Posted by: Teeif | 29 May, 2008

Kurenai 07: The art of sacrifice

Kurenai 07 - eatKurenai 07 - suicide

Kurenai 07

Murasaki’s preparation for her induction into the insane asylum continues as Tamaki takes her on a day out to her university. Fooling everyone, Tamaki is actually using the little girl for sympathy as she was heading for a formal breakup with her boyfriend. Her egocentricism is swiftly rewarded as she hits heartbreak cafe, her feminist wall shattered by rejection then atomised by betrayal. Yet the whole valueless side-character development was essentially inserted to facilitate Marasaki’s discovery by a random lolikon loyal to the Kuhouins.

The other three women of reference to the title are far more interesting: Yuuno, Benika and Souju (Murasaki’s late mother). Apparently, Yuuno is now a cheap, deceptive woman whose image of being loose and useful is a lie. Har, har har!

More seriously, Benika, it is revealed was in the employment of the Kuhouins and when she quit, she carried Murasaki off with her – as shown in the opening scene of Kurenai. Quite why someone who is connected, rich and, for me, manipulative finds herself caught up with the Kuhouins is a mystery. Why Benika would risk the retribution of the Kuhouins on the wishes of a dead woman is yet another mystery.

For me, the reasons for the suicide of Souju is a greater mystery. As a troubled and heartbroken woman, it is easy to label extreme depression as the cause of suicide.  Her supposed selfish escape from psychological pain is polluted by an air of sacrifice. She did for Murasaki.

How does that work?

Murasaki loses her real mother and gained little on the outset. Benika’s rescue operation is of irrational benefit and the Kouhin’s plans to have Murasaki become a Miko seem unchanged. However I concede this analysis as simplistic and rooted in western perceptions.

Souju was cursed, even in her death, for holding a Hina doll – this represents her daughter and thus used to bestow luck. Another Confucian belief I shall never understand; the belief in luck. Further, Souju left a suicide note for Murasaki saying it was fated. That is puzzling, suicide is a decision, right?

Japan is a country with an embarrassingly high suicide rate. The history and culture contains many examples of heroic suicides by Samurai and others, sometimes for puzzling concepts such as dishonour. I think Suicide is seen as morally acceptable due to difference for Confucian based societies in perception of the individual? Souju’s suicide in Kurenai is just a scratch in a deeply puzzling issue.

~ Teeif.


  1. […] died while holding onto this doll. Oh wait, there’s someone who discussed it (a little), Teeif. Even Japanese blogs never seemed to have mentioned anything about this, I guess this was no longer […]

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