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Western Writers in Japan by Sumie Okada (auth.)

By Sumie Okada (auth.)

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It isn't done. It's fatal. People who speak the truth don't get looked after. 40 As is mentioned here so shrewdly, Plomer realised that in Japan 'People who speak the truth don't get looked after'. It can be fatal for people to speak the truth. Also, he has concluded that the Japanese would consider that 'discipline is better than liberty'. Plomer's 'Epilogue' ends in irony: ... But is that what I really think? Ah, thoughts, thoughts! All thoughts are dangerous. Long live Kamchatka, the true and everlasting Kamchatka!

For instance, Count Hibachi means Count Brazier. Mainchance's best friend, Baron Ippikijiji, has the vulgar connotation of 'monkey-man'; ippiki is a nominal form used in counting animals (as against hitori f(Jf counting humans). Jiji is an obscene reference to an old man- here with the association of another Japanese word, hihijiji (hihi means virtually a baboon) - thus meaning something like 'an old goat', an old man of lecherous disposition (despite his advanced age). Another of Mainchance's friends is called Mr Pin Pon (table tennis).

38 Likewise, Sado is an embodiment of the 'feminine, introverted, Asiatic' nature, and Lucas embodies 'masculine, European' frankness. These gendered notions are indeed intriguing, because to some extent the designation of certain social traits as 'masculine' and others as ·feminine' is rather arbitrary, in the sense that another observer, especially one from another culture, might make quite the opposite assignment. A conscientious egoist, he had not been quite conscientious enough, and had surrendered to the feminine, introverted, Asiatic part of his nature, instead of relying on the masculine, European frankness in Lucas.

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