current read: Mishima’s Haru no Yuki (Spring Snow) 1

Mishima

Mishima

Really getting lots out of Mishima‘s Haru no Yuki (Spring Snow) . I found it took a while to identify with the main character Kiyoaki. He is a very refined teenager with aspirations to be more sophisticated than his (bourgeois) parents.

His attitude to love is painfully self conscious, and at times I felt very distant from his choices, but there emerges a strong cohernece to who he is. So much so, that as I got to know him, I felt reminded of my feelings about Rabbit Angstrom (John Updike) – especially in the first book of that tetralogy.

There are some wonderfully written scenes, catching something both emotional and physical about young love, insecurity and cultural brashness. One scene I loved has Kiyo and a friend climbing a mountain with two less sophisticated Thai princes. As they surmount a summit, they see a giant Buddha and the two princes fall spontaneously to their knees and worship joyously. The two Japanese sophisticates eye each other and suppress their sniggers. Later, when they reach the sea, the Thais howl with laughter as the two courtly Japanese youths automatically “do their callisthenics” rather than leaping straight into the water.

There is a real wealth of period detail in Mishima’s writing, and sometimes I am glad I am also watching the anime: Rurouni Kenshinas this gives me a ligh hearted but detailed visualisation of Japan about the same point in history. And a nice contrast in character motivations!

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

 

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