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Before government censorship was instituted full force in 1928, the proletarian novel was the ascendant form in Japanese prose. Takiji Kobayashi was the leading writer in this genre, which attempted to expose the oppression of the lower classes, until he was murdered in prison by the government in 1933. So Yamamura's The Crab-Canning Ship is based on one of Kobayashi's better-known novels. A group of sailors is forced to work under unbearable conditions on a Japanese fishing vessel. Worse off than...more