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Hayashi Fubō

Hayashi Fubō
Born 17 January 1900(1900-01-17)
Sado island, Niigata prefecture, Japan
Died 29 June 1935 (aged 35)
Kamakura, Kanagawa Japan
Occupation Writer
Genres historical novels
In this Japanese name, the family name is Hayashi.

Hayashi Fubō (林不忘 Hayashi Fubō ?); (17 January 1900 -29 June 1935) was the pen-name of a novelist in the early Showa period Japan. His real name was Hasegawa Kaitarō. He wrote under 3 different pen names, each with a unique personality, and caused a sensation with the sheer brilliance of his fiction, non-fiction and translations.

Early life

Born on Sado island, Niigata prefecture, Fubō was the brother of novelist Hasegawa Shiro. His older brother was a painter, and his younger brother was a translator of Russian literature. His father was a newspaper journalist, and relocated to Hakodate in Hokkaidō, where Fubō was exposed at an early age to a cosmopolitan environment with many foreign influences. In August 1920, he decided to experience life in the United States, and worked as a cook while studying at Oberlin College in Ohio. It is not certain whether or not he actually graduated, as he spent most of his time wandering all over the United States sightseeing and taking notes on his experiences. In 1924, he returned to Japan by way of Dalian, in the Kwantung Leased Territory and decided to try his luck as a writer.

Literary career

Soon after his return to Japan in 1924, he used the pen-name of Tani Jōji (谷譲次 ?) and submitted stories to the literary magazines Shin-Shonen (New Youth) and Chūō Kōron (Central Review). These stories with a humorous twist grew into a popular series describing cosmopolitan life based on his experiences in the United States, called Meriken Jappu. The first volume in this series, Jappu shobai orai (A Jap Businessman's Guide) was published in 1927.

As Maki Itsuma (牧逸馬 ?), he wrote true-life mystery novels, and stories about sophisticated city life in Tokyo, which drew in a large female fan base. In 1927, Chūō Kōron sponsored a round-the-world trip, together with his wife, lasting for one year, in exchange for essays and stories set in each port of call.

However, he is best known as Hayashi Fubō (林不忘 ?), the pen name under which he created a number of semi-historical novels which were serialized in the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun and Osaka Mainichi Shinbun. In Shimpan Ooka Seidan (1927-1928), his main protagonist was Tange Sazen, a one-eyed, one-armed super-swordsman. The character was an immediate hit, and the first screen version of Fubo's stories appeared in 1928.

Fubo died in 1935 at his home in Kamakura of acute bronchial asthma. His grave is at the temple of Myohon-ji in Kamakura.

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