Suicidal Honor: General Nogi and the Writings of Mori ?gai and Natsume S?seki

Capa
University of Hawaii Press, 2006 - 289 páginas
0 Críticas

On September 13, 1912, the day of Emperor Meiji s funeral, General Nogi Maresuke committed ritual suicide by seppuku (disembowelment). It was an act of delayed atonement that paid a debt of honor incurred thirty-five years earlier. The revered military hero s wife joined in his act of junshi (following one s lord into death). The violence of their double suicide shocked the nation. What had impelled the general and his wife, on the threshold of a new era, to resort so drastically, so dramatically, to this forbidden, anachronistic practice? The nation was divided. There were those who saw the suicides as a heroic affirmation of the samurai code; others found them a cause for embarrassment, a sign that Japan had not yet crossed the cultural line separating tradition from modernity.

While acknowledging the nation s sharply divided reaction to the Nogis junshi as a useful indicator of the event s seismic impact on Japanese culture, Doris G. Bargen in the first half of her book demonstrates that the deeper significance of Nogi s action must be sought in his personal history, enmeshed as it was in the tumultuous politics of the Meiji period. Suicidal Honor traces Nogi s military career (and personal travail) through the armed struggles of the collapsing shogunate and through the two wars of imperial conquest during which Nogi played a significant role: the Sino-Japanese War (1894 1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904 1905). It also probes beneath the political to explore the religious origins of ritual self-sacrifice in cultures as different as ancient Rome and today s Nigeria. Seen in this context, Nogi s death was homage to the divine emperor. But what was the significance of Nogi s waiting thirty-five years before he offered himself as a human sacrifice to a dead rather than living deity? To answer this question, Bargen delves deeply and with great insight into the story of Nogi s conflicted career as a military hero who longed to be a peaceful man of letters.

In the second half of Suicidal Honor Bargen turns to the extraordinary influence of the Nogis deaths on two of Japan s greatest writers, Mori Ogai and Natsume Soseki. Ogai s historical fiction, written in the immediate aftermath of his friend s junshi, is a profound meditation on the significance of ritual suicide in a time of historical transition. Stories such as The Sakai Incident (Sakai jiken) appear in a new light and with greatly enhanced resonance in Bargen s interpretation. In Soseki s masterpiece, Kokoro, Sensei, the protagonist, refers to the emperor s death and his general s junshi before taking his own life. Scholars routinely mention these references, but Bargen demonstrates convincingly the uncanny ways in which Soseki s agonized response to Nogi s suicide structures the entire novel. By exploring the historical and literary legacies of Nogi, Ogai, and Soseki from an interdisciplinary perspective, Suicidal Honor illuminates Japan s prolonged and painful transition from the idealized heroic world of samurai culture to the mundane anxieties of modernity. It is a study that will fascinate specialists in the fields of Japanese literature, history, and religion, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Japan s warrior culture.

"
 

Opinião das pessoas - Escrever uma crítica

Não foram encontradas quaisquer críticas nos locais habituais.

Índice

Sacrifice and SelfSacrifice
11
The Japanese Custom of Junshi
20
Nogi in History
31
Nogis Life Sentences
33
The Sword and the Brush
64
Nogi in Literature
83
Mori Ôgais Junshi Stories
85
Junshi Postponed
86
A Spectacle for the Lords Successor
99
The Perplexities of Permission
109
Mori Ôgais Sakai jiken Rebellion and Martyrdom
122
Natsume Sôsekis Kokoro Living as Though Dead
159
Last Stands in Ancient Rome and Modern Japan
189
Notes
199
Bibliography
259
Index
279

Anything But Seppuku
91

Palavras e frases frequentes

Passagens conhecidas

Página 16 - In the open space around the body of the king they bury one of his concubines, first killing her by strangling, and also his cup-bearer, his cook, his groom, his lacquey, his messenger, some of his horses, firstlings of all his other possessions, and some golden cups; for they use neither silver nor brass.
Página 22 - When a man dies, there have been cases of people sacrificing themselves by strangulation, or of strangling others by way of sacrifice, or of compelling the dead man's horse to be sacrificed, or of burying valuables in the grave in honour of the dead, or of cutting off the hair, and stabbing the thighs and pronouncing an eulogy on the dead (while in this condiXXv. 32. tion). Let all such old customs be entirely discontinued. A certain book says : — ' No gold or silver, no silk brocades, and no coloured...
Página 18 - It is a very painful thing to force those whom one has loved in life to follow him in death. Though it be an ancient custom, why follow it if it is bad ? From this time forward, take counsel so as to put a stop to the following of the dead.
Página 18 - For several days they died not, but wept and wailed day and night. At last they died and rotted. Dogs and crows gathered and ate them.

Acerca do autor (2006)

Doris G. Bargen is associate professor of Japanese literature and culture and director of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Informação bibliográfica