Reflective Statement for Yukio Mishima’s The Sound of Waves
During our interactive oral our class covered the cultural and contextual considerations of Yukio Mishima’s The Sound of Waves. Through our discussion, we compared and contrast the different characters that applied to the bushido code and the way Mishima portrays those characters.
The discussion group came to the conclusion that each character in the novel defies or follows the bushido code in some way. The bushido code is a term for the samurai way of life and consists of eight virtues: justice, courage, mercy, politeness,honesty, honor, loyalty, and character. In the discussion, our group examined the three main male characters in the novel. From our discussion, we established the idea that the bushido code reflects masculine traits that Mishima believed men should embody. Through the characterization of the Shinji, Yasuo, and Terukichi, Mishima suggests that an individual’s identity correlates with their ability to accept their cultural values. The following aspects easily relates with Shinji, as Mishima portrays him with a sincere heart, however, Mishima sheds light on Yasuo’s character, whom he portrays as the antagonist of the novel. Through his portrayal of Yasuo, he expresses his dismay with westernization, suggesting that westernization is corrupting Japanese culture and values.
Furthermore, we have also established that Mishima’s portrayal of Terukichi as a power structure/king of the island acts as an imposing force. We connected the public bath scene to one of the 8 rules of the bushido code. Terukichi’s discourtesy towards the people in the public bath house reinforces the idea of Terukichi defying the bushido code. From there, we concluded that Terukichi is a character that defies the bushido code, however, there are still traditional aspects that remains within him. In fact, he indulges into hypermasculinity which emphasizes stereotypes of behavior of men. We agreed that all three characters, in regards to the bushido code, are on different levels. Shinji embodies all the traits that Mishima favors, Yasuo heavily leans towards westernization, and Terukichi remains neutral.
Word Count: 327
Flight to Freedom: An Analysis of the Motif of Flight in Yukio Mishima’s The Sound of Waves
Yukio Mishima sets his novel, The Sound of Waves, in 1950s Japan where the protagonist, Shinji, encounters his first love, Hatsue, the daughter of a wealthy ship owner on the isolated island of Uta- Jima. Mishima vividly displays the idyllic romance between the two characters while simultaneously revealing the dilemma Shinji faces due to his relationship with Hatsue. In doing so, Mishima encourages the readers to question the dilemma Shinji faces and criticizes society’s expectations upon the young lovers through the motif of flight to highlight the underlying tension between freedom and oppression. Through the motif of flight, Mishima suggests that freedom from...