Japan, just as many other countries, is built upon traditions and cultures that define the principles of the nation. However, with the emergence of Western culture and modernization, the pride is slowly fading as people embrace the new principles that come with modernity. The most vivid example of the change in lifestyles was experienced in the twenty-first century. The main reason for the loss of cultural frameworks and morality that defined the country in the past has been the rampant interaction and the encouragement of multiculturalism in the world. The research on essay writing service shows that because of this trend a lot of literature has been published illustrating the critical nature of the subject as it threatens Japan’s doctrines and philosophies. The best example is portrayed in Junichiro Tanizaki’s novel “Naomi” that depicts a young girl who is fascinated by the western culture and lifestyle and ends up living in it, and even surpasses the expectations of her husband. This piece of literature is a classic example of testimony to promote women’s liberalization and is a model of the current civilized Japanese girl.
From the start of the novel, the reader gets a glimpse of the main theme in contention in the novel. The chief protagonist, Joji, describes that the advancement of Japan’s boundaries and the new cosmopolitan image is the greatest reason for the adoption of western fashion. He states that the intermingling has led to changing roles for both women and men as people emulate the Western world in almost all aspects (Tanizaki 1).This description shows that Japan as a country is facing the great challenge of changing times because of the depiction of the protagonist about his dream woman. For example, Joji asserts that “As Japan grows increasingly cosmopolitan, Japanese and foreigner are mingling with each other, all sorts of doctrines are being introduced, both men and women are adopting up-do-date Western fashions” (Tanizaki 1). This statement creates the mood of the novel because it gets the reader to get the basics and the background of the authorship of the novel. It already proves that the woman’s native place in Japan is quickly disappearing with the emergence of confounders that are proving to be a more fulfilling life due to interactions and intermingling with other cultures.
The modern woman who he sees in Naomi also fascinates Joji. There are many occurrences that prove that the antagonist is the classic representation of the woman today of the Japan culture. Naomi is an archetypal icon to represent the woman in the twenty-first century because he fascinates Joji. In the contemporary world, it is common for the woman to be attractive to the man even if they are not married. This kind of allure is what drives Joji into bringing Naomi to his house and the eventual process of educating her. Having grown up in the upcountry and educated through the traditional system, Joji felt that he needed to be exposed more to the western culture. In the process, he meets a young girl who seems to compliment him by having all characteristics he hoped for in a woman. The protagonist is so much carried away by Naomi’s charm that he fails to realize that she is blindfolding him. In the contemporary westernized world, it is common to experience a situation in which men become delusional about their female counterparts’ beauty that they fail to reason. For instance, it is stated that “When she calls out of the beat of the dance music with a whip in her hand, it is difficult not to see her a personification of the Western culture as a stern and demanding mentor” (Tanizaki 87). The quote indicates that despite vividly being a deviation from the Japan culture, Joji’s allure makes him not realize that he had been blindfolded to an extent that he does not realize it.
The presentation of Naomi taking over her husband also symbolizes the emergent woman of the twenty-first century in not only Japan but the whole world as well. In many communities, the position of the woman has always been below the man with the male considered the head of the family. When Joji met Naomi, she was a young girl who was almost half his age, and so he decided not to make any sexual advances to her in the meantime. After educating her, they eventually married, and as expected, the position of the man in the family was bestowed. However, the major problem arose when Naomi’s manipulation got the better of his husband. Joji failed to reason and could not even see that his position as the head of the family was being overthrown. The author stated that “She was born with dissipation in her coins. It was however fated that she’d turn out this way, despite your attempts to rescue her” (Tanizaki 199). The whole narration signifies that despite all these efforts, the Westernized woman is nonetheless expected to take over the man despite owing much of their success to their husbands’ initiative as Joji did.
Other Literature on Modernization
In his book, Lu describes how the new western culture is quickly taking over the cultural structures in Japan. However, his work analyzes the subject on a different scale that in the novel “Naomi”. Lu centers his argument on the promulgation of the Melgi constitution that led to controversial topics of “bummei kaika” meaning civilization and enlightenment (345). Even though he fails to mention the details about the kind of enlightenment he is referring to in his work, it is clear that modernity and western culture had something to do with the civilization concept because it never existed in Japan history before the passing of the new constitution.
Lu then focuses on the biography of Fukuzawa Yukichi and describes how he got transformed by the western culture. The author begins the narration by outlining that Yukichi was born in Japan and began his studies in Nagasaki before ending up to learn Dutch. It is said that the subject was involved in a some travels abroad with the most frequent trips being to the United States and the United Kingdom (Lu 346). This part of the narration tallies with Tanizaki’s idea that among the greatest causes of loss in Japanese tradition is the interaction and exposure. In fact, it is said that upon his return, Yukichi decided to establish an academy in which he intended to enlighten his fellow countrymen, possibly about Western culture. Again, this aspect of the bibliography contrasts Tanizaki’s novel where the protagonist was so much involved with the western culture that he intended to enlighten them on the same. It is possible that the idea of marrying a girl who also had interests in the new culture was a perfect start to passing his message to the others about the need for embracing cultural diversity.
In the end, however, Lu seems to come into agreement with Tanizaki’s writing. The novel “Naomi” had the subject of two characters who were trying to defy all odds by living a different kind of lifestyle in Japan that was characterized by modernity and civilization. Tanizaki decides to use middle-class people to show that if Japan as a country has to embrace diversity and become civilized, the change should start with anyone irrespective of age or social class. In fact, Joji took up Naomi when she was uneducated and changed her into the modern woman who even came to outshine his logic. The concept been driven at in this case is that irrespective of one’s origin and state, it is possible to initiate change. Likewise, Lu stressed that a country’s civilization does not need to be initiated by the government through the implementation of laws. Instead, he states that it is the middlemen who are responsible for the initiation of a change in the society. In fact, he illustrates that looking at the western economy, it is rare to identify interventions in the commerce and industrial sector that were initiated by the government (Lu 346).
This comparison implies that Naomi is a justified of her moves and is a symbol of not only a representation of an emerging Japanese modern girl but also a fundamental figure in the initiation of the change that Japan is likely to face. The usage of a fifteen-year-old girl is indicative that age is less of a factor in the process of civilization because despite being twice the antagonist’s age, Joji fails to maintain his manhood position in the marriage. This incident could imply that even though someone may be young, their ability should never be underestimated.