I really enjoyed reading Gabriel’s alternate ending to The Love Suicide at Amijima. His reconstruction gives Koharu individual strength over Jihei, allowing her to be a more dynamic character. By omitting their suicides in favor of realizations of their lives’ values, it becomes a story of two people accepting reality. Interestingly, and in a very satisfactory way, this ending seems to work better with the title because the love, rather than the lovers, is what dies.
Koharu’s soliloquy in the beginning is particularly impactful to me; there are a few things there that effectively give her more depth. The fact that she reveals she had attempted suicide once before is powerful in itself, but her direct questioning of Jihei’s perspective is what really got me thinking. At the end, when Jihei acknowledges that he does not have the “strength” to die, her questioning comes to fruition when she corrects him that “it takes strength to stay.” That line gives the ending direction-which the original ending was, frankly, bereft of-in a way that is not only more fulfilling, but more thematically rich than the finality of death.
The use of imagery in the following line is subtle in its placement, but impressive: “As we reached the tall gangly willow, the harbor bell could be heard in the distance, calling all the lost sailors at sea to return safe.” Using the image of water, as it is already an established motif in the play, is a skillful move. A job well done overall, and a solid display of the “Purposeful Communication” habit of mind in that it reshapes The Love Suicide at Amijima to be more rewarding to a modern audience.