Dazai Osamu is one of the most tragic and charming characters in the history of Japanese literature. From the first time I read his work, I developed a strong interest in him and his complex and miserable life. In the past few years, I have created a lot of illustrations. Now, in my information design history class, I turned his story into a relationship map.



No Longer Human (人間失格) is a Japanese novel by Osamu Dazai which is told in the form of notebooks left by one Ōba Yōzō, a troubled man incapable of revealing his true self to others, and who is instead forced to uphold a facade of hollow jocularity. This book is considered Dazai's masterpiece and ranks as the second-best-selling novel in Japan. Although worldwide,  Japanese literature plays a significant role, according to Dr. Chris Harding of Edinburgh University, people in the West seem particularly determined to cling on to a set of long-established myths. The biggest misunderstanding of Japanese culture is the concept of the term "Mono no aware," which means"the pathos of things," "an empathy toward things," or "a sensitivity to ephemera." It became central to the Japanese philosophy of literature and eventually to Japanese cultural tradition.


Redesign the book cover and illustrations that both inspire a passion for literature and "Mono no aware" philosophy.


As the typical model of Japanese culture, No longer human follows the philosophy of "Mono no aware," that awareness of the transience of all things heightened appreciation of their beauty and evokes a gentle sadness at their passing. Instead of showing a figure on the cover, the combination of withering sakura and a human represents the beauty of life and the disguise of the true self. With the sympathy of Ōba Yōzō's destiny, the red background, which is used as a joyful element in Asian culture, creates an atmosphere of unrest.

© Siyue Tan 

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