online great books

#64- Transmitting Culture in Mishima’s The Sound of Waves

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This week, Scott and Karl read The Sound of Waves, a 1954 novel by the Japanese author Yukio Mishima.

The novel follows Shinji and his romance with Hatsue, the beautiful daughter of the wealthy shipowner, on the island of Uta-Jima (Song Island). It’s a charming coming-of-age story, but as Scott points out, “There’s not a reformer in this book.”

Do you believe it is the obligation of a good and just society to protect the material circumstances in a place?

To this point, Scott adds, “If all the material circumstances in life change from generation to generation, then my experiences are completely irrelevant to my children. I’m unable to transfer my wisdom or my culture to my kids because everything has changed.”

Karl says, “I don’t know you can escape the change of material conditions… that just means you should hold on tighter to the spiritual conditions, the traditions.”

Tune in to hear more about this heartwarming story that will make you think about the way things are, the way they were, and maybe the way things ought to be.

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Comments

  1. Greg

    I found you guys thanks to the School Sucks podcast. I guess I’m hooked now.
    Try reading Forbidden Colors some time. It’s on the totally opposite end of the spectrum. That was the first of his books I tried reading and had to give it up after about 30 pages. It’s just too screwed up.
    I eventually came back to Mishima and read Sound of Waves and The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea which are by far his tamest books. Such simple beautiful stories, as you said.
    If you ever immerse yourself into is more bizarre works you’ll probably want to watch Paul Shrader’s A Life in Four Chapters. It’s an absolutely amazing film but it makes no sense if you haven’t read any of the novels it references (one of which is not in English, yet).
    Anyway, keep up the good work.

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