In Japan, as in the West, the novelist has become his own favorite character. But the Japanese novelist (or short-story writer) seems less anxious to conceal his predilection than to flaunt it, so many frank self-portraits are there in the gallery of sbōsetsu. He appears in his fiction as a writer. We see him at work—pressed to meet a deadline, interrupted by the visits of literary friends, smoking and sipping tea over a hibachi, or at a desk cluttered with books, papers, pens and pencils, brushes and inkstone. We go with him on a holiday or to a rendezvous; we follow, in quotidian detail, his ordinary monotonous routine. Novels, stories, and sketches elaborate this rather seedy character, which the reader is allowed—sometimes encouraged—to accept as autobiographical.