Seventy-seven-year-old Utsugi, a retired businessman, is the protagonist and diarist of this book. Various aches and pains plague him, but his spirits are buoyed by a growing erotic obsession with his daughter-in-law, Satsuko, a former nightclub dancer married to his workaholic son. She carelessly flirts with Utsugi off and on. This short novel alternates between descriptions of our hero's haggling with the medical establishment and various medicines, fights with his wife and family, and encounters with Satsu. _Diary of a Mad Old Man_ was published in 1965, late in the great Japanese novelist's career, but its theme of the relationship between sexual desire and the will to live is familiar in much of his other work.
This report prepared by David Loftus