Information about the author:
Lukas Bruna, DSc in Philology, Associate Professor, Jissen Women’s University, Higashi, 1-1-49, 150-8538 Shibuya Tokyo, Japan.
Literature of Maxim Gorky, one of the most prominent and influential modern Russian novelist, drew international attention first at the beginning of the 20th century, soon after English, German and French translations of his early works began to appear. Japanese readers were given an opportunity to get acquainted with Gorky’s works almost without any delay and shortly after the Russo-Japanese war, when Japanese literature went through a process of dramatic transformation, leaving behind romantic idealism and discovering naturalist realism, they became fascinated especially by his “vagabonds stories”. These stories such as “Chelkash” or “Malva” were highly praised for introducing the character of a free-spirited vagabond who wanders endlessly the world without any attachments, neither material nor emotional. This character of an “eternal outcast”, so often described in Gorky’s early works, was viewed as an embodiment of human’s ultimate desire for freedom — something, as many young Japanese intellectuals believed, modern society with its restrictions and regulations deprives individual of. This paper will briefly examine the reception of Gorky’s works in early 20th century Japan and based on two examples will explain in detail how concretely his “vagabonds stories” influenced Japanese writers.
Keywords: Maxim Gorky, Japanese Literature, reception, influence, Ishikawa Takuboku, Oguri Fuyo.