Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Yokohama. Major Japanese seaport that represents the symbolic place where the land or human culture meets the sea or untamed nature. Noboru, like many boys, is fascinated by the dark call of dangerous foreign seas and the apparently unfettered life of a sailor. This fascination represents an adolescent and romanticized vision of life that is the opposite of the land-bound bourgeois existence he and his friends detest in the adult world they see in Yokohama. Noboru shares this view of the authentic life with Ryuji Tsukazaki who, when he was a young man, had become a sailor for similar reasons. Tsukazaki’s plan to marry Noboru’s mother and abandon his sailor’s life to become a manager in the Kuroda clothing shop in Yokohama is a large element in what the boy and his friends see as a betrayal of their romantic vision. It is also what gives the psychological impetus to the imminent act of terrible violence planned by the group of boys that looms at the novel’s conclusion.

Kuroda home

Kuroda home. Stately home built by Noboru’s now-deceased father. From its hilltop location, it commands a beautiful view of Yokohama Bay. The family bedrooms are on the second floor, and Noboru is locked in his room every night by his overprotective mother, Fusako.

Bedrooms often serve as literary topos, or themes, in which the subjective and irrational sides of the human personality are prominent: Bedrooms...

(The entire section is 573 words.)