Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and other issues to the forefront. From overcoming oppression, to breaking rules, to reimagining the world or waging a rebellion, these women of history have a story to tell. Even as a small child, she accompanied her father to Kabuki performances, and from her grandmother she heard stories based on literature of the Tokugawa period — Her first interest was in the theatre, and she effectively began her literary career in , when she submitted a play to a competition.
|Published (Last):||2 December 2016|
|PDF File Size:||10.69 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||7.70 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
By Michelle Since graduating from college I have moved house five times, hopping from where I grew up on the west coast to Japan, then to the midwest, the east coast and finally setting up what seems to be a semi-permanent life or at least for a few more years in Switzerland.
As most of you bibliophiles can imagine, those book boxes start to get pretty heavy. I first read this book for a Japanese literature class in college and count it as one of my all-time favorites. The best word I have to describe this novel is intense. Everything about it is intense — structure, theme, intertextuality, social criticism. The Waiting Years is also a ripping good read. The novel details the life of Tomo, a paragon of wifely submission, and her husband Yukitomo, a paragon of selfish arrogance.
Not only does Yukitomo bring a concubine into their household, he has Tomo go to Tokyo to pick the girl out. Later, he seduces although rape is more likely what happened one of their servants and makes that woman his second concubine.
Eventually, he begins an affair with his daughter-in-law. Tomo must bear each of these insults in silence as well as stamp out any desire for self-assertion or self-fulfillment. She has nothing, and is nothing, on her own. In exchange for her willing subservience she has what none of the other women in the novel are allowed to have — legitimacy.
Enchi dives freely into the minds of the other women, portraying their own stifled unhappiness. And she has no right to want anything for herself. The entire system is inherently flawed. The Waiting Years ends dramatically with Tomo asserting herself for the first and last time.
Think bittersweet revenge. Think soul-crumbling revelation. Very satisfying.
Change Can't Come Fast Enough Within 'The Waiting Years'
With the many number of great male Japanese writers, one could easily despair with regards to the rarity of female perspectives, but fortunately, Enchi has written a good novel -- good enough to add to the canon of Japanese literature. The story centers on a wife named Tomo, and follows through the aching years of her marriage until her death. Her tale involves the humiliation she must endure upon choosing a mistress for her husband. At first, she chooses the year-old Suga, who is invited into their home under the pretense that she will become their maid.
The woman in her fluttering between agony and envy, empathetic towards the fate of an adolescent girl whereas the wife in her scrupulously astute in the ongoing task, a Not a single strand of hair loosened from the perfect coiffure, a fulsome smile tripping from the corners of her mouth putting a Noh mask to shame, confident in her posture, her heart being swept by violent sea of excruciating conflicts; there she sat gazing into the naivety of a girl-child untouched by the menstrual years. At that very moment, I sensed the societal asphyxiation of Tomo. At that very instance, I had compassion for Suga and consideration for Yumi. I trust you, No more will the husband lovingly savour the naked flesh of his wife.
The Waiting Years
Early life[ edit ] Fumiko Enchi was born in the Asakusa district of downtown Tokyo , as the daughter of distinguished Tokyo Imperial University philologist and linguist Kazutoshi Ueda. Of poor health as a child, she was unable to attend classes in school on a regular basis, so her father decided to keep her at home. She was taught English, French and Chinese literature through private tutors. She was also strongly influenced by her paternal grandmother, who introduced her to the Japanese classics such as The Tale of Genji , as well as to Edo period gesaku novels and to the kabuki and bunraku theater. However, her interest in the theatre was encouraged by her father, and as a young woman, she attended the lectures of Kaoru Osanai , the founder of modern Japanese drama. Her plays took inspiration from Osanai Kaoru, and many of her later plays focused on revolutionary movements and intellectual conflicts.