Regarding David Cozy’s Jan. 19 article, “Chanelling Bronte to write a true classic,” I agree with Cozy’s review of Minae Mizumura’s “A True Novel,” except on one point. Cozy writes that Mizumura bungles her depiction of the upper class in Japan and that her citing their “snobbishness … in their love for and knowledge of classical music. … seems almost comically off.”
His comment is not valid. Before World War II, ordinary Japanese had little interest in classical music and only upper-class girls played the piano. After Japan was defeated, almost everything changed during the Occupation, including the teaching of music. I am 60 and spent my school days of the 1960s in music classes. I sang Foster and Schubert, listened to Beethoven and Bach. I got familiar with the sounds of the piano and violin.
But my parents, who were born in the 1920s, had no knowledge of composers like Chopin and seemed uncomfortable when classical music was aired on the radio. There were some in my school class who could play the piano, but all of them were upper-middle-class girls. Thus Mizumura’s depiction of the upper class seems appropriate.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.