Kaname, a sinecurist in his father’s company, a quiet, unassuming man in his mid-forties. He and his wife, Misako, agree that their marriage has ended in all but name (they still live together), but neither has the necessary decisiveness to obtain a divorce. Although the basic reason for the marriage’s failure is Kaname’s lack of sexual interest in his wife, he is equally put off by her modern ways and extreme interest in the latest fads of Western culture. Kaname, though somewhat Westernized himself, becomes increasingly interested in traditional Japanese culture, as evidenced by his growing enthusiasm for the Osaka puppet theater and in the model provided for him by the apparently satisfying relationship his father-in-law has with a young but old-fashioned mistress. The concluding implication is that he will turn away from his wife and become more interested in “doll-like” women, but it is uncertain if he can overcome his indecisiveness.
Misako, Kaname’s wife. Estranged from her husband but still living with him, Misako is a woman who has turned her back on traditional culture and ideals and tries to make herself a modern, Westernized woman. She shares her husband’s indecisiveness about her marriage, partly for the sake of their ten-year-old son, and for solace has been having an affair for the past two years. It is her interest in shallow and insubstantial Western objects and fads, as much as her sexual unattractiveness, that propels Kaname toward his increasing interest in traditional...
(The entire section is 642 words.)