his good friend Yukio Mishima in 1970.


Asakusa was mostly a city for industrial enjoyment, it also preserved their local vivacity. It was this mixture of barefaced pleasure and intrinsic well worth that interested the throngs of people who arrived at visit Asakusa. It was certainly this blend that was most lamented, subsequent to the 1923 earthquake, however Asakusa regained it is former wonder and up to its last days, could hold on to relatively of its former appeal.


Mostly the plan circles throughout the Scarlet Gang, which is a team formed by simply some teenagers in Asakusa, many bande like these existed in Asakusa at the time, the gang’s several endeavors are narrated in first person, the narrator him self is never discovered by Kawabata, the accounts of the gang’s various activities are used to illustrate life in Asakusa, the narrator� him self wanders around Asakusa and relates the gang’s activities, the primary concentrate in the book is definitely not the gang by itself but rather the account of the narrator, whom moves from place to an additional following the Scarlet Gang, the narrator likewise implies that the gang can be involved in illegal actions nevertheless does not stipulate the kind of unlawful activities. Just a few characters look throughout the publication which are actually related to the gang. Kawabata’s main goal clearly was to give a bank account of life in Asakusa, which this individual manages to achieve in a very difficult yet poetic manner mainly due to his choice of first person narrative.

With its corporeal and sexual charm, Asakusa prospered in every method, Tanizaki creates that Asakusa’s  attractions included “plays, operettas, comedies, films from the Western world and Japan productions, Douglas Fairbanks and Onoe Matsunosuke acrobats controlling on golf balls, bareback biker Naniwa bushi singers, chanters, the merry-go-round, the Hanayashiki Amusement Area, the A dozen Story Tower, shooting galleries and museums, whores, Japan restaurants, Oriental restaurants, and Western eating places, the Rairaiken, won lot mein, oysters over rice, horsemeat, taking turtles, eels, and the Café Paulista. ” (Donald Richie 2005 )

Asakusa was also famous for its Opera, where at first some ie was actually being sung. An early present Rigoletto, and “La donna é mobile” became a hit with the locals, later however , the displays became varied.

This difficult and unattractive but vivacious and energetic Asakusa was soon after destroyed. The 1923 Kanto earthquake destroyed it, as it flattened much of Tokyo and Yokohama. Among the even more well-known disaster was the damage of the Asakusa’s, Twelve History tower also known as the Cloud Surpassing Pavilion, a building which came into existence the sign of Asakusa.

The old neighborhood was also destroyed, the sense of belonging to a society, that had attracted so many people was also in no way completely regained. Since it was obviously a city of enjoyment, an entertainment capital, a town with among the finest night lifestyle in the world, yet , rebuilding began at once. And today, representing the new Asakusa, rather than the Twelve Account Tower you have the Subway Tower system building, with its observation platform. Kawabata writes that all the floors are in the Osaka style, besides the top ones as they had been turned into restaurants. (Tokyo essentials 2006)


Through the end in the nineteenth hundred years and beginning of the twentieth, Asakusa was the most significant pleasure centre of Tokyo. From the 1840s to the 1940s, it was just like Montmartre in Paris, and Alexanderplatz in Berlin (Donald Richie. 2005)

This area of Osaka was identified for control rather than it is customs, typically mourned after the earthquake. “Why, it’s gotten just like Osaka, ” complains a character in a single Kawabata account. Writing about The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa, Kataoka Yoshikaze, writing in 1939, displays the new Asakusa as that, “Human market, where the delight resort with the Edo period, the an�antissements of the raw, semi-enlightened attention of the Meiji era, as well as the over-ripeness… from the present time of capitalist corruption, are thrown jointly in a forever disordered state or prepared in a method peculiarly such as the place on its own. Eroticism and frivolity and speed and comic-strip laughter; the uncovered legs of dancing girls and jazzy revues; kiss-dances, foreign ladies, ground-cherries and popular tunes; the movie, the circus, the fake, dilapidated aquarium and insectariums. (Donald Richie 2005)

In The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa Kawabata quotes Soeda Azenbo’s good depiction: “In Asakusa every thing is flung out in the raw. Wants dance nude. All races, all classes, all cluttered together creating a bottomless, endless current, flowing night and day, no beginning, no end”. ( Donald Richie 2005). Asakusa was kept alive by these varied sights, one of the most well-liked attraction was your cinema, a form of activity early on linked with Asakusa for the reason that the first Tokyo movie home, “the Denkikan”, had opened there more than a century ago.

Kawabata corelates that by simply 1930, Asakusa had 18 cinemas. He also affirms, however , which it had more theaters. During the summer of 1930, his assessment calculated six vaudeville, or yose, acc�s, one kabuki theater, a lot of pawnshops and beggars in the city, about eight 100 were residing in Asakusa Playground, although Kawabata did not trust this interpersonal estimation and retained that there were much more. (Donald Richie 2005)


Life in Asakusa in its golden period is explained by Kawabata as one big party, in which the primary matter for its people and its tourists was entertainment, in its gold period Asakusa was regarded as one of the biggest entertainment center on the globe and every visitor affirmed this fact, a life full of entertainment was considered normal in Asakusa Kawabata produces about Asakusa at its prewar stage.

The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa captures the region in its golden period, when ever hundreds of persons came to go to the city, all of the attractions just like theatre, cinema, restaurants, geisha houses manufactured the city ad advertisement entertainment center. According to Kawabata “Asakusa is like a specimen in the Bug House, something completely different from this world such as a remote tropical isle or some Africa village” (Kawabata 2005)


  1. Yasunari Kawabata (2005) The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa. one particularstedition Printed by University or college of Cal Press
  2. Donald Richie (2005) “Foreword: The Scarlet Bunch of Asakusa by Yasunari Kawabata”. Reached on dozethNovember 06\ from:
  1. Tokyo Basics (2006) ” Asakusa” Utilized on dozeaNovember 06\ from:



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