“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.