This paper discusses how suicide is viewed in Japanese society, and how a greater understanding can be gained of the Japanese viewpoint on voluntary death by a study of Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s famous drama “The Love Suicides at Amijima. ” The writer provides an overview of Chikamatsu’s life, literary career and the era in which he lived in the second half of the 17th century. The theatrical traditions in which he wrote are described as well.
His domestic tragedy, “The Love Suicides at Amijima,” is described in detail, and the writer explains the social and family obligations in which the protagonists are trapped and which ultimately lead to the double suicide at the end.
The theme of the Love Suicides of Amijima respects the differences between American and Japanese culture with regards to views of suicide, duty, and honor, while still remaining accessible to its 21st century American audience. Passion, heartache, and sacrifice are narratives that have existed eternally.
Another theme is love and self destruction.
What I have from my notes is “the dichotomy of the beauty and brutality of love transcends place and time. ” As “One of the best ways to understand a different culture is to read the literature it has produced for one is introduced to the world view in which the author operates. After all, each text is made up of the particularities of the world that reflects it. And there is nothing more extreme and intriguing example of such suicides than the love suicides or shinj popularized by Chikamatsu Monzaemon.
It is defined as based on a pact between lovers trapped in a web of such intense turmoil they have no recourse save the ultimate destructive act. Although we recognize that the writer’s works originated hundreds of years ago and certainly values, motives and times have changed in the contemporary period, it can still serve as a literary starting point to understand the Japanese concept of suicide. ” Furthermore the events, characters, and symbols were all interesting especially Osan’s character because she is fully aware of her husband’s love for Koharu, yet she still decides to stay with him.
Her actions seem to baffle me. She comforts Jihei, although he is crying over another women. Also, when she reveals that she sent Koharu a letter asking to end her relationship with Jihei, she immediately asks Jihei to save Koharu instead of forgetting about the request. Furthermore, Osan gives Jihei money, (money that is necessary to be set aside for business and the children) to take care of Koharu’s ransom. I am quite confused as to why she would do this, considering she has been nothing but a loving wife and a caring mother.