The Enemy

General Takima Character Analysis

General Takima is a famed Japanese war hero. While observing Tom’s peculiar wounds—which indicate that he’s endured some type of torture at the hands of the Japanese—Hana reflects on how General Takima “beat his wife cruelly” in the privacy of their own home, but how “no one mentioned it now that he had fought so victorious a battle in Manchuria.” Hana wonders, “If a man like that could be so cruel to a woman in his power, would he not be cruel to one like this for instance?” Although Hana desperately wants to believe that Tom hasn’t been tortured, she knows that he has. This makes her doubt the media’s claims “that wherever the Japanese armies went the people received them gladly, with cries of joy at their liberation.” Thinking of General Takima’s disparate public and private personas forces Hana to consider that the Japanese authorities might not be wholly good, perfect, and heroic as nationalist sentiments may lead her to believe. This moment of doubt is fairly fleeting for Hana, though the relative lengthiness of her reflection in relation to the rest of the narrative suggests that the moment is a significant one for her. General Takima’s abuse of his wife—which seems widely known, given that “no one mentioned it now”—also emphasizes the way that strict gender roles can be abused, and suggests that Hana and Dr. Sadao Hoki’s marriage, though traditional, is a positive one.

General Takima Quotes in The Enemy

The The Enemy quotes below are all either spoken by General Takima or refer to General Takima. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of The Enemy published in 2015.
The Enemy Quotes

Watching him, she wondered if the stories they heard sometimes of the sufferings of prisoners were true. They came like flickers of rumour, told by word of mouth and always contradicted. In the newspapers the reports were always that wherever the Japanese armies went the people received them gladly, with cries of joy at their liberation. But sometimes she remembered such men as General Takima, who at home beat his wife cruelly, though no one mentioned it now that he had fought so victorious a battle in Manchuria. If a man like that could be so cruel to a woman in his power, would he not be cruel to one like this for instance?

Related Characters: Hana, Tom / The American, General Takima
Related Symbols: Tom’s Scars
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
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General Takima Character Timeline in The Enemy

The timeline below shows where the character General Takima appears in The Enemy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Enemy
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
Hana also thinks of General Takima , who is now a celebrated war hero in public even though he beats his... (full context)