2 Shigenobu Hanako


As I was walking to Braker, amongst all the bare trees, I noticed there was a single bundle of leaves dangling from a tree next to Goddard Chapel.

On a winter tree
A single leaf bundle
Waits for spring

This week of lectures elaborated on evanescence with the evolution of utsusumi towards hakanasa and mujo. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, delves into this idea of hakanasa, specifically intimate relationships of love. The narrator is in a constant state of koi (desire that cannot be fulfilled), or as she describes it, “forever in a dream world” (As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, 64). This concept of dreams is prominent in Japan, and Professor Inouye describes the relationship between hakanasa, dreams, and evanescence by saying, “dreaming is a response to evanescence . . . Some kinds of dreams do not last. Some, such as dreams of impossible love, are never fulfilled” (Inouye, 30). This cynical view is hard to accept, especially as someone who is fortunate enough to observe my parents powerful love. How would hakanasa and koi explain successful marriages? If impossible love is an unattainable dream, then what types of dreams can materialize? It is interesting to juxtapose the western and Japanese conception of dreams because, as Inouye describes, some dreams are “never fulfilled” and never last. This contrasts the western interpretation that encourages you to “follow your dreams” and “dream big” because “dreams come true”. Although one culture encourages the embracement of delusion and the other implicitly discourages it, the ability for dreams to consume thoughts and actions remains consistent across cultures. For example, the narrator in As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams expresses her desire for a fleeting romance like that told in Genji. Her koi was so potent that “in time [she] came to believe that it would actually happen”, and this longing for a romance like those in tales contributed to her constant dissatisfaction, or duhka (As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, 64).

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