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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.
- Spring '13