Japanese literature is read with all the soul | The EC Republic

Diego Montalvo

Quito, Ecuador

“It is not true that cats never laugh. Human beings are mistaken in thinking that they are the only creatures capable of doing so.”

Natsume Soseki

Fish koi are able to swim through the canals in the city of Shimabara, located on the island of Kyūshū, Japan. The most beautiful Japanese novels host multiple references to their culture and therefore to Buddhism. Shintoism is translated as “the way of the gods”. In Japanese culture, Buddhism, Confucianism (inherited from China), Zen and Taoism converge. For this reason, the richness in this type of narration is immense and must be read humanely, that is to say with all the soul, quoting Harold Bloom.

The pages of many novels, but especially in works such as Sometimes I hear the voice of the water (水声: swissei) by Hiromi Kawakami or Saeko’s year (船泊まりまで: Funadomari made) by Kyoichi Katayama, have a strength in terms of what love, sibling life, loneliness, marriage, sex, eroticism and tragedy imply. Sometimes I hear the voice of the water Y Saeko’s yearare narratives that focus after the call baburu keikior the bubble boom which was the strong mortgage bubble that generated an almost unprecedented economic crisis (only compared to the one generated by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945) in 1986 and that ended in 1991, with the end of the Shōwa era after the death of the emperor Hirohito.

The baburu keiki it is seen as a tragedy by both Kawakami and Katayama in a sense of testing the bond of marriage and family. Shinto emphasizes values ​​such as purity, harmony with nature, and sincerity. The confusionist part has an aspect of respect for the ancestors and the honor that contemplated the samurai code or called “the way of the warrior”, that is, the bushido. To this concept would be added The cat that came from heaven (猫の客: Neko no Kyaku) by Takashi Hiraide, which managed to dazzle the Nobel Prize for Literature, Kenzaburō Ōe. In Sometimes I hear the voice of the water life centers around Ryo and Miyako’s sibling relationship and a somewhat “dysfunctional” family. Where they even possess a love stronger than brotherhood and a deep attraction. A thread that leads to the marriage of Shun’ichi and Saeko in the Katayama play where Shun’ichi takes a liking to photographing cats, something his wife (Saeko) sees as a strange hobby. Precisely, in another work, it will be a cat named Chibi (literally “small”) that will save the marriage. Well, thanks to Chibi it will be shown that the human being has masks to hide his desires and intentions, the thesis that Yukio Mishima also handled in his novel confessions of a mask (仮面の告白, kamen no kokuhaku).

Reading them is swimming like a fish koi between the tranquility and the vortex of everyday life. Haruki Murakami in kafka on the shore (海辺のカフカ: Umibe no Kafuka) can convey feelings of pain through cats skinned by the mysterious and sadistic Colonel Sanders and then in 1Q84 (いちきゅうはちよん: ichi kyu hachi yon, 1984) tells of a town inhabited only by these felines who talk and communicate with each other, in order to demonstrate how society works. In Japan the cat is a mystical and protective animal. His role is different from that of kistsune (狐) which is a spirit in the form of a fox that watches over villages and forests. The cat is also a figure of innocence and genius. The maneki-neko (招き猫) is a cat that calls fortune and prosperity and is a recurring item in Murakamist novels and is an item that is sold in multiple shops. The animal takes on an important relevance in Japanese works due to the powerful symbolism it possesses. For this reason, it is of great importance I am a cat (吾輩は猫である) by Natsume Sōseki. Through a first-person narrator, Sōseki manages to tell an entire novel from the perspective of a cat that will mock the Japanese aristocracy of the early 20th century.

The concepts and the great (and powerful) narrative of a short novel like The house of the sleeping beauties (眠れる美女, bijo nemureru) of the Nobel Prize for Literature Yasunari Kawabata focuses on Eguchi, a man whose old age generates conflict above all due to a great sense of loneliness and seeks in the inn of a mysterious mature woman, to sleep with women much younger than him who have been previously drugged, with the commitment not to have sexual relations with them. But, Eguchi just in the House of Sleeping Beauties will remember his past sexual life as a memory of his distant youth…

The Japanese narrative invites the reader to have control (if he can) of his emotions. It is possible to feel the warm fur of a cat or the cold embrace of loneliness and sorrow. When Banana Yoshimoto wrote his strange novel Kitchen (キッチン), Mikage the young protagonist, after the death of her grandmother, with whom she lived in the same house, decides that the only place where she would feel safe is the kitchen and that she would sleep next to the fridge. Until, by a miracle, Yuichi appears, a handsome and mysterious young man who invites him to go live with her mother Eriko. Eriko is not actually her mother, but her father transvestite her as her wife after she died, an evocation of what she implied Psychosis by Robert Bloch: the transformation from a man to a departed loved one.

The conjugation of dreams and sorrows of an android —like those of the Artificial Friend Klara, the protagonist of Clara and the Sun of Kazuo Ishiguro who in his artificial mind manages to understand human behavior and thus not be able to beat the fact of being discarded as any object and return to the melancholy store from which it was bought despite demonstrating its humanity– at Okinawan Notes by Kenzaburō Ōe, which narrates how in 1945, the imperial troops ordered every man, woman or child to commit suicide rather than fall into enemy hands, precisely as a derivative of the bushideitherexplore social realities even deeper and spiritual but also full of evil.

Thus, it is shown that literature, especially Japanese literature, has a soul, that almost a single idea can be translated into many fields, for better or worse. The novel transgresses, questions, portrays and denies, it can even generate conflicts for those who read it. The multiple plots exposed make a brief tour, not only of a mystical and illustrious Japan, but also sorrowful and meditative, where youth is treasured and old age is a symbol of respect, but both are lonely in their different degrees. The truth is that each work and its author surprises and shines with its own brilliance.

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Japanese literature is read with all the soul | The EC Republic