Yasutaka Tsutusi's name

Tsutsui's Picture

Tsutsui, Yasutaka. Novelist, playwright, actor. Born in Osaka, 24 September 1934. Educated at Doshisha University, Kyoto, 1953-57, B.A. in Aesthetics. Memberships: The Science Fiction Writers Association of Japan; The Japan PEN Club. Honours: The Izumi Kyoka award, 1981 (for Kyojin-Tachi [ Fictional Characters]) ; The Tanizaki Jun'ichiro award, 1987 (for Yumenokizaka-Bunkiten [ The Yumenokizaka Intersection ] ) ; The Kawabata Yasunari award, 1989 (for "Yoppa-dani eno Koka" [A Descent into the Yoppa Valley"] ; The Japan SF award, 1992 (for Asa no Gasuparu [Gaspard of the Morning ] ). Works available in English : Kazoku Hakkei (What the Maid Saw:Eight Psychic Tales [1972; Tokyo:Kodansha Interanational , 1990]) and others.

The Japanese guru of "metafiction," Yasutaka Tsutsui started his career as a science fiction writer in the mid-60s, came to break up in the 70s the generic boundary between serious and popular fiction, and won numero us prestigious awards of science fiction and mainstream literature by the early 90s. Deeply influenced by Darwin, Freud, and the Marx Brothers, his own post-Situationist poetics of "hyper-fictionality" has persisten tly disclosed the conspiracy between reality and fiction in the hyper-capitalist age haunted by a variety of "spectacles" and "pseudo-events." While his earliest works in the mid-60s such as "Tokaido Senso" ("The Tokyo-Osaka War,"1964) and "Vietnam Kanko Kosha" ("The Vietnam Tourist Bureau,"1967) and Dasso to Tsuiseki no Samba (The Samba for Runaways and Chasers, 1972) prophesized the acceleration of hypermedia that would transform fictions into realities, the battlefield into an amusement park, and one's identity into a computer program, his latest diptych of Gaspard of the Morning (1992) and Paprika (1993) radically reconsidered our own reality as a version of hyper-fictionality, our everyday life as the effect of the political unconscious, and the boundary-transgressor as the greatest survivor of natural selection. Tsutsui states: "I do not find it accidental that from the 60s through the 70s, just while the post-surrealist mode nurtured British New Wave and North-American Metafiction and Latin American Magic Realism, I was making every effort to develop my own theory of hyper-fictionality without knowing those western literary experiments" ("On My Fictional Theory: a Recollection ," unpublished, 1991). Tsutsui also unwittingly rivalled scholar-critics like David Lodge, Malcolm Bradbury and Terry Eagleton, by experimenting with avant-garde literary criticisms in the novel Bungaku-bu Tadano Kyoju (Hitoshi Tadano the Professor of Literary Studies ,1990), which became a national bestseller. Thus, Tsutsui's long career from the 1960s to the 1990s convinces us of the way Japanese literary history has gradually accepted the hybridization of metafiction and science fiction as the fate of postmodern literature per se .

Unfortunately, the recent champions of PC consensus became so nervous about Tsutsui's literary experiments that the writer finally gave up writing -- at least publishing works in print media -- in the summer of 1993. However, he has since been getting more active in cyber-media, helping set up in the summer of 1996 the first literary server in Japan "JALInet," which allows us to read his new story based upon Shichifuku-jin (the Seven Dieties of Good Fortune). This is how the representative metafictionist has metamorphosed himself into the exemplary cyber-fictionist. While Tsutsui up until the 80s had been considered analogous with hardcore metafictionists like John Barth, John Fowles, and Italo Calvino, Tsutsui in the 90s could well compare with the godfather of American hyper-fiction Robert Coover, who, in the wake of cyber-culture, has promoted hypertextual reorganization of the metafictional imagination.