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日本の伝統美に触れることができるお薦めの一冊。『花ざかりの森・憂国』📚by 三島由紀夫

『花ざかりの森・憂国』 三島由紀夫








“Onnagata” by Mishima Yukio

Next week, we are going to read and discuss “Onnagata” by Mishima Yukio. This work was written when he was 32. It is translated by Donald Keene, who is one of the most renowned translators together with Edward Seidensticker.

This story unfolds around the protagonist Mangiku (which means ten thousand chrysanthemums), a Kabuki actor and onnagata. He gives off “icy frames” which enchant and mesmerize the audience.

The intellectual Masuyama enters the unfamiliar Kabuki world which is full of traditions and old customs. His aim is to be near Mangiku and feel disillusioned by witnessing his daily life behind the scenes. In the end, he experiences the sense of disenchantment in an unexpected way, leading to a new emotion of jealousy with which he was not afflicted before.

Another important character is Kawasaki, who is a young and experimental stage director. Since he has lived in a totally different world from that of Kabuki, he takes flak from Kabuki actors with Mangiku being the only exception, acting exactly the way he is told to by Kawasaki. Mangiku is drawn gradually to Kawasaki while he despises Mangiku solely out of his own egoism and wrong interpretations.

I would strongly recommend this short story to anyone who is interested either in Mishima or in Kabuki. Needless to say, Mishima Yukio is one of the writers of cardinal importance in the contemporary Japan. The English translation is excellent as well. You can enjoy Mishima’s distinctive style and rhetoric as well as the introduction to the Japanese traditional culture!


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