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Overview: Often compared to Nabokov and Borges, Ishikawa Jun (1899-1987) is one of Japanâs most distinguished modern novelists. Winner of the Akutagawa PrizeâJapanâs most prestigious literary awardâThe Bodhisattva is Ishikawa Junâs powerful satire of Japanese intellectuals in the 1930s, and is considered to be his seminal work. Its sardonic humor can be seen as an antidote to the ultranationalist thinking pervasive in Japan at the time.
The Bodhisattva is the story of an impoverished novelist living in downtown Tokyo who is driven by a dream of the millennium. This dream is manifested in his commitment to writing about Joan of Arc and her chronicler Christine de Pizan, and in his love for a young woman involved in the political underground. The novelist builds successive layers through a series of parallels between âdust and flowersââJapan in the 1930s and France in the fifteenth centuryâand the dream of divine intervention through Joan of Arcâs Asian counterpart, the bodhisattva.
Ishikawa Junâs beautiful layering of images from classical Western and Asian literature characterizes this remarkable work of modern Japanese resistance literature and metafiction.
Genre: Fiction > General Fiction/Classics