Religion in The Love Suicides at Amijima

“Is it true, Sir Knight, that one who dies in the ‘Ten Nights’ shall go to paradise?”

(Chikamatsu, 9)

Religious beliefs seem to play a prominent role in this piece. Upon reading, I could not help but acknowledge and find interest in the importance of religion to the characters, especially Koharu and Jihei. It is a subject that we have discussed in class before, but I felt the need to tie it into this piece specifically as it seemed so prominent to me. I’ve brought up before how religion can be a very powerful personal force. It can often provide hope and perseverance through the darkest of times for those who truly believe it. For Koharu and Jihei, religion seems to be a reassurance of their tragic ends. They find comfort in their beliefs that they will be reunited through several lives and live in a world where their love is not forbidden. It is striking how their beliefs give them confidence and comfort in their ends. It reminds me of Equiano and Death of the King’s Horseman. I think this is a key aspect of a lot of the literature covered throughout this class, likely because of the prominent role religion has in culture and global interactions. In Chikamatsu’s piece in particular, religion is the foundation of their decisions and their tragic fate. One has to wonder, without their strong religious beliefs would Koharu and Jihei have made the same decisions? How might this have ended differently? Perhaps Jihei and Koharu would have continued their lives and perhaps even their relationship in secret. It is interesting to consider the role of religion in this piece and how it influenced the characters’ choices.

Chikamatsu. The Love Suicide at Amijima. Translated by Asataro Miyamori, In Parenthesis Publications, 2000. 

2 thoughts on “Religion in The Love Suicides at Amijima

  1. My question is was it a strong sense of religious duty that made them do what they did, or was it just pure, strong sense of honor? Or are they the same thing in this piece.

  2. I love this piece cause it really does question if its just religion or is it honor or are they connected. I’m going to try and answer by saying that I believe its all of the above. Their sense of honor is what drove them to kill themselves, due to the fact that they knew they could never be together. Religion comes into play, mainly due to the fact that they believe that they will be together in the afterlife. If you didn’t believe so heavily in religion, you wouldn’t believe in the afterlife. Good Job with the post!

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