Detailed Notes on 'Spring Snow' by Yukio Mishima

Book Report/Review
Pages 5 (1255 words)
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Haru no Yuki (1968) is the first novel in Yukio Mishima's tetralogy called "Sea of Fertility" written during 1968-1970. It was translated from the Japanese by Michael Gallagher into the English Spring Snow. Set in the early decades of the 20th century, the novel is the story of Kiyoaki Matsugae and Satoko Ayakura.


Set against the background of the period of transition in Japan, known as the Taisho period, the main action of the novel starts on 27 October 1912 and ends in March 1914. Satoko visits the Matsugaes with her aunt and has a crush on Kiyoaki. Kiyoaki, aware of this, tries to remain indifferent although he feels attracted towards her as well. It is so because he makes it a point to live a "correct" life, one that is characterized by morality and steadfast principles. Such a way of life does not allow falling in love as it amounts to being weak, immoral and vulnerable to the opposite sex.
One of the major themes of the novel is the cultural decadence prevalent in the Japanese society due to westernization. It can be found in the scene in which the Marquis Matsugae throws a party for his friend Prince Toin, in which the guests are preposterously half-Westernized in their attire: "Marquis Matsugae, watched his son's part in the festivities, absorbing the boy's brilliant appearance in his beautiful ceremonial costume, and savoring the complacency of a man who sees a lifelong dream fulfilled" (10). Marquis is, thus, an anglophile in spite of his view that the western society takes advantage of the Japanese community. ...
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