Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Kochan, a student. Born in 1925, Kochan is a sickly child who is subject to periodic bouts of illness. As a result, he is excluded from close personal relationships with boys of his age and grows up with little understanding of what normal boys are like. He is latently homosexual and aware of his attraction for other males at a very early age. He makes attempts, nevertheless, to be like those around him, even going as far as convincing himself that he is in love with Sonoko. It is only when her brother asks if he intends to marry her and after he fails to have any physical response to a prostitute that he finally accepts that he can never be like other men, even though he must put on a public act that he is the same as everyone else.
Omi, a student. A young man in his early teens, he is several years older than the students in his class and as a result is more physically developed than they are. The combination of his physical attractiveness and the fact that he is considered wicked and therefore a loner attracts Kochan, who falls in love with Omi. Omi is arrogantly superior to the students around him but not unkind to Kochan, although he is aware of the passion Kochan feels for him. Omi is expelled from school during the summer break, and Kochan never sees him again.
Sonoko, a student. Younger than Kochan, she is the sister of one of his few friends, Kusano. She is a...
(The entire section is 380 words.)
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The Characters (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
Confessions of a Mask is tantalizingly autobiographical. The narrator-protagonist is born the some year as Yukio Mishima, into similar social and familial circumstances. Furthermore, the narrator is nicknamed Kochan, a common diminutive form of Kimitake, Mishima’s real given name. Mishima’s homosexuality and fascination with death are well documented, and one of the better-known photographs of Mishima depicts him as a loincloth-clad Saint Sebastian, complete with arrows protruding from his sides—and his left armpit. Mishima’s fascination with death eventually led to his seppuku (ritual suicide), which was a media event in 1970. Yet however closely Confessions of a Mask may conform with the circumstances of Mishima’s youth, it should still be read as a novel.
The narrator-protagonist is a psychological portrait of a sexually anomalous male growing up in modern Japan. He is a sexual invert, a homosexual, and one with an attraction to thanatos. When he becomes aware of his anomaly, he hopes either for death in war or else the ability to carry on a heterosexual masquerade. The dashing of his hopes fills him with anguish and emptiness, and he may be viewed as a societal and sexual misfit who is the victim of a genetic quirk.
The other characters of the novel, major and minor alike, are neither independent nor rounded out but exist strictly for their relationship to the narrator-protagonist. Omi, the narrator’s school...
(The entire section is 286 words.)