13 very likely many japanese were ambivalent in their

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Unformatted text preview: 928),7 where an ostensibly Westernized man, unhappy in his marriage and accustomed to seeking physical gratification with a Eurasian prostitute, finds himself increasingly drawn to the old-fashioned, endearing femininity of the Kyoto beauty who is his father-in-law’s mistress. To the man, Kaname, the mistress O-hisa, though barely beyond adolescence herself, represents the timeless tranquility of the past, which might well be used to dissolve the perplexities and uncertainties of modern life. One of the current passions of the father-in-law (referred to as the “the old man”) is the puppet theatre, and comparison is constantly made between the “doll-like” O-hisa and the bunraku puppets. For example, while attending the theatre with the old man and his mistress early in the book, Kaname “looked at O-hisa. Her face was turned a little so that the line of her cheek showed, round, almost heavy, like that of a court beauty in a picture scroll. He compared her profile with [the puppet] Koharu’s. Something about the slow, sleepy expression made him think of the two of them as not unlike each other.”8 Later, as Kaname’s marriage continues to deteriorate, he is invited by the old man to join him and O-hisa on a pilgrimage to the island of Awaji in the Inland Sea, famous for its provincial puppet theatres. The old man is intent not only on following the pilgrims’ path and attending the plays but also on acquiring a puppet, the product of a dying craft. Kaname, the modern man, succumbs completely to the antique charms of Awaji and to the equally antique ways of his companions: 282 The Fruits of Modernity The old man had with some regret come back early from Mount Imose, the day’s play, and he and O-hisa had spent the evening from nine to twelve immersed in canticles and sutras. The canticle floated into Kaname’s mind alternately with the image of O-hisa as she started out that morning, the innkeeper helping her into straw sandals, her wrists and ankles bound in shiny white silk after the fashion of p...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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