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Theme Of Osamu Dazai's The Setting Sun

Decent Essays
The setting of Osamu Dazai’s The Setting Sun and the history of Japan play a major role in the story and its theme; in fact, Japan’s culture and the events of the 1940s, when is was written, seem to be the catalyst for its creation. The title is a reference specifically to the fall of ancient Japanese culture as an actual practice, that is, its removal from everyday use. The actions and motivations of the characters can be linked directly to the Japanese mindset and its unusually close relationship to death, as seen throughout history. For example, Kazuko references one of Japan’s most beloved novels in her letters to Uehara: Genji Monogatari, or The Tale of Genji, which was written by an aristocratic woman of the Heian period known as Murasaki Shikibu (97). When expressing her love for him and her desire to mother his child, she compares her passion to the iconic novel, exalting ‘those days’ of Genji, Shikibu’s main character, as the time of ideal relationships. The Tale of Genji indeed explores relationships and proper and improper behavior, but it also illustrates just how deep death runs in Japanese culture; a major theme of the world’s first great novel is evanescence and the beauty of impermanence. In fact, the death of the main character Genji’s true love Murasaki, although sorrowful, is described with great care:
Despite the fact that she was terribly emaciated, Murasaki still looked remarkable; the loss of weight had, if anything, distilled her beauty, which now
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