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I certainly think that part of Shinji's character is his sense of honor. Shinji operates on several levels with a sense of honor, befitting of his love for Hatsue. When he immediately sees her and is struck by her beauty, he does not covet her for himself. Rather, he goes to the temple of the Sea God and prays to be worthy of someone like her. This shows a sense of honor and adherence to a code of conduct that represents a form of spiritual excellence. This is on display at the end of the narrative as he navigates the ship from challenge and harrowing conditions. I think that this code of honor enables him to treat others with a dignity that is not seen in other characters in the story. Shinji does not act with the malice of Chiyoko. He also does not act with the arrogance of Yasuo. Mishima might be making a statement that the character of those who are not corrupted by the urban settings with machinations of manipulation are more honorable than those who are. In the rural setting of the story, Shinji represents a type of honor and dignity that is something Mishima covets and wishes to exalt.
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