The Wind Up Bird Chronicle Analysis

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Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle elaborates on the life of protagonist Toru Okada, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery throughout the novel. The book is set in 1984, a time period where Japan experiences increasing amounts of Westernization because of the American occupation after World War II. Due to the United States’ influence in reconstructing Japan after the war, many Japanese citizens begin to assimilate aspects of American culture into their society. This leads to them carrying many American beliefs and values that previously contradicted their indigenous culture, and thus new generations of citizens diverge further from traditional definitions of being Japanese. Through the use of juxtaposition,…show more content…
Unlike Kumiko’s father, Toru is born after the American occupation of Japan, and thus grows up in a Westernized setting. This leads to him placing less emphasis on working hard in order to succeed in society, as American ideals place more importance on finding success through living a contentful life doing what you enjoy. As a result, he does not feel shame in quitting his job (5), which was considered shameful in Japanese society, and instead lives a relaxing life at home, singing along to the radio while cooking food. This use of technology further exhibits Toru’s Westernized tendencies, as these new technological innovations only came around after American occupation. However, although he lives a relaxed lifestyle he eventually grows dissatisfied by his isolation, and thus seeks out ways to gain employment, which was expected of Japanese men. Murakami utilizes this to convey how self-fulfillment is acquirable through cultural acceptance, as Toru seeks to find contentment through assimilating Japanese society. By highlighting Toru’s struggle in fitting into Japanese society, the author highlights the struggle of many men after the war; Japanese assimilation into American culture caused
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