Mitsusaburo (Mitsu) Nedokoro
Mitsusaburo (Mitsu) Nedokoro, a young academic aristocrat. A stoic man, he is depressed by two events: the suicide of a friend and the birth of his first child, who is mentally retarded. He notes the details of his wife’s depression and her consumption of alcohol, but he feels powerless to change their situation. After the return to Japan of Taka, his younger brother, he consents to a return to their native village to begin life anew. There they are both swept up in research on a peasant revolt in 1860, led by an ancestor. They are also overwhelmed by an awareness of their two dead siblings—an older brother named S. and a young retarded sister. Mitsu tries to balance Taka’s romantic versions of their family’s deaths through logic and cynicism.
Takashi (Taka) Nedokoro
Takashi (Taka) Nedokoro, a reformed student activist. A charismatic young man in his twenties, Taka returns from the United States determined to seek his roots in his native village. Along with a small band of followers, and with his brother and sister-in-law, he completes the arduous journey. Once there, Taka sells the homestead and unilaterally decides to invest the money in a football team. Prone to violence and distortion of events, both past and present, he seduces Natsumi without remorse, murders a young woman senselessly, and finally confesses to his brother his incestuous relationship with their sister. He...
(The entire section is 487 words.)