• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. In V.S. Naipauls novel A House for Mr. Biswas, tradition has negatively impacted Mohun ...

    Biswas was followed by bad luck wherever he went. "This boy will be a lecher and a spendthrift. Possibly a liar." The Pundit has now destined Mr. Biswas' life. The Pundit also has predicted that he will be a lecher, spendthrift and a liar.

  2. WIT Essay_Zorba the Greek_Personification of Dyonisian and Epicurean Values in Zorba

    It is better to experience one moment fully than to live a whole life incompletely, which is what a man of true Epicurean and Dionysian nature would do.

  1. During the entire novel of The Sorrow of War Kien is on a quest ...

    It takes away Phuong's loyalty towards Kien, and stops them from resuming their previous relationship. But it may also seem that the war had a greater impact on Phuong as a person, as her optimistic, fragile, happy character is destroyed, and she is no longer able to accept Kien into her life.

  2. Wonderful Fool (Susaku Endo) Quote Analysis in Terms of Aspects of Tokyo and Japan

    the day laborers who lived in the district, but of late, customers from other parts of town, deprived by the law of a convenient outlet for their lust, come crawling like ants to Sanya. By midnight the number of prostitutes in the alleys has increased greatly.

  1. Vietnam war

    He ignited the gasoline by lighting a match and burned to death in a matter of minutes. David Halberstam, a reporter for the New York Times covering the war in Vietnam, gave the following account: "I wish never to see that sight again, but once was enough.

  2. Social Distinction in the novel Pygmalion

    Therefore Eliza was forced to sell flowers while walking on the roads. But when in the end of the play she has learnt to speak well, she is confident enough that she decided to marry Freddy and even she has developed the courage to support that timid fellow.

  1. Moods, colors and people of the deep blue sea are portrayed in The Sound ...

    ?The ship sailed on, out of the Ocean Stream, riding a long swell on the open sea for the island of Aiaia.?(l.1,b.XII) 197. ?Only one ocean-going craft, the far-famed Argo, made it, sailing from Aieta?(l.85,b.XII) 198. ?Kharybdis lurks below to swallow down the dar sea tide.?(l.124,b.XII)

  2. Symbolism in The Sorrow of War "

    It shows how the rain has become a symbol of sadness during the war. Thus, the author uses water as symbolism of life to emphasize the sadness Vietnamese people felt because of the war. Birds ?Kien was told that passing this area at night one could hear birds crying like human beings.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work