Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Shimazaki Toson (shē´mä´zä´kē tō´sōn), 1872–1943, Japanese poet and novelist. A pioneer in the establishment of a new Japanese verse form, Toson later turned his talents to prose fiction. Hakai [the broken commandment], a story of an outcast schoolteacher, is considered the first Japanese naturalist novel. Subsequent works were somewhat autobiographical in nature; his masterpiece, Yoake no mae [before the dawn], a historical novel, traces the growth of modern Japan through a fictionalized account of his father's life.
See J. A. Walker, The Japanese Novel of the Meiji Period and the Ideal of Individualism (1979).