Sample Book Review Paper on Five Women Who Loved Love

Ihara Saikaku was a Japanese novelist and poet considered one of Japan's best in the 17 th century.
Out of his works, one of them has stood the test of time and is still relevant and applicable in the
Literary world. Five Women Who Loved One is a classic collection of five different stories
speaking of different people and locations. The message, however, is relatively similar across the
five short stories. The writings in the book have been read over centuries by different people. In
this paper, I will summarize what was detailed in the writings and how readers have perceived
the short stories. I am also going to talk briefly about the values of the Edo people after reading
this book.

Ihara talks about different women and how they handled the state of being in love.
The first story is "The Story of Seijuro in Himeji." There is a rich man in that part of town
who has a beautiful daughter, Onatsu, whom he loves dearly. He is so protective of the
daughter that she cannot mix with people freely. In the same compound is a young
servant working for the rich man. The young servant is calm and kind to Onatsu, that
she ends up falling in love with him. When her father realizes this, he tries his best to
break off the engagement because the servant is considered lowly and his daughter is
too precious for him. The rich father thinks of ways that she can use to destroy the
relationship. In the end, he comes up with a plan that will make sure that the young
servant cannot access his daughter. He frames the servant of a crime he didn't commit,
and the engagement is broken off. The story is highly relatable to the readers from other
works of literature familiar. Among the Edo people, justice is considered the most vital
aspect of society. The readers of this story from the Edo community must have been
irritated by the short story's ending.

The second story in the book is "The Greengrocer's Daughter with a Bundle of Love."
The story is quite similar to the first one except for the ending. Oshichi is the woman in love with
a young Samurai lad living in the temple. She is so crazy about her love that she wants to be
being close to him all the time. Unlike Onatsu, Oshichi has taken it upon herself to defy the rules
set against her. She cannot just walk into the temple to see the young Samurai as she wishes. Her
father restricts her against her sinister ways, but she does not heed the advice. In the end, she is
caught sneaking into the temple and is accorded the necessary punishment. She ends up
humiliated and disgraced. Once again, the path of love and affections is filtered by the higher
authorities. The story takes a different twist that that lightens up readers. Oshichi takes the
initiative to make it to her love, regardless of the consequences. The story also reflects on the
Edo people in the institution of marriage, where women were not allowed to choose whomever
they preferred but were chosen for.
Thirdly, Ihara writes the 'The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love' as the third story. He
talks about Osen, who is an attractive servant working in the house of one of the
businessmen in town. Around that town is a cooper who stays by the streets. The
relationship they have is built on affection and love. After they get married, however,
Osen decides to cheat on her husband for no particular reason. When the cooper finds
out, he is angry and heartbroken. Osen now feels guilty, and the cooper decides to
leave her. Again, she feels heartbroken. This story's flow has presented a unique
scenario, where all the requirements of a successful marriage are present. However,
one of the parties still destroys the love in the marriage. The uniqueness of the story is
what makes it appealing to the reader. The Edo people did not tolerate unfaithfulness

among women. The story just echos what would have happened if the real ordeal took
place among the Edo.
In the fourth story, Ihara writes about "What the Seasons Brought the Almanac
Maker." Osan is married to another rich man who has very many servants at his call. One of the
days, the male servants plan to sneak one of them to one of the mistresses' bed. It might have
been an ongoing practice that had not reached the ears of their employers. This time around,
word reaches Osan, who is bothered by her husband's availability. She does not do what a
literature enthusiast would predict, but she approaches the targeted maid, and the maid agrees to
leave Osan to sleep on the maid's bed. Osan plans to lie with the servant without even the servant
noticing. While the end is equivocal, Osan's decision leaves many questions lingering in the
minds of readers. There were such instances among the Edo when a woman would sneak into a
male's house where the husband is suspected to be infertile.
The last story written by Ihara is "Gengobei, the Mountain of Love." Gengobei is a young man
who has been depressed in his acts of love. Instead of dealing with women, he finds attractions in
men. He experiences two of his lovers die in his arms. The devastation makes him disappear into
the mountain with the shadows of his lovers who have passed away. Oman is a young woman
who falls in love with Gengobei. For a long time, she wished to have Gengobei as her lover, but
Gengobei never noticed her. After disappearing into the mountain, Oman dresses up like a man
and follows him into the mountain. She hopes that Gengobei will be interested in her in the
disguise of a man. Her most significant worry is that Gengobei might realize who she is before
falling in love with her. The aspect of the contradiction of normas from as early as the 17 th
century attracts the reader's attention. Among the Edo, such cases of same-sex marriages are an
abomination and cannot be practiced under any circumstance.

In conclusion, Ihara's style of literature is unique as compared to other literary artists. The
aspect of love, affection, and sexuality came up so well in Ihara's compilation of short stories. He
demonstrates the difference in reaction and perception about the relationship and the lack of
borders in achieving a relationship's goals. Even in the instance where Osan flees with the male
servant, the question of non-satisfaction becomes imminent.