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“A House for Two” by Mitsuyo Kakuta

Kakuta was awarded the Naoki Prize in 2005 and many of her works have been adapted into films. Recently, she translated “The Tale of Genji”. This short story deals with the unique relationship between the mother and daughters. The protagonist is a woman, single, and 38 years old. She keeps no secrets and everything open between her and her mother. When she was 29, she nearly got married, but failed mainly due to her mother’s objection. Despite that, she is grateful to her mother for helping her not to make grave mistakes in life. In contrast to her, her younger sister leaves home when she is 20. She gets married when she is 27 and has two children. She hates her mother and does the opposite of what she does: leaving the house messy, preparing ready-meals, never dressing her daughter in pink. Both of them are restrained by their mother without them realizing. The younger sister cannot help doing the opposite of her mother while the elder sister subconsciously copes with her mother by assuming a false self. I felt the horrifying presence and influence of a mother on daughters. Kakuta’s depiction of women’s psychology is brilliant.


If you haven’t participated in my Japanese literature discussion classes yet, you could attend one class for free!

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