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Some Prefer Nettles

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1508
  • Category: Relations

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         The couple, Kaneme and Misako was in a loveless relationship, with their indecisiveness towards any actions in their relationship including making a decision to divorce. The relation does grow slowly; they wanted to stay longer through doing nothing, the act of passivity. But one day, the couple chooses to see a puppet theatre in Osaka, together with Misako’s father and his mistress.

While in the middle of the theater, Kaname was able to relate the story of the novel in his present relationship to his wife. Kaname felt guilt to what has been their relationship materialize. Conversely, he felt link to the old Japan, its culture and society. He remembers the practices and native customs of old Japan. Subsequent to the theater, Misako (Kaname’s wife) leave the place together with her lover. Takanatsu (Kaname’s cousin) advises the couple (at Kaname’s request) to make a divorce to be able to save their relationship not as a couple but as a friend and save their relationship for their son.

Conversely, the couple’s inability to talk about the predicament leads to a more chaotic situation between them. The drawback of the situation between Kaname and Misako leads Kaname to Awaji. Kaname together with his father in law and his mistress (Ohisa), live in Awaji, experienced the culture, customs, and practices in the locality, sensed the old Japan.

In the midst of his stay in Awaji, he met Louise, who later becomes his mistress / lover. The letter from Misako’s father revealed spoilage of their relationship (must) end up in a divorce. The conversation between Kaname and Misako in Kyoto left a decision to what their relationship will go further (Leroy, 2007).

(The Theme) The dilemma on Indecisiveness

            The main conflict of the story encloses on the subject of indecisiveness of Kaname and Misako. The little misunderstandings (like deciding where to go in the evening) between the couples lead to commotion and creates chaotic situation for them. Their love between each other grows slowly as it concerns their son, Hiroshi. Being indecisive is one thing an individual makes no sense and being passive is one incorrect manner an individual can possess.

            The effect of indecisiveness and being passive does not affect only the individuality of a person but also damage the living of that person. In reality, an individual cannot attain his dreams, goals, success in career, and wants if he / she only carried by the decisions of others. Like Machiavelli (The Prince) said, it is better to choose the path what you want, rather than taken by the current in the river.

            At the end of the novel, Misako tried to go in with her husband and son again. Although it is harder to make such decision, Misako build their relationship again, and for their son. As influence by their culture, it is necessary to have tight family than broken.

The novel ‘Some Prefer Nettles’ describes the differences in the regions between Tokyo and Osaka. The story takes place in Japan with influence by the East and West culture, which was seen / observed with the actions / activities by the characters in the story (Leroy, 2007).

The novel ‘Some Prefer Nettles’ written by Junichiro Tanizaki is about real life story of husband and wife. The story happened in the past, occurred in the Japan. In the novel, the characters Kaname and Misako undergo through indecisiveness into their psychological personality. What alarms most in this mental dilemma affects the relationship between Kaname and Misako, between the parents and Hiroshi. Their (Kaname and Misako) relationship with their lovers indulged their connection as a couple and loose their marriage (Leroy, 2007).

The Relationship of Tokyo and Osaka (East versus West)

Moving from Tokyo to a traditional Osaka (1923), the author explores the traditional Japanese customs. This includes; the culture, traditions, beliefs, practices, and customs. The novel reflects the change in the present system of values, change the notion of the society towards the foreign culture. The author implies in the novel how the Japanese should be nationalistic and appreciate his / her own culture. A one great nation arises from building a strong culture and unity of its people.

Tade kuu mushi, explains the differences of customs between the east and west culture. In the novel, Tade kuu mushi is present indirectly; Tokyo and Osaka are two different worlds in Japan. While Osaka presents a typical old Japan, Tokyo shows the modern customs of the country reflecting the west culture. Kaname was an aficionado of the customs of the so-called west. At the setting of the story, Kaname do have a terrace / balcony, he admired American movie stars, and he does have an English translation of Arabian Nights. These instances indirectly show the west customs in the story.

            At the theater, Kaname was introduced to the old customs of old Japan. He remembered the traditional aesthetics; old play, pipe in hand, sake, and traditional women. Ohisa represents the traditional east culture, reflecting the Japanese customs. From her kimono and distinct black Osakan teeth signifies true Japanese. Although Ohisa was proven to represents the east, it was mention in the novel how she used a compact and sunscreen (which is seen from west customs).

            Louise, the geisha, represents the west. Her actions, how she used a powder to bath herself, her nationality as half-Korean and half-Russian, exemplifies the nature of Louise. The Arabian Nights which was owned by Kaname was a mixture of east and west customs. Arabian Nights was a translation of the novel written in the east. The concoction between east and west culture diverges the main character to what really customs he fit in.

            The author indirectly describes the traditional east and modern west culture in the novel. The actions of the characters as well as their behavior were observed to acquire these different cultures. The author indirectly implying the importance of the traditional customs rather embrace the foreign customs.

            Local Japanese would view east and west differently in all aspects. In the novel, Kaname fanaticized the traditions of the west. He admired how the American films illustrated the woman’s beauty. In particular, Kaname viewed divorce and sexuality differently.

            Generally, Kaname was fascinated to the western culture because he was exposed to it until he was introduced to the traditional Japan. Kaname was able to recognize the beauty of his local customs and able to be fascinated of it as he fascinated the west culture. In reality, Japanese would rather be fascinated by the culture of Japan; Americans would rather be fascinated with the customs of America.

          The novel focuses on the dilemma of indecisiveness of two individuals (Kaname and Misako). The novel educates the reader to have a decision for themselves. Every individual has the right to choose the path he / she wanted. No other individual even your closest family would decides for you. Every individual has the right to protect themselves. To be able to attain success, it is better to work and decide for your own future.

            The other idea directs to the culture, traditions, and customs between east and west. The characters as well as the setting in the story were used to exhibit the differences between the cultures. Most of the east people admired the west culture. But then again, east must admire and be fascinated by their culture. West culture was great because their people admire only at their culture. Although they are fascinated by culture of others, west people appreciate and own their culture.

            The rediscovery of the traditional beauty of Japanese culture, the author wanting to exemplifies the importance of appreciating ones culture. In any races, Japanese, Chinese, and / of Filipino, people desire to have their own identity. People wanted to have own culture, traditions, customs, religion, and belief in order to create ones identity.

            Superior races wanted to dominate other races in form of influencing their culture in the foreign land. Races with no such culture are in disadvantage of being invaded. Thus, results the race being under the foreign race.


In reality, Tokyo is being occupied and influence by the western culture. The Japanese do not anymore recognize their identity as Japanese. Conversely, the western culture continues to expand to other places in Japan including Osaka. This resulted to elimination of the Japan culture. Their identity becomes false Japanese. They inherit the culture of other races.

            The two cultures cannot meet together to advance ones nation. It is either east or west culture resting in one land. The expansion of west culture in the east land alarms races to build a stronger culture to obstruct the occupation of western culture.


Leroy, J. (reviewed). 2007. Review of Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki. URL http://www.soundbag.com/leblog/2003/09/review-of-some-prefer-nettles-by.html. Retrieved October 2, 2007.

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