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Comrade Loves of the Samurai: Songs of the…
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Comrade Loves of the Samurai: Songs of the Geishas

by Saikaku Ihara

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A very interesting short read. ( )
  AshuritaLove | Apr 7, 2013 |
Forget vampires and werewolves, the next big trend in prurient romantic literature should be samurai! Oh yes, get me some of that intense devotion and comradely love. Honor, duels, and self-sacrifice. Put Yukio Mishima's bodybuilding pics on the covers and we're set.

All jesting aside, these was a popular literary genre and a social topic in 17th-C. Japan. The aestheticization and popularization of the 'noble warrior', as well as the social manly bonds which exist perhaps only in combat (WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING). It was indeed considered praiseworthy and admirable for samurai to take on male lovers - not only of their own age, but younger (16-18 y.o.) boys and bring them up as apprentices.

These stories, about 20 pages each at most, have little parables of devotion and love. Few of them end well, with self-sacrifice and seppuku being still a major factor in military life. They're often very touching, despite the differences in centuries and cultures between us and them.

My edition not only came with Comrade Loves, but also some 30 pages of Songs of the Geisha. Song lyrics and poetry seldom preserve their rhythm or form in translation, but these maintain some plaintive beauty and beautiful imagery.

An interesting book, and as cliched as I may put it, is Universal. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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