Japanese woman stereotypes as seen through The Four Makioka Sisters In Tanizaki`s The Makioka Sisters - USD Repository
JAPANESE WOMEN STEREOTYPES AS SEEN THROUGH THE
FOUR MAKIOKA SISTERS IN TANIZAKI’S
THE MAKIOKA SISTERS
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra in English Letters
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH
Student Number: 034214050
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
JAPANESE WOMEN STEREOTYPES AS SEEN THROUGH THE
FOUR MAKIOKA SISTERS IN TANIZAKI’S
THE MAKIOKA SISTERS
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra in English Letters
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH
Student Number: 034214050
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
A Sarjana Sastra Undergraduate Thesis
JAPANESE WOMEN STEREOTYPES AS SEEN THROUGH THE
FOUR MAKIOKA SISTERS IN TANIZAKI’S
THE MAKIOKA SISTERS
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH
Student Number: 034214050 Approved by
Elisa Dwi Wardani, S.S, M.Hum July 19, 2011 Advisor Drs. Hirmawan Widjanarka, M.Hum July 19, 2011 Co-Advisor
A Sarjana Sastra Undergraduate Thesis
JAPANESE WOMEN STEREOTYPES AS SEEN THROUGH THE
FOUR MAKIOKA SISTERS IN TANIZAKI’S
THE MAKIOKA SISTERS
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH
Student Number: 034214050 Defended before the Board of Examiners
On July 27 , 2011 and Declared Acceptable
BOARD OF EXAMINERSName Signature
Chairman : Dr. Fr. B. Alip, M.Pd., M.A. ___________________ Secretary : Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum ___________________ Member : Drs. F.X. Siswadi, M.A. ___________________ Member : Elisa Dwi Wardani, S.S, M.Hum ___________________ Member : Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum ___________________ Yogyakarta, July 29 , 2011.
Faculty of Letters Sanata Dharma University
SURAT PERNYATAAN KEASLIAN
Saya yang bertanda tangan di bawah ini menyatakan dengan sesungguhnya bahwa skripsi yang saya tulis ini tidak memuat karya atau bagian karya orang lain, kecuali yang telah disebutkan dalam kutipan dan daftar pustaka sebagaimana layaknya karya ilmiah.
Yogyakarta, 4 Agustus 2011 Penulis,
Krisna Sari Mulyaningsih
KEKUATAN serta PENGHIBURAN diberikan Tuhan padaku TIAP HARI aku dibimbingNya TIAP JAM dihibur hatiku dan sesuai dengan HIKMAT TUHAN aku diberikan APA YANG PERLU SUKA dan DERITA bergantian MEMPERKUAT IMANKU Kidung Jemaat 332 for my beloved parents, thank you for always believing me.
LEMBAR PERNYATAAN PERSETUJUAN PUBLIKASI KARYA ILMIAH
UNTUK KEPENTINGAN AKADEMISYang bertanda-tangan di bawah ini, saya mahasiswa Universitas Sanata Dharma: Nama : Krisna Sari Mulyaningsih
No. Mahasiswa : 034214050
demi pengembangan ilmu pengetahuan, saya memberikan kepada PerpustakaanUniversitas Sanata Dharma karya ilmiah saya yang berjudul:
JAPANESE WOMEN STEREOTYPES AS SEEN THROUGH THE FOUR
MAKIOKA SISTERS IN TANIZAKI’S THE MAKIOKA SISTERS
beserta perangkat yang diperlukan (bila ada). Dengan demikian saya memberikan kepada
Perpustakaan Universitas Sanata Dharma hak untuk menyimpan, mengalihkan dalam
bentuk media lain, mengelolanya dalam bentuk pangkalan data, mendistribusikan secra
terbatas, dan mempublikasikannya di internet atau media lain untuk kepentingan
akademis tanpa perlu meminta ijin dari saya maupun memberikan royalti kepada sayaselama tetap mencantumkan nama saya sebagai penulis.
Demikian pernyataan ini saya buat dengan sebenarnya. Dibuat di Yogyakarta Pada tanggal: 03 Agustus 2011 Yang menyatakan, (Krisna Sari Mulyaningsih)
First of all, the writer would like to thank her academic advisor, Elisa Dwi Wardani, S. S, M. Hum, for her guidance and advice during the process of writing this undergraduate thesis. The writer thanks her also for understanding the writer in times when she did not appear in front of her office’s door. The writer apologizes for the problems she has given to her in these past four years (really, has it been four years?). May God bless her, Mas Ucok (thank you for always “alarming” me through Mas Simbun), and little Gloria. The writer would also like to thank to the co-advisor, Drs. Hirmawan Widjanarka, M. Hum for the technical correction he gave.
To Galang Fitra Wijaya, the writer thanks him for being a good listener and critic. His critics and suggestions have motivated the writer to finish her thesis. May he remain to be a wonderful companion for the writer and may God bless every step he takes.
To the writer’s best friend, Nirma, the writer thanks her for always supporting the writer during her bad times and scolding her during her crazy times. Nirma’s independency, courage, and love inspire the writer a lot. Keep fighting girl!
To Nita, Vivin, Wayan, and Novi, the writer thanks them all for their supports. The writer misses the times they spend together. Wherever they are now, may God bless them. Iit, finally the writer can catch up with her. Their same “fate” bounds them together for these past years. May God bless her future as He Suziet, Jonny, Wedhus, Bagor, Cosmas, and Bayu), the writer cannot wait to reunite again! To the congregations of GKJ Sarimulyo (komisi pemuda, komisi
anak, the choir groups, etc.), the writer thanks them for always mentioning her inevery Sunday Mass’ prayer.
The writer’s deepest gratitude goes to the heroes in her life, Bapak Tugirin and Ibu Endang. The writer is truly sorry for causing them lots of troubles.
Though it takes a long time, finally the writer can finish her study. The writer thanks them for always believing her. To the writer’s sister Mbak Desi, she thanks her for her love and care. God bless her, Mas Ivan, and their beloved prince Dek Bagas.
Finally, the writer praises God for His blessings, loves, and guidance through this time. The writer thanks Jesus, for raising her up every time she falls down. The writer believes that every ordeal in her life is actually His way to make the writer into a better and stronger person, and she thanks Him for that.
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH
TABLE OF CONTENTS TITLE PAGE ……………………. ……………………………… . i APPROVAL PAGE ………………………………………………..
ACCEPTANCE PAGE ……………………………………………. iiiLEMBAR PERNYATAAN KEASLIAN…………………………… iv
MOTTO PAGE …………………………………………………….. v
DEDICATION PAGE ……………………………………………… vi
LEMBAR PERNYATAAN………………………………………….. vii
AKCNOWLEDGMENTS …………………………………………. viii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ………………………………………….. x
ABSTRACT ………………………………………………………. xii
ABSTRAK …………………………………………………………. xiii
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION ………………………………….
1 A. Background of the Study ………………………………...
1 B. Problem Formulation …………………………………….
7 C. Objectives of the Study…………………………………...
8 D. Definition of Terms ………………………………………
8 CHAPTER II: THEORETICAL REVIEW A. Review of Related Studies ………………………………..
10 B. Review of Related Theories ………………………………
12 1. Theory of Character and Characterization ………..
12 2. Review on Japanese Society in 1930s …………….
3. Theory of Feminism ………………………………
25 C. Theoretical Framework …………………………………....
28 CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY A. Object of the Study ………………………………………..
29 B. Approach of the Study …………………………………….
30 C. Method of the Study ………………………………………
32 CHAPTER IV: ANALYSIS
A. The Characterization of Each Makioka Sisters ……………
34 1. Tsuruko ……………………………………………..
36 2. Sachiko ……………………………………………...
3. Yukiko ………………………………………………
51 4. Taeko ……………………………………………….
58 B. The Japanese Society’s Expectations on Women Based on the Characterization of the Four Sisters ………….
1.The Japanese Society’s Expectations on Still Unmarried Women ……………………………..
70 C. The Japanese Women Stereotype Based on The Characterization of the Four Sister …………………….
1. The Stereotype of Dependent Women or The Angel Women ………………………………..
75 2. The Stereotype OF Monster Women ……………….
86 CHAPTER V : CONCLUSION ……………………………………..
94 APPENDIX ……………………………………………………………
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH. Japanese Women Stereotypes as Seen
through the Four Makioka Sisters in Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters.Yogyakarta: Department of English Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University, 2011
Living in the middle of patriarchal society, such as Japan, women are powerless and have to experience their lives defined by men. In this kind of society, women become the objects that have no right to think and act freely. Because of these restrictions, women do not notice that actually they are being put into a position where men want them to be. This brain-washing appears in the shape of the expectations on women in society. It results in the pictures and the stereotypes of women in society. Since men hold the control of the pen and therefore the press, they are able to define and create image of woman as they choose in their male text.
In order to identify the stereotype of Japanese women in Junichiro Tanizaki’s novel, The Makioka Sisters, three problems are formulated. The first is how the character of each Makioka sister is described in the novel. The second is what the Japanese society expectations on women are based on the characterization of the four sisters. The last is how the characterization and the expectation given for them stereotype Japanese women.
The writer used Feminism approach to surge those problem above, along with the theory of character and characterization, review of Japanese society in 1930s, and the theory of Feminism. Meanwhile, a library research is used as the method of this study.
The result of all the analyses after answering those three formulated problems above showed that Tsuruko, the eldest, was a conservative, docile, and submissive woman. Sachiko, the second, was a moderate, loving, and conscience- stricken woman. Yukiko, the third, was a well-mannered, taciturn, and stubborn woman. The youngest, Taeko, was independent, rebellious, and introvert. These characterizations showed that Japanese women who were still unmarried were expected to be such true Japanese women so that they could not only prepare themselves into entering the matrimony life, but also have an opportunity to get a good proposal of marriage. Meanwhile, for Japanese women who were married, they were expected to be good wives and wise mothers who able to control the household chores and maintain their physical beauties at the same time. These characterization and expectation showed that Japanese women were being put into some stereotypes, which were the stereotype of dependent women or the angel women and the stereotype of monster women.
KRISNA SARI MULYANINGSIH. Japanese Women Stereotypes as Seen
through the Four Makioka Sisters in Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters.Yogyakarta: Jurusan Sastra Inggris, Facultas Sastra, Universitas Sanata Dharma, 2011
Hidup di tengah-tengah masyarakat patriarkis, seperti Jepang, kaum perempuan tidak mempunyai kekuatan dan harus mengalami hidup mereka ditentukan oleh kaum laki-laki. Pada masyarakat jenis ini, kaum perempuan menjadi obyek yang tidak mempunyai hak untuk berpikir dan bertindak secara merdeka. Dikarenakan oleh batasan-batasan tersebut, kaum perempuan tidak menyadari bahwa sebetulnya mereka ditempatkan ke dalam sebuah posisi yang dikehendaki oleh kaum laki-laki. Pencucian otak ini muncul dalam bentuk ekspektasi bagi kaum perempuan di dalam masyarakat. Sebagai hasilnya adalah gambaran-gambaran dan stereotip kaum perempuan di dalam masyarakat. Karena kaum pria memegang kendali dari pena dan oleh karena itu percetakan, mereka dapat menentukan dan menciptakan gambaran perempuan sesuai dengan yang mereka pilih di dalam teks laki-laki mereka.
Dalam rangka untuk mengidentifikasi stereotip wanita Jepang di dalam novel Junichiro Tanizaki yang berjudul The Makioka Sisters, dirumuskanlah tiga buah permasalahan. Pertama adalah bagaimana tokoh dari tiap Makioka bersaudara dideskripsikan di dalam novel. Kedua adalah apa saja ekspektasi masyarakat terhadap kaum perempuan Jepang berdasarkan penokohan dari empat Makioka bersaudara. Terakhir adalah bagaimana penokohan dan ekspektasi dari empat bersaudara tersebut menstereotipkan kaum perempuan Jepang.
Penulis menggunakan pendekatan Feminis untuk membedah rumusan permasalahan di atas, bersama dengan teori tokoh dan penokohan, tinjauan mengenai masyarakat Jepang di tahun 1930an, dan teori feminisme. Sementara itu, metode yang digunakan adalah studi pustaka.
Hasil dari analisis yang penulis lakukan untuk menjawab ketiga rumusan masalah di atas menunjukkan bahwa Tsuruko, yang tertua, adalah seorang wanita yang konservatif, patuh, dan tunduk. Sementara Sachiko, anak kedua, adalah seorang wanita yang moderat, penyayang, dan mudah untuk merasa bersalah. Yukiko, anak ketiga, adalah seorang wanita yang berperilakuan baik, pendiam, dan keras kepala. Anak paling muda, Taeko, adalah seorang wanita yang mandiri, pemberontak, dan tertutup. Penokohan-penokohan ini menunjukkan bahwa kaum perempuan di Jepang yang belum menikah diekspektasikan untuk menjadi wanita Jepang yang sesungguhnya supaya mereka dapat bukan hanya menyiapkan mereka untuk memasuki kehidupan pernikahan saja, tapi juga dapat memperoleh pinangan yang baik. Sementara itu, bagi kaum perempuan Jepang yang sudah menikah, mereka diekpektasikan untuk menjadi istri yang baik dan ibu yang bijak yang mampu mengontrol urusan rumah tangga dan pada saat yang sama menjaga penampilan fisiknya. Penokohan dan ekpektasi tersebut menunjukkan bahwa kaum perempuan Jepang ditempatkan ke dalam beberapa stereotip, yaitu stereotip
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study When we are talking about humankind we always find men and women. Indeed, God creates humans in two kinds, which are based on the biblical philosophy
is intended to be equally the same, although physically different. Those are in God’s
standards. What about humankind’s standards? Since we are children, our parents or
the adults around tell us that boys and girls are different. They tell us not to cry too
much if we are boys or not to climb a tree if we are girls. Then when a kid asks the
parents why he or she cannot do that, the answer is always the same. It is becauseothers do not do that either.
Thus, what do we have here is: since we are born, we are already
distinguished into two sexes, men and women; and as we live in a society, our roles
are already decided, as Bressler states that sex is biologically determined while
gender is culturally determined (1999: 180). Being inhabitants in society, it is seen
proper to follow the society’s norms and values. As the result, humankind is not only
differentiated biologically, but also differentiated socially; based on society’s criteria
for each sex. Who decides the norms and values within society? It is them whobecome the majority, the men.
2 Being the majority in the world, men hold more superiority than women as the
minority. D. Jill. Savitt in the essay Female Stereotypes in Literature (with Focus onLatin American Writers) notes that men become the norm; because of that humanity is viewed as masculine (http:www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/5/
82.05.06.x.htm). Since men hold control in society, they define what it means to be
human, including, therefore, what it means to be women. It supports what Aristotle
states that the male is by nature superior, and the female is inferior; therefore the onerules and the other is ruled (Bressler, 1999:180).
It is a common knowledge that the ruler creates a situation where the ruler
itself can gain benefits. Just as well as the dominating men in our society. They are
able to make and control the values system in our culture and society. They are alsoable to define women as what they like.
In this masculine world, the feminists declare that is man who defines what it means to be human, not woman. Because a woman is not a man, she has become the other, the not-male. Man is the subject, the one who defines meaning; woman is the object, having her existence defined and determined by the male. The man is therefore the significant figure in the male or female relationship and the woman is the subordinate. (Bressler, 1999:189) Being put as the object, women cannot have the right to think and act freely. It
is not also because of the restriction of the men, but also because of the way the men
brain-wash women through the values of ‘ideal women’. Women themselves do not
notice and realize how they are being treated in their own society. They are hidden by
their own goals to be ‘ideal’ as requested by the society. To be an ideal one, a woman
has to fulfill the requirements that are made by the ruler, the men. These requirements
then result in the pictures and the stereotypes of women in society. These
stereotyping has begun since long time ago as religious leaders and philosophers
Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine declared that women are really imperfect and
spiritually weak creatures. Darwin in his The Descent of Man also put women as a
past and lower state of civilization, while men are physically, intellectually, and
artistically superior (1999:183). Back to the East, the ancient Chinese labels men and
women as Yin and Yang. Yin represents the female, the negative, the darkness and
softness. The Yang, on the other hand, represents the male, the positive, brightness,
and hardness (Gender Stereotypes ,
http://www.people.unt.edu/jw0109/misc/stereotype.htm). Moreover Kate Millet in
her Sexual Politics asserts that the cultural norms and expectations, such as: little
boys, for example, must be aggressive, self-assertive, and domineering, whereas little
girls must be passive, meek, and humble; are transmitted through television, movies,songs, and literature (1999:183).
How are women stereotyped in literary world? According to Sandra M.
Gilbert and Susan Guban in their The Madwoman in the Attic: the Woman Writer andthe Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
(1979), the male voice has for too long
been the dominant one in society. Because men also have the power of the pen and
therefore the press, they have been able to define and create images of women as they
so choose in their male text. Therefore women are being reduced to the stereotypical
images that often appear in literature. The two major images of women, they assert,
4 If a woman is depicted as the angel in the house, she supposedly realizes that her physical and material comforts are gifts from her husband. Her goal in life, therefore, is to please her husband, to attend to his every comfort, and to obey him. Through these selfless acts, she finds the utmost contentment by serving her husband and children. If, perchance, a female character should reject this role, the male critics quickly dub her a monster, a freakish anomaly that is obviously sexually fallen. (qtd. in Bressler, 1999: 186) Women nowadays should be thankful for the critical thinking of some women
writers and thinkers in the eighteenth and nineteen century, such as Mary
Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, and so on (Guerin,1999: 198). These
critical women have already influenced other women around the world by showingthem the hidden fact of women’s position in society.
These women courageously try to challenge that paradigm. As Mary Wollstonecraft stated in her book A Vindication of the Right of Women (1792): Women must stand up for their rights and not allow their male-dominated society to define what it means to be a woman. Women themselves must take the lead and articulate who they are and what role they will play in society. Most importantly, they must reject the patriarchal assumption that women are inferior to men. (Bressler, 1999: 181)
Her thinking, and also the other women writers’, have become the first step for all
women around the world to start figuring out and defining who themselves are, apart
from male’s domination in society. Later on, the development of this movement endsup into what is called now as Feminism.
According to Maggie Humm in A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Feminist Literary, feminist movement has developed in tandem or together with the
development of Feminist Literary Criticism (1994: 9). Also Kate Millet asserts that
the growth of the feminist movement is inseparable from feminist criticism (qtd.inHumm, 1994: 3). Therefore, feminist literary criticism is a part of feminist struggle.
Peter Barry in Beginning Theory asserts that feminist literary criticism realizes
the significance of the images of women promulgated by literature; and it is vital to
combat them and question their authority and their coherence (2002: 121). Based on
this notion, the writer is interested in analyzing how women are stereotyped through
the characterization of the four Makioka sisters in Junichiro Tanizaki’s novel TheMakioka Sisters or known in Japanese as Sasame Yuki.
As has been known for so long, Japan began to open itself to the outside
world during the Meiji Restoration. Because of that Japan received many influences
from many countries, especially from the Western ones. These influences came into
Japanese society through many tools and shapes, such as political views, education,
fashions, culinary, cinemas, magazines, music, industries, and many more. These new
things helped the Japanese people to come into a new period, which was
modernization. Aside from the positive effects of the modernization, the arrival of the
Western brought some consequences, particularly for Japanese women. Threatened
by the perspective of the Westerners toward the portray of Japanese people, the Meiji
government attempted to increase the quality of Japanese people. The norms and
idealism of the samurai (considered to be the high class) were adapted and applied tothe entire Japanese society.
These Westerners were the products of the age of the nations. They therefore tended to assume that each nation had certain distinctive characteristics and
6 ordinary people. This way of thinking was entirely foreign to Tokugawa- period Japanese, who assumed that people of different social groups and statutes would off course, behave differently…these stranger Westerners tended to regard any single Japanese person as representative of the whole society, and that they were prone to highlight the common people—scantily- clad servants in this case—as representative examples. (Good Wives and Wise Mothers
As the result, the gap between each classes (high and low) was getting closer, and yet
the gap in gender roles (man and woman) was getting farther. It was because the
Japanese high class was the follower of both Confucianism and Buddhism concepts.
These concepts clearly subordinated women. These kind of concepts, which once
only experienced by high class women, were adapted and used for the entire Japanese
society. Because of that, Japanese women in general were experiencing a more rigidand strict norms than ever before.
Back to the object of this study, the novel tells about the story of four sisters
inside the patriarchal society of Japan. It pictures their struggles in order to increase
their family’s name that is getting in decline, and at the same time to find their own
happiness and self-satisfactory without having to break any rules and values of theirsociety.
Each of the Makioka sisters has different characters and also lives, and yet
they have one thing in common that they are actually restricted by the moral demands
and values around their patriarchal society. Covered in one main conflict about
finding the best prospect husband for the third daughter, the writer sees that there
were some moral and values frictions occurred in each character’s live; the frictions
in being a true Japanese woman or in being a true-self woman in the middle of apatriarchal, yet fluid society and the long well history of one’s family.
However, the four sisters also portray the condition of Japanese women at that
time. Although modernization has penetrated Japan, the traditional values and the old
philosophies still keep their traces in the middle of this patriarchal society. As the
result, Japanese women are trapped in between the traditional values and the modernawareness.
Moreover, as a patriarchal society, Japanese has the right to define women
through the expectations that given to them. Here the writer is interested to look upon
the expectations that given to the Japanese women (through the four Makioka sisters)
which can reduce them into some stereotypes. Hopefully, through this study, the
stereotyping of Japanese women can be revealed and can give contribution to theunderstanding of feminist literary criticism nowadays.
B. Problem Formulation
In order to make the study clearer, as well as to limit the scope of the study, the writer has formulated the problems as follows:
1. How is the character of each Makioka sisters described in the novel?
2. What are the Japanese society’s expectations on women as reflected on thecharacterization of the four sisters?
3. How do the characterization of the four sisters and the expectations given for
8 C. Objectives of the Study The main objective of this study is to analyze the Japanese women stereotypes
as seen through the characters of the four Makioka sisters by answering the questionspresented in the problem formulation.
The first problem formulation helps the writer to find out the characterization of the four Makioka sisters.
While the second one is to find out the Japanese society’s expectation of
women as reflected on what can be concluded from the characterization of the foursisters.
The last problem formulation is to find out how the characterization of the
Makioka sisters and the roles of Japanese women can put Japanese women into somestereotypes.
D. Definition of Term
To avoid any kinds of misinterpretation in understanding this study, there should be some explanations of the term stereotype.
Stereotype Webster Online Dictionary
Based on (http://www.websters-online-
dictionary.org), a stereotype is a simplified and or standardized conception or image
with specific meaning, often held in common by people about another group. It can
be a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image, based on the
9 Stereotypes are sometimes formed by a previous illusory correlation, a false
association between two variables that are loosely if at all correlated. Stereotypes may
be positive or negative in tone. They are typically generalizations based on minimal
or limited knowledge about a group to which the person doing the stereotyping does
not belong. Persons may be grouped based on racial group, ethnicity, religion, sexualorientation, age or any number of other categories.
CHAPTER II THEORETICAL REVIEWS A. Review of Related Studies According to Isoji Asou in his book Sejarah Kesusastraan Jepang (Nihon Bungakushi), Junichiro Tanizaki is a follower of Tanbiha style (aestheticism). He
always pictures the beauty of women and emphasizes the strange beauty of the sensitive part of women. He pictures women as graceful and hopeless creature, yet they hide their strength and their mysterious beauty. The motives of his stories never changed. He straightforwardly portrays the strange beauty that is always hidden in the middle of the society.
Added with what is said in http://www.psychcentral.com/psypsych/ The_Makioka_Sisters_(novel), many of his works involve a strong component, combined with explorations of spiritual and aesthetics, particularly by Japanese aesthetics in opposition to or collision with Western values. In this novel, his lusty concerns are only hinted upon at margins, while the characteristics of Japanese intersection of culture, art, family, and beauty and its contrast to heartless modernity is on full display.
While Emily White states in http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/ detail/-/0679761640?v=glance that Tanizaki wrestled throughout his career with the idea of a country where tribes of aristocrats live as relics, grasping at the past through gestures, manners, small and intricate private laws.
Ika Widhy Retnary in her undergraduate thesis entitled The Influence of
Social Class on the Selection of Yukiko’s Mate as Seen in Tanizaki’s The Makioka
Sisters puts the focus on the values of the Japanese middle class society in relation
to the selection of Yukiko’s mate. She states that the primary importance in the Japanese family is the duration of its name, the family lineage, and the family tradition. That is why marriage in Japan becomes a means to maintain the social responsibility and to follow the general accepted rules in society. Moreover, the long finding of Yukiko’s mate happened because the Makiokas are really proud of their position in society that they set a high standard for the candidates. Yet, unlike the usual Osaka middle class marriage which is totally parents’ choice and which makes the couple have no right to choose, the Makiokas still consider Yukiko’s opinion in the mate selection (2004: 46).
Supporting the study above, Hillary Panian in her essay The Makioka
Sisters and Pedro Paramo , claims that Tanizaki used the novel to tell the tale of
four beautiful sisters whose lives are encompassed by a word of tradition and propriety, or she calls it as formalities.
This prestigious Osaka family presumes that they must adhere to every formality to its highest degree in order to uphold their reputation and honor. (Panian, 2002)
The culture and the time in this novel are experiencing pressures and obligations due to the character’s belief in observing formalities and traditions. According to her, the novel shows that some aspects of life are shared in every culture and nobody can escape the pressures of blind conformity.
Based on these studies, the writer attempts to analyze how Japanese women at that time were being put into some stereotypes because of the traditional values and system that restricted and reduced them into creatures that were made by the Japanese patriarchal society.
B. Review of Related Theories
1. Theory of Character and Characterization
This theory is considered to be used in this study in order to answer the first problem formulation. Here, the writer uses what Abrams has stated in A
Glossary of Literary Terms that the character is a person presented in a dramatic
or narrative work who are interpreted by the reader as being endowed with the moral and discussion qualities that are expressed in what they say, the dialogue, and in what they do, the action (1981:20). Through his definition, it can be concluded that the character’s moral and natural qualities are seen through their speech and action.
While M.J. Murphy in Understanding Unseens: An Introductory to
English Poetry and the English Novels for Overseas Students defines the ways in
which the author attempts to make his character understandable to, and come alive for the reader (1972:161-172):
1. Personal description The author describes a character through his or her appearance (the face, the skin, the eye, etc.) and clothes.
2. Character as seen by another The author describes a character through the eyes and opinions of another character, so that the readers will get a reflected image.
3. Speech The author gives us insight into the character of one of the persons in the book through what the person says. Through his or her speaking with another, or through his or her opinion, the reader can get some clue of his or her character.
4. Past life The author gives us a clue to events that have helped to shape a person’s character by letting us learn something about a person’s past life. This can be done by direct comment by the author, through the person’s thoughts, through his conversation or through the medium of another person.
5. Conversation of others The author gives us clues to a person’s character through the conversation of other people and the things they say about him. What people talk about with other people and things they say might give the reader clues about the character of the person spoken spoken about.
6. Reactions The author gives us a clue to a person’s character by letting us know how that person reacts to various situations and events.
7. Direct comment
8. Thoughts The author can give us direct knowledge of what a person is thinking about. Here the reader has the advantageous to know what the character has in his mind.
9. Mannerism The author can describe a person’s mannerism, habits or idiosyncrasies which can tell us something about his character.
Since character and characterization are related to each other, the writer sees that it is also important to know what characterization meant to be.
According to Holman and Harmon, characterization is the creation of the imaginary persons so that they exist for the readers as life like (1986:81). Meaning to say, characterization is the process and character is the result.
Furthermore they stated that there are three fundamental methods of characterization. First is the explicit presentation by the author of the character through direct exposition, either in an introductory block or more often piecemeal throughout the work, illustrated by action. Meaning to say, the reader can directly know and understand the attributes of the character through the text itself. Second is the presentation of the character in action, with little or no explicit comment by the author. Here, the reader is expected to be able to deduce the attributes of the actor from the actions. Third is the representation from within a character, without comment on the character by the author, of the impact of actions and emotions on the character’s inner self. In this method, the reader is also expected to get a clear
2. Review on Japanese Society in 1930s
Since literature is an imitation of outside world, that it represents and expresses life, it would be better for the writer to describe Japanese society in the same years as in the novel. In general, as stated in http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/fiske/135b/japan.htm, Japan history can be divided into two major parts. The first part is Japan before the Meiji Restoration in 1868, or the feudal period, and the second part is Japan after the restoration. It has been known for so long that this restoration brought Japan into the new world. Before the restoration, Japan was a feudal country. Strict class divisions were enforced between samurai, peasants, merchants, and artisans.
Respect and obedience were the code of the day. In this era, Japan was closed to
the outside world. It all changed when in the 8 of July 1853 Commodore Perry and the American armies entered the bay of Yedo (Straelen, 1940:81). Through long waiting and negotiating, finally in 1854 the first treaty between America and Japan was signed. The harbors of Shimoda and Hakodate were opened to America ships, and later on European nations followed to come (1940:82).
Then, in the beginning of 1868, the young emperor (Meiji) claimed the restoration of the old imperial power and the abolition of shogunate. Slowly but sure Japan started its modern march and left behind its feudal system. Taken Europe as its teacher, Japan opened itself to the outside world. As Western triumph entered, the competition between Japan and the West begun. A new Japan
During the Meiji era, a modern nation state was firmly consolidated, a constitution was promulgated, a central government was established, the class system was abolished, a national system of education was put in place, a modern legal code was adopted, and a formidable military and industrial machine was assembled.
However, as mentioned in introduction part, though the restoration brought the gap between each class to be much closer, the gap between gender roles was experiencing the opposite. In order to compete with the Westerners, the authorities of the Meiji, who was mostly came from the samurai class; saw the importance for the Japanese to increase their quality of human resources. Since, their background were samurai, they then used their background’s idealism and applied them to the whole country.
The Meiji state took the samurai ideal of gender roles, watered it down somewhat and adapted it to an industrial society, and then attempted to imposed it on the entire country. The direct impetus for the early rounds of behavioral regulations of the 1870s and 80s was to change the way that Japanese citizens appeared in the eyes of Western foreigners visiting or residing in Japan. It was because the way that these foreigners perceived Japan’s people had serious implications for international politics and diplomacy. (Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east-asian
- history.net/textbooks/172/ch11_main.htm) As a general rule, the higher one’s social status, the more rigid were the gender roles. In this view, men were commonly associated with ‘production’ ‘outside’ the home and women with ‘reproduction’ ‘inside’ the home. Because of it, the mindset of Japanese people, particularly the teenagers or young adults changed dramatically. The new paradigm brought them into a more rigid and strict
The Meiji state became a strong, centralized government, and it took a great interest in the private lives and personal behavior of Japan’s citizens. Through official pronouncement, civil law, a school system, and simply by taking the lead socially, the Meiji state tried to impose upon the whole of Japan a set of slightly-watered-down samurai norms for gender. The result was a gradual transformation in the thoughts and behavior of the masses. (Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east-asian- history.net/textbooks/172/ch11_main.htm)
Seeking also the importance to prepare the next generation of Japanese people to face the competition with the Westerners, the Meiji state started to work on promoting their owns visions to ideal behavior for Japanese women; behavior intended to strengthen the nation. This official vision of ideal womanly behavior turned out to be a modified version of former samurai ideals, slightly reduced in severity and with one important addition: the idea of motherhood. This paradigm even though was not as strong as before, still occurs in Japanese people’s minds nowadays.
a. Japanese Kinship System
The Japanese kinship system during the 1930s up to the beginning of the 1940s was still influenced by the old system of the feudal period. During the medieval period (Kamakura and Muromachi) Japan imported the concepts of
Buddhism and Confucianism from China. In the late 16 century, the emperor at that time trying to bring order out of chaos begun to put together an amalgamation of Shinto (the local’s belief), Buddhism, and Confucianism concepts to justify their rule and stabilize society from top to bottom (Tonomura, Walthall, and Wakita,1999:9). Hence, the concept of patriarchal house established. The most important of this is the notion of hierarchy, which circumscribed the function and the possibility of action for everyone in society accordance with rank and status (1999:8).
The amalgamation of many concepts formed the ie system that according to Hall and Beardsley is a patrilineage, a network of households related through their respective head, comprising main houses, branch houses, and the branches of branch houses traced down through generation (qtd.in Davies and Ikeno, 2002:119). This system involves an extended membership family system, including not only family members, but also servants; house holds workers, and so on.
Different from the European family, in Japanese family system, or ie, the couple is not the center. The center in its system is the great family. So, the couple, or the nuclear family, only has a second significance. Compared to the European family, the Japanese cannot live their lives wherever and however they please (Straelen, 1940:129). In this patriarchal system, the chief male has great power and the other members have to obey his desire. The members of the family have to preserve the primary importance, which are the duration of its name, the family lineage, and the family traditions.
There was also family law section of the civil code, which was enacted in 1898 and was valid until after World War II. The content of the law can be regarded as the support for the ie system.
First, according to the law, the head of the household was given legal power over other family members. He could decide on marriages, divorces, and adoptions into his family and could grant places of residence to his family members. He could also exclude members from the family allowed parents to control the lives of their children because they needed the consent of their parents when they married, divorced, took part in adoption, or engaged in business or other occupations. Parents could choose where their children lived, and managed their children’s property and that of their children’s wives. (Davies and Ikeno, 2002:123) Later on, by the effects of modernization and also the World War II, this family system begun to waken.
b. Japanese Women in 1930s
According to Hitomi Tonomura, Anne Walthall, and Wakita Haruko in
Women and Class in Japanese History , the importation of Buddhism and the
continental philosophical and political system plays a great deal in shaping Japan nowadays (1999:2). In Buddhism concepts, the position of women is very low.
They are incapable to raise themselves to the rank of Buddha. Women are also blamed because they are considered as lust that hindered Buddhist men’s ability to seek enlightenment (1999:4). Moreover, women are treated as Jigoku no Tsukai or
Messenger of Hell (Straelen, 1940:64). Almost the same as in Buddhism concepts,
in Confucianism concepts women are treated close to slaves. The Confucian brought the idea of men outside and women inside. The old Confucian adage said that a woman should in youth obey her father, in maturity her husband, and in old age her son. For the Confucians, it was a desirable thing to have a stupid wife because in their viewpoint a wise woman is more to be a curse than a blessing (1940:86). Moreover, the inferiority and the passiveness of Japanese women happened because they were affected by the Confucianism concepts about the five worst maladies in women’s life, which were indocility, discontent, slander,
Here are five worst things about women from the Onna Daigaku: 1. They are indocile because they are not calm and peaceful.
2. They are discontented because they are not happy.
3. They slander other people. They say bad things about other people.
4. They are jealous.
5. They are silly. (The Greater Learning for Women in Edo, http://www.gallery.sjsu.edu/ heian/learning.html) The Buddhism and Confucianism concepts could give strong influences to the Japanese people, both social and individual life, because of the ie system, or the Japanese family system. It was created from the amalgamation of those two concepts added with the Shinto concepts. Therefore, the family and the social system in Japan are so patriarchal.
The position of women was low in the ie system, since it was believed that they were inferior to men. Even if they married well, women were in a weak position because they could be sent away for any reason. They had to adjust themselves to the customs of husbands’ ie and work hard to satisfy their husbands’ parents. Most important, they had the duty of bearing children, and if wives could not fulfill these obligations, they were often forced to divorce (2002:121). In the ie system, women are powerless. In that situation, the main role of women was to give birth to a son in the family. In other words, they became the
borrowed womb because they produced successor and helped to shape blood
relation and family connections although they were treated unequally (Tonomura, Walthall, and Wakita 1999:305). The newly-wed wife must absolutely plunge and submerge herself in the new family, if not, she was not qualified to be the member of the family (Straelen, 1940:129). The sacrificing of a new wife was symbolized through the white clothes she wore during the marriage ceremony that meant the color of mourning. The mourning because she died to her own family to enter into
During the feudal era, part of Japanese women who experienced these horrid and subordinated conditions was only those who belonged to the samurai or wealthy merchant family. However, when Emperor Meiji took the crown, these regulations were spread through the entire Japan that not only those Japanese elite women, but whole Japanese women started to experience that.
Japanese women were demanded to act and behave appropriately that there was also a handbook used by them in order to be a good wife called Onna
Daigaku (the greater learning for women) . It was the bible of the women of
feudal Japan of which a copy was given to every girl when she married and which even today has influence to a considerable extent (1940:19).
According to an article in the December 1939 issue of Cultural Nippon (published by the Nippon Bunka Chuo Renmei, [http://www.e.budo.com/forum/ archive/index.php/t-234.html]), Onna Daigaku, written by Kaibara Ekiken (1630- 1714), was a very popular book during the Edo period. In the text, the author lists seven actions by a wife that demands that she leaves her husband’s home:
1. A woman who is disobedient to her parents-in-law shall leave.
2. A woman who bears no children shall leave, because it is for the succession of offspring that a girl is taken for a wife. If, however, the woman is right-minded and well-behaved, without jealousy, she may adopt a child, instead of leaving her husband, from a family of the same name (as her husbands). Nor need she leave in case when a concubine has a child.
3. A licentious woman shall leave.
4. A jealous woman shall leave.
5. If the woman is infected with leprosy or some other bad disease, she shall leave.
6. If she is talkative and speaks indiscreetly, she shall leave, lest she could cause discord among the relative of her husband or disorder in his home.
7. If she is kleptomaniac, she shall leave.
Then, when the Westerns started coming to Japan, the state saw the importance to increase the quality of the local human resources in order to compete with the foreigners. To create a high-qualified citizen, the good quality of education should be provided to men beginning from the early age. This responsibility lied in the hands of the mothers. That was where the idea of motherhood came from.
Social commentators and government officials pointed out repeatedly that child raising was terribly important work for the nation. After all, mothers were charged with bringing up the next generation of Japan. The ideal social role for women in the new Japan was to produce, nurture, and educate children within the context of managing house hold. Women, in other words, should be ‘good’ wives and ‘wise’ mothers. (Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east-asian-history.net/ textbooks/172/ch11_main.htm) The slogan of ‘good wives and wise mothers’ (Ry
firstly by scholar and social commentators Nakamura Masanao (1831-1891), came to express concisely the official view of women’s social roles in Japan.
Starting in 1911, training to be a good wife and wise mother became the corner stone of the school curriculum for girls.
The curriculum designed for girls emphasized homemaking and the desirability of being virginal at marriage and chaste thereafter, in addition to the standard injunction to obey one’s parents and one’s husband. (Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east-asian-history.net/ textbooks/172/ch11_main.htm)
This slogan’s demands included mothers, who were not only good and wise, but also able to cook, to keep a clean house, and to maintain ones’ physical appearances. Cultural or artistic qualities were also important. For example, some women worried about the appearance of their handwriting. Calligraphy was and is tended to regard a person’s handwriting as a direct extension of his or her personality.
On September 14 1871, the ruling sent out a note that said people who went abroad should take with them their wives, daughters or sisters, so that women could receive education and learn the way other culture bringing up children (1940:175). Yoshio Maeda in Gunkoku Fujin Tokuhon (Reading for the
Women of a Nation at War) said that mother must never forget that she rears her
child not for herself but for the country, as a sacred deposit entrusted to her care by the emperor (qtd.in Straelen, 1940:175), just as similar as what Kathleen S.
Uno explained in her book Household Division of Labor that Ry
presumed a grater degree of female competence; if properly educated, mothers could prepare their children to be good subjects of the emperor by instilling in them diligence, loyalty, and patriotism. Mothers would render service to the nation from the house (qtd.in Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east- asian-history.net/textbooks/172/ch11_main.htm)
The state and the broader society emphasized the positive message of the glorious service to the nation that women might render as good wives and wise mothers through various mediums, such as the schools, movies, or magazines.
At the movie theatre: “Many (movies) of which Ella Wiswell attended with village woman dealt with the contrast between good wives, women who were ‘truly Japanese’, as opposed to bad ones, who were invariably ‘modern’ young women badly infected by foreign ways that rendered them disobedient and selfish. “And the popular woman’s magazines: “featured love stories in which the good, Japanese woman always won out, albeit not without undergoing severe trials and suffering, and the bad, foreigner-like women paid the price for their liberated behavior. This kind of propaganda succeeded in its way to frighten Japanese women that there even occurred a corresponding negative message: “do not try to do anything with your lives other than being good wives and wise mothers.”
Back to the emperor’s note, as its impact Japanese women who traveled abroad started to realize their low status in society, compared to the other women’s they had visited (1940:51). Moreover, Yutaka Hibino in Nippon Shindo
Ron (the National Ideals of the Japanese People) stated that the influx of Western
books, magazines, and moving pictures brought a world of enlightment to the feminine population (qtd.in Straelen, 1940:96). They started to compare themselves to their Western fellows.
Beneath their passionless mask, the Japanese wife feels like her Western sisters—just like that sister who prays and prays, even while delighting some evening assembly of beauty and fashion, for the coming of the hour which will set her free to relieve her pain alone (1940:23).
The growing industry at that time also brought some good opportunity for the Japanese women. The need of human resources made the Japanese women worked as laborers. Yet, the working women existed only in urban areas or those who came from poor families. The others women preferred not to work outside because the working women were still categorized as loose. Women stepping outside the house were easily perceived as threatening to overturn conventional moral standards (Tonomura, Walthall, and Wakita, 1999:10).
Hence, during the 1930s up to the beginning of the 1940s, Japanese women were in low position. They became less-important, and they are shaped effects of modernization and the Western influx, they had begun to realize their inferiority. Yet, they were still in under controlled of their patriarchal society.
B.3. Theory of Feminism
a. Definition of Feminism
According to Jane Pilcher and Imelda Whelehan in Fifty Key Concepts in
Gender Studies, the word Feminism is originated from the French word
Féminisme in nineteenth century. The word was used as a medical term to
describe the feminization of a male body, or to describe women with masculine traits. Later on, this word is used to denote a political stance of someone committed to changing the social position of women (2004:48).
Furthermore, Margaret L. Andersen states in her book Thinking about
Women: Sociological Perspective on Sex and Gender that Feminism begins with
the premise that women and men’s position in society are the result of social, not natural, or biological factors. The meaning of Feminism has been developed and understood in different ways, but it begins with the idea that social institution and social attitude are basis of women’s position in society.
All feminists believe that societies are patriarchal, controlled by males. Because of that women become the ones who are controlled. The controller, or the men, will define every aspect in society, including women. Therefore, men, the controller, are powerfull, while women or the controlled ones are powerless.
In this masculine world, the feminist declare that it is man who defines what it means to be human, not woman. Because a woman is not a man, determined by the male. The man is therefore the significant figure in the male/female relationship and the woman is the subordinate (Bressler, 199:189). Being the controlled one, women have to face the condition where they have no freedom in thinking and acting. They are bounded by their own society, which are patriarchal. The systems and the values of society restrict them into becoming a free individual. In brief, Margaret L. Andersen sums up the ideas about feminism into four points, which are equality, liberty, women’s right to be themselves, and opportunity of career.
b. Feminist Literary Criticism
As has been stated in the first chapter, feminist movement and feminist literary criticism develop in tandem. Feminist literary criticism becomes a part of women struggle since the society is represented through language. To analyze language what needed is criticism. Thus language is the field of study and the critics is the utensil or the weapon to analyze it. However, since language is the product of the society, where the majority in it is men, language is always patriarchal. David Lodge in the Language of Fiction asserts that the novelist’s medium, language, is never virgin: words come to the writer already violated by other men (qtd. in Humm, 1994:4)
According to Charles E. Bressler in his book Literary Criticism: an
Introduction to Theory and Practice, there is not one but a variety of feminist
theories. Yet, behind all these seemingly contradictory voices and theories, there is a set of principles that unites this criticism (1999:188). All feminist critics believe that women are oppressed by the society. The aims of feminist critics are to define the true-self of women and to stop the oppression of women.
Although feminist critics’ ideas concerning the direction of their criticism vary…They are women (and some men) who are struggling to discover who they are, how they arrived at their present situation, and where they are going (1999:198) Feminist critics generally agree that the oppression of women is a fact of life that gender leaves its traces in literary text and on literary history, and that feminist literary criticism plays a worthwhile part in the struggle to end oppression in the world outside of text (Warhol and Herndl, 1997: x) In literary world, the portray of the subordination of women can be seen through the stereotype depiction of women character, such as angels, barmaids, bitches, whores, brainless housewives, old maids, and so on.
Here, the feminists try to show the inequality between men and women and also to awake all women in the world of their subordination. The feminist theory reveals the importance of women’s individual and shares experience and women struggles. The essences of women’s struggle are equality, freedom and dignity to control their bodies, souls, and their lives (Fakih, 1996:99). Moreover Lisa Tittle in Encyclopedia of Feminism cites the goals of feminist literary criticism as follows (1986: 184): to develop and uncover a female tradition of writing to interpret symbolism of women’s writing so that it will not be lost or ignored by the male point of view to rediscover old texts to analyze women writers and their writing from a female perspective
to increase awareness of the sexual politics of language and style Although all feminists may share a basic commitment to ending women oppression, they do not always approach this problem from the same philosophical or political base.
C. Theoretical Framework
In this study, the writer uses and applies several theories to solve the problem formulations. The theory of character and characterization is used to find out how the four Makioka sisters are described in the novel. Then to analyze the kind of expectations that given to the Japanese women based on the characterization of the four sisters, the writers combines the previous theory by relating it to the review of Japanese society in 1930s. Lastly, to answer the third problem formulation, the writer applies theory of feminist literary criticism.
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY A. Object of the Study The writer uses the book of The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki. This 530 pages book was published by Mitsumura Printing Company in Tokyo in 1958. This English version of Sasame Yuki is translated by Edward G. Seidensticker. The novel had given the author many awards, such as The Culture Award of Mainichi Magazine in 1947, The Culture Award of Asahi Magazine in
1949, and The Empire Culture Medal in 1949. This novel was adapted into a movie by Kon Ichikawa in 1988. The movie was entitled Sasame Yuki. Some people said that the movie was not as good as the novel, yet this movie won six awards and was nominated in seven categories in many awards.
Moreover, the novel is about a family in Osaka that is getting in decline. In the past, the Makioka family was one of the respectful merchant families in the society. The story focuses on their efforts to fine a good husband for the third daughter, Yukiko, who is still unmarried in her thirty years old. In the end, after struggling for years facing difficulties that seemingly always happened in their family, they finally find a good man from a respectful and famous family who wants to marry Yukiko.
B. Approach of the Study
In analyzing the problem formulation, the writer uses the Feminist approach. According to Wilfred L. Guerin in A Handbook of Critical Approaches
to Literature , feminism is concerned with the marginalization of all women,
which is their being relegated to secondary position. Most feminist believe that our culture is a patriarchal culture.
While according to Maggie Humm, there are three basic assumptions in feminist criticism.
The first, gender is constructed through language and in visible in writing style…second, there are sex-related writing strategies,…the last assumption of feminist criticism is that the tradition of literary criticism, like the economics and social traditions of which it is apart, uses masculine norms to exclude or undervalue women’s writing and scholarship (1994:4-5)
Here, the feminist literary critics try to explain how power imbalances because of gender are reflected in or challenged by literary text. One of the goals of feminist critics is to expose any patriarchal system.
Despite their diversity, feminist critics generally agree that their goals are to expose patriarchal premises and resulting prejudices, to promote discovery and reevaluation of literature by women, and to examine social, cultural, and psychosexual context of literature and literary criticism. (Guerin,1999:197) According to Elaine Showalter, an American feminist, the history of women’s literary development can be identified into three phases. First is the
feminine phase (1840-80), then the feminist phase (1880-1920), and last is the
female phase (1920-present). In the first phase, women writers imitated the minority rights and to protest. During the third phase, dependency on opposition (on uncovering misogyny in male text) is being replaced by a rediscovery of women’s text and women (1999:198).
Showalter also provides critics with four models concerning the nature of women’s writing that help answer problems in feminist criticism: the biological,
linguistic, psychoanalytic, and cultural.
The biological emphasizes how the female body marks itself upon a text by providing a host of literary images and a personal, intimate tone. The linguistic model concerns itself with the need for a female discourse. This model investigates the differences between how women and men use language. It asserts that women can and do create language peculiar to their gender and how this language can be used in their writings. The psychoanalytic model, based on an analysis of the female psyche and how such an analysis affects the writing process, emphasizes the flux and fluidity of female writings as opposed to male rigidity and structure. (Bressler, 1999:185) There are four most significant movements in feminist criticism, and from these areas, there has been a general shift from a negative attack on male writing about women and a shift towards positive delineation of women’s redefinition of their identity in their own writing: gender studies, Marxist studies, psychoanalytic
studies, and minority studies.
In its development, feminist criticism still has to face some problems that lie within it (Guerin, 1999: 212-214):
1. Many women who think of themselves as feminist are somehow not considered feminist “enough” by more radical feminist, and this often leads women in the first group to reject feminism as a field of study altogether.
2. Many female critics also feel that feminist literary criticism has become too theoretical and too radical entirely and has lost sight of both its social roots and its application to reading text.
3. Question on what to do with male feminist critics. Many feminist believe that no man can possibly read or write or teach as a feminist; some even feel that men should be barred from teaching as feminist. Back to this study, the Feminist approach is used since it covers some aspects that are relevant to answer the problem formulation stated in the first chapter. Therefore, it is important for the writer to understand some extrinsic elements in the study, such as Japan society in 1930s and the ideology of feminism of Japanese women to analyze the women’s struggle depicted in the novel The Makioka Sisters.
C. Method of the Study
The writer uses a library research in doing this study. There are two kinds of data used, which are the primary and the secondary data. The primary data is the novel itself, which is Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters. The secondary data are some theories that are used in this study, and some information and criticisms from the internet related to the topic of the study.
The writer did the study in several steps. Firstly, the writer read the novel several times in order to get a better understanding on the story and the characters.
Secondly was collecting the data. The data were gathered from the novel itself and and answer the problem formulations by elaborating the research problem with all data and relating theories the writer used. In this analysis part, the writer answered the first problem formulation by characterizing the four sisters using theory of character and characterization. Then, by relating the characterization of the four sisters to the review of Japanese society in 1930s the writer identified the expectations of Japanese women. The last step, the writer applied feminist literary criticism in order to understand how the characterization of the four sisters and their expectations in society became the representation of Japanese women stereotypes.
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS In this chapter, the discussion is divided into three parts, based on the
problem formulations stated before. The first part is to analyze how the four Makioka sisters are described in the novel. Later on, these characterizations will be used to analyze the second part, which is figuring out the expectations that are given to Japanese women. Lastly, the third part is discussing about how these characterizations and expectations put Japanese women into some stereotypes.
A. The Characterization of Each Makioka Sister
The Makioka sisters were from an old Osaka merchant family that had fallen on hard times, as narrated here: The Makioka were an old family, of course, and probably everyone in Osaka had heard of them at one time or another. But still—Sachiko would have to forgive her for saying so—they could not live on their old glory forever. (Tanizaki, 1958:7)
The old Makioka did not have any sons, because of that the husbands of each Makioka woman received the family name. Here is the chart of the Makioka family:
The Old Makioka Tsuruko Tatsuo Sachiko Teinosuke Yukiko Taeko
(Koi-san) he ie system, a common system at that time regarding to handle one’s household. As explained before, this system enabled family to have one main head house and some branch houses. The head of the main house surely was the head of the family, the oldest one, and of course, male. In Makioka’s case, the head of the family laid in Tsuruko’s husband, Tatsuo.
At first, the main’s house place was in Osaka, while the branch house (Sachiko and Teinosuke’s house) was in Ashiya. However, for some purposes, Tatsuo decided to move to Tokyo, while the original Makioka’s house was kept in some relative’s care.
As has been stated in chapter two, Japanese society is a patriarchal one. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of Japanese patriarchal society, it is best to analyze through the ones who are most affected by it, which are the women. Here, the Japanese women are represented through the characters of the four Makioka sisters.
In this problem formulation, the writer applies the theory of character by M. J. Murphy and the theory of characterization by Holman and Harmon.
According to Abrams in A Glossary of Literary Terms the character is a person presented in a dramatic or narrative work who are interpreted by the reader as being endowed with the moral and discussion qualities that are expressed in what they say, the dialogue, and in what they do, the action (1981:20). Through his definition, it can be concluded that the character’s moral and natural qualities are seen through their speech and action. Moreover, M. J. Murphy gives nine ways to alive for the reader (1972:161-172); while Holman and Harmon’s characterization functioned as the process of creating a character.
As we all know, the moral and natural qualities of a person are determined by the society and the environment where he or she has been raised in. So, here the characterizations of the four sisters are the result, or the product, of their society, Japanese patriarchal society.
1. Tsuruko Makioka
She was the eldest daughter. When she was still young, her mother passed away. Therefore, as the eldest daughter, she had to replace her mother’s position.
After her mother’s death, she had to control the house holds; including taking care of her three younger sisters. When her sisters grew up, she got married to Tatsuo and had six children.
Thus, since she was still young, she already held the responsibilities of the house holds; and starting from there, her job remained the same.
Tsuruko had lost her mother early, and had had to take care of her father and sisters, and when the father was dead and the sisters were grown, there were her own husband and children and she had to work to revive the family fortunes. She had known more hardship than any of them; yet she had also had a more conservative education, and there remained in her something of the sheltered maiden of old. (Tanizaki, 1958:98)
Her situation undoubtedly had made her into a woman like what is described in the following:
Since Tsuruko was the eldest, and had raised her younger sisters after her themselves to the rest of the world. She would do everything in perfect ways and avoid any mistake and misbehavior, even on a matter of writing a letter to her sister in law.
And what, then, had Tsuruko been doing in five or six days since? She had been at her desk practicing calligraphy…She now had to write notes of thanks to all relatives on whom they had called, and this for Tsuruko was a heavy task. She was determined in particular not to be outdone by her sister in law, the wife of Tatsuo’s elder brother—a lady who was an expert calligrapher. (Tanizaki, 1958:102) She received a more conservative education than her sisters, and because she had been burdened with housework since a long time, she never had any time to travel (Tanizaki, 1958:99). Because of that, when it came to comparison, Tsuruko was the most conservative among the sisters. She refused the idea of her youngest sister, Taeko, having a career because at that time, a woman with a job was considered as loose (Tanizaki, 1958:14). She also had tried so many times to urge her two unmarried sisters, Yukiko and Taeko, to move from Ashiya house (Sachiko and Teinosuke’s house) to the main house because at that time unmarried women should live with the main family. The fact that Yukiko and Taeko chose to live with Sachiko worried Tsuruko, for the sake of her husband’s reputation as the head of the family. Having tried unsuccessfully to persuade the two unmarried sisters, Tsuruko finally asked her aunt to talk to both Yukiko and Taeko, and also Sachiko.
Aunt Tominaga was of the view that, although the younger sisters might well stay with Sachiko while the main house was in Osaka, it would be better for them now to go to Tokyo. After all, they belonged in the main house. (Tanizaki, 1958:104)
Tsuruko would be in a difficult position, caught between her husband and her sisters. (Tanizaki, 1958:109) All of these were the evidences that Tsuruko was conservative in mind. When those are related to the nine Murphy’s elements of characterization, the writer concludes that Tsuruko past life (had to replace her mother’s position during her youth time) contributed in making her into a conservative woman. Moreover her reactions toward the fact that her youngest sister had a job and also the fact that her unmarried sisters refused to live at the main house showed how conservative she was. Her careful mannerism (practicing her writing ability) indicates that for her, the common know ledges and values in society were right and should be followed. The attitudes of rebellion against all the values in society were not prohibited and would give her and family a bad name and a bad reputation. This also became the evidence of her docility toward the society’s norms and values.
As has been discussed in the previous point, Tsuruko’s conventional attitude and mind showed her docility toward the regulations in the society. She behaved as a woman and also a mother that were expected by the society. Having six children, she was able to handle her own house hold chores without ruining her Japanese beauty appearance; something that Sachiko envied at.
Sachiko, expecting to find Tsuruko faded and worn, looked admiringly at her sister. She still knew how to take care of herself. Her hair was neat, her dress was proper and tasteful. With a husband and six children—fourteen, eleven, eight, six, five, and three—to look after, and only one maid to help would have been taken for a good five or six year younger than her thirty seven. (Tanizaki, 1958:219-220) Furthermore, although she never literally said it, Tsuruko always emphasized, that in society, it was important for a woman to obey her husband.
The example of her docility could be seen when Tatsuo decided to move the main house from Osaka to Tokyo for some financial excuses. Have lived in Osaka since she was born, Tsuruko did not want to leave the town. The idea to leave Osaka was devastating for her. Yet, since she was so devoted to her husband, she agreed to move. She busied herself with the packing during the process of moving, to pretend that she did not feel sad.
They were deeply attached to the old place. Sachiko sensed that much of her sister’s love for Osaka was in fact love for the house, and, for all her amusement at these old-fashioned ways, she felt a twinge of pain herself— she would no longer be able to go back to the old family house. (Tanizaki, 1958:99) People who did not know her well would be overcome with admiration— what a thorough, industrious housewife—when they was her so hard at work that she did not hear what was said to her; but she was matter of fact by no means as self-contained as she appears. When a crisis came, she would stand looking vacantly into space for a time. Then she would go to work as though possessed. Utterly selfless, one would have thought, and intent only on serving others. The truth was that she was too excited to know what she was doing. (Tanizaki, 1958:102) From here the writer could see that Tsuruko really obeyed and followed the regulations on what a woman and also a wife had to do in society. Her reaction toward the plan to move to Tokyo, though she was devastated, showed how deep her docility toward the rules in society, that she devoted her life to household chores and to her husband’s welfare. Her selfless devotion could be own family, but also giving all decisions regarding the whole Makioka family into Tatsuo’s hand, without any complaints—from her.
Showing loyalty to her husband meant giving a great respect to him, in Tsuruko’s opinion. As the head of the family, and also as her husband, Tatsuo’s decisions were absolutely true, and should not be questioned by the member of the family, though perhaps it disappointed them. For example was on the matter of Yukiko’s potential husband. There was a proposal came to Yukiko from a man named Segoshi. Although her sister gave a positive signal, Tsuruko still had to ask her husband’s agreement since he was the head of the family. Later on, Tatsuo’s answer was no. it was a disappointment for the rest family member.
Possibly they were right, replied Tsuruko, but she could not make the decision alone. She would talk the matter over with Tatsuo and give their answer in a day or so. (Tanizaki, 1958:56) “They had been slow,” said Tsuruko, but now they knew fairly well what they needed to know. She would come that day to tell everything. “And what I have to say is not pleasant,” she added as she hung up. (Tanizaki, 1958:58) The warning was quite unnecessary. “We have failed again,” Sachiko had said to herself the moment she heard the sister’s voice…For one thing, she had always until now agreed with the main house that the proposal in question should be refused; but this time she had somehow believed that all would go well. (Tanizaki, 1958:58) Tsuruko also disliked her sisters doing something that would cost her husband and the family a bad name. Being rebellious, Taeko, the youngest, displeased the main house by making some affairs and having pregnancy without
I was more shocked the more I heard. I have occasionally picked up rumors about Koi-san, but I had no idea that she was so thoroughly bad. I had thought that she would not go too far with you watching her. I see now that I was wrong. I have worried a great deal about making a good girl of Koi-san, and each time I have tried to intervene I have found you protecting her. She is a disgrace to the Makioka name. And I understand that even Yukiko said there was no need to tell me. Yukiko and Koi-san have insulted us by refusing to come home, and now what do they have in mind? I cannot help thinking that the three of you are deliberately trying to make trouble for Tatsuo—though we are probably at fault ourselves. We have not done as much for you as we might. (Tanizaki, 1958:380) When a woman got married and become someone’s wife, she plunged herself into her husband’s hands; as Tsuruko did. Since she believed a good woman always behaved and thought properly, she submitted her own life to her family, especially her husband who was the head of the family. Her docility was the evidence of her loyalty to Tatsuo. Her submissiveness even put her away from her sisters, not only physically, but also spiritually. It was seen through her sisters talking about Tsuruko. Sachiko and Yukiko sensed that Tsuruko dared to disinherit Taeko based on Tatsuo’s opinion.
“I have had this letter from Tokyo, Yukiko. Read it.” Sachiko’s eyes were red. “It is a very strong letter. And she seems to be unhappy about you too.” “Tatsuo made her write it.” “But she was the one who did the writing.” “We insulted them by not going to Tokyo,” she says. (Tanizaki, 1958:381)
Tsuruko’s affection toward her sister was getting decreased after she got married, and for Taeko’s case, it was worse. From this letter, the writer sees how Tsuruko did not want herself and her husband to be bothered with Taeko, even when her youngest sister was in a come for a terrible disease. she had died, who would have arranged the funeral? And where would it have been? Tatsuo would refuse, I am sure, to take charge…But now we are rescued from the dilemma…Do you suppose Koi-san is grateful? If she is, she might take this as the occasion for a clean break with Kai-boy, and the opportunity to begin a new life. Has she any mind to? (Tanizaki, 1958:441) What can be concluded from Tsuruko is she was already burdened with house hold shores during her early years because of her mother’s death. Having to replace her mother’s position, both for her father and sisters, she received a more conservative education than others. She also did not have time and opportunity to experience the ‘outside’ world. Therefore, she grew up to be a conservative woman; grasping tight to the education and knowledge she knew. Being a conservative woman, it was important for her to follow and give respect to the values and norms. Here, the writer analyzes on how deep she gave respect to it that she was afraid to break the norms and rules in society. Her docility was not only shown through it, but also through the way she behaved as a wife. Based on the quotations before, the writer analyzes how she put herself into her husband hands. Every word from Tatsuo was true and had to be obeyed since she was not only her husband, but also the head of the family. Her submissiveness could be seen through her reaction toward her own condition. She did not protest when Tatsuo decided to move to Tokyo, although it saddened her. Her sisters, Sachiko and Yukiko also thought that Tsuruko was always dictated by her husband. Her devotion to him put her away from her sisters, both physically and spiritually.
2. Sachiko Makioka
As the second daughter, she became the mistress of the junior or branch house in Ashiya. Just like Tsuruko’s husband, Sachiko’s, Teinosuke, also took Makioka’s name. As the branch house, actually Sachiko and Teinosuke did not have bigger responsibility than the main house on the matter of the two unmarried sisters. But since Yukiko and Taeko chose to live longer with them than at the main house, the responsibility to take care of them and to control them laid in Sachiko and Teinouske’s hands.
When she was a child, Sachiko was the favorite daughter to her father. Being out flowed of love and affection from him, Sachiko grew up into a woman who was:
Sachiko was not as strict as her older sister in matter of tradition. She accepted modernity with open hand, yet wisely. She adopted only some of western’s style of living, which matched her; not totally. Her appearance really reflected how moderate she was. Sachiko was a beautiful woman. Indeed, all the four sisters were beautiful. However, for many people, when it came to Sachiko, they found that she had a modern beauty and livelier face (the second of Murphy’s elements, character as seen by another). It all looked very clear when Sachiko was with Yukiko, who was such a Japanese beauty. During every miai, it was usual for Sachiko when the matchmaker came and requested her to dim her modern and
There is something little sad about her face, and she loses a good twenty per cent of her charm when she sits beside you. You have such a bright, modern face—and you would attract attention anyway. So could you try at least tomorrow to set Miss Yukiko off? Make yourself look, say, ten or fifteen years older? If not, you might be just enough to ruin everything. (Tanizaki, 1958:35)
Sachiko’s mannerism showed that she was also moderate in the way she chose her outfit. Every day she wore Japanese clothes, but sometimes when the weather was hot or in a certain circumstance, she would wear western clothes.
Yukiko was the most Japanese in appearance and dress, Taeko the most Western, and Sachiko stood midway between…Taeko usually wore Western clothes, and Yukiko wore only Japanese clothes, Sachiko wore Western clothes in the summer and Japanese clothes the rest of the year.
(Tanizaki, 1958:30) While the main house was opposed to Taeko’s career, Sachiko’s reaction was quite different. She supported it. She defended to Tsuruko and Tatsuo that
Taeko’s job was good to make her busy, and the place that Taeko had rent was a studio, not a place to live. She also promised that she would watch over their youngest sister.
Tatsuo and Tsuruko in Osaka were opposed to anything that made Taeko seem like a working girl. In particular they had doubts about her renting a room of her own, but Sachiko was able to overcome their objections. Because of that one small mistake, she argued, Taeko was even farther from finding a husband than was Yukiko, and it would be well if she had something to keep her busy. And what if she was renting a room? It was a studio, and not a place to live…And since it was so near, Sachiko herself could look in on her sister from time to time. (Tanizaki, 1958:14) Although she accepted modernity with open hand, Sachiko disliked people who became too westernized and forgot the entire basic root. In her thought, the
Tokyo citizen had become too modernized than the Osaka people who still held their traditional root. That was why she never enjoyed staying in Tokyo or having a conversation in Tokyo style.
She always felt uncomfortable with bright, stylish Tokyo matrons like Mrs. Sagara…and then Mrs. Niu, who always used the Osaka dialect with Sachiko, was today keeping Mrs. Sagara company. Tokyo speech had made her an entirely different person, Sachiko thought, a person with whom she could not possibly feel at home…Sachiko had never realized how far into the Tokyo receded her friend had penetrated…The way she rolled her eyes, the way she curled her lips, the way she held her forefinger as she lifted a cigarette to her lips. Perhaps Tokyo speech was not authentic unless it brought its own gestures and facial expressions. The woman was suddenly cheapened in Sachiko’s eyes. (Tanizaki, 1958:97) From some quotations here, the writer concludes that compared to her conservative sister, Tsuruko, Sachiko was moderate. She was able to accept modernity, such as in fashion, or in the idea of women having jobs; without forgetting the traditional values. The fact the she was a second daughter gave her more benefits than her older sister. She had received less responsibility and had more opportunity to see ‘outside’ her home town. Because of that she was able to adjust to modernity. However, she did not fully absorbed all new modern things in society, as what reflected on her outfit; western clothes in the summer, and Japanese clothes for the rest of it.
As mentioned before, at the past, when she was young, Sachiko was the favorite daughter for her father. She received love and affection more than Tsuruko did because Tsuruko already became the substitute mistress after their mother’s death. Because of that, Sachiko grew up as a woman who had lots of Taeko chose to live with her, Sachiko was their guardian, taking care of them warmly and kindly.
When one of her sister got in trouble, she would help her, despite of the disagreement from the main house. For example was when Taeko decided to rent a place for her to make dolls. The main house refused the idea of it. However, Sachiko’s reaction was different. She came to help Taeko by guarantying the main house that she would take care of it, and it would not be a place to live, but only a studio (Tanizaki, 1958:14).
Sachiko still helped her when finally her interest changed from doll making into dress making. At that time, making doll was still considered as a ‘woman’s hobby’, so the Makioka family did not give a hard refusal to Taeko. However, it was different with sewing. It was already considered as profession, and again, a woman with a profession, especially came from a well-known family, would bring a bad reputation to her and her family. The fact also terrified Sachiko. Being as moderate as she could, however she thought it was quite improper for Taeko to be a dress maker. Sachiko had warned Taeko many times about her new interest. However, loving her sister and seeing a determination on her, she gave up. What she did then hid the reality that Taeko was still practicing the sewing from the main house and kept reminding her about the consequence of it.
“That is very well for you, Koi-san, but think of us. What excuse can we make if you go on with your sewing?” “You can say you know nothing about it.” “Do you really think we can?” “I will make it look as though I am working on my dolls, and you can say
There was something a little threatening about Taeko’s eagerness to be independent and her determination to collect the lump sum of money from the main house even if it meant being disagreeable. Sachiko foresaw the day when she and her husband would be caught in a cross fire. Whatever Taeko said, she could only answer: “Think of the trouble.” (Tanizaki, 1958:263) Then at one time, Taeko was badly ill and stayed at Okubata’s house (it was improper for an unmarried woman to stay at a man’s house and it was considered to give a bad reputation for the family), Sachiko, accompanied by Yukiko, willingly came to the house and took care of their sister. Although her youngest sister always made Sachiko in trouble, Sachiko still loved her and remained to take care of and think about her. It was so different to the way Tsuruko had felt for Taeko during her bad illness (Tanizaki, 1958:441).
Another example that Sachiko was a loving woman was when people always compared her to Yukiko. Though people said that she was livelier and more cheerful than the moody Yukiko, Sachiko stood behind her and defended her.
Sachiko’s answer was always that people simply did not see Yukiko’s beauty. She knew it was odd of her to be praising her own sister so extravagantly, but the beauty, fragile, and elegant, of the sheltered maiden of the old, the maiden who had never known the winds of the world— might one not say that Yukiko had it? Sachiko would not want Yukiko to marry a man who could not appreciate her beauty, indeed a man who did not demand someone exactly like her. (Tanizaki, 1958:30)
From this quotation, it can be concluded that Sachiko knew a lot about Yukiko’s true qualities; and someone who could see that surely gave lots of love and care to Yukiko.
As the mistress in Ashiya house, Sachiko held the responsibilities on both her own family; as a wife and as a mother; and on her younger sisters. As a wife also a mother, she had to play the roles well. As a guardian for her sisters, she had to protect them from any negative effects in society. All of it made her to easily blame herself when she did not do her roles well. In her thought, Sachiko always felt embarrassed because her only daughter, Etsuko, was even closer to Yukiko than to her. She was afraid that people would see her incapable in taking care of a daughter. This direct comment below showed how frightened Sachiko would be if people saw her as an incompetent mother:
Perhaps people were saying that by contrast with the sister in the main house able to take care all those six children, the sister in Ashiya had to have help with even one daughter. (Tanizaki, 1958:106)
On this matter, she also felt guilty because she had to send Yukiko back to the main house although she knew well how Yukiko hated it. Yet, since she did not want people to think that she kept Yukiko for her own favor, she decided to send her back to the main house.
Sorry though she was for Yukiko, Sachiko resented the implication that she was keeping her sister as a sort of governess…If so, Sachiko’s pride was damaged—after all, she was a mother. It was of course true that Yukiko helped; but Sachiko would not be entirely lost without her…It seemed reasonable, then, to send Yukiko back now that the main house had summoned her; and it would be good to show that Yukiko and the world in general that she was something less than indispensable. (Tanizaki, 1958:106-107) Sachiko also blamed herself for having failed to watch over Taeko. She before) managed to see Taeko in her studio. Knowing the fact, in her thought Sachiko felt that she had been too lenient and too lax.
Taeko had neither seen nor hears from the Okubata boy after the newspaper incident until the exhibit, where he has bought the largest of her dolls. After that she began seeing him gain…she was after all a grown woman, no longer a flighty girl, and she hoped her sister would trust her. Sachiko, however, reproved herself for having been too lenient. After all, she had certain obligations to the main house…Liaison among the main house in Osaka, Sachiko’s house in Ashiya, and Taeko’s studio, moreover had not been such that they knew when Taeko left one place and was due to arrive at another. Sachiko began to feel truly guilty. She had been too lax. (Tanizaki, 1958:15) As an older sister, she also felt guilty because she had not found any best proposals for her unmarried sisters. She was afraid that she had embarrassed her late parents, especially in front of the big family (Tanizaki, 1958:68).
And there was her miscarriage. Sachiko already had a daughter named Etsuko who was nine years old. Yet, in common Japanese family, to have son was considered better. It was a kind of double shocks for her since she did not realize she was pregnant and all of sudden she had the miscarriage. At first, her husband was quite disappointed. But then he began to forget it and not to make is as a big deal. For Sachiko, it was different. She could not stop blaming herself. Although she had a wonderful husband who had asked her to forget it, for Sachiko, the stamp of a failed mother and a wife would always be with her forever. She would secretly weep at night (Tanizaki, 1958:149), or cry when she saw a baby, or cry on the annual day when her unborn baby gone (Tanizaki, 1958:257,289).
All day he sat looking into the charcoal brazier, his hands resting on the poker, and sometimes, as she felt Sachiko’s tear filled eyes turn toward
“For what?” “For being careless.” “Oh, that. No, as a matter of fact this makes me more hopeful.” A tear spilled down over Sachiko’s cheek. “But it is such a shame.” “Say no more about it. We will have another chance.” (Tanizaki, 1958:133)
In Sachiko’s viewpoint, she had some obligations, which were to be a sister, to be a wife, and to be a mother. Every time she realized she did not do her obligations well, she would blame herself. The feeling of it was always be with her, no matter how hard she tried to cover it, in secret she felt sorrow.
What can be concluded from Sachiko was that being grown up as the second daughter, she did not have the obligations to substitute their death mother since the eldest daughter had taken that. Therefore, she had more opportunity to feel and experience the ‘outside’ world than Tsuruko had. It all affected on Sachiko’s perspective toward the new ideas that penetrated the Japanese people at that time. She accepted modernity with open hand, without forgetting her basic root. She might wore western clothes for some time, or might not objecting the idea of a woman with a job; but still, to be modern for her did not have to lose her true identity as a Japanese woman.
Sachiko also showed that she was such a loving woman. Her affection to her sisters, especially the two unmarried ones, could not be moved, even by the judgment of the society, or worse, the main house’s judgment.
However, deeply inside, Sachiko was a conscience-stricken woman. As a sister, and a mother and a wife as well, she realized how big her responsibilities She did not show her feelings toward what she considered as a failure to others. She kept it within herself.
3. Yukiko Makioka
She was the third daughter who was unmarried. It was a pity for her because when she reached the age to get married her father had passed away. So the responsibility to find her a husband laid in her brother in law’s hand, Tatsuo, who replaced her father’s position as the head of the family (Tanizaki, 1958:9).
Basically, Tatsuo did not know Yukiko well; that was why there was a kind of incompatibility between them. It was one of the reasons why Yukiko did not want to live at the main house and chose to live in Ashiya. It was improper for an unmarried woman not to live at the main house. Yukiko realized that, but she kept staying in Ashiya. Although Yukiko neglected it, her elder sisters did not. Eventually they urged her to get back to the main house. So, she then stayed at the main house, but still visited Ashiya, sometimes for months.
Some of the aspects that hardened her to get a husband were, according to Tsuruko, because of the fact that she was born in a bad year (Tanizaki, 1958:18).
It also could not be forgotten, the effect of the newspaper incident that put on the news Of Taeko’s effort to elope with her boyfriend, Okubata (Tanizaki, 1958:11) that gave contribution to Yukiko’s process in finding a husband.
Based on what people could see, Yukiko was the best image for describing a pure Japanese beauty (Tanizaki, 1958:7). She was the most Japanese amongst
From the way she dressed up, compared to Sachiko and Taeko, Yukiko was the most Japanese (Tanizaki, 1958:30). Every time, during all four seasons, she would wear Japanese clothes. But that was not enough to show how well- mannered she was. As the image of a pure Japanese beauty, as seen by people around her, she was gentle, graceful, beautiful, and elegant (Tanizaki, 1958:35). Men would choose her because in men’s view, woman such as Yukiko would be a great wife for them. So many proposals came to her because of that fact; including a proposal from Segoshi.
It was reasonable enough for such a well-behaved man to insist on an elegant, refined girl, but for some reason—maybe as a reaction from his visit to Paris—he insisted further that he would have only a pure Japanese beauty—gentle, quiet, graceful, able to wear Japanese clothes. It did not matter how she looked in foreign clothes. He wanted a pretty face too, of course, but more than anything he wanted pretty hands and feet. To Itani, Miss Yukiko seemed the perfect answer. (Tanizaki, 1958:7) Although she had not married yet, Yukiko was able to show that she could be a good mother. Her affection to her niece, Etsuko, even made Etsuko’s mother,
Sachiko afraid that she did not do better as a mother than Yukiko did (Tanizaki, 1958:106). Since Sachiko was easy to get sick, Yukiko helped her to take care of Etsuko, because of that Etsuko depended more on her than on her own mother.
Yukiko was in fact delighted at these signs of affection. For some reason, Etsuko never clung quite so stubbornly to her mother, but Yukiko was not allowed to go out unless she accepted Etsuko’ condition. (Tanizaki, 1958:25) She gradually began relieving Sachiko of her duties: nursing Etsuko when she was ill, hearing her lessons and her piano practice, making her lunch
As a Japanese woman, Yukiko tried to behave appropriately, based on what Japanese would normally do in their society. In a country that worshipped seniority, Yukiko even would not get into a cab ahead of her older sister (Tanizaki, 1958:28). She behaved carefully. She did not want people to see her carelessness. When Etsuko made a composition about the rabbit they had as her home work, Etsuko put in her composition how her aunt tried to raise the rabbit’s ear using her foot. Knowing that, Yukiko edited Etsuko’s composition and changed the sentence with her foot into with her hand.
“What was wrong with what I had?” Etsuko looked at the correction the next morning. “Did you really have to say I used my foot?” “But you did.” “Because I did not want to touch the thing.” “Oh?” Etsuko did not seem satisfied. “Maybe I should say so, then.” “And what will your teacher think of my manners?” “Oh?” Etsuko still did not entirely satisfied. (Tanizaki, 1958:34) Based on some quotations before, the writer sees that, based on her mannerism, Yukiko was the exact example of how Japanese woman was. The characteristics of what so called as ‘the pure Japanese beauty’ were reflected through Yukiko’s physical appearance and her mannerism. No wonder, a man searching for a woman with those criteria would offer her a proposal, just like Segoshi did to Yukiko.
Commonly, most Japanese women avoided themselves from exposing their emotion too much, as Yukiko was. However for some people, Yukiko’s
For Tatsuo, the head of the family, he found Yukiko as a difficult woman to understand (Tanizaki, 1958:12). When an offer came to her from Tatsuo’s business partner, she was not hostile to it at first. But when the process advanced to a point, Yukiko decided to refuse it. However, she did not tell her reason clearly to the main house, only to Sachiko. It was a big embarrassment for Tatsuo, and since that he avoided putting himself forward in marriage negotiations (Tanizaki, 1958:11).
He had concluded that, a thoroughly Japanese girl whose reserve was extreme, a quiet, secure life in a provincial city, free from needles excitement, would be ideal, and it had not occurred to him that the lady herself might objected. But the shy, introverted Yukiko, unable though she was to open her mouth before strangers, had a hard core that was difficult to reconcile with her apparent docility. Tatsuo discovered that his sister in law was sometimes not as submissive as she might be. As for Yukiko, it would have been well if she had made her position clear at once. Instead she persisted in giving vague answers that could be taken to mean almost anything. And when the crucial moment came, it was not to Tatsuo or her older sister that she revealed her feelings, but rather to Sachiko…it was one of Yukiko’s shortcomings that she seldom said enough to make herself understood (Tanizaki, 1958:10).
Such a quiet and shy woman Yukiko was, she even had difficulty to communicate with other people outside the family, especially with men. During every miai, she had to be accompanied by Sachiko, if not she would remain silent. Yukiko was different than the cheerful Sachiko. She got panicked when she met the man who offered her a proposal. For example when she accidentally met Nomura on the street.
Yukiko had suddenly turned to Taeko in consternation. “What shall I do, Koi-san? There he is, there he is.” “Who was?” Taeko asked.
“If you have nothing to else to do, why not have a cup of coffee with me? I won’t take more than fifteen minutes of your time.” Yukiko more and more confused, flushed scarlet and murmured something unintelligible. Finally, seeing that Yukiko would only go on muttering to herself, he gave up, apologized politely for having bothered them, and went back to his table. (Tanizaki, 1958:148) Yukiko’s extreme shyness also considered as her minus point when it came to miai process, according to people. That was why although many proposals came to her, it all failed. For Yukiko’s self, although she realized she had passed the age to marry and had received fewer proposals than when she was younger, she remained unchanged. She did not try to improve her minus point to attract men. Though sometimes her shyness bothered her family, Yukiko remained calm. Only Teinosuke who understood that a man who saw Yukiko’s weak point as good ones, was qualified to be her husband.
Teinosuke set about comforting his wife. Even if Sachiko had been with her, Yukiko would not have been able to talk to the man…The ultimate source of the trouble was to be found in Yukiko’s nature… “Do you mean that she will never marry?” “Not at all. A girl too shy to go to the telephone has good points of her own. There are men who would never think of calling her spineless and old fashioned—men who sees her good points is qualified to be her husband.” (Tanizaki, 1958:416)
Although on the surface Yukiko was so Japanese, beneath there she was well educated. She learned French and her English was quite good (Tanizaki, 1958:215). Just like her sisters, Yukiko enjoyed listening to music. As a matter of fact, she knew Western music better than Japanese music.
People who did not know her well took Yukiko for a thoroughly Japanese was even then studying French, and she understood Western music far better than Japanese. (Tanizaki, 1958:19) Since she was well-knowledge, when she reached marriageable age Yukiko hoped that her husband was better than her. If not, it would be hard for her to respect her husband (Tanizaki, 1958:10). That was why she refused the proposal from Saigusa. The candidate, Saigusa, actually was the heir of a wealthy family and executive of a bank that corresponded with Tatsuo. However Yukiko refused it because in her thought the man was unintelligent and because of that she would not be able to respect him. The direct comment below showed why Yukiko refused the man’s offer:
Thereupon Yukiko objected, and was not to be moved. There was nothing she really found fault with in the man’s appearances and manner, she said, but he was so countrified. Although he was no doubt as admirable as Tatsuo said, one could see that he was quite unintelligent…Yukiko could not help suspecting that dullness somehow figured in the matter. Herself graduated from a ladies’ seminary with honors in English, Yukiko knew that she would be quite unable to respect the man. (Tanizaki, 1958:10)
The main house was startled hearing Yukiko’s answer. Hard they tried to ensured her, the answer was still the same. It was then for the first time Tatsuo realized how difficult and stubborn Yukiko were.
The truth was that for Tatsuo, in a difficult position as adopted head of the family; this Yukiko, so gentle and docile on the surface and yet so hard underneath, was the most troublesome of his relatives, the most puzzling and the most difficult to manage. (Tanizaki, 1958:12) Actually she was quite stubborn on the matter of her perspective toward her brother in-law, Tatsuo. They had different opinion in every matter. But, as had been analyzed before about how Yukiko had difficulty to make her she showed him through her stubbornness, as in Saigusa’s case. Another example was when Tatsuo corrected the misleading article in the local newspaper about Koi-san’s affair. The article said that it was Yukiko; it was incorrect of course. For that reason, Tatsuo wanted the newspaper to correct it by changing Yukiko into Koi-san. His decision displeased both Yukiko and Taeko that eventually made both of them to choose to live with Sachiko.
And retraction or no retraction, I loathe seeing our names in the papers again. It would have been much wiser to pretend nothing had happened. Tatsuo was being kind, I suppose, but what of poor Koi-san? She should not have done what she did, but after all the two of them were hardly old enough to know what they should and should not. It seems to me that the blame must really be laid on the two families for not watching them more carefully. Tatsuo has take part of it, and so do I. people can say what they will, but I am sure no one who knows me can have taken that story seriously. I cannot think that I was hurt by it. But what of Koi-san? What if she becomes a real delinquent now? Tatsuo thinks only in general principles, and never of the people concerned. Is he not going too far? And without consulting the two of us. (Tanizaki, 1958:12) After the newspaper incident, the visits to Ashiya became more frequent, and now the two of them could be found there together for weeks at a time—Sachiko’s husband Teinosuke was so much less frightening than Tatsuo in the main house…Now and then, when the visits of the two sisters-in law seemed to protected, he would worry about what the main house might think. (Tanizaki, 1958:13) What can be concluded from Yukiko was that in the surface she was considered to be the most Japanese amongst Sachiko and Taeko. Her gentle and quite mannered were seen as Yukiko’s values as a true Japanese woman by people around her. Her quietness affected her to be such a taciturn woman. She had difficulty to make herself understandable for other. It even made her difficult to communicate to other people outside the family, especially men. Some might beneath the surface, she was an educated woman. She had graduated from women’s seminary. Because of that, in her mind she wanted to have a husband that would surpass her knowledge, so she might able to respect him. Therefore when there was such a very good proposal came to her, she rejected it after seeing the candidate that did not match her criterion. However, the main house saw this as a form of stubbornness in her. Moreover, having quite a bad relationship with the head of the family, Yukiko then chose to live at Ashiya more, although she knew that for an unmarried woman to live outside the main house would give bad effect to the opportunity of getting a proposal of marriage.
4. Taeko Makioka (Koi-san)
She was the most worldly of the sisters who seemed to cause the most problems. Willful and sophisticated beyond her twenty five years, she had been waiting impatiently for Yukiko to get married so that she could marry her lover. She was the portray of modern Japanese woman who had carrier and made her own income.
As mentioned before, Taeko was the most western of all (Tanizaki, 1958:30). She always interested in something new, whether it was a traditional dancing or a business opportunity. She had foreign friends, one of them was the Kyrilenko family, whose daughter was Taeko’s pupil (Tanizaki, 1958:69). She was well-knowledge, better than Yukiko. She did not strictly follow the etiquette in society as her other sisters. Sometimes she was considered to be rude in some
For one thing, Taeko’s appearance, her manner, her facial expressions, her dress, her speech were changing. Of the four sisters, Taeko had always been the most open and direct—to put her case favorably, the most modern—but lately that directness had been strangely transformed into a certain rudeness and vulgarity. (Tanizaki, 1958:264) Basically, since she was the youngest amongst the four sisters, she did not experience their late father’s prosperous days. She even had only little memory of their late mother because she died when Taeko was still a kid. Her father described her as the darkest and plainest of them all, and the most untidy girl whose face was quite uncared and clothes were so shapeless. According to him, she was more to a boy than a girl. Before she could show that her father was wrong, he died. Soon after, the newspaper incident happened.
There were reasons why Taeko should be different from the rest of them. It was not entirely fair to reprove her. She alone of the four sisters had known nothing of their father’s prosperous days, and she had the dimmest memories of her mother, who had died just as the youngest daughter was starting school. Their pleasure-loving father gave the daughters everything they wanted, and yet Taeko had never really known—had never had an immediate sense of—what had been done for her…She remembered chiefly how her father would describe her as the darkest and plainest of them all, and indeed she must have been a most untidy girl, with her face quite uncared for and her clothes so shapeless that she could have passed for a boy. She liked to say that someday she too would finish school and dress up and go out as her sisters did. She too would buy pretty clothes. But before she had her wish, her father died, and the good days were over for the Makioka family. Very shortly afterwards came the “newspaper incident.” (Tanizaki, 1958:266) She had several affairs and they all ended up in sadness. Her true love
(Itakura) died because of sickness; she got pregnant with other guy but she lost the baby then. The fact that she had a pregnancy outside marriage forced her to move out from the family and to live without given any inheritance. However, Taeko
Taeko had many talents. She was good at making dolls, sewing, and also traditional dancing. Different than any other women, Taeko did not want to depend on the family’s wealth. That was why she changed her hobby into a business. Her first business was in dolls making. To improve her business, she rent a room as her studio using her own money. The main house surely disagreed to her decision, but then Sachiko was able to overcome the main house’s objection.
Tatsuo and Tsuruko in Osaka were opposed to anything that made Taeko seem like a working girl. In particular they had doubts about her renting a room of her own, but Sachiko was able to overcome their objections. (Tanizaki, 1958:14)
When she got tired to do the doll making, she changed her interest to dress making. This even brought objections not only from the main house, but also from Okubata (her first lover) who argued that dress making was vulgar .
Scoffing at Okubata’s view that doll-making was artistic and dressmaking vulgar, she said that she had no desire for an empty title like ‘artist’. If dressmaking was vulgar, let it be vulgar…Was it not disgraceful for even a woman’s work to be so far from everyday life? (Tanizaki, 1958:157)
Despite of many objections she received, Taeko kept holding on her decision. Her reason was that dress making was more useful than doll making.
Taeko had wearied of dolls, she said, because she did not want to go on forever wasting her time on girlish frivolities. She hoped rather to work t something more useful. Western style sewing most fitted her talents, tastes, and skills, and since she would not be starting from scratch, her progress should be rapid…She was quite confident that she would soon be
Taeko was so serious and focus in doing her business. She decided to be a working woman, which was inappropriate at that time. When she changed into dress making, she took a lesson from a professional dress maker and decided to go to France to study there. Easy to guess, many people objected, but eager as Taeko could be, she persuaded her sister Sachiko to ask an agreement from the main house (Tanizaki, 1958:274). Eventually, because of the war in Europe, her plan failed.
Taeko very determined to make her own income so that she would not burdened the main family who already had had a lot of people to care about, the six children and also Yukiko; though her choice risked her reputation.
Taeko said that with her brother in-law so bent on economy, she would not mind if he reduced her allowance. She had her savings and the income from her dolls. The expenses at the main house being heavy—there were six growing children to look after, and there was Yukiko—Taeko wanted somehow to lessen the burden, she said. She hoped that one day she might get along with no allowance at all. (Tanizaki, 1958:159)
Watching how tiring her job as a dress making, Sachiko offered Taeko to take some allowance from her and Teinosuke. However Taeko refused it.
“You are so patient with it, Koi-san.” Often, when the machine was still humming at eight or nine in the evening, Sachiko would go upstairs to look in on her sister. “But you really should stop. Etsuko will have trouble getting to sleep, and you will be stiff in the morning.” “I thought I could finish it tonight.” “Oh, finish it tomorrow. Do you really have to make so much money?” Taeko laughed quietly. “As a matter of fact, I do need money.” “Whenever you do, just tell me Koi-san. Please. I can always give you spending money.” Whenever she had a chance, then, Sachiko mentioned the possibility of allowance, but Taeko always turned the suggestion off lightly, as though she had too much pride to accept the offer, as though the last thing she
From here the writer can see that Taeko was eager to make her own income. She decided to be independent, stop depending on her allowance from the main house. In order to make her own income, Taeko had to have a job. It was very risky for a woman, especially a woman from a well-known family, to make some business. It affected not only the reputation of the woman, but also the reputation of the family. Yet, Taeko very determined to be independent that she even refused to take the offer of some allowance from Sachiko and Teinosuke.
Taeko was born to be different than her sisters. While her sisters were complimented to have good manners, Taeko made herself to be the trouble maker in the family. It began during her nineteen years old when she decided to eloped with the son of an old Semba jewelry store, Okubata (Kei-boy). They decided to elope because they could not marry unless Yukiko, Taeko’s older sister got married first. Yet, their elopement failed. Worst, this incident was reported on local newspaper. It brought shame to both family surely.
Some five or six years earlier, when she had been nineteen, Taeko, the youngest of the sisters, had eloped with a son of the Okubatas, an old Semba family who kept a jewelry store. Her motives were reasonable enough, it would seem: custom would not allow her to marry before a husband was found for Yukiko, and she had decided to take extraordinary measures. The two families, however, were not sympathetic. The lovers were promptly discovered and brought home, and so the incident passed— but for the unhappy fact that a small Osaka newspaper took it up. (Tanizaki, 1958:11) Years after the incident, Taeko decided to make a carrier as a doll making.
It was very unusual for a woman who came from such family, as the Makioka convinced by Sachiko who took herself as the guarantee, they let Taeko continued it. However, when Taeko’s interest changed into dress making, the family finally could see how eager Taeko to make her own income. Taeko even decided that after she got enough money she would go to France to learn more about sewing there. While doll making was still considered as woman’s hobby, dress making was already a profession. The idea of Taeko to be a dress maker worried not only Sachiko, but Okubata as well.
“And she says that with your permission she wants to go to France six months or a year. She wants to be able to tell people she has studied designing in France.” “No! Did she really that?” Sachiko knew that Taeko had taken up sewing in her spare time her dolls left, but that this was another matter. “She did…Why should she want to give it all up? No—I might understand that, but why should she want to take up sewing? She says that for one thing, no matter how good you are at doll-making, you are never more than a fad, and people soon tire of you and stop buying. She says that sewing is something necessary and practical, and the demand for it never falls of. But why should a girl from a good family want to earn money by taking in sewing?...I would rather she stopped pretending to be a working woman. She is clever with her hands, and I can understand that she has to have something to do; but think of how much better it would look if she were to take something up as a hobby, not to make money. Something we might call artistic. No one needs to be ashamed when a woman from a good family takes up doll making in her spare time. But I wish she would stop that dress making. I told her I was sure the people in the main house would agree with me, and I told her to ask them and find out for herself.” (Tanizaki, 1958:154-155) Taeko not only dared to be independent, but she also dared to break the norms in society. Together with her lover Okubata, they eloped. However, years later, Okubata did not last long as her lover anymore. Taeko then had other lovers. One thing for sure, the man she really loved was Itakura. He was a worker in closer. However, Itakura came from a peasant family that had returned from the emigration in America. It brought disappointment for Sachiko and the family.
Her tone became heavier as they moved on to the question of her relations with Itakura. Her replies to Sachiko’s questions being limited to affirmation or denial, Sachiko had to fill in the gaps for herself. This was the story Sachiko pieced together: Itakura came to seem in many ways a pleasant contrast to Okubata. Laugh though she might at the people in the main house, Taeko was not wholly unconscious of family and position, and she tried to hold herself back; but her heart worked against her conservative mind. She was not one to lose her head, whatever the crisis, and even after she fell in love with Itakura she was by no means blind to his faults. Particularly because of her failure with Okubata, she looked far into the future and weighed the profit and loss, and after examining the balance as cooly as she could, she concluded that her happiness lay in marrying Itakura. Sachiko who would guessed a good deal of the truth without even considering that her sister might want to marry the man, was stunned. (Tanizaki, 1958:270-271)
Her love to Itakura even made her to propose him to marry. But because they were not ready to support themselves yet, they postponed it. Their liaison really frightened Sachiko, especially imagining the reaction of the main house that at that time was already moved to Tokyo. She and Teinosuke were willing to help Taeko to be a professional dress making if it meant to separate her from Itakura.
Sachiko was willing to make concessions if only Taeko would give up the idea of marrying the man: whatever the main house might think, she and Teinosuke approved of breaking the engagement to Okubata…although it would be difficult to recognize the sewing lesson openly, Sachiko could pretend to know nothing about them; she and her husband would not really oppose Taeko’s becoming a professional woman; and, impossible though it was to do anything at the moment, they would argue Taeko’s case when the time came and see that she received her money from the main house. (Tanizaki, 1958:274)
Then Itakura died because of infection. After that Taeko then was back to Okubata, though she said she did that because of pity that Okubata was being
Taeko’s behaviors resulted on some bad rumors about it, and these rumors finally reached the main house. The main house was very disappointed and angry to Taeko. Through the letter to Sachiko and Yukiko, Tsuruko, on Tatsuo’s behalf, demanded Taeko to move to live with the main house in Tokyo, if she refused to do so, Taeko would be thrown out of the Makioka family. Taeko refused it. Because of that she chose to live by herself in an apartment. Her decision saddened both Sachiko and Yukiko.
I must ask you to be stern with her at least this once. Even if she refuses to come to Tokyo, we do not mean to leave her with you. This is Tatsuo’s view, and I quite agree with him. He adds that he hopes this time you will be on our side and help us be firm, and that we have made up our minds and want no stalling. We would like an answer before the end of the month on which of the two it is to be: does she come to Tokyo, or is she thrown out of the Makioka family? (Tanizaki, 1958:380-381) “Koi-san, would you think of going to Tokyo for just a little while?” Taeko shook her head like a spoiled child. “I would rather be dead than have to live with them.” “But what shall I tell them?” “Whatever you like.” “You can say so, Koi-san, but Teinosuke is on their side. They are not going to forget.” “I will live by my side for a while.” “Not with Kei-boy?” “I will see him, but I certainly will not go to live with him.” …There were tears in Sachiko’s eyes and Yukiko’s. (Tanizaki, 1958:382) After suffering from an amoebic dysentery that nearly took her life, Taeko continued her carrier as a dress maker. Teinosuke, though had not publicly
‘forgiven’ her, did not object to see Taeko in the Ashiya house (Tanizaki, 1958:459). Months later, the Makioka family was shock by Taeko’s news that she was three or four months pregnant. What made even surprised was the fact that the father of the infant was not Okubata, but another man, Miyoshi, who was a bartender.
Her face against the chair, Taeko looked sluggishly up at her sister. “It looks as though I am three or four months pregnant.” She spoke with the usual calm. Sachiko gasped, and stared as though to bore a hole through her sister’s face. It was a moment or two before she could ask the question: “Is it Kei- boy’s?” “Miyoshi’s. I think Yukiko hard about Miyoshi from the old woman.” “The bartender?” Taeko nodded. “I am sure that is my trouble.” (Tanizaki, 1958:497)
Regarding the gossip that might come, the family then isolated Taeko to Arima until the baby was born. However, Taeko’s baby, a girl, died at the moment of birth (Tanizaki, 1958:528). Later on, she had to leave the Makioka family and to live with Miyoshi in Kobe (Tanizaki, 1958:529).
As can be seen here, Taeko had grown up to be a woman who had a strong will. She did not mind if her choice of life broke the norms in society. She took the decision to become a professional woman, she made herself as the focus of the rumors because of her liaison with both Okubata and Itakura. Lastly she got herself pregnant outside the marriage. Because of her rebellious attitudes, she then was thrown out from the Makioka family.
Taeko’s life was full of secrets. No one could guess her next action. For example was the reunion of Taeko and Okubata years after the elopement happened. Since Taeko was so busy, she had little contact with people at Ashiya. Sachiko also thought that everything was normal, nothing serious happened. and Taeko walking together. She was shocked to know that they had met again since the newspaper incident. What shocked her more due to the fact that they were meeting again secretly (Tanizaki, 1958:15). Another evidence was when Taeko hided her relation to Itakura, until Okubata sent a letter to Sachiko to report that (Tanizaki, 1958:234-236).
Taeko never showed her real emotions to her sisters, especially on the matter of the fact that she could not marry because they had not found a husband for Yukiko. Sometimes when they said to her that nothing could be done before Yukiko got married her reaction was in silence.
“Koi-san.” Sachiko looked up from the piano. “Okubata has just been here.” “Oh.” “I understand how you feel, but I hope you will leave everything to me.” “I see.” “It would be cruel to Yukiko if we moved too fast.” “I see.” “You understand, then, Koi-san?” Taeko seemed uncomfortable but her face was carefully composed. She said no more. (Tanizaki, 1958:17) She also tried to hide everything from her sisters until she no longer could keep it. For example was the fact that Okubata liked to be entertained by geisha
(Tanizaki, 1958:268), or the way Okubata was spoiled by the family that worried Taeko he could not support her life (Tanizaki, 1958:158). That was why she was eager to make her own income.
What could be concluded from Taeko was she was an independent woman; growing up without much affections received compared to other sisters, She hided many secrets regarding to her relation to some people. Because of that she often surprised the family by the decision she made. Her choice of life was unusual, if not improper. She made herself as the black sheep in the family. Being so rebellious and giving only shame to Makioka family, Taeko then was thrown out and given no inheritance.
B. The Japanese Society’s Expectations on Women Based on theCharacterization of the Four Sisters
As has been known, Japan is a patriarchal country. Generally, women who live in a patriarchal society have their lives defined to them, as Bressler states: In this masculine world, the feminist declare that it is man who defines what it means to be human, not woman. Because a woman is not a man, she has become the other, the not-male. Man is the subject, the one who defines meaning; woman is the object, having her existence defined and determined by the male. The man is therefore the significant figure in the male/female relationship and the woman is the subordinate (Bressler, 199:189). Having the control in society, men have the opportunity to define what is meant to be women. The way they define the opposite sex is through the expectations they give to women in the society. These expectations are formed through the society’s agreement. Women as the objects are forced to fulfill those expectations. Because of that, women cannot define themselves. Therefore, women in a patriarchal society become the product of it. That is why; the society where the Makioka lived played a big role to the sisters’ fates.
As explained in the theory part, Japanese society becomes a patriarchal society, including in the family structure. This samurai philosophy is influenced by the values of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto-ism (Tonomura, Walthall, and Wakita, 1999:9), in which woman’s position is low. As the Japanese society applies this kind of philosophy, the new form of family, called ie is formed (Hall and Bredsley qtd.in Davies and Ikeno, 2002:119). In ie system, the couple, or the nuclear family only has a second significance since the center is the great family (Straelen, 1940:129). In this system it is man who always becomes the head of the family, as Tatsuo was, and the one who is lucky to be the head has the authority to control the whole family.
First, according to the law, the head of the household was given legal power over other family members. He could decide on marriages, divorces, and adoptions into his family and could grant places of residence to his family members. He could also exclude members from the family register if they went against his orders. In this way, the power of the head of the household was prescribed in detail in family law. (Davies and Ikeno, 2002:123)
Moreover, the Japanese patriarchal society sees women as creatures that should be under control by man, as the old Confucian adage saying that a woman should in youth obey her father, in maturity her husband, and in old age her son (Straelen, 1940:86). This adage surely affects to the restriction that Japanese women experienced. Right after they are born, the Japanese women are demanded to submit themselves in men’s hands, beginning from the father, the husband, and lastly the son. Their “submission” is beneficial for men that they could define women as they like. Since Japanese woman cannot define herself, she only can be an individual that the society wants her to be--and what the society wants woman characterization of the four sisters, the writer analyzes two categorizations of Japanese women considering the status of married women and still unmarried women.
1. The Japanese Society’s Expectations on Still Unmarried Women
For the first one, the writer chooses to analyze the characterization of the two unmarried sisters, Yukiko and Taeko.
As said in the old Confucian adage, a woman should in youth obey her father, in maturity her husband, and in old age her son (Straelen, 1940:86). It means that the next step after the youth time for a woman is entering into the matrimony life since a woman should have a husband in her maturity life.
To find a husband is not easy in Japanese society. Most of the couples in Japan met in miai (matchmaking) process that required complexity rather than efficiency. In marriage market a woman should present herself well so that she will get many proposals. It means that a woman should have a kind of “market value” that will attract many interested family. This market value in a woman is seen through the quality of the character she has, the education she has, and also the reputation of her family.
Yukiko and Taeko had been given by their family some sufficient education that could make their “market value” increase. Yukiko was graduated from a lady’s seminary with honors in English (Tanizaki, 1958:10). She was even studying French, and understood western music well (Tanizaki, 1958:19). Taeko was fond of traditional dancing and was able to dance it beautifully (Tanizaki, by the local people, but also the foreigner, as Kyrilenko did (Tanizaki, 1958:69). Their education and their talents were believed to bring them good prospects from any men who interested to them.
Moreover the quality of a woman’s character is seen through the attitude and mannered she presented to the society. As a true Japanese woman, one must behaves as expected by the society and tries to avoid any misbehavior that considered as bad things. According to the Confucianism concept, the five worst maladies in women’s life were indocility, discontent, slander, jealousy, and silliness (Straelen, 1940:43). Meaning to say, if a woman wants to be considered as a true Japanese women, she should avoid these five worst maladies.
Yukiko was considered as a Japanese beauty, not only through her appearance, but also through her mannerism. She was gentle, graceful, beautiful, and elegant (Tanizaki, 1958:35). She was well-mannered and behaved carefully that she even would not dare to get into a cab ahead of her older sister (Tanizaki, 1958:28). She did not want people to see her carelessness (Tanizaki, 1958:34).
Different than Yukiko, Taeko was not the picture of a true Japanese woman. Her attitude showed that she rather careless on how people would see her, as she decided to elope with her boyfriend when she was only nineteen years old. It was a scandal for the family and for Taeko’s reputation. Because of that, Sachiko thought the possibility of Taeko to get a proposal was worse than Yukiko (Tanizaki, 1958:14).
Looking at Yukiko and Taeko, the writer concludes that since they were when they reached marriageable age. Yukiko’s mannerism and characters showed that preparations since long ago would affect her chance to get a good prospect offered from a man. The knowledge and talent a woman has will become the extra point of her “market value” in marriage market, whereas a woman’s scandal will become the minus point of her “market value” in miai process.
2. The Japanese Society’s Expectations on Wives and Mothers
As the old adage said that a woman in youth should obey her father, in maturity her husband, and in old age her son, the marriage life was so important to Japanese women. Thus, for the second one the writer chose to analyze through the characterization of the rest of the sisters who were already married, Tsuruko and Sachiko.
In the ie system, which was so patriarchal, women are powerless. In that situation, the main role of women is to born a son for the family. In other words, they become the borrowed womb because they produce successor and help to shape blood relation and family connection although they are treated unequally (Tonomura, Walthall, and Wakita, 1999:305). This expectation was really affected Sachiko as she happened to have only a daughter. Then one day, without even recognizing that she was pregnant, she had miscarriage. The situation broke her down because she felt she already disappointed her husband who had no son yet. Even her doctor scowled her recklessness (Tanizaki, 1958:133). Though her husband had asked her to forget it, for Sachiko, the stamp of a failed mother and wife would always be with her as she secretly weep at night (Tanizaki, 1958:149), or cried when she saw a baby on the street (Tanizaki, 1958:257), or on the annual day when her unborn baby gone (Tanizaki, 1958:289).
Back to Japanese society at that time, since the western already penetrated Japan, the government saw the importance to increase the quality of the Japanese human resources in order to compete to the foreigners.
Social commentators and government officials pointed out repeatedly that child raising was terribly important work for the nation. After all, mothers were charge with bringing up the next generation of Japan. The ideal social role for women in the new Japan was to produce, nurture, and educate children within the context of managing house hold. Women, in other words, should be “good” wives and “wise” mothers. (Good Wives
and Wise Mothers , http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/172/ch11_
main.htm) The notion of good wives and wise mothers demanded mothers who were not only good and wise, but also able to keep a clean house, and to maintain one’s physical appearance.
Moreover, Yoshio Maeda in Gukoku Fujin Tokuhon (Reading for the Women of a Nation at War) said that mother must never forget that she reared her child not for herself, but for the country, as a sacred deposit entrusted to her care by the emperor (qtd.in. Straelen, 1940:175), or in Kathleen S. Uno’s words in her book Household Division of Labor that it was mothers’ services to the nation from the house (qtd. in Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east-asian- history.net/textbooks/172/ch11_main.htm).
Thus, in Japanese woman’s mind, to be a mother was an honorable duty that was given specially for them. Because of that, Sachiko was always frightened children, while Sachiko only had a daughter and her daughter was even closer to Yukiko than to her own mother (Tanizaki, 1958:106). Sachiko was afraid that people might see her incapable in taking care of a daughter (Tanizaki, 1958:107).
Hence, the writer concludes that for Japanese women who are already married, they are expected to be not only a good wife, but also a wise mother. As a wife, she becomes the borrowed womb. She has to born a successor for the family line, and in ie system, a successor is a male. So, a wife is demanded to born a son. Still, as a wife, she has to plunge herself to the new family. She has to submit herself to her husband by obeying him. As a mother, she has an honorable duty to raise the children because in Japanese society’s perspective, the duty of raising children means the duty of mother in serving the nation. Thus it makes sense then that Japanese women are demanded to be not only good wives, but they also have to be wise mothers.
C. The Japanese Women Stereotype Based on the Characterization of theFour Sisters
According to Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, the male voice has for too long been the dominant one in society. This phenomenon definitely affects the literary world. As Harold Bloom applies the Freudian structures to literary genealogies—that later coined the anxiety of influence—it seems reasonable then to say that literature is necessarily patriarchal (Leitch, 2001:2025). Moreover, because men have the power of the pen, and therefore the press, they have been literary history (1997:x). One of gender traces in literary text can be identified through the images of women promulgated by literature (Barry, 2002:121). As how Tanizaki did in portraying the Makioka sisters; in this novel, the writer (of this study) was able to identify that although Tanizaki always portrays women as graceful creatures that hide their strength and their mysterious beauty (based on Isoji Asou’s Sejarah Kesusastraan Jepang—Nihon Bungakushi), yet his characters in the Makioka Sisters novel (particularly the four sisters) are actually being reduced into such stereotypes as follows:
1. The Stereotype of Dependent Women / the Angel Women
As mentioned before, the ie system in Japan was so patriarchal. The control in one’s family laid in men’s hand. Because of that, women were in men’s hands. Being the head of the family, men could control women’s life, beginning since childhood until maturity time, as the old adage saying . It proves that being a Japanese woman at that time, a woman could not hold her own life, and instead she had to give it into man’s hand through the form of social structure, which was marriage.
It is not difficult to show that marriage becomes a crucial and very important part for a woman in this novel. The story itself focuses on the process of the third daughter of Makioka family to find a husband. It was necessary for Yukiko to find a husband as immediately as possible since she was already in her thirties. Even though she seemed reluctant to do so, the matter was necessarily important seen through her family eagerness. From the way her elder sisters other people outside the family who were eager to be the matchmaker (e.g. Mrs. Itani, Mrs. Jimba, Mrs. Niu), the writer concludes that marriage matter meant one of the most important part in one’s life, beside birth and die. How so?
a. Marriage as the Way Out to Survive in a Patriarchal Society
Back to the old adage in Japanese society: a woman should in youth obey her father, in maturity her husband, and in old age her son (Straelen, 1940:86); it is clear that Japanese women have no right in order to grasp her self-ness. Beginning since childhood time, a girl has her father to take care of her. Then when she grows up she will have her husband to protect her. Later, when she is old she will have her son to depend on. In other words, woman is being put in a hopeless state because she is not given any opportunities to stand by her own feet.
From what happened to Makioka family, it can be seen that women are not allowed to hold the family line; in fact, the two eldest sons in-law were adopted into the family so that the Makioka’s name would still continue regardless of the son-less of the previous Makioka.
There were four daughters and no sons in the family. When the father went into retirement, Tsuruko’s husband, who had taken the Makioka name, became active head of the family. Sachiko, too, married, and her husband also took the Makioka name. (Tanizaki, 1958:9) Japanese women at that time were not allowed to work, unless they came from low class family that needed more money than women who came from the upper one. Thus, it was common to see these low class women working in factories or working as maids. However, for women from the upper class, such as Tsuruko and her husband strongly objected the idea of Taeko making money from doll-making.
Tatsuo and Tsuruko in Osaka were opposed to anything that made Taeko seem like a working girl. In particular they had doubts about her renting a room of her own, but Sachiko was able to overcome their objections. (Tanizaki, 1958:14)
Indeed, Sachiko helped Taeko through convincing the main house that Taeko was doing her hobby that gained her some money. However, when Taeko’s interest changed into dress-making, the easy Sachiko could not feel easy any longer because in her opinion dress-making was considered as a profession. Thus, she tried to warn her youngest sister to stop her new interest (Tanizaki, 1958:263). From this it can be seen that not only women have no right in continuing their own family line, they also have no way to make a living unless they are willing to be considered as bad women.
So here, as powerless as they are in their patriarchal society, Japanese women are facing a situation where they have to survive their lives through the only way available for them, which according to the old adage: in maturity a woman should obey her husband—meaning to say, the only way for them was through marriage.
Family was the single content of a woman’s life, which in turn was regarded as yet another virtue. It is because of this social moral concept that women, after they were born, together with their family began to prepare for their marriage passively. Marriage was the only measurement for a woman’s life value. Females had no self-esteem or a concept of their own self-hood. Instead, society viewed them as an appurtenant of their husband. (Gender Stereotypes, http://www.people.unt.edu/jwlog/misc/ stereotype.htm)
Beginning since childhood time, a Japanese girl was being prepared by her parents to enter the matrimony life in the future. There were schools for women at that time, in which its curriculum were arranged to train girls to marriage’s life.
The curriculum designed for girls emphasized homemaking and the desirability of being virginal at marriage and chaste thereafter, in addition to the standard injunction to obey one’s parents and one’s husband. (Good
Wives and Wise Mothers , http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/172/
ch11_main.htm) There was even a handbook for girls distributed in society in order to prepare girls into matrimony life, Onna Daigaku—the Greater Learning for Women (Straelen, 1940:19). Japanese girl, especially from a wealthy family, was supplied with not only knowledge of controlling the house hold chores, but also some extra skills.
Yukiko learned French and English, and her knowledge on Western music was good (Tanizaki, 1958:215). Taeko adored traditional dancing, and even danced it well (Tanizaki, 1958:67). Their know ledges and skills purposed to increase their “value” in miai process. In its process, each of the two families will investigate each other, from the background of the family until a spot in a face (Tanizaki, 1958:49-50). It showed that marriage is an important part in one’s life, particularly women’s.
b. Marriage as the Honorable Duty Japanese Women Must Do
In a patriarchal society, such as Japan, women are in low position. Based on the religions that mostly Japanese professed at that time, Buddhism and Confucianism, women were considered as lust that hindered Buddhist men’s ability to seek enlightenment and treated as Jigoku no Tsukai or messenger of hell woman should be controlled by man so that she can be considered as a “good” woman. Once a girl is out from her childhood time, she is soon entering what people called as the marriageable age (in the novel, Yukiko was considered out from marriageable age because she was already in her thirties).
As mentioned before, the matrimony life becomes a kind of way out for women to survive their lives. That is why since they were still children, women prepare themselves with many knowledge, skills, and also attitudes so that in the future they would find husband easily. Not only a woman can survive through marriage, but also she can make herself “useful” for the sake of the family and also herself. Though women do not have any rights to hold the family line, yet she has a great responsibility to make it last, which is producing a successor.
First was the issue of motherhood, indispensable in perpetuating the ie. The ie positioned women as the sex that produces successors and helps to shape blood relations and family connections. (Tonomura, Walthall, and Wakita, 1999:305) A woman who bears no children shall leave, because it is for the succession of offspring that a girl is taken for a wife.
(Kaibara Ekiken’s Onna Daigaku, qtd in. http:www.e.budo.com/forum/ archive/index.php/t-234.html) In the novel, Sachiko who only had a daughter accidentally loosed her second pregnancy. What made her fell guilty was the fact that she did not realize it and all of sudden the miscarriage happened. Although her husband was actually in second line, or the second son, it was still hard for her to know that she failed to have a son. She would weep at night (Tanizaki, 1958:149), or cry when she saw a baby, or cry on the annual day when her unborn baby gone (Tanizaki, 1958:257, 289).
Moreover, through marriage also a woman can contribute increasing her family status. By marrying a husband from the higher rank, socially her previous family status increases. That was why all Makioka family was happy because in the end, Yukiko got a very prospective proposal from a viscount’s son.
It was clear, moreover, that Sachiko was even more enthusiastic about the proposal than Kunishima himself. There could be no doubt that she found Mimaki most engaging and that, though she had not actually said so, she was delighted at the prospect of an alliance with a noble family, and Teinosuke could imagine her disappointment if he were to step in and break off the negotiations. He too was beginning to think that this was the very best match they could hope for. (Tanizaki, 1958:513)
Thus, marriage thing for Japanese women means a tool for them to give contribution to their family by giving birth to the successor and also by making an alliance between her parents and her husband.
So important a woman to fulfill her duty in matrimony life is that as desperate as Tsuruko could be, she did not care what kind of husband Yukiko could get, as her sister could get married.
Sachiko remembered how Tsuruko, returning to Tokyo the year before, had heaved a deep sign and said to Sachiko when no one else was listening: “I only hope someone will marry her. It hardly matters who any more. Even if it ends in divorce, I hope someone will marry her”. (Tanizaki, 1958:387) Furthermore, through marriage also a woman can fulfill her obligation to the country and the emperor. Through marriage—and later, rearing children, women—mothers, have the obligation to raise their children in responsible way because it is an honored duty given by the emperor. As Yoshio Maeda in Gunkoku
Fujin Tokuhon (Reading for the Women of a Nation at War) stated:
Mother must never forget that she rears her child not for herself but for the country, as a sacred deposit entrusted to her care by the emperor. (qtd. in Straelen, 1940:175)
Mothers can prepare their children to be good subjects of the emperor by instilling in them diligence, loyalty, and patriotism. In other words, mothers would render service to the nation from the house (Uno’s Household Division of Labor, qtd.in
Good Wives and Wise Mothers , http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/172/
ch11_main.htm). From this point then Nakamura Masanao (1831-1891) coined the social slogan of good wives and wise mothers. This slogan later was consciously and unconsciously spread through vary medias, including movies. This slogan demanded mothers, who were not only good and wise, but also able to cook, to keep a clean house, and to maintain one’s physical appearance. In the novel, it was clearly seen through how Sachiko envied her older sister Tsuruko, who was able to control her house hold better than Sachiko was.
Sachiko expecting to find Tsuruko faded and worn, looked admiringly at her sister. She still knew how to take care of herself. Her hair was neat, her dress was proper and tasteful. With a husband and six children—fourteen, eleven, eight, six, five, and three—to look after, and only one maid to help her, she had a right to look fair more wasted and slovenly. She might well have looked ten year older than she was. But Tsuruko, a proper Makioka, would have been taken for a good five or six years younger than her thirty seven. (Tanizaki, 1958:220)
Another thing that Sachiko envied of from Tsuruko was that the fact of her only daughter who seemed closer to her aunt, Yukiko, than her own mother. Sachiko was afraid that people might going to see her as incapable mother because of it.
Perhaps people were saying that by contrast with the sister in the main house able to take care all those six children, the sister in Ashiya had to governess…If so, Sachiko’s pride was damaged—after all, she was a mother. (Tanizaki, 1958:100-107) Here, Sachiko’s fear that she was being an incapable mother proved how strong the campaign of good wives and wise mothers was. To be a good wife and a wise mother were considered as honorable status women could get. In order to get into that position, the only thing a woman could do was through marriage. Meaning to say, not only as a way out in society, marriage also becomes the tool for women to increase their self-esteem since the emperor himself gives them the important duty of raising the next generation of Japanese people.
However, the writer finds that Japanese women are actually experiencing repression in a shape of marriage. Based on the fact that Japanese women cannot escape of being married shows that they are unconsciously being put in some “tracks” that have been set by the society for them. These tracks include the early years of baby girl infant until the episode of an old woman. Japanese women are also being brain-washed through the idea of getting married—then become responsible mothers—for the sake of the country. In a patriarchal society, women are forced to believe that they are specially given honorable duty and obligations, whereas actually these duty and obligations are chains that bounded them from the outside world and making them into such dependent creatures. It proves what Bressler states that in a patriarchal society, women are being put as the object; because of that they cannot have the right to think and act freely (1999:189).
It is not also because of the restriction of the men, but also because of the society. They are hidden by their own goals to be ideal as requested by the society. To be an ideal one, a woman has to fulfill the expectations set by the ruler, the men, to her. These expectations then result in the pictures and the stereotypes of women in society.
Gender stereotypes present a conventionally simplified and standardized conception or image concerning the typical social roles of male and female, both domestically and socially. (Gender Stereotypes, http://people.unt.edu/jwlog/misc/stereotype.htm) Back to the concept of dependency, in Japanese women’s mindset, to be dependent means to show their docility toward the rules and norms in society and also their effort in fulfilling the society’s expectation on them. The sisters’ dependency is not only shown through their concept of marriage, but also through their effort in making themselves to be considered as true Japanese women based on the society’s expectations for them.
To be considered as a true Japanese woman, the first important factor is the docility toward the society’s rules and norms. In Japanese society, one has to respect seniority as it is regarded important. The example from the novel is through the fact that Taeko could not marry before her older sister marry first. The younger should also listen and do what the elderly says to them, as Tsuruko asked her aunty to advice and persuade Yukiko and Taeko to come back to the main house. Moreover, a woman who has not married should live with the main house, if not she will be gossiped by society. Another rule is working inside the house as the only work women should do. If a woman has a carrier outside the house as
1999:10). Attitude and behavior of a woman is also important. As explained in the second problem formulation, one’s attitude and behavior becomes the valuable factor in finding a husband, beside the physical beauty and the family reputation. Another example of Japanese society’s rules and norms appeared in the novel is the expectation on women about their ability to be good wives and wise mothers as mentioned previously. These are the examples of what Japanese women are expected to be, based on what appeared in the novel.
Once a woman could fulfill the expectations on “ideal women” or women the society want to be, she would be considered as a good woman or the angel woman, as Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar states:
If a woman is depicted as the angel in the house, she supposedly realizes that her physical and material comforts are gifts from her husband. Her goal in life, therefore, is to please her husband, to attend to his every comfort, and to obey him. Through these selfless acts, she finds the utmost contentment by serving her husband and children. If, perchance, a female character should reject this role, the male critics quickly dub her a monster, a freakish anomaly who is obviously sexually fallen. (qtd.in Bressler, 1999:186).
From the quotations above, it is clearly seen that once a woman becomes a good woman, or the angel woman, she would receive her reward that is actually given by the man.
At the end of this novel, all three sisters had more or less good ending rather than what the youngest had. Tsuruko finally experienced less obligations as a mother due to her growing children. Sachiko, though in her opinion she failed to be a good mother for her child, a good wife for her husband, even a good sister for own little family. During the story, Tanizaki made her as the connector between the main house and the unmarried sisters. Through Tsuruko and Sachiko’s characterization, the writer apprehends that they had easier life at the end of the story because they could position themselves into the right place that society demanded them to be. The writer sees that the good ending was more or less the gift from the writer of this novel, Tanizaki, who created these two characters fit into what the society described as “good Japanese women”, or in Gilbert and Gubar’s terminology “the angel in the house”. Since Tsuruko and Sachiko became such good Japanese women, they received the reward, which was an easier lives than the other sister. At this point, it can be seen how these two characters then represent the stereotype of Japanese women in a way that underlined the propaganda in the society that if one behaves well one will receive well.
Yukiko, on the other hand, being physically the true Japanese women, hided an attitude that was undesirable for Japanese men. Her stubbornness. She dared to reject a proposal came to her because in her opinion she did not want a husband that was less clever than she was. Even the head of the family found her troublesome and difficult to manage. Compared to her married sisters, she was the one who had difficulty in finding husband. Through the life of Yukiko, the writer concludes that she thought herself was right and the other was wrong. It means dissatisfaction, whereas based on the Confucianism concept about the five worst maladies in woman’s life, dissatisfaction, or discontent was included there Taeko had done. People often re-considered the offer to Yukiko after knowing about the youngest misbehaviors. Thus, through Yukiko, Tanizaki showed that it was no use for women to be stubborn. It only made their lives difficult. As for Yukiko, although she had difficulty in finding husband, she maintained to keep herself on the right “tracks”. She behaved well and obeyed what the elderly asked her to do. Because of that, she was also considered to be a good woman. As the result, after so many miai she had and so many obstacle she had to face, she finally got a proposal that was the best that ever came to her. It was her reward.
2. The Stereotype of Monster Women
The writer chooses the word monster women referred to what society describes as women who always disobey the rules and norms in society, or what commonly called as bad women. In the novel, the monster woman is represented by Taeko. The first big mistake she did was when she eloped with her boyfriend.
This incident brought shame to Makioka family and became such negative aspect in marriage consideration for Yukiko.
She also decided to be independent by making her own income, something that was rejected by not only the family, but also the society. Since the main house heavily objected the idea of her having a job, she chose to live at the branch house in Ashiya, while based on the rule, an unmarried woman should live with the head of the family. Although the elderly in the family had asked her to move to the main house, Taeko was unmoved.
Compared to the three sisters, Taeko was the worst mannered. She was rude and vulgar. She had some liaisons with some men that all ended badly. The biggest mistake she did was being pregnant outside of marriage. Because of that, she was thrown out from the family.
Based on the expectations of the angel woman and the things that are not prohibited for Japanese women to do, and based on so many objections toward Taeko, the writer concludes that she is the portray of what is considered as a bad Japanese woman or the monster woman at that time.
For the bad woman in the novel, or the monster, Tanizaki put so many troubles in her life. As has been said, she was the worldliest of the sisters and always disobeyed what the elderly asked her to do. Taeko was considered to adapt the western life, judging by the way she determined to be independent; and those way of life she chose sometimes did not match to the traditional Japanese custom. According to the common moral values appeared in Japanese society at that time, the foreign way of life was too liberal, and it was not good. Because of that, the not good one should receive some punishment. This kind of judgment was spread within society through vary medias.
At the movie theatre:”Many (movies) of which Ella Wiswell attended with village woman dealt with the contrast between good wives, women who were “truly Japanese”, as opposed to bad ones, who were invariably “modern” young women badly inflected by foreign ways that rendered them disobedient and selfish. “And the popular woman’s magazines:”featured love stories in which the good, Japanese woman always won out, albeit not without undergoing severe trials and suffering, and the bad, foreigner-like women paid the price for their liberated behavior. (Good Wives and Wise Mothers, http://www.east-asian- As the same as the quotation above, in this novel Tanizaki gave some punishment for the bad woman, or the monster. Because of her selfish behavior that damaged the reputation of the family, at the end of the story Taeko was banished from the Makioka family because having many affairs and then having a pregnancy outside marriage. Her behavior proved that she was not a good Japanese woman.
Furthermore, the baby she had, a girl, died during the moment of birth. Here, the writer finds that Tanizaki wanted to point out that not only Taeko was a bad woman, but she also would not going to be a great mother considering her behavior in the past; that was why the baby died. It was her punishment. In other words, Taeko represents the stereotype that if one does badly one will get punishment.
Thus, the writer concludes that in this novel Tanizaki put his characters into some stereotypes that are inwardly appear in Japanese society. The first is the stereotype of dependent women or the angel women, and the second is the stereotype of monster women.
CHAPTER V CONCLUSION During the 1930s in Japanese society, traditional systems and values were
still applied although the western influence had entered and penetrated into it— that brought modernization to the society. One of which was the ie system that controlled family system in Japanese society. In this system, men were put into the highest position since they became the head in every family. Ie system itself was the amalgamation of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto-ism. In these religions women were put into the lowest position; thus in ie, women were also put into the lowest state. It showed that Japanese society was patriarchal.
Living in a patriarchal society, the four Makioka sisters grew up into different characters. The eldest, Tsuruko, was a conservative, docile, and submissive woman. Sachiko, the second, was a moderate, loving, and conscience- stricken woman. Meanwhile, the third, Yukiko, was well-mannered, taciturn, yet stubborn. Then the youngest, Taeko, was independent, rebellious, and introvert. Through the characterization of the Makioka sisters, the writer analyzed the factors that affected them into being such women as described above.
In a patriarchal society, men had the control over women. Men defined what was meant to be women. The way they defined the opposite sex was through the expectations they give to what was considered as ideal women. The writer found out that actually the expectations on women were the factors that made the
Based on the four sisters’ characterization, the writer divided the expectations on Japanese women into two points. The first was the expectation on Japanese women who were still unmarried, represented by Yukiko and Taeko. The second was the expectation on women who were already married, represented by Tsuruko and Sachiko.
For Japanese women who were still unmarried, they were expected to be such true and ideal Japanese women. They had to obey the rules in society and behave based on society’s norms and values. It was because Japanese women were expected to marry once they entered maturity. In order to get a proposal on marriage, a woman had to present herself well. She had to be what society wanted her to be.
Once a woman got married, she plunged herself into the new family. Since women could not hold the family name, their task was to born the successor, a son, for the family. It meant women were functioned as the borrowed womb. Moreover, since the government underlined the importance of mothers for the increasing of the quality of Japanese human resources—later resulted in the notion of good wives and wise mothers—women became obsessed to fulfill their duties as wives and mothers. As dutiful wives, women were expected to obey her husbands. As mothers, they were expected to raise their children as their duty in serving the nation.
Based on the characterization of the four sisters and the expectations they had to fulfill, the writer found out that actually the four sisters were being put into women because of their eagerness in marriage matter, particularly for the sisters who were still unmarried. As explained before, the expectation on Japanese women who were still unmarried was to be the ideal and true Japanese women that the society wanted them to be so that they could get any proposals of marriage. It meant that Japanese women’s goal was to be married. Marriage became Japanese women’s only goal because it was the only way out for them to survive in a society that abhorred women having their own income. Moreover, marriage also became the way for women to be useful for the sake of the family and the nation. Through marriage, women could be the tool to make alliances between the women’s family and their husbands’. Through marriage also women could fulfill their duties to born the successor for the family, and later to raise their children as the government asked them to do. Furthermore, marriage showed that women could not stand by themselves. Women were dependent. Meanwhile, in a patriarchal society, being dependent was one of the expectations on what is considered as good women or angel women. Being the angel women, they would receive the reward from the ruler in society, the men. In the novel, Tanizaki rewarded the characters that represented the angel women (Tsuruko, Sachiko, and Yukiko) with a better ending than the other character that represented the monster women.
The second stereotype was the stereotype of monster women. The monster women referred to those who always disobeyed the rules and the norms, and also to those who always received rejections and objections from people around them.
From the categorization of angel and monster women, the writer analyzed that the stereotyping occurred in the way Tanizaki created the story for each character. For the angel women, because of their docility toward the rules and norms in society, Tanizaki made their lives easy. Tsuruko, who burdened by household chores since she was still a girl, got her jobs lessened once her children grew up. Sachiko, though she only had a daughter, she had a good relationship with her husband and had a warmth little family. Meanwhile, the most Japanese among the sisters, Yukiko, though she represented the angel women, she hid her minus point, her stubbornness. Tanizaki made her difficult to find a husband because of her stubbornness. However, because she never disobeyed the rules and norms in the society, she finally received her reward, a viscount’s son, though illegitimate, as her husband. All the angel women then received their rewards at the end of the story.
For the monster woman, Taeko, Tanizaki put so many troubles in her life. Her liaisons to some men ended sadly. Her true love died. She was banished from the family for having a pregnancy before getting married. At the end of it, her baby died during the moment of birth. Her sad ending showed that she received her punishment for all of her misdeeds in the past.
Thus, these two stereotypes, laid the concept of reward for the angel for being good and punishment for the monster for being bad.
After analyzing this novel, the writer realized that stereotype occurred in every day life in society, without being noticed by the people living within. The are given some stereotypes that often put them into some powerless states. In order to liberate themselves from any stereotypes, women have to wake up and to start figuring out who they truly are and who they truly want to be, apart from society’s assumptions and expectations.
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