Published June 07, 2015 by

Book Review: No Longer Human

"No Longer Human" is a Japanese novel, which has been translated into English and various languages. It's the story of a young man named Yozo who, although born into an affluent country family, believes that he is below all other humans since he was a child. He leaves the countryside to study in Tokyo, but instead neglects his studies and begins a downward spiral into alcohol, drugs, suicide and poverty.


The story is told through Yozo's diaries, which have been found by the narrator who received them from a friend. Yozo spends most of the novel talking about his flaws and how difficult life is despite his affluent upbringing.  Although dark and depressing, one of the best parts of the story is the character building and Yozo's self monologue. The characters seem very real, and although the book was written over sixty years ago you can still relate them to the present day. So much so that the story was adapted into a modern day comic book series.


The book has also been made into various films, but I found the movie less engaging because it lacked Yozo's self monologue which was probably one of the most interesting parts of the story.


Although reading about Yozo ruin his life can be kind of interesting, the character himself can be irritating at times. He is clearly more fortunate and financially better off than most people of his time, but instead of taking advantage of his situation he just moans about how terrible his life is, and how difficult it is to deal with other people. He constantly claims that he is below all other human beings which just seems to be his own personal way of making himself feel special.


No longer human is the last story written by Daizu Osama and is believed to be a semi autobiographical account of his own life. He was known for his multiple suicide (and double suicide) attempts. Like Yozo, the author tried to commit double suicide with multiple women until he eventually succeeded after completing the novel.


Overall, I recommend this story for people who like darker tales, and those who are interested in Japanese culture and history. It does have many adult themes and drug use, so I would recommend the story for people 15 years or older.