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Shono, Junzo 1921-

Shono, Junzo 1921-
(Shonō Junzō)


PERSONAL:

Born February 9, 1921, in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan; son of Teiichi (an educator and administrator) and Harue Shono; married Chizuko Hamau; children: Natsuko (daughter), Tatsuya (son), Kazuya (son). Education: Osaka Foreign Language School, graduated, 1941; Kyushu University, graduated, 1944.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Stone Bridge Press, P.O. Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707.

CAREER:

Imamiya Middle School, Osaka, Japan, history teacher, 1945-47; Osaka South High School, teacher, 1947-50; Asahi Broadcasting, Japan, coordinator of cultural programming, 1950-55; writer, 1955—. Waseda University, instructor in English, 1963-64.

MEMBER:

Japan Academy of Arts.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Akutagawa Prize, 1955; Rockefeller Foundation fellow, 1957; Seventh Shincho Literary Prize, for "Seibutsu," 1960; Yomiuri Literary Prize, 1966, for Yube no Kumo; Arts Citation Prize, 1970, for Konno kigyojo; Mainichi Culture Prize, 1972, for Akio to Ryoji; Kawasaki City Cultural Prize, 1973; Japan Art Academy Award, 1973, for body of work; honorary doctorate of letters, Kenyon College, 1978; Order of the Sacred Treasure, 1993; Cultural Prize, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1993.

WRITINGS:


Aibu, Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1953.

Purusaido shokei (short stories), Misuzu Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1955.

Zabon no hana, Kindai Seikatsusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1956.

Gambia taizaiki (title means "My Stay in Gambier"), Chuo Koronsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1959.

Seibutsu, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1960.

Ukitodai (title means "Floating Lighthouse"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1961.

Michi (title means "The Path"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1962.

Tabibito no yorokobi (title means "Joy of the Traveler"), Kawade Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1963.

Tsumugi uta (title means "Pongee Ballad"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1963.

Tori (title means "Birds"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan, 1964.

Sado, Gakushu Kenkyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1964.

Yube no kumo, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1965, translation by Wayne P. Lammers published as Evening Clouds, Stone Bridge Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.

Nagaremo (title means "Flowing Cress"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1967.

Warera no bungaku: Shono Junzo, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1967.

Oka no akari (title means "Light on a Hill"), Chikuma Shobo, 1967.

Jibun no hane, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1968.

Kiji no hane, Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1968.

Zento (title means "One's Future"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1968.

Konno kigyojo (title means "The Konno Textile Mill"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1969.

Koebi no mure (title means "A Shoal of Brine Shrimp"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1970.

Eawase (title means "Picture Contest"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1971.

Yane (title means "The Roof"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1971.

Akio to Ryoji, Iwanami Shoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1972.

Niwa no yama no ki (title means "The Tree on the Garden Hill"), Tojusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1973.

Nogamo, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1973.

Shono Junzo Zenshu (collected works), ten volumes, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1973-74

Omochaya (title means "The Toy Shop"), Kawade Shobo Shinsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1974.

Yasumi no akuru hi (title means "The Day after Vacation"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1975.

Kajiya no uma (title means "The Smithy's Horse"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1976.

Hikishio (title means "Ebb-tide"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1977.

Mizu no miyako (title means "The Water Capital"), Kawade Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1978.

Sheriishu to kaede no ha (title means "Sherry and Maple Leaves"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1978.

Okujo (title means "On the Roof"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1980.

Gambia no haru (title means "Spring in Gambier"), Kawade Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1980.

Soshun (title means "Early Spring"), Chuo Kronosha (Japan), 1982.

Yama no ue ni ikioi ari (title means "There is Strength on the Mountain"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1984.

Yoki no Kuraun ofisu ro (title means "Lively Crown Office Row"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1984.

Kodomo no tozoku, Bokuyosha, Showa (Tokyo, Japan), 1984.

Giboshi no hana (title means "Flower on the Railing"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1985.

Savoi opera (title means "The Savoy Opera"), Kawade Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1986.

Yo o hedatete (title means "Shutting Out the World"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1987.

Indomen no fuku, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1988.

Eivonki (title means "Notes from Avon"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1989.

Natsukashiki Ohaio (title means "Ohio Remembrances"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1991.

Tanjobi no ramukeeki (title means "The Birthday Rum Cake"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1991.

Yoshikiri (title means "Reed Warbler"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1992.

Enpitsujirushi no toreenaa (title means "Pencil-pattern Sweatshirt"), Fukutake Shoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1992.

Still Life and Other Stories, translation by Wayne P. Lammers, Stone Bridge Press (Berkeley, CA), 1992.

Sakuranbo jamu (title means "Cherry Jam"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1994.

Sanpo-michi kara (title means "From My Daily Walks"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1995.

Kaigara to umi no oto (title means "Seashells and the Roar of the Surf"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1996.

Piano no oto (title means "The Sound of the Piano"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1997.

Sekirei (title means "The Wagtail"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 1998.

Yasai sanka (title means "In Praise of Vegetables"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1998.

Niwa no tsurubara (title means "The Climbing Rose in the Garden"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1999.

Bungaku koyuroku (title means "My Literary Friendships"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1999.

Tori no Mizuabi (title means "The Bird's Bath"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 2000.

Yamada-san no suzumushi (title means "The Yamada's Bell Cricket"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 2001.

Usagi no Mimirii (title means "Mimily the Rabbit"), Shinchosha(Tokyo, Japan), 2002.

Mago no kekkonshiki (title means "My Grandchild's Wedding"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 2002.

Niwa no chiisana bara (title means "The Miniature Rose in the Garden"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 2003.

Mejiro no kkuru niwa (title means "A Garden Visited by White-eyes"), Bungei Shunju (Tokyo, Japan), 2004.

Keiko-chan no yukata (title means "Little Keiko's Cotton Kimono"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 2005.

Hoshi ni negai o (title means "Wishing on a Star"), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 2006.

Work represented in anthologies, including The Showa Anthology, Kodansha (New York, NY), 1985. Contributor to numerous newspapers and periodicals, including Literary Review, Reeds, Mahoroba, Bungaku Zasshi, Shinbungaku, Gunzo, Shincho Shosetsu Shincho, and Bungei. Japanese editor, Kenyon Review, 1978-88.

SIDELIGHTS:

Junzo Shono is an acclaimed Japanese short story writer and novelist. Born in 1921, in Osaka, Japan, Shono was one of seven children in the Shono family. He and his siblings enjoyed a middle-class upbringing, playing sports and attending a middle school where his father was the principal. In 1937, Shono's two older brothers were called to serve for Japan in the war against China.

In 1939, Shono began studying at the Osaka Foreign Language School. It was here that Shono read and translated some of the works of author Charles Lamb. Although he previously had no strong interest in literature, Shono was taken with Lamb's writing. This prompted Shono to translate other works for the Foreign Language School's journal. He also began reading more Japanese literary works, including short stories, haiku, and poetry. One of his favorite poets became Shizuo Ito. Shono visited the poet and they became friends. This friendship provided an impetus for Shono to dedicate himself to writing.

Shono graduated with a major in English from the Foreign Language School in 1941. He entered Kyushu University as an Asian history major but was required to join the Japanese armed forces in 1943. Shono joined the Imperial Navy and began his training in antiaircraft artillery. He graduated from the university early in 1944 and was given his navy assignment. Shono and his unit were sent to Izu in early 1945 to begin readying for an assumed American landing on the coast. With the surrender of Japan and the end to World War II, Shono went back to Osaka and became a teacher.

In 1944, shortly before he reported for war duty, Shono's first short story had been published. The story was titled "Yuki / hotaru" and the journal that published it included an introduction by Shono's friend Shizuo Ito. Although he was now employed as a teacher, Shono took up writing again and became a regular contributor of essays and short stories to newspapers and other periodicals. In 1946, he and three other associates began the literary journal Koyo. The project had to be abandoned after only three issues. Shono's stories continued to be published in more and more prestigious journals and he quit his teaching job to work with Asahi Broadcasting.

With the birth of his first child in 1947, Shono began to use family as the primary focus of his stories. His writings carry the common theme of family and social relationships and the ties that bind them: love and hate, success and despair, life and death. Shono's works deal with the common, everyday stories that are part of the shared human experience. J. Scott Miller, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, summed up Shono's works by saying that "Shono reveals, perhaps better than most other postwar Japanese writers, the key to Japan's recent success and the hidden depths of struggle and endurance that lie beneath the tranquil surface of everyday, middle-class life in this most middle-class of modern societies."

Shono's 1955 short story "Purusaido shokei" would later be translated as "Near the Swimming Pool," "Poolside Vignette," and "Evenings at the Poolside." It is a story of domestic life. A man reveals to his wife that he has been fired from his job for embezzlement. He also reveals that he has a mistress who works as a bar hostess at a bar he had been frequenting. The wife comes to realize that he has spent the stolen money on his mistress. Now that he is unemployed, the husband is at home all day and the wife begins to like the situation. When the neighbors and children start asking why he is home all the time, he invents a job and leaves the house to go to "work." The story ends as nightfall approaches and the husband has not yet returned from "work." The book was praised for revealing the bonds of family and how, amidst desperation, threads of happiness, courage, and strength could be found within these bonds.

In 1955, Shono quit his job at Asahi Broadcasting to concentrate full-time on writing. In 1957, Shono became a fellow at Kenyon College in Ohio. While at Kenyon, he became friends with other authors and poets and also traveled. Shono stayed only one year in Ohio, but the fellowship had a tremendous impact on him and provided much material for later stories.

In many of his works, Shono has written about one central "family." As the years passed, Shono explored their relationships more deeply as the characters matured. Shono also began to include his own family members, friends, and neighbors in his works as well as references to previous stories and his own travels and adventures. Enpitsujirushi no toreenaa used his central fictional "family." The story concentrates on the fictional parents and their kindergarten-age grand-daughter. Shono's book Sakuranbo jamu continues the story with the little girl now in elementary school and learning to read. This is the same family in which the mother (now grandmother) once tried to commit suicide in the story "Seibutsu." The vantage point and observations of the family have changed as the characters have grown and become adults and grandparents. In the vast body of work that Shono has created over his lifetime, the reflections on family have been the strongest and most realistic to his readers.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


BOOKS


Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 182: Japanese Fiction Writers since World War II, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.

PERIODICALS


Atlantic Monthly, July, 2000, review of Evening Clouds, p. 98.

Booklist, May 15, 2000, Bonnie Johnston, review of Evening Clouds, p. 1731.

Publishers Weekly, October 5, 1992, review of Still Life and Other Stories, p. 65; May 15, 2000, review of Evening Clouds, p. 88.

World Literature Today, winter, 2001, Marleigh Grayer Ryan, review of Evening Clouds, p. 108

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