A Review of the Japanese play Twilight of a Crane

“One day, Yohyō, a poor but kind farmer, helps a crane struggling who with getting out of a trap. Later, a woman names Tsu comes to visits Yohyō and tells him that she wants to marry him, and so they become a husband and a wife. Tsū weaves beautiful textiles. Yohyō makes some money by selling it, but Tsū never allows him to look into the room when she is weaving. Sōdo and Unzu, money-hungry people, tempt Yohyō to ask Tsū to make more textiles. When Tsu complies, they and Yohyō finally break Yohyō’s promise and look into the secret room. It turns out that Tsū is a crane and she has been weaving the textiles by using her own feathers. When Tsū realizes Yohyō broke his promise, she changes herself back into a crane and flies away. ”

-Wikipedia: Junji Kinoshita.

Junji Kinoshita’s ‘Twilight of a Crane’ is a piece that examines the theme of love in an eccentric manner, and the unconventionality comes from the character play of the show. Romantic love, is ususally associated with two human hearts, but in this case, Tsu is a crane that takes the form of a human female, who falls in love with Yohyo. The characters themselves are quite interesting, and the text provides us with images of flawed individuals, leaving little to imagination. Particularly the characters of Tsu and Yohyo, when subjected to scrutiny, reveal some similarities and differences.

Tsu, is beautiful and pure, and is capable of showing great love, and understands the value of love, and struggles to stick to that image of a perfect relationship.

“I’ve been really happy wrapped up in your love and singing and playing with the children”

She is grateful to Yohyo for saving her life, and thus lives for him, and worships him. They live well together, and Yohyo loves Tsu with all his being. She is a creature with simple needs who abides by the laws of nature, and is thrilled by the little things in life. She is intelligent, as she learns the human way of life, and adjusts to her role of being Yohyo’s wife, really well. But she does not understand the language of materialism that is a significant part of human life and considers it an unwanted thing that corrupts and manipulates purity.

“They are trying to convert you into their way of thinking”

 She recognizes the evil in Sodo and Unzu right away and begs Yohyo to stay away from them. She is principled, and leaves Yohyo, as the wickedness in Sodo and Unzu begin to creep into him as well.

Yohyo too, is capable of extraordinary love, and kindness, as he saves Tsu, then a crane who was struck by the ignoble hands of merciless humans. He too is pleased by the small wonders of life, the little happy moments that are offered by fate. But as opposed to Tsu, he is a trifle ignorant and a little dense. He is easy to manipulate as was proven by Sodo and Unzu.

“I’ll go to Kyoto just to make a lot of profit”

He was pure at heart and simple minded before capitalistic Sodo and Unzu distorted him. Tsu always told him to stay away from them, but he defied her word every time until he was consumed by materialism, and it brought him grave consequences.

“I can no longer take the shape of a woman, I have to go back again to the old sky by myself…”

 He could not see through Sodo’s and Unzu’s deceit and continued to trust them instead of his wife, and that led to their separation.

Yohyo and Tsu, moved in sync with each other as, for a time, their hearts beat to the same rhythm. But Yohyo’s gullible mind and Tsu’s intelligence was the thing that set them apart and that difference led to the end of their relationship. Tsu’s bond with minimalism and Yohyo’s urge for more made them stand on two ends of a wide chasm that had no bridge to span the distance.

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Deranged Youth

What does love know, that I do not? Broken hearts, and lies

Pained screams, played games and sorrowful cries

Nothing that cannot be drowned by a shot or two

Nothing a cigar can’t undo, for the sake of being true

So I walk down that path of the hurt youth

To the club, and pent myself on the ways of the crude

Regretting everything once the alcohol wears off

Hating my nerve and my desire to be tough

Hating the recklessness that makes youth what it is

The want to answer the never ending quiz

Of life in inventive ways and take the experiences

Up a notch, and forget about the differences

But just be that which people call young

All youth, no matter how sassy or high strung

No matter how broken, or how perfect

It is the same addictions that make us so wrecked

It is the fact that we cannot accept life as it is

Our pursuit for happiness coming before everything else

Always counting on our headstrong heart for courage

Well, that’s what makes millennials so deranged.

Pitiful Life

Pitiful life, is it wrong to fear you?

Is it so wrong to want to leave, because I do

For I no longer see the beauty of the sky’s blue

And I do not feel the comfort of the winds that blow

Painful life, I do not know when

Your injustice will end and when

You will cease to bring pain

To these delusional humans who hope, all in vain

Who claim that the moonlight shows the way

That light keeps the darkness away

That a little white can wipe the traces of black and grey

And that love and kindness will stop decay

Cursed life, I shall leave for it is my wish to be myself

Tis better than this, for in death one cannot lose oneself.

Tempered

The smoke burns my lungs, but I relish the feeling

For it is the only thing that is real, in this life with no meaning

For it lets me feel free, while I’m still stuck on the ground

I’m trying find love,but it seems that love doesn’t want to be found

I can’t break out of my bonds that ties me to righteousness

So I convinced myself that the only cure for my pain is foolishness

I grew out of my romantic imaginings, to face the reality of life

And I suppose it was different, and I couldn’t take the strife

I never learn from my mistakes, and I don’t listen to advice

For I know that all help, comes with a price

I know that I’m alone, and that I’m not what I should be

And I know I’m not interested in being what you want to see

Though I’m a wreck, I am happy for I am not in debt

Not to you, or them or to anyone that I have met

With the course of time, I learned to accept my fate

So I live my life, for late, is never too late

Love by Death

My heart renders me a memory, that holds a promise within

How your delicate lips formed a smile that held youth in it

How your hands felt entwined in mine with our fingers brushing

This will I remember, dead so much as I’m living

It is cold out here, but the breeze is welcoming

Leading me towards the end, as if it understands my feelings

How my heart aches to be with you, a love forgotten not by your leaving

Here, on this ledge I see you, and I do not doubt what I am seeing

You smiled at me that day, the last day I saw you breathing

I let go of your hand then, I regret, I didn’t know what I was doing

If only I had held you, now it wouldn’t be so hurting

But I chose not to, so I should bear my sorrowful singing

For my heart sings of you everyday,waiting and longing

But I resent you just a little for you left me not belonging

Where they confuse love with lust, in a world so unforgiving

And the boundary blurs between piety and sin

They confuse light with darkness and make all brightness dim

I was drawn to you as you were different from those beings

For where they saw black and grey, you saw reds and the greens

I loved you for your flame that burnt brighter than the rest

It was brighter than the sky, when the the sun dipped in the west

And ’tis my desire to see it again, so I step off this ledge

So that I can be with you forever and fulfill my pledge

Bird

How do you fly north without the proper direction?

Do you follow the wind, or do you fly towards the horizon?

Why does the sky feel so far away to those of us on earth?

With our feet firmly planted, unlike you, who are light since birth.

Have we not done enough in life, we wonder, to be allowed

The privilege of riding the wind? To be wrapped in, and be followed

By the love of our kin? Why must we fight among ourselves?

And turn the beauty of this world into infinite ugliness itself?

We stare at the sky and its children, whose wings

Seem to never tire of their long journeys, and their soothing songs

Lull the most wicked of us to peaceful and fearless sleep.

We build what we can, and we climb mountains so steep

To be one with the vast expanse of breathtaking blue.

But those creations of nature with no diction like ours are true

To their purpose, and they fly, and they live to balance reality and dreams

As we look to them and we dream, or for ourselves deem

Reality, and myth and we choose to live in our version of the world

Believing it to be true, though we see for ourselves we do not wish to be purged

Of our poor imaginings, and we continue to look at each other

And differentiate as extravagance and vileness but we do not bother

Ourselves with the plights of others and we live a tiring life

Contrasting to the life of peace that they spend and instead strive

To run over others and we take it upon ourselves tread down on

Those we deem to be lesser than us, wanting forever be on the spot.

Me

When looking in the mirror, I’m afraid to see myself,

For I am scared of what I might find, will I be able to face

The truth? Will I still refuse to acknowledge what stares at me?

Will I still deny the very things my eyes can see?

I do not know whether it is so wrong, to feel fear, and fear it.

But ’tis what I was taught, so I follow my mind, to avoid falling into the pit

That so many others fell into, those who followed their hearts

So I refrain from making mistakes, afraid as always to be a part

Of failed dreams and hopes, but I never succeed in this venture

For I am human, like those who failed, and I know that I am a pretender

Who tries hard to not let her mask slip, to keep up her well built facade

Who everyday reinforces her already strong brocade

She built to keep away the monsters and demons, who haunted her

To no end, until she learnt to know how to blur

All the horrid memories, So that she can continue living

So I live as normally as possible, walking on the path, sometimes running

Vegas

One step, then another, head upturned

In my heart, something churned

The marvel, the wonder of this city of lights

And how its beauty made it shine so bright

So bright, that my eyes hurt looking

At the colorful billboards and the high towers

So tall, that the smaller one storeys seemed to cower

Before them, and how the temptations seemed

To have taken over the souls whose weak minds deemed

Everything here to be of uncountable worth

That everything here looked to be filled with mirth

But my eye seemed to grasp things under the surface

What seemed a blessing, was actually a curse

And I wonder whether they are so blinded by the lights

That they do not see the ugliness of the drunken fights

But they consider it to be everyday life

What is abnormal for me, is to them not a surprise

So I turn back, retrace my steps back to the familiar

For I fear that the destruction of my piety is near

If I stayed here any longer i might become a sinner

Without knowing it, be blinded by the colors and the glitter

So I turn away, from it all

All of their tempts and wants

Burdened by the resistance I lack

Never to come back.

The Stone

The stone that goes skipping through the water,

Will, for a long way, travel without falter

Yet it falls, when the force leaves it.

And it will sink, to the bottom where it will sit

Unmoving, as if dead, for it’s time is at an end

Now it can do nothing, to send

Away those who trouble it, those who annoy

It has no choice but to give way to ploy

For it is too weak to stop injustice and cruelty

It can do nothing but blame the faulty

Thus it will wither away from the world, suffering,

For a long time, weighed down by its weakness, blaming

None, but understanding the way of the world

Reminiscing, yet not weeping for the surge

Of power it felt in its early days when it was young and pure

Knowing of the only existing cure

For unhappiness, is within itself

This way, we, a handful of us find ourselves

In our memories, and we live our last days

In happiness, as they say

Those of us who fall with grace,

Need not be ashamed of our face.

Blossom

You, the epitome of purity itself, as light as a soul

Of innocent thoughts, one out of the ordinary rules

Open your eyes and see, the vast blue sky

That holds a thousand hopes and flights,

Beautiful dreams, that begin in the hearts

Of creators of laughs and smiles that part

Not with the world, in a hundred years

With regard to those who need them to be present

Those who receive them through the moon of crescent

And pass them onto the inhabitants of the world

Open your petals and give poets their words

To pen your name onto the story of Terra

Open your petals and be born to this world of love

Before you pass onto the world above.