Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dazai, Mishima and Kazuo

Osamu Dazai  -  "Melos, Run!"

Goodness and Evilness: wavering extremes
Distinction between these 2 extremes is usually blurred by the complexity of the charcaters depicted in Dazai's works.

King Dionysus: "Lonely tyrant" -> characteristic of Dazai to make the villain announce a direct appeal for sympathy
Melos: psychological journey of spiritual conflict (allowed himself to be temporarily seduced by a dream where he speculated whether all hsi struggles are worthwhile and tempted to betray his friend) -> spontaneity and purity replaced by cunning calculation -> where speculative thought gets in, people turn to be more self-protective, which is a sign of "literacy" as opposed to "orality".

Purity taught by experience (not by inherent instinct/ feeling) -> Characters grew morally and pure by deetermination and self-will.

Dazai's version turned the didactic story into a more realistic narration.

Mishima Yukio - "Patriotism"

Mishima: fervent advocate of pre-war JP samurai spirit and imperial worship -> male chauvinist
 His suicide sparked an outrage of antipathy for his death represented a urge for war-time nationalism ("anti-democratic") admist the prevailing national climate (Nationalism then was divorced from samurai spirit and leader worship: indeed it was neceassarily a nostalgic longing for folkloristic past)

Mishima modelled himself on Mori Ogai's Apollonian stance (rationality), yet he was not an advocate at birth, rather an acquired one. Anxious to demonstrate the "sword" side of Japanese versus the "chrysanthemum".

His public hara-kiri suicide confirmed Western stereotypical view of Jp samurai spirit.

Nietzsche's "Master/ Slave Morality": Greek and Roman cultures = master morality (strong, noble, courage etc). Christian culture = slave morality (weak, feminine, servile etc)

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