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From the Heian period to today, Japan has had more than its fair share of great writers. While Ki no Tsurayuki and Murasaki Shikibu are this humble writer’s favorite members of the Japanese literati, today we’re talking about someone a bit more modern: Osamu Dazai. Famous for his first-person and often morose stories, such as the world-famous novel No Longer Human, Dazai was one of the more troubled figures of Japanese literature–and he eventually died in a double suicide when only 38 years old.

Considering his turbulent life, it’s probably no surprise that his classroom doodles, drawn in his English and Ethics notebooks, are so fascinating! Even if you’ve never read a single word by the author, you still won’t want to miss these drawings.

Dazai (1)

On first glance, you might miss the doodle in the notebook above, but be sure to look closely at the left page–the profile of a slender male face with an absurdly large nose can be seen at the right edge.

Dazai (2)

As you can see in the pictures, Dazai apparently loved drawing these men with large noses–some could even be called “handsome middle-aged men,” at least in the opinion of Japanese website Karapaia.

Dazai (4)

It’s not clear who exactly was being depicted in Dazai’s numerous scribbles, but he almost seems to have been more interested in these faces than his studies! Which may well have been the case as Dazai apparently became a horrible student after his favorite author committed suicide.

Dazai (5)

▼We wonder what (if anything) long noses and chins meant to Dazai…

Dazai (6)

▼Doodling in ethics class…not very ethical, is it?

Dazai (7)

The notebooks were preserved and uploaded to the Internet for all to peruse by the Hirosaki University Library after they were donated by a son of Masafumi Ono, a scholar who wrote about Dazai. The Ethics notebook was partially used, with the first 73 pages filled with regular notes and the remaining pages containing the bulk of the late author’s doodles.

Dazai (8)

▼Is that an angry professor or a mad scientist at the top??

Dazai (9)

▼Dazai’s handwriting was almost as bad as mine is…

Dazai (10)

▼Maybe he was playing a bizarre, solitary version of Clue…

Dazai (11)

And here are a few doodles from his English notebook as well. It looks like he found the class about as engaging as some Japanese students do these days, and, as with the Ethics notebook, filled up many pages with his sketches.

Dazai (3)

You can view high-resolution images of every page of both notebooks on the Hirosaki University Library website. The English notebook is here, and the Ethics notebook is here.

Sources: Karapaia, Hirosaki University Library
Images: Karapaia, Wikipedia (Tamura Shigeru)