Friday, November 19, 2004

great random rambler: Torahiko Terada

The most concise and quite a bit daring way to define Torahiko Terada is to say that he was a small-scale DaVinci. Born in 1878, he made his living as a respected physicist, and his paintings and haiku are said to have reached the realm of professionals. However, he is now best known as an essayist who could combine science, art, literature, and his everyday life into lovable and engaging essays that carry the feel of the early 20th century in which he lived. He was one of the many disciples/followers of Soseki Natsume, the great literary figure of the era, and many of his fellow disciples, as well as his mentor, make numerous cameo appearance in his essays. Despite the occasional invasion of outdated scientific terms and concepts (which sometimes add some unintended humor to his straight-faced explication of his theory), many Japanese people still love to read his numerous essays, for he excels in coming up with intriguing, still relevant questions, encompassing such a vast area of interest, and also in laying out his (often tentative) answers in convincing and fun-to-read ways. For those who are interested in the original Japanese version of his essays, 青空文庫 provides many free online copies of his works.


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