Mayko Okamoto (1889—1939) was a famous novelist during the Taisho and Showa periods in Japan. She was born in Otsuki’s family in Aoyama Minami-cho, Akasaka District, Tokyo, and graduated from Inami Girls’ School. Her brother Daikan Seikawa began to be active in campus literary circles when he was in middle school, interacting with young writers like Junichiro Tanizaki. Affected by this, Okamoto may have loved to write poetry since childhood and voted for literary publications. A wealthy family, good education and rich emotional life have had an impact on her novel creation. She is not only proficient in waka, but also has studied Buddhism, and she was already in her old age when she debuted as a novelist. “Aesthetic and coquettish” is a major feature of his works.
The Oguan family was the royal merchant who paid tribute to the shogunate and various feudal clan for generations. The wealthy family conditions provided good educational opportunities for the children. She received enlightenment education in literary works such as “The Tale of Genji” at a very young age, and entered a private school to learn Chinese. She often sang short songs in elementary school. It can be said that these childhood experiences planted the seeds of literary enlightenment for her to be active in Japanese literary circles in the future.
Possibly, when he was 13 years old, he published short songs in the magazine of Chimi Girls’ School. When he was 16 years old, he began to contribute to “Women’s Literary World” and “Yomiuri Shimbun · Literature and Art”. At this time, her brother Otsuki Akira and Tanizaki Junichiro had a deep friendship, so they helped Mayko’s literary growth a lot. At the age of 17, Mayko took the opportunity of visiting Akiko Yosano to join the “New Poetry Club” and published 6 short songs in the “Star” magazine. After that, Mayzi’s short song creation gradually formed his own unique style. From the virgin tanka collection “Slightly Jealous” to the “My Final Collection”, which announces a farewell to the tanka, it is possible to use the style of “Many Leaves Collection” to tell the reverence and praise of the mysterious vitality of nature and the life’s life. Annoyed and trying to get rid of it, readers can even read some shadows of Buddhism, and its poems have a direct impact on people’s hearts.
After graduating from Chimi Girls’ School at the age of 18, Mayko fell in love with Takeo Fushiya who had known each other for two years. However, due to his youth and opposition from people around him, love is short-lived. Unsuccessful love made Ms. May suffer a little nervous breakdown. During his recuperation, he met Ippei Okamoto, who was studying fine arts, and the two got married. However, life after marriage is not smooth. As they may be born in a large family, were spoiled since childhood, and are not good at housework and interpersonal relationships, the couple moved out of the extended family to live alone. After graduating from Ueno Art School, Ippei entered the “Asahi Shimbun” and began to create serial comics. The development of his career and the increase of income enabled him to lead a turbulent life, neglecting to take care of the family, coupled with the birth of his eldest son, Taro, a series of life pressures put their marriage into crisis. At the same time, Mayzi’s natal family fell into trouble due to the death of his brother. Soon, maybe her 8-month-old daughter also died. The constant blows made Mayko nearly collapse in life and spirit, and hovered on the verge of suicide.
Faced with the various blows in real life, it is possible to seek the way of spiritual salvation by religion. With the help of the Christian pastor Masahisa Uemura, Mayko began to understand religion, and then devoted himself to the study of Buddhism, and tried to practice Zen, which was quite learned. In 1925, Mayko published “Bath Body”, and thus emerged as a Buddhist researcher; in 1928, he published “San Huashou” in the religious column of “Yomiuri Shimbun”. The “blooming period” of Mayko’s Buddhism research results was after three years of traveling in Europe and returning to Japan. She accepted a large number of submissions for Buddhist articles and gradually became a popular figure in Buddhism. The turbulent society in the early days of the Showa era brought a strong sense of depression to the Japanese people, and people urgently needed to “seeking the heart” for salvation from me. Under the background of this era, the upsurge of Buddhism made Okamoto Mayko and made her a “Showa”. The first person to study female Buddhism”. Inspired by the religious thoughts of Master Chiluan, she conducted a systematic study of the words and deeds of the founder of the Kamakura Buddhist sect and the teachings of the eight schools. After that, she further expanded the research scope to Nagarjuna’s Mahayana Buddhism, and then combined Mahayana Buddhism with Mahayana Buddhism. The combination of Western European civilization thoughts and philosophical viewpoints established Okamoto’s unique “Philosophy of Life” and deeply integrated it into his literary creation.
If the creation of short songs, Buddhism and novels are the three major literary achievements that may be made in her life, then she undoubtedly has a kind of “first love-like enthusiasm” for the creation of novels. This creative wish was also realized after a long period of preparation, until the age of 47. In 1923, Okamoto Mayko’s family met Akutagawa Ryunosuke while staying in the summer in Kamakura. During this time, Mayko carefully observed Akutagawa and really felt the burden on Akutagawa, who was suffering from illness, and planned to use it as creative material. . The encounter with Akutagawa in Kamakura ignited Mayko’s desire to create novels. A few years later, his encounter with Akutagawa in Atami allowed Mayko to finally create the novel “Sick Crane” based on Akutagawa as the prototype.
The great inspiration and influence of Mayzi’s novel creation is also her four-year travel experience in Europe. Since her husband Ippei participated in the London Disarmament Conference as a special commissioner of the Asahi Shimbun, he might take his son and lover with him. Later, he published “Western Europe Travelogue” and received the guidance of Kawabata Yasunari. In Kawabata’s eyes, she may be “hard and hardworking”, and she can keep herself locked in the study. A series of experiences and growth made her transformed into a novelist and stepped onto the literary stage.
Since the creation of “Sick Crane” in 1936, in less than 4 years, Mayzi has published more than 20 masterpieces with an astonishing speed and momentum, ushering in the heyday of novel creation. The magnificent style of the brushwork and the strong and exaggerated language of May Zi have created a character image that contains vitality. Readers can see May Zi’s unique “life philosophy” from her works. Maybe Zi’s works do not indirectly touch the theme of “life”, but directly show strong vitality through the description of people’s life customs and psychology; in other words, they concretize the concept of “life” and make it incredible The place is shown in front of us. As she herself said: “Life” is not the life span of a creature like 50 years of life, but refers to the existence of personality, the so-called spirituality. “Death is the change of life in a certain period of time, and life is the change of death before a certain period of time.” “The energy surrounding our flesh may undergo material changes through death. As an element of actual existence in the universe, it will not leave the universe.” . (“Sick Crane”) May son believes that “life” is a cyclic body, his body mutates through death and will exist forever; the cycle of life and death, powerful and beautiful life will not really disappear from the world.
“Chaos Undivided” (1936) portrays a beautiful, persistent, and maternally charming girl with water as the background. The protagonist, Xiaochu, is a swimming coach who lives with his father. Although his family is in decline, the father and daughter are still obsessed with life in the metropolis. In order to return to the center of Tokyo, Xiaochu abandoned his young, handsome but poor first love, Kaoru. He promised to marry Bei Yuan, a rich new businessman in his 50s, to be his concubine and have children. At the end of the novel, Xiaochu faced various emotional entanglements, and finally put aside his utilitarianism, bid farewell to the original values and lifestyle, and ran into a new life without hesitation. It may be that “life” transcends the individual itself and is in a huge torrent. The sea in the novel is a symbol of the torrent. Xiaochu swims to the depths of the sea. The vast ocean has brought her more freedom, allowing her to break away from the control of men, and get rid of the domination of the traditional patriarchal order and regain a new life. The “life” of the female essence is a powerful and powerful life in the universe! The philosophy of life bred from the fusion of Western feminist thoughts and Eastern religious thoughts is rich, exuberant, and full of Buddhism.
In another novel, “Life and Life Circulation”, you can also read the concept of life and death based on Buddhism. At the end of the novel, the heroine Diezi sighed: “Yes, there is no grave in the sea.” The sea without a tomb means that there is no boundary between life and death, and life and death are one. This is exactly the Buddhist element that permeates the philosophy of life of possible son. “Buddhism looks at death from another angle. Human death is not a disappearance, but a temporary change. We just can’t see it.” “Human life is a tributary of the great life in the universe, and the great life keeps moving. The life of a man is the waves that appear when the great life flows.” Based on Buddhist thought, May Zi tirelessly portrays the cycle and reincarnation of birth and death, advocating that “life is death, death is life”, and all things have Buddha nature. The art of Mahayana Buddhism thought.
After the Meiji Restoration, a large number of Western literary works were imported into Japan, and the feminist trend of pursuing women’s liberation and equality between men and women emerged in Japan. As a member of the women’s group Qingyingsha, Mayko naturally received a strong ideological impact. In addition, the experience of studying abroad with her husband Yiping in Europe has also had a huge impact on the formation of Mayko’s feminist thoughts, and many vigorous female images are shown in her novels. “Strength of Flowers” (1937) is one of the masterpieces that can condense the strong outlook on life for women in May. The protagonist Guizi is an avant-garde flower arrangement teacher who pursues independence and can actively face no matter what difficulties he encounters. She financially assists a poor male painter Xiao Busi who is suffering from tuberculosis. Guizi, full of vitality, fell in love with male painters with less vitality, seeking a reconciliation of his personality, but this made Busch feel more pressure, and in the end the two failed to get together. This is a love tragedy caused by the huge difference in vitality. In Japan at that time, men dominated society, and most women depended on men for their lives. On the other hand, Mayzi portrays the image of a strong woman who is financially independent, successful in her career, and bravely pursuing her dreams. He also portrays the image of a weak male who is gentle and honest and depends on women’s support to survive. This completely subverts the reality of men The situation of strong women and weak women can be said to be a challenge to the feudal ideas and traditional concepts of “male superior to female inferior” during the Showa period. This strong female consciousness also contains the unique philosophy of life.
Mayko has a wealthy life like a daughter, who is entangled in emotional vortex all his life. This kind of dazzling life was also written by the Japanese writer Setouchi Haru into the novel “Dazzling Deer”. May Zi’s life experience and emotional understanding became the source of creation of characters and personalities in his future novels. Her famous work “Old Prostitutes” is known as the premier masterpiece since Meiji, telling the story of an old geisha who took a fancy to the young teak of an electric appliance shop by the old geisha and supported him to invent and create. The owner just leaves the garden and puts his feelings and yearning on teak, the old geisha’s persistent character shows a kind of “girl innocence”, which not only reflects the lament of the deserted young time, but also expresses a kind of “loneliness” towards life. Feeling”. The vivid characterization of the characters is inseparable from the possible life experience and the experience of feelings. For example, although May Zi has experienced the pain of suicide, she still maintains the “girly naive”. It can be said that this kind of innocence is the result of her husband Yiping’s care. She and her husband lead this kind of “wonderful couple life.” In order to make up for the pain of a possible suicide attempt, Ippei, who was originally a slutty, awakened from the hardships of life, as a husband, he determined to take extra care of him. So much so that after learning that she and a college student had fallen in love, they agreed to take him to live together at home. These indulgent connivances without a bottom line have made possible the “wonderful perception of women’s love”. The incredible life experience of living with her husband and lover is also shown in his literary works, forming its distinctive features. Similarly, when the old geisha in the work is old and declining, she is still full of enthusiasm for new life and yearning for new things. She shifted the focus of life to helping young people realize their careers, trying to extend their lives from young people. She adopted her daughter Daozi and let her go to school; she helped the young man Teak, only asking him to invent new things. Even though Fanghua is dead, the old geisha is still obsessed with challenging the years, and she can still feel the strong life force in her. This interpretation of life is sometimes even counter-growing and incredible. For example, even though they are getting older, older geishas have smooth and elastic skin that are not inferior to younger women. It may be possible to express the splendor of life with unnatural reverse growth, as the Waka at the end of the novel wrote: “Aging has deepened my sadness year after year, but my life has become more prosperous and bright day by day.”
Even though the years have increased, May Zi still doubled down on the vigorous vitality of “freshness” and “ideal”. The characters portrayed in her works are full of a gorgeous vigor that will never give up even if she is sad. “The Spirit of the Family”, which was selected as a Japanese middle school textbook and a must-read work for Japanese nationals, is one of the masterpieces of May’s late period. It tells the story of Kumiko, the protagonist of a loach soup that has been passed down from generation to generation called “Ming”, and listens to him in the narrative of Tokunaga, the sculptor who comes here every night to beg for the loach soup. Redeem each other in life with my mother, thus gaining the courage to face fate. The loach soup that the old man Tokunaga asks for every night runs through the novel. According to the old man’s self-report, the loach soup is not only a tonic for health, but also spiritual comfort from it, which will save him from the sorrow and pain in the world. It was rescued so that his bone marrow could also feel the power of life, so he could continue to live. The hairpin polished by Tokunaga is the sustenance of his mother’s life, and his mother’s loach soup is the solace of Tokunaga’s life. Through the exchange of the crystals of their lives, one polishes the skills, the other guards the home, and maintains the will to survive. The people whose lives are declining, those who are embarrassed, and those who are hesitated in “The Spirit of Family” are all throbbing in the changes of life and the passage of time, reflecting the desire for “life”. No matter how difficult life is, as long as you stick to it, someone will use their lives to comfort you.
Mayko Okamoto has a complicated and legendary life, and her love life is also very rich. It can be said that the characters successfully portrayed in her works have benefited from the tedious fate and the dazzling erotic entanglements. Mayko Okamoto’s real time for writing novels was only three short years before his death, but he wrote a series of excellent works, and quickly attracted the attention of male writers and critics including Kawabata Yasunari. In Kawabata Yasunari’s eyes, it may be a “noble and plump beauty”. A literary woman like her will no longer appear in the future. He “can’t help but feel that the warmth around him is gone.”
In the first half of her life, Mayko Okamoto devoted herself to writing Japanese songs, which laid a solid foundation for future novel creation; and her study of Buddhism provided her with the wings of thought to examine life from a deeper perspective; coupled with her unrestrained personality , The wonderful life experience, under the combined effect of these factors, has achieved the magnificent pen style and profound connotation of the works. Her works broke through the traditional creative consciousness, exuding a special temperament independent of the mainstream aesthetic consciousness, and became unique in the Japanese literary world in the early days of the Showa era. Maybe the son described himself as “a camel with three humps” during his lifetime. The “three humps” are Japanese songs, religions, and novels. “I will carry them through the desert of life.” In her short life of 50 years, it is through these “three humps” that she has created a series of unique works, and has created one image after another with full of vitality. From these characters, we can see the pursuit and interpretation of life by possible son, as the famous translator Wen Jieruo once praised: “With very gorgeous brushwork, it expresses women’s desire and enthusiasm for life.”