Waseda University Library Rare Material Collections

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IHARA Saikaku / Call Number: [he]13-1607
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IHARA Saikaku; afterword by Rakugetsuan Saigin. Osaka: Aratoya Magobei Kashin ed. Oct. 1682. 8 vols. ; 27.3 X 19.3 cm.
"Koshoku ichidai otoko" (tr. "The life of an amorous man") is a novel written by IHARA Saikaku.

The hero named Yonosuke ("Man of the World") was born as a child between Yumesuke ("Man of the Dreams"), who lived in insatiable pursuit of love affairs with women and men as well, and a celebrated courtesan; the son first made love to a woman at the age of seven. Thereafter, always devoting himself to the affairs, Yonosuke ended up, at 60, sailing to Nyogogashima ("Isle of Women"). This work narrates 54 years of his adventures in the form of a novel.

Yonouske, the figure created by Saikaku, is an unusual man, defying the common senses or morals of the society. This novel fascinated the readers by its interesting description of human feelings and manners of the days, through the life history of Yonosuke, who was born and living in ukiyo (floating world). It paved the way for the popularity of the "ukiyo-zoshi" genre of novels.

This work is said to have followed the frames of "Ise monogatari" and "Genji monogatari", also with its composition of 54 chapters in 8 volumes, the number of chapters matching that of "Genji".

Waseda University owns its first edition, published when the author was 41. It bears three ownership stamps of lending libraries of the period, leading us to conjecture it was circulated for loan and read by many people. This material is extremely valuable, with its illustrations purportedly pictured by the author himself.
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First drafted August 24, 1999
Last revised November 25, 2005