Ozu reference to jealousy & pickles

Jonathan Minton ajxjwm
Thu Nov 6 04:47:14 EST 2003

Hi Frako,

I've not seen the film, but I'd guess the visual metaphor relates to the concepts of connection and separateness: Jealousy, to think within the metaphor, involves not allowing oneself to accept the full separateness of another from oneself - I guess it could also be read that jealousy also involves demanding that emotional bonds be reified: made somehow more concrete. 
To relate back to the metaphor: a jealous person would not be able to accept that, even if physically disconnected, the slices of pickle each still exhibit enough of the innate and uniting quality of 'pickle-ness' (!) for there still to be a conceptual ('emotional') bond between them when separate physically.
Likewise, a jealous person would not be able to accept that, when allowing his or her partner complete autonomy, the partner would still feel an innate connection to him- or her-self in the form of love. A jealous person would, for instance, always feel that there needs to be something to constrain and  control the other person - whether that be physical: only allowing the partner to go where s/he goes; or co-ercive and emotionally abusive: saying, "If you leave to meet your friends now then you don't love me!" - and does not trust the strength of bonds that 'are not there.'

It's certainly quite a contrived analogy, anyway!

Let me know what you think,

Jon Minton


>>> frako at well.com 11/06/03 12:29am >>>

Even my Japanese mother can't answer this one! In Ozu's 1949 
"Banshun" (Late Spring), the Hara Setsuko character says that she's 
the jealous type--after all, when she slices pickles (takuan), they 
stay strung together, i.e. she doesn't slice them all the way 
through. She flirts with a man in the film twice with this 
information. Can anybody explain to me how semisliced pickles would 
relate to jealousy?

Frako Loden

More information about the KineJapan mailing list