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風立ちぬ (The Wind Rises)

Author: 堀辰雄 (Hori Tatsuo)
Year: 1938

Summary

Summary

The Wind Has Risen (風立ちぬ – Kaze Tachinu) is a Japanese novel by Hori Tatsuo, written between 1936–37. It is set in a tuberculosis sanitarium in Nagano, Japan. The plot follows a main character identified only with the pronoun “I” as he takes care of his fiancée, and then wife, Setsuko, who has been diagnosed with the disease, deciding to stay with her until her death.

The main character meditates about life and death as he sees her beloved’s condition deteriorating, finally moving with her to a sanatorium surrounded by beauty, and finally discovering that just like the wind rises he can still keep living after her death through the strong bond of their love.

Length: 110 pages
Category: short & suitable for “deep reading”

Availability

Free on Amazon, aozora.jp and other places

Personal Opinion

Hori Tatsuo is a beloved author in Japan. I’m not familiar with his writings, but I think his works have a very poetic melancholy to them I imagine I’ll find very appealing.

This novella is fairly short and not overly hard to read. I think reading it together will help us to notice small details or historic/cultural backgrounds we might miss if we just read it casually by ourselves.

The book also partly inspired the eponymous Studio Ghibli movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. While the movie is no adaption and mixes things up quite a bit, I’m curious about the similarities.

Pros

  • very short (novella-sized)
  • free
  • beautiful language
  • famous classic
  • gentle (?) introduction to the melancholic appeal often found in Japanese literature
  • tons of material background material available (not sure how much in English, though)

Cons

  • occasionally dated language & kanji usage (e.g. 唯 for ただ and 其処 for そこ)

Pictures/Sample

In HTML format here: 堀辰雄 風立ちぬ

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

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