Yūko Tsushima (real name Satoko Tsushima, 1947–2016) was the daughter of Osamu Dazai, a famous writer of novels, short stories, and essays, as well as the winner of many prestigious Japanese literary awards. The author often wrote about a reality resembling her own: a single mother from an unhappy family. As a result, many of her short stories and novels are full of pain and suffering. Her father committed suicide by drowning himself when she was just one year old, and in 1982, her small son drowned in a bathtub when Tsushima was in the other room. Since she mostly chose women in the patriarchal Japanese society as the heroines of her works, they’re often studied from a feminist perspective. Characters in Tsushima’s writing wrestle with social pressure ordering women to devote themselves to the upbringing of children, taking care of the house and fulfilling family obligations, while trying to, for better or worse, take control of their own lives. Her inspirations were the works of Tennessee Williams, who she perceived as her literary role model, as well as Japanese legends and yukar — traditional oral stories of Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan.

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