by Junichiro TANIZAKI
I'm just finished reading The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi. It is out of my imagination. The story opens me a new perspective of Japanese samurai life. Well, a bit 'darker' one. For some sensitive issues on the novel, I DO NOT encourage you - under 20 years old - to read this work and my review. Those who's consider as adult may continue.
The story of The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi had Terukatsu as the main character. His first encounter as a 'hostage' during a siege in Ojika Castle. At 13 years old, he couldn't join the war but stayed behind with females. However, during this time, he had experienced the women's work behind the war. It was usual that a samurai would beheaded the enemy and brought it back to the castle. There, the women would clean it up, make-up, tied the hair properly, and labeled it. This was impressively explained in details by Tanizaki.
Terukini found out that one of the young female there was finding pleasure when she worked on a woman-head. This is a term for a head without nose. He became obsessed to bring her a woman-head just to see her smile. He made it, somehow. But here was the point where his action of cutting and killing his enemy's leader's brought him another matters.
This story is brilliant, in my opinion. I can sense the horror, the thrill, the adventure, the romance, and up from everything, the humor! Well, I know it's bad to laugh on the speaking man without nose, but I cannot hold myself when I reach that part. And I think it is worth to read as you cannot really suspect how the story would go and end up.
I just start reading Arrowroot which is a second a story from the novel that is publised by Tuttle Publishing. Even that this one is a short novel - if a not a very short novel - I am enjoying the way Tanizaki describe the history behind the the Kuzu village and the legend of Heavenly King that is the main topic of the story. As two friends - a writer and a student whom originally from that area visited Imoseyama area. They would discover more about the lost imperial court, the jade, and the drum.. Where this story would drag the reader, I still cannot guess.. but I find it interesting.. so, I'm back to read again!