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Saikuku wrote various short stories under the title of Great Mirror of Male Love depicting the pre-modern era of Japan where homosexuality was common in the Samurai culture which was held in high esteem and relevance with profound impact upon the life and prestige of a samurai and other authority figures of the nation. His intention was to emphasis on the importance of male love and the likeability of boy love that was according to him far more loved and liked by the many in the ancient society of Japan. As much as homosexuality received much criticism in the recent decades and was not practiced openly for quite a long time and required various social movements and revolutions to be accepted, Saikuku’s writing depicts the high acceptance of the concept in such an ancient time. This only comes to astound the reader as the concept was highly linked to social classes, rituals and traditions and implied an open practice, which is hard to accept in the modern world. What is more interesting to capture is the reasons and the background ideology associated with the practice. Like today, the only reason for the inclination towards the homosexuality is sheer pleasure, the ancient Japanese samurai culture depicted in the His writing and the style of narration is highly biased and his emphasis is anti-feminist. He relates social, moral and cultural relevance of male love in the pre-modern Japanese samurai society. His views about marriage, wife, women and human relations are highly involving and different where he praises as well as criticizes the samurai culture. His views regarding each of these areas are discussed in the paper.

Social and Moral Values Reflected and Promoted in Saikuku's Great Mirror of Male Love

Homosexuality or more specifically ‘boy love’ emphasized in each of the stories by Saikuku, the concept is brought up like a major part of the society and in the life of a samurai during his personality and professional development, whereby reflecting moral values. Saikuku has impressively linked, in fact, discovered the moral relationship of homosexuality with the lives of young and old samurais.

According to the samurai beliefs and culture, when the boys under the samurai training got to the age of nineteen they were to go through the experience of male love to develop their prestige and social class distinction in the society. This brings us to another social aspect of the concept. During this time, this practice was more like a social obligation and part of the training and was very much accepted and loved by all, as it gave the men a sense of pride and dignity that they have attained the manhood that the title of a samurai entailed. This was not a one-time deal, but in fact after the initial experience the men were to regularly follow it with pride and pleasure and openly to allow the masses of the society to acknowledge the fact that the man has enough dignity and prestige to practice it so often. Homosexuality was, thus, not immoral at all, like it has been considered in various religions around the world even today.

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Considering the concept of prostitution however, it is evident that it has had its fair share of importance in various ancient societies. In Hindustan prior to the creation of Pakistan, prostitution was considered of high esteem and only for the kings and the nobles. Saikuku’s depicted is very much the same. According to him, only the high esteemed and economically well-off could only afford prostitution. Further on, he presented the fact that in that era, real love was only an element found in prostitution and not in marital relationships. Also, this involved the notion of monetary value of a person in the society as prostitution was only affordable for the well-off. Since, samurai were to maintain a authorities, strong and powerful figures in the society, it only made sense for them to invest in prostitution and that for male love to sustain an image of power and prestige in the society.

Morality, thus, in the samurai culture was to abide by the social rules and likes, which was according to Saikuku, the acceptance and practice of ‘male love’ as commonly and as frequently as possible. Though, it goes a lot against nature, and how things should be according to many religions and cultures of today and of that era as well, but Saikuku justifies the importance given to this concept in practice explaining that it was part of the culture to be involved in this practice and considered a role that males and especially had to perform, very much like the role of males as breadwinners of the family.

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