Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale > 51 | 2015 > Construction and Deconstruction of a Myth

Construction and Deconstruction of a Myth

The Vision of Komachi from Traditional Noh to the Contribution of Mishima Yukio and Enchi Fumiko

Daniela Moro    Università degli Studi di Torino- University of Turin    



The figure of medieval Japanese poet Ono no Komachi has been one of the most controversial and inspiring of Japanese literary tradition and it is at the centre of a number of works and Noh plays. This essay analyzes how her image is interpreted in the modern Noh play by Mishima Yukio, and the novel Komachi hensō (transformations of Komachi) by Enchi Fumiko, while keeping the original Noh Sotoba Komachi (Komachi on the stupa) as reference. The two protagonists in Mishima’s play – old Komachi and the poet – are generally interpreted and explained by Mishima himself as allegories of dry and cynical realism versus dreamlike romanticism and self-deception. Nevertheless, making reference to the theory of lieux de mŽémoire by Pierre Nora, it is showed that the tendency to self-deception occurs in both protagonists. The visions that emerge in the two modern works are similar: indeed, the figure of Komachi becomes a metaphor for the idea of the impossibility of fixing an identity in regard to the passage of time, and shows the deception at the base of the idea of an abiding self, which is in line with many contemporary theories of the construction of identity.

June 24, 2015
Copyright: © 2015 Daniela Moro. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.