Wednesday, September 11, 2019

As Eastern Slurps Met Western Soup

Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫 Mishima Yukio) was the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka , a Japanese author, poet, playwright, Japanese nationalist, and founder of the “Tatenokai,” or Shield Society. The Tatenokai was a private militia in Japan, which was dedicated to traditional Japanese values and veneration of the Emperor. It was founded and led by Mishima, considered one of the most influential Japanese authors of the 20th century. After WWII, “lamenting the rise of Coca-Cola in Japan, General Douglas McArthur, and the dimming glow of the Emperor's sun,” Mishima longed for the olden days of “bushido” –– a time when nationalism, honor and dignity seemed so effortlessly bound together. He committed suicide in 1970 after a failed attempt to overthrow the post-war, Japanese government.

Japan’s Top Novelist Frowns on Western Etiquette, Says Slurping of Soup Okay

An Atlanta Georgia ramen restaurant display to order one’s soup from 

TOKYO, Jan. 1 — Slurp your soup and prove you are no social sheep. So advises Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’s most popular postwar novelists. “Amidst a quiet first class restaurant,” Mishima admits, “it requires social courage.” The 33-year old author frowns on efforts-to cram Western table manners down Japanese throats. “Never to make noise when you have soup,” he argues, “is to force Western etiquette on the Japanese who have been used to noisily slurping soybean soup and tea since childhood.” And girls, he argues, are too easily influenced by books on superficial etiquette. 

He quotes a confession appearing in a women’s magazine: “The first time I went out with him to dine, my boy friend started sipping soup with the ‘z-z-zhu’ sound as if he were swallowing a bowl of noodles down his throat. Instantly I felt sick physiologically . . . since then I’ve had no affection for him.” Mishima says such confessions usually appear in women’s magazines under special subjects as “Delicacy of Love Psychology.” “This kind of women’s psychology has nothing to do with feminine delicacy but rather with vanity,” he says. “What is elegant is what is decided by the greater numbers of a society.” – Shin Nichibei, 1959

Etiquette Enthusiast, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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