Tag: Shishosetsu

Mushanokoji’s Good Natured Man 13

Herein ends the explicit narrative of the incorrigible Jibun’s hunger for a woman vis-à-vis the schoolgirl Tsuru. However, the book continues with several addenda, what Mushanokoji refers to as a ‘supplementary record, to be seen as something written by the protagonist of The Good Natured Man’. The supplementary […]

Mushanokoji’s Good Natured Man 9

Reflecting on his yearning for the beautiful young Tsuru—and reflecting on his reflections—Jibun invokes a classic Japanese love suicide, “a tragic tale of unrestrained desire” (Brownstein). The scandalous affair of Onatsu and Seijuro occurred in the mid-seventeenth century and inspired poetry, novels, plays for bunraku puppet theatre, and […]

Mushanokoji’s Good Natured Man 8

A Japanese character (kanji) compound, ‘mede’ (目出: “eye” + “go out”) is the basis for the expression, ‘good natured’ in Mushanokoji’s translated title Omedetaki-hito. The compound appears in the common congratulatory phrase, ‘omedetou gozaimasu’, as in, for example, ‘tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu’ (Many happy returns of the day!) However, […]

Mushanokoji’s Good Natured Man 6

It is tongue-in-cheek, and with a measure of self-deprecation, that Jibun compares himself and Tsuru to Dante and Beatrice. At the same time, Mushanokoji subtly acknowledges Dante as a model. Like Jibun, Dante enjoyed only the most scant face-to-face encounters with his beloved Beatrice. In the Vita Nuova, […]

Mushanokoji’s Good Natured Man 5

The Meiji era (1868 – 1912) gave rise to a variety of sexual attitudes relating to the importation of Western ideas and mores. Some Japanese leaders who travelled to western countries found a model for expression in European dandies, emulating their lifestyles and manners. Others derided these foreign […]

Mushanokoji’s Good Natured Man 4

Jibun’s moralism, individualism and egocentrism are traits that Mushanokoji celebrates as ideal qualities. He drew his philosophy initially from Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910), whose humanism widely influenced young Japanese writers and intellectuals early in the twentieth century. For a time, Mushanokoji adopted the self-sacrificing Count Tolstoy as […]