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Mishima Short Story Analysis

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In Yukio Mishima's short story The Pearl, the four party guests, Mrs. Yamamoto, Mrs. Matsumura, Mrs. Azuma, and Mrs. Kazuga are faced with a problem that they all hasten to fix. This short story, which is obviously alluding to Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, is showing the different routes of action or strategies which each individual lady takes to achieve their goal. Their actions in fact imitate the Japanese military officials during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like Japanese military officials, Mrs. Sasaki acts like nothing has happened during the event, Mrs. Yamamoto plans and executes the attack, Mrs. Matsumura discovers the plan and prepares a contingency, Mrs. Azuma hopes to save others and takes the blame, and Mrs. Kasuga also plans a contingency when she learns of the deed.

Mrs. Sasaki acts like a military official during Pearl Harbor due to the fact that she acts like nothing has happened. At the end of the short story it states that: "Soon she had completely forgotten the small commotion on her birthday, and when anyone asked her age, she would give the same untruthful answers as before." (174) Mrs. Sasaki is under the same mentality that most Imperial General Staff in Japan had after the raid, that everything is the same as before. No significant action had been taken against Japan and like Mrs. Sasaki, Japanese Military officials wanted " the minimum of fuss."(162)

Mrs. Yamamoto acts like a military official during Pearl Harbor because she planned and executed the attack. Mrs. Yamamoto, whose name is an allusion to Admiral Yamamoto, the commander of the Combined Fleet and mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, is the one who caused the conflict in the first place. She describes in the taxi her "malicious plan" (167). While not even that ingenious it was still able to cause a lot of harm, like the Pearl Harbor attack. Mishima describes what Mrs. Yamamoto did in only a few lines. " While all the others were preoccupied with the cake, she had quickly slipped the pearl into the handbag left on the next chair by that insufferable hypocrite Mrs. Matsumura." (167) Mrs. Yamamoto's plan was so simplistic but still caused a devastating amount of harm. The actions of the Yamamoto in this short story accurately reflect that of the actual Admiral during World War II.

Mrs. Matsumura acts like a Japanese military official during the Pearl Harbor attacks because she plans a contingency. Matsumura is actually the name of a Japanese pilot who flew a torpedo bomber on the day of the attack. And, like Mrs. Matsumura, Mr. Matsumura also has a contingency plan. She wants to "escape the infamy of suspicion."(168) Mrs. Matsumura, after the events at the party, concocts, " a master scheme which would both salve her conscience and at the same time involve no risk of exposing her character to any suspicion." (167) Like a Japanese official she is trying to find a solution or way out of the mess. This is like what the pilot Matsumura had planned



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