photo credits: PD-1996 (with a reason)
Motojirō Kajii (梶井 基次郎, Kajii Motojirō, also Motojirou Kajii, February 17, 1901 – March 24, 1932) was a Japanese author in the early Shōwa period known for his poetic short stories. Kajii left behind masterpieces such as Remon (檸檬, "Lemon"), "Shiro no aru machi nite" (城のある町にて, "In a Castle Town"). Fuyu no hi (冬の日, "Winter Days") and Sakura no ki no shita ni wa (櫻の樹の下には, "Beneath the Cherry Trees"). His poetic works were praised by fellow writers including Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima. Today his works are admired for their finely tuned self-observation and descriptive power.
Despite the limited body of work he created during his short lifetime, Kajii has managed to leave a lasting footprint on Japanese culture. "Lemon" is a staple of literature textbooks. According to a report in major daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, many high school students have emulated the protagonist's defiant act of leaving a lemon in the book section of Maruzen, a department store chain. The opening line of "Under the Cherry Trees" (Dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees!) is popularly quoted in reference to hanami, the Japanese custom of cherry blossom viewing.
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