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Wikipedia article

, English titles including 'Growing Up' and 'Child's Play', is a novella by Japanese writer Ichiy Higuchi, first published in 189596. It depicts a group of youths growing up in Shitaya Rysenji-ch, Yoshiwara, Meiji era Tokyo's red light district, over a span of four months.


In Tokyo's Shitaya Rysenji-ch quarter, a group of youths find themselves assuming their family professions and losing the freedom they enjoyed as children. The main characters include 15-year-old Nobu (also referred to as Shinnyo), son of a buddhist priest whose profiteering he resents, and 14-year-old Midori, daughter of a family who lives in the Daikokuya brothel, where her older sister maki works as a popular courtesan. Other protagonists are the bullying Chkichi, leader of the "back-street gang", and Shta, the well-educated son of the local pawnbroker, leader of the competing "main-street gang" and best friend of Midori. Midori takes an interest in Nobu, who hides his shyness behind a dismissive behaviour towards her, which repels her. Also, after a confrontation between the gangs, during which Midori is humiliated by Chkichi and a modest neighbourhood boy beaten up, she holds Nobu responsible because Chkichi looks up to him. At the end of the tori fair days, Midori is prepared to become a courtesan like her sister, and Nobu becomes a novice, following into his father's footsteps.


Higuchi's novella was first published in the literature magazine 'Bungakkai' in seven installments between January 1895 and January 1896.


'Takekurabe' was translated into English as 'They Compare Heights' by W.M. Bickerton in 1930, as 'Growing Up' by Edward Seidensticker in 1956, and as 'Child's Play' by Robert Lyons Danly in 1981. A translation under the title 'Teenagers Vying for Tops' was provided by Seizo Nobunaga in 1953 or 1960, depending on the source.



*1924: 'Takekurabe', directed by Genjir Saegusa

*1955: 'Takekurabe', directed by Heinosuke Gosho


'Takekurabe' was also repeatedly adapted for Japanese television, including a puppet play version and an animated version (released as 'Growing Up' in North America by Central Park Media).





Category:19th-century Japanese novels

Category:1896 novels

Category:Central Park Media

Category:Novels set in Tokyo

Category:Japanese novels adapted into films

Category:Works by Japanese writers

Category:Literature by women

Category:Japanese novellas

Category:Works about prostitution in Japan

Category:Meiji period in fiction

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