by Chris MaGee
I have to admit that up until about a year ago I wasn't really familiar with the works of Osamu Dazai (above left). The Japanese author's two dozen novels and short story collections plus his hard drinking and bohemian lifestyle has made him one of the most famed writers in Japan, but he hadn't shown up on my radar until a slew of film adaptations began to be announced last year in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of Dazai's birth. This year screen adaptations of Dazai's "Shayo (Setting Sun)" , "Villion's Wife", and "Pandora's Box" are all being released to honour this occasion and now a fourth project has been announced, a screen adaptation of what many feel is Dazai's masterpiece.
Genjiro Arato, the producer of Seijun Suzuki's surreal "Taisho Trilogy" and Tatsushi Ômori's controversial "Whispering of the Gods", will be putting on the director's cap for the very first feature film adaptation of Dazai's final 1948 novel "Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human)". The semi-autobiographical book explores the character of Ōba Yōzō, a university student who finds it hard to relate to the world around him, but masks this sense of alienation with a jovial demeanor. Arato has cast 24-year-old actor Toma Ikuta in the role of Ōba Yōzō. Ikuta, a member of the Johnny's Jr. talent agency, has previously had huge success starring in musicals and TV dramas, but this will mark the first time that he'll front a film like this.
Production on "Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human)" will begin in July with the film scheduled to be released next year. Thanks to Tokyograph for the details on this.