Jun 13, 2021
Finished reading: The Changeling by Kenzaburo Ōe 📚
According to Fukuzawa, virtually every word that’s used to describe people can be a two-sided coin. For example, depending on your tone, frugal can mean admirably thrifty or despicably stingy, while rough and ready could imply either courageousness or bellicosity. The exception, he says, is enbo.
No matter how you look at it, enbo is a complete waste of time; time; there’s no way you can put a positive spin on envy, bitterness, and resentment, or turn those emotions into positive human traits. I’ve read a few Kenzaburo Oe books, most recently “Death by Water”, and was aware of the “Kogito” character loosely resembling the author himself.
Lately I’ve been into the films of director/writer Juzo Itami. He has a tragic backstory due to writing and directing a satire “Minbo” about the Yakuza which led to him being attacked and hospitalized by the Yakuza (his hospital stay inspired his next film “The Last Dance”) and later jumping to his death.
As I was reading “The Changeling” I couldn’t help but find the “Goro” character very familiar to Juzo, “could it be?,” I thought… This led to a quick Wikipedia search on the book itself and lo and behold:
Goro Hanawa (塙 吾良, Hanawa Gorō) - A legendary filmmaker who commits suicide. He is Kogito’s brother-in-law and best friend Goro is based on Juzo Itami, who was Ōe’s brother in law. Talk about worlds colliding! This made the book even more interesting as it became a fantastical sort of biography on both the author and Juzo.
Talk about worlds colliding! This made the book even more interesting as it became a fantastical sort of biography on both the author and Juzo.