ENCHI FUMIKO THE WAITING YEARS PDF

By Michelle Since graduating from college I have moved house five times, hopping from where I grew up on the west coast to Japan, then to the midwest, the east coast and finally setting up what seems to be a semi-permanent life or at least for a few more years in Switzerland. As most of you bibliophiles can imagine, those book boxes start to get pretty heavy. I first read this book for a Japanese literature class in college and count it as one of my all-time favorites. The best word I have to describe this novel is intense. Everything about it is intense — structure, theme, intertextuality, social criticism.

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With the many number of great male Japanese writers, one could easily despair with regards to the rarity of female perspectives, but fortunately, Enchi has written a good novel -- good enough to add to the canon of Japanese literature. The story centers on a wife named Tomo, and follows through the aching years of her marriage until her death. Her tale involves the humiliation she must endure upon choosing a mistress for her husband. At first, she chooses the year-old Suga, who is invited into their home under the pretense that she will become their maid.

Suga is quiet and introspective, and builds not only a relationship with the husband Yukitomo and Tomo, but also with their young daughter, Etsuko. This is not a tale involving female cattiness, since in fact, the women all seem to get along well together, for the most part.

Because Tomo was born into a low-ranking samurai family and married young pre Meiji Restoration , means that she must tolerate the old style culture traditions, where women are not offered the opportunity of proper education that would otherwise allow them to fall into the category of accomplished or well-bred.

As the novel progresses, we watch Tomo suppress her hurt and disillusionment. Occasionally she would smile a lonely smile at the irony of her lot. At such times she could slip free of the bonds in which she was entangled and, however briefly, survey herself and her husband, Suga and Etsuko, with the same dispassionate gaze. Another girl named Yuri moves in, and the outgoing nature of her personality causes her to form a strong bond to the first mistress, Suga.

The two become close friends over a ten-year period and even wonder if they were sisters in a previous life. However, when Yuri decides to marry another man, Suga is left alone not only missing her close friend but also having to watch while another mistress is added to the lot, this time a young, flirtatious girl named Miya.

There is a sad scene when Yukitomo concludes that Suga could never marry since she is by now too old and likely will never have children due to her irregular periods.

Instead, he notes that his preference is to have Suga remain to look after his wife, Tomo. The Waiting Years contains all the ingredients for a great novel but a few things keep it from achieving it. Furthermore, although many years pass, many of the characters are not fully explored to the degree they could be.

With the end of the Meiji Era came the transitions into Modernization. These transitions offered many benefits to women, yet did not come without sort-term sacrifice and struggle.

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Enchi Fumiko

Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and other issues to the forefront. From overcoming oppression, to breaking rules, to reimagining the world or waging a rebellion, these women of history have a story to tell. Even as a small child, she accompanied her father to Kabuki performances, and from her grandmother she heard stories based on literature of the Tokugawa period — Her first interest was in the theatre, and she effectively began her literary career in , when she submitted a play to a competition.

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Fumiko Enchi

Early life[ edit ] Fumiko Enchi was born in the Asakusa district of downtown Tokyo , as the daughter of distinguished Tokyo Imperial University philologist and linguist Kazutoshi Ueda. Of poor health as a child, she was unable to attend classes in school on a regular basis, so her father decided to keep her at home. She was taught English, French and Chinese literature through private tutors. She was also strongly influenced by her paternal grandmother, who introduced her to the Japanese classics such as The Tale of Genji , as well as to Edo period gesaku novels and to the kabuki and bunraku theater. However, her interest in the theatre was encouraged by her father, and as a young woman, she attended the lectures of Kaoru Osanai , the founder of modern Japanese drama. Her plays took inspiration from Osanai Kaoru, and many of her later plays focused on revolutionary movements and intellectual conflicts. In this play, two female artists, Kayoko and Mitsuko, are caught up in a conflict on their different perspectives towards art and politics.

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The Waiting Years

With the many number of great male Japanese writers, one could easily despair with regards to the rarity of female perspectives, but fortunately, Enchi has written a good novel -- good enough to add to the canon of Japanese literature. The story centers on a wife named Tomo, and follows through the aching years of her marriage until her death. Her tale involves the humiliation she must endure upon choosing a mistress for her husband. At first, she chooses the year-old Suga, who is invited into their home under the pretense that she will become their maid. Suga is quiet and introspective, and builds not only a relationship with the husband Yukitomo and Tomo, but also with their young daughter, Etsuko. This is not a tale involving female cattiness, since in fact, the women all seem to get along well together, for the most part. Because Tomo was born into a low-ranking samurai family and married young pre Meiji Restoration , means that she must tolerate the old style culture traditions, where women are not offered the opportunity of proper education that would otherwise allow them to fall into the category of accomplished or well-bred.

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