Over the last fifty years, the music of J ji Yuasa has attained the zenith of international musical standards. A study of this great Japanese composer is long overdue. Persuasive and captivating, less easy than that of his lifetime friend T ru Takemitsu, Yuasa s music has also been a model for many young composers, both from Japan and further afield, thanks to the long period he spent teaching composition at the University of California, San Diego (1981 1994). This book serves to illuminate aspects of Yuasa s work, intricately linked to deep, native roots which tend to be more opaque for western (and other) ears. It focusses on various aspects of Yuasa s music as well as on the social, anthropological, aesthetic and critical contexts that have informed his compositional practice in the context of the postwar Japanese musical world. In a continual interior dialogue which includes Jean-Paul Sartre and Daisetzu T. Suzuki, Matsuo Bash and William Faulkner, Henry Miller and Motokiyo Zeami, Yuasa s avant-garde aesthetic project, western in conception, encounters the productive thought of an unambiguously Japanese aesthetic, i.e. that of Zen. An analysis of Yuasa s main works will illustrate and complete the picture of Yuasa s world. Yuasa s works are placed at the centre of the most original of creative forces in the contemporary music world a place where, for Yuasa, in the same idea of creativity, there has to be an avant-garde component .