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How does Mishimas novel reflect the clash between tradition and change in post-World War 2 Japan?

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Introduction

Essay - How does Mishima's novel reflect the clash between tradition and change in post-World War 2 Japan? Mishima invokes the power of tradition and change in post world war 2 through the characters of Ryuji, Fusako and Noboru. The characters are subtly delineated as allegories of Japan and are sharply portrayed, enabling the audience to arrive at catharsis. Clearly, Mishima is not trying to promulgate a shallow tale of love and despondency, but merely a plot that depicts his own dissatisfaction with Japan's progressions. At first, Ryuji epitomizes Japan at sea, unrooted and neutral to the condescending image of the two polarized traditions - the old Japan depicted through Noboru and his gang of friends and the new 'western' Japan represented by Fusako. He tries to live by old stoic values. He prides himself through hope that there will be glory awaiting "there's just one thing I'm destined for and that's glory; that's right, glory!" ...read more.

Middle

She is the void that punctures a hole in the glory of Ryuji, and more precisely the military might and the political power of Japan. Through Fusako, Mishima clearly conveys his disappointment of the unearthly embrace of westernization as he makes her the reason of Ryuji's death. Noboru and his gang revolve themselves around a series of activities designated to decimate their humanity. Lead by their Chief, they perform acts as gory as mutilating a cat in order to enlighten themselves with veracity, without the pettiness of skin. Symbolically, they are disgusted with Japan and it's mores and see this immolation of sensitivity and compassion as their path back to glory and power. They are the old ways of Japan trying to sow the seeds of reality and bring their country to unity. In the plot, they see the love relation between Fusako and Ryuji as a predicament, a way in which post war western Japan shall burgeon and overturn the traditional values of old Japan. ...read more.

Conclusion

This triggers a story which is itself quite dark. Read purely as a story, this novel provides little solace yet discerned through Mishima's mind of reeling thoughts which are immensely nationalistic, the story becomes stygian as it subtly probes the wounds Japan suffered during the Second World War. In conclusion, Mishima's moral recites death by submission. The inevitable death that Ryuji faces is seen as justice and is explicated through the quote "Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff". Clearly Mishima is under the conception that the traditional values of Japan is of a greater significance than the westernized nation. Some may agree, others may think that his way of thinking was far too rigid, yet to him it is better to die than to lose the luminescence of the traditional values of Japan. This is reflective of his own sacrificial demise. A suicide that he felt was necessary as his own life showed that old Japan was done for, a throwback neither desired nor encouraged by Japan in the sixties and seventies. ...read more.

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