Kinshu: Autumn Brocade

Aki visits Zao to show the starlit sky to her handicapped son, and she unexpectedly runs into her ex-husband on the gondola. She is surprised at his weary and haggard looking appearance. She is upset and they exchange only a few word briefly.

Aki managed to find his address and writes a letter to him two months later. Their correspondence begins.

Aki was the sole daughter of the father who is the owner of a big construction company. Aki and Yasuaki were classmates in college, and after graduation they married. Yasuaki was regarded as the successor of her father. A year later, Yasuaki got involved with the double suicide that a woman attempted at an inn in Kyoto. The woman died and he survived. The woman is Yukako who was his classmate in junior high school. After the incident, he was regarded as an unqualified successor and they divorced with little conversation with each other.

Aki got married again but not happy. Her son was born with physical and mental handicap and her new husband had an affair. Aki loved Yasuaki. She holds a grudge with him and she attributes her all unhappy to Yasuaki's behavior. On the other hand, Yasuaki has undergone hardship after divorce as well. He had failed some businesses and gave up his hope.

A parting with a man and a woman who loved each other is often sad and painful. They get hurt and the hurt isn't cured easily. Aki writes to Yasuaki to seek the meaning of her own life and the past with Yasuaki. Their correspondence has lasted for about a year. They confront sincerely their past and come to understand each other. A year later, they start again to have a second life respectively.

This novel is in epistolary form interwoven with Mozart's music and Buddhism feeling. Aki's word "living and dying are the same thing" reminds me of 'The Heart Sutra', the most popular Buddhism sutra in Japan.

form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form;
emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form,
the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness.
all dharmas are marked with emptiness;
they are not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete.

I'm always reading English literature, so I wanted to read a Japanese emotional novel this time. I hardly knew about Teru Miyamoto. At first I didn't know even whether the author was a man or a woman. I knew later he was the original author of the famous movie '泥の河(Muddy River)'.


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