Sakaguchi Ango made his mark in postwar literature with a series of explosive stories and essays. He wrote largely unhindered by concerns of rational consistency – or so it may first appear given his sometimes contradictory, often extreme, pronouncements. His apparently off-hand statements seem designed more for shock value than for reasoned discussion and can obscure his piercing intelligence. He enjoys an enduring reputation as an iconoclast, only too happy to tear down all structures, praising dry ice factories and penitentiaries more highly than ancient temples, and blithely suggesting that replacing Kyoto's ancient Hōryūji temple with a parking lot would be no great loss to the "Japanese." The electric power exuding from much of his writing energized the myth that came to be associated with his life of highs and lows, of troughs and crests, of irrepressible energy and obsessions. His confident disregard for existing structures and niceties of discourse, his frankness and forthrightness, blew fresh air into the confusing and stifling postwar years. His powerful prose and confrontational style exerted a profound influence on generations of writers. 1 His thematic focus on individuals who live according to physical and carnal demands unifies these works. His (male) characters protest – usually by ignoring – proper and sanctioned actions as they search for their own complete individual identity.