Fumiko Enchi’s Masks (translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter) begins in Kyoto, where Tsuneo Ibuki and Toyoki Mikame, two university lecturers. Masks is a fascinating novel in which the author. Enchi Fumiko successfully demonstrates her remarkable skill of weaving classical literature into contemporary. The author of a highly praised modern translation of The Tale of Genji in addition to many novels and short stories, Fumiko Enchi is perhaps Japan’s most.

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Ibuki and Mikame are two men fascinated by the same women, Yasuko. What’s rare is to tell the truth about the origin. After a banquet dinner that evening, Ibuki returns with Yasuko and Mieko to the Togano household.

MASKS by Fumiko Enchi | Kirkus Reviews

Sorry, but your browser needs Javascript to use this site. Her son had died in an avalanche a year prior to the events of Masks. All those she comes in contact with are in her theater, and she wrote the script, designed the set, and directed the play. Yasuko then turns her attention to the essay The Shrine in the Fields whereupon Mieko reveals that it was intended for her lover who died from a disease contracted at the front after having been conscripted to China.

Masks | The Japan Times

If you want to venture into this work, I recommend briefly reading up on Noh, even for a few minutes, for a more comprehensible and enjoyable reading experience. How does one even start to explain a novel which has many allusions to the Japanese Noh masks, suggestive of the different faces women wear, the concealed feelings they carry, the silent strengths they possess? If anything, I’m now encouraged to read that book and many other books with Japanese settings, seeing as how Enchi now has me enthralled with Japanese mysticism and storytelling that in some ways runs parallel to West African and Latin American storytelling textures.


At a meeting of her poetry circle some months later, Mieko is presented with the gift of a noh mask from the old master visited in the first part of the book, now deceased. The two scholars in love with Yasuko read it, as do we for clues to understand her and her mother-in-law, the enchanting yet subpar poet Mieko.

The two women keep everyone they use guessing at their purposes, Masks, by Fumiko Enchi, is about two psychologically twisted women. I didn’t think I would be so smitten by the vindictively clever Mieko, the poet, and Yasuko, her daughter-in-law and research assistant, yet I was. Preview — Masks by Fumiko Enchi.


In this respect alone, how interpretation effects the present, we can see how culture is transmitted from one generation to the next. It also highlights the masks that they constantly wear, shifting from one to the other, constantly to keep revealing their true face. Okay, I don’t think that the revenge plans were all that interesting after the build up of inward soul searching of Mieko. Such was the captivating power this childish act.

When you know the masks as well as we do, they come to seem like the faces of real women. To newcomers, this may be exactly what turns them off from going any further, and understandably so; however, to me this is a treat that I did not expect. See all 22 reviews. She who lays out her cards and plays her hand well – And No longer mere object, no longer prey. Customers who viewed this item also viewed.


Masks is the story of vindictiveness, passion, jealousy and vengeance, of women in solidarity aiming to achieve retribution against men, to perpetrate “a crime only women could commit. Mieko has an affair with another man and it was to him that she births a boy and fumikko girl.

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The text follows these characters through a succession of ufmiko settings a seance, an exhibition of theatrical masks at a noh master’s house, etc. Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals.

In this book- the character of Yasuko — in many American counterparts of post WWII nourish literature- would be a femme fatale. Two streaks on the cheeks, one pat on the nose, then the forehead and remaining three strokes on the neck. She is fukaibut no more a stolid bearer of pain. An intriguing, thought-provoking read, that expands our literary horizons! On another instance, during the New Year’s holidays, Mikame visits the Ibuki household where he announces that he has proposed fumik Yasuko.

As if to escape that solemnity, they were lavish with praise, exclaiming over the masks like foreigners. It penetrates unaided through the joins ellipses.

Her seductions are an attempt to escape and less an attempt to destroy. Of course, someone gets their feelings hurt, but since this is in no way the average drama of tumiko protagonists, the conclusion could come as a surprise; in fact, it may even break your heart a little.