The Novel "Haha no isan" by Mizumura Minae and the Meiji Writer Ozaki Kōyō

Matthew Königsberg



This paper deals with Mizumura Minae’s 2012 novel Haha no isan (Inheritance from Mother), the story of a middle-aged, middle-class woman named Mituski faced with two crises: the demise of her ill and aging mother and the repeated infidelity of her husband. Both problems come to a head when the mother is admitted to a hospital. At the same time, Mitsuki’s husband and his current lover are plotting to confront Mitsuki with a divorce once the husband returns from a sabbatical inVietnam, where he is living together with the other woman. At the end of the novel, both conflicts are resolved. The mother dies and leaves Mitsuki an inheritance with which to begin a new life on her own.

Haha no isan is based on a number of subtexts, most prominently on Ozaki Kōyō’s Konjiki yasha (The Demon Gold). In order to point out parallels, the paper places Ozaki Kōyō in perspective as a writer of literary realism. This aspect of Kōyō’s oeuvre is often overlooked, as The Demon Gold, for instance, is written in classical Japanese. Madame Bovary also provides a subtext for the novel, such that in consequence Haha no isan incorporates the vitae of female protagonists both inJapan andEurope going back for more than a century.

Słowa kluczowe

literary realism; Mizumura Minae; Ozaki Kōyō; women in literature; Madame Bovary

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