Mukouda Kuniko no Koibumi (The Love Letters of Kuniko Mukouda), published posthumously in 2002 by the writer's sister Kazuko, brought to public light the presence of Mukouda's lover. Koibumi reveals the correspondence between the writer and her clandestine partner, a married man who was thirteen years her senior.
Extramarital affairs are a staple theme in Mukouda's works. Her celebrated television screen adaptations such as Ashura no Gotoku and A, Un have plots which revolve around affairs in which at least one party is married. She did not hesitate to treat illicit relationships as a subject in her writings, but she never spoke of her own affair in her lifetime.
Mukouda may be said to be a woman who defied many Japanese social conventions. She pursued higher education, built a successful career as a scriptwriter, and she never married. However, never a rebel, she supported her family financially and obtained permission from her parents on important decisions. This paper will focus on the family as playing a central role in the construction of Mukouda's identity. Notwithstanding the wealth and independence unbeknownst to most Japanese women of her era, she never sought the freedom to elope with her lover. It was with due deference to her parents and in her attempt to not disgrace her family that she chose to keep her affair a lifelong secret. I shall argue in this paper that the family was where Mukouda's sense of duty lay.
Megumi Ohsumi, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
This paper is part of the LibrAsia2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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