Nip the Buds Shoot the Kids (Oppression (Even though the boys managed…
Nip the Buds Shoot the Kids
Even though the boys managed very well by themselves in the village, they never saw themselves as free but rather as cut off because of their need to belong to the adult center and to define themselves in the presence of that world(Loughman).
Their elation is short-lived when the villagers, more cruelly ferocious than ever, quickly imprison them again. They weep as they have throughout, a lament for their wretched lives(Loughman).
Animalistic Treatment from the Villagers
Often caged and beat by the villagers.
Villagers would kill them without hesitation.
The word abandoned is almost a refrain in Nip the Buds; and although the narrators experience abandonment in the more immediate sense of the absence of their fathers, actually or emotionally, their inordinate fear of the finality of death suggests a subliminal awareness of the absence of God(Loughman).
Oe's Own Personal Life
"Oe's anger against his elders' sheeplike complicity in the disastrous militarist adventure, against the generals who led the people to the end of the road only to abandon them, against the craven reversal of ideologies, is venomously evident" (Oe 8).
"Betrayed even by his comrades and bereft of all human accommodation, the boy finally runs blindly off into the dark void"(Oe 9).
To prevent humiliation 'Honor Suicide' became common
As a huge part of Japanese history, warriors, villagers had to often sacrifice their lives in order to prevent humiliation for themselves or the emperor. This was especially prevalent with WW2. The abandonment in the novel is a sort of humiliation for the boys, especially when the villagers tell the boys to lie about it. The main character doesn't want to lose his honor and thus runs away avoiding death by the villagers who as well don't want to risk losing their honor.
First Hand Accounts of "Honor Suicide" helps understand the mentality behind it.
"'Lots of my school friends were told to commit suicide by Japanese soldiers. At school we had been brainwashed ... [that] to surrender to [US troops] would be to disgrace the emperor,' said the 75-year-old retired teacher and local councillor"(McCurry).
"'At the hands of Japanese soldiers, civilians were massacred, forced to kill themselves and each other,'reads the caption. Nearby, a life-size photo shows the grisly aftermath of a family killed by a hand grenade" (Brooke).
"'We tried to kill ourselves many times, trying to explode the grenade we were given from Japanese Army'"(Brooke).
There seems to be a lot of historical evidence that helps explain the Japanese mentality when it comes to humiliation and how they deal with it. The Old Japanese view of suicide was not only for defending your own honor but your emperor's as well.
Growing Up/Loss of Innocence
The special innocents in the novel are the narrator, his younger brother, and the army deserter. The most purely innocent is the younger brother because of his youth, inexperience, and limited understanding of the world. He appears to be about ten years old, and one imagines that Ōe created him with himself in mind as he was during the war (Loughman).
"There is nothing we can do." he keeps repeating, though in the end he shows that there is indeed something he can do, even if it pushes him over the threshold into adulthood and possibly destroys him(Loughman).
We see this attitude change by the end of the book as he tries to maintain his honor and takes a stand against the villagers. Plus at the very end instead of surrendering because of his situation desperate he makes do about it and escapes for his life.
In the radical innocence of saying No to the larger force that intends to destroy him, the narrator discovers his self-delighting, self-appeasing, and self-affrighting soul; but the discovery is costly(Loughman).
Promising to let him escape, the perfidious villagers instead chase him to kill him, driving him deep into the forest with the villagers' footsteps close behind. The innocents are gone, and what remains is the moral plague carried by the villagers and infecting their world(Loughman).
Even though he is terrified like the others and is beaten and threatened with death, the narrator alone refuses to surrender to the villagers' will, recognizing the damage that would do to his self-worth: "We were going to be duped. And nothing could be more humiliating, more dumb and ignoble, than being 'duped.' That would make even the most miserable shabby faggot blush all over with shame" (100-101) (Loughman).
"the boys' idyll of freedom is ended not by the cruel villagers but by the tragic resurgence of death, which snatches away the narrator's lover and brother"(Oe 9)
The Younger Brother's innocence comes from the fact that he is always happy and such but through this entire novel, he witnesses traumatizing events such as the death of his dog Leo along with the death's of others that really take away his childhood innocence.
The Brother is a really a symbol of pure innocence and much of his physical descriptions illustrate a sense of joy and happiness
"The narrative of the
Nip the Buds
hinges on the delinquents' creation of their own autonomous time, outside history, replete with the elemental richness of 'primitive' being. Time won't move a step without grown-ups' 'orders'"(Oe 9).
"Oe has often demanded that Japan should re-examine its past and its culutre to find a future beyond its present 'grotesquely bloated consumer society'"(Oe 16).
"In the Japanese context, he[Oe] took this duty for his generation of writers to be the articulation of new principles to guide the nation, after the debacle of 1945 exploded the authoritarian ideology which had governed Japan since the Meiji Restoration of 1868"(Oe 10).