"Art falls in the dust", by Sakaguchi Ango

These days, all the movies and plays are cheap productions, thrown together overnight: culture is regressing back to the Meiji period, along with the darkened night streets. Mosquito coils don't down mosquitos. Cheap drugs that don't work. Matches that won't light. But all that is business. Art is different. Artists have principles; by living according to their conscience and solely for art's sake, unbending even to the wealthy and powerful, they have raised both the arts and themselves. Art is not a mosquito coil.

But a mosquito coil that doesn't work is exactly what today's Japanese culture is. It will do the most worthless things. The student plays of a few decades ago played to full houses, so theatre and cinema are nothing but Meiji political melodrama. The professional artist's conscience can eat shit and die. Our culture is a disaster, a hell.

And so, even if Japan wins the war, our cultural defeat is inevitable. American culture will flood into Japan as soon as the war ends, instantly relegating Japanese culture to the cheap seats. An artist without principles has nothing to cling to. No substitute can replace the soul of art.


『芸道地に堕つ』 (Geidō chi ni otsu), published November 1944, written by Sakaguchi Ango (坂口安吾), 1906-1955.

Aozora Bunko version entered by Utena (うてな) and proofread by noriko saito.