Love Suicide of Amijima

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Love Suicide
In the Love Suicide in Amijima, the ideas of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and/or Shintoism (e.g. filial piety, chastity, salvation, karma, impermanence, etc) appear in conversations between characters, but quite differently from what we have seen in our previous readings. Choose one or two character(s), and describe how the ideas affect the ways in which he or she acts, speaks.

The ideas of Confucianism and Buddhism are highly conveyed in the play, The Love Suicides of Amijima. Within the play, these two religions both influenced a lot of the characters’ actions and conversations, especially Jihei’s and Koharu’s. Buddhism provided the religious background to these characters and Confucianism, with its emphasis on responsibilities, provided the ethical basis. Confucianism strongly stresses in the fulfillment of responsibilities by the roles in society, whether husband to wife or woman to woman. This particular teaching was the ultimate basis for the plot and conflict in The Love Suicides of Amijima. In this play, the duties as a husband and father and as a woman to another woman are illustrated and strongly affected the characters’ decisions or lack of decisions. The general outline of the story is a love triangle; Jihei, a married man falls in love with a prostitute, Koharu, is unable to “ransom” her (buy her contract from the owner), and eventually commits suicide together. Jihei’s final decision of death was based on his inability to choose between his obligation as a husband and father to Osan and his children, and his love for Koharu. Making his decision even harder was the nobility both women had towards each other; Koharu agrees to give up her love to save Jihei for Osan and Osan agrees to pawn even her own clothing to pay ransom for Koharu to save Koharu’s life. Unable to have both women, Jihei’s suicide was the only way he could deal with losing one. Without his Confucius sense of obligation to Osan, there would be no predicament and...
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