PANG Ho-Cheung

PANG Ho-Cheung
With Hong Kong director PANG Ho-cheung after interviewing him in 2012

Thursday, April 30, 2009

ACF 287: Jiro Asada's short story collection THE STATIONMASTER available now


Stationmaster Copyright: Poppoya (C) 2000 by Jiro Asada

VIZ MEDIA INVITES READERS TO MAKE A STOP
WITH THE AWARD-WINNING NOVEL

THE STATIONMASTER

Author Jiro Asada’s Collection Of 8 Short Stories Exemplifies Contemporary Japanese Fiction And Explores Themes Of Loss, Love And Redemption

VIZ Media continues to introduce English-language readers to some of the best authors of contemporary Japanese fiction with the North American release of THE STATIONMASTER, a collection of eight short stories by award-winning author Jiro Asada. THE STATIONMASTER available now with a SRP of $22.99 U.S. / $26.99 CAN.

In the book’s eponymous opening story, railway man Otomatsu waits each day, as he has for most of his life, at the end of the line to greet the incoming trains. But where the cars once brimmed with passengers, they now carry only one or two or sometimes none at all. Facing the imminent closure of his station, Otomatsu reflects back on the quiet tragedies of his life. Then into the cold emptiness of his days, wanders a carefree young girl who bears an uncanny likeness to his infant daughter who died years ago. In the winter of his life, has spring returned to the stationmaster?

In “Love Letter,” a man who has seen the rough side of life finds comfort in the memory of a wife he never knew. A young boy witnesses the dissolution of his family under the influence of a strange tutor who seems, to him, to be none other than the “Devil” himself.

In “Kyara,” a clothing salesman meets a mysterious and beautiful boutique owner at the mercy of a scheming salesman from a rival company, but she may not be as helpless as she seems.

The book continues with a young woman’s strained marriage as the topic of gossip at “The Festival of Lanterns,” held to honor her husband’s deceased grandfather, but it’s her own grandfather who returns from the beyond to help her through to the next phase of her life.

Next, a husband and wife struggle to recapture the love they once shared by visiting the movie theater where they met as children in “Invitation from the Orion Cinema.” These stories and two more make THE STATIONMASTER an intriguing invitation for any fiction fan.

“VIZ Media is privileged to present THE STATIONMASTER to domestic audiences,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media. “Author Jiro Asada explores themes of loss and redemption as his flawed but compelling characters search for love, reconciliation, and ultimately release – often found in the most unexpected places. As one of the most representative authors of contemporary Japanese fiction, Asada fuses personal experience with a literary vision in these vignettes of ordinary lives illuminated by a touch of the extraordinary. As VIZ Media continues to bring some of the best literary talents from Japan to American shores, we invite readers to explore this masterwork of contemporary Japanese fiction.”

THE STATIONMASTER was a best-seller in Japan and Jiro Asada was given the prestigious Naoki Award for fiction in 1997. The title story was adapted for the big screen in a film released in 1999. It starred 1970s yakuza film icon Ken Takakura, who won a best actor award at the 1999 Montreal Film Festival for his performance. THE STATIONMASTER was Japan’s submission to the 72nd Academy Awards in 2000 for Best Foreign Language Film. The “Love Letter” story was also made into two separate feature films, first in 1998 with Love Letter and again in 2001 as Failan.