The Importance of Names in The Sound of
In Japanese culture, the truth of a person
lies within his or her name. In Mishima's The Sound of Waves, the
protagonist's name, Shinji, means "to have faith and
confidence." When a typhoon hits the Utajima-maru, Shinji is
the only seaman who volunteers to swim through the violent waters and
fasten one of the ship's cables to the buoy. Despite
violent waves and blustering winds, Shinji's confidence guides him
through the storm Mishima describes: "The wind came attacking out of the black
reaches of the night, striking him full in the body, but to Shinji,
accustomed to rough weather, the heaving deck on which his poised feet
were firmly planted was nothing but a stretch of earth that was frankly
a bit out of sorts." Clearly, fierce weather does not phase the determined
and confident protagonist.
Hatsue, Shinji's love, translates as
"original thought or idea." When Shinji first sees Hatsue, she is alone, staring off to the sea, as if in
a different world altogether. Hatsue is an
individual. Unlike the class-conscious society in which she lives,
Hatsue clearly does not place value on money or social status. She yearns to marry Shinji, a poverty-stricken young
man, not Yasuo, Shinji's rival, despite
the fact that Yasuo is her social equal. Hatsue disregards
society to follow her own heart, supporting the meaning of
her name, "original idea."
Busch, Noel. The Horizon Concise History of Japan. New York.:
Kamakau, Samuel. The Family and Ie. 15 June 1997. Richard Gid Enterprises.
16 October 2002.
The New Parents Guide. 6 May 1999. Saf Enterprises Inc. 14 Oct. 2002.