The Sound of Waves

by

Yukio Mishima

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Terukichi Miyata, often called “Uncle Teru,” is the confident, imposing, self-made owner of two large lumber freighters. Though he is one of the wealthiest men on the island, Terukichi is only recently accustomed to having money and social clout, having built himself up from nothing into a magnate over the course of his career. Mishima describes the proud and prickly Miyata as “the personification of all of Uta-jima’s toil and determination and ambition and strength.” He is not just a successful businessman, but also a skilled fisherman and navigator and a great predictor of the weather. Mishima implies that though Terukichi Miyata has learned the lessons of nature throughout his youth, he has lost sight of some of them in his old age, often acting as “a bronze statue erected to his own memory.” After the widowed Terukichi loses his only son, he calls his youngest daughter Hatsue home from a pearl-diving apprenticeship on a neighboring island and announces plans to adopt a young man into the family to marry her and carry on the family name. When Hatsue falls in love with Shinji Kubo, the two are seen together in public—and after rumors fly about their having slept together, the rageful Terukichi forbids his daughter from seeing Shinji and threatens to marry her off to the brash, cruel Yasuo Kawamoto. Though Terukichi is insulated and classist, toward the end of the novel, his daughter’s sadness penetrates his armor and he devises a test to see whether Shinji or Yasuo is worthier of Hatsue’s hand. Ultimately, after Shinji risks his own life while journeying to Okinawa with the crew of Terukichi’s freighter the Utajima-maru, Terukichi decides that Shinji has the most “get-up-and-go” of anyone on the island. He agrees to let Shinji marry Hatsue, and he offers to take Shinji’s mother and younger brother Hiroshi in, as well. Though salty, judgmental, and occasionally narrow-minded, Terukichi ultimately proves himself to be a wise, generous, level-headed man.

Terukichi Miyata Quotes in The Sound of Waves

The The Sound of Waves quotes below are all either spoken by Terukichi Miyata or refer to Terukichi Miyata. 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:
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Sound of Waves published in 1994.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“God, let the seas be calm, the fish plentiful, and our village […] prosperous. […] Let me have much knowledge in the ways of the sea, in the ways of fish, in the ways of boats, in the ways of the weather . . . […] Please protect my gentle mother and my brother, who is still a child. […] Then there's a different sort of request I'd like to make. . . . Some day let even such a person as me be granted a good-natured, beautiful bride . . . say someone like Terukichi Miyata's returned daughter. . . .” […]

Shinji looked up at the star-filled sky and breathed deeply. Then he thought:

“But mightn't the gods punish me for such a selfish prayer?”

Related Characters: Shinji Kubo (speaker), Hatsue Miyata, Terukichi Miyata
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

It might be better to say that Terukichi was the personification of all Uta-jima’s toil and determination and ambition and strength. […] The uncanny accuracy of his weather predictions, his matchless experience in the matters of fishing and navigation, and the great pride he took in knowing all the history and traditions of the island were often offset by his uncompromising stubbornness, his ludicrous pretensions, and his pugnacity…

Related Characters: Terukichi Miyata, Shinji’s Mother
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

Shinji’s mother hesitated a moment as she was about to enter the house. Just the fact that she had come calling at the Miyata house, where she was not on intimate terms, would be enough to set the villagers’ tongues to wagging.

Related Characters: Shinji’s Mother, Terukichi Miyata
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“When Shinji did that great thing at Okinawa—well, I changed my mind too and decided he was the one for my girl. The only thing that really counts . . .”

Here Terukichi raised his voice emphatically.

“The only thing that really counts in a man is his get-up-and-go. If he’s got get-up-and-go he’s a real man, and those are the kind of men we need here on Uta-jima.”

Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Sound of Waves PDF

Terukichi Miyata Character Timeline in The Sound of Waves

The timeline below shows where the character Terukichi Miyata appears in The Sound of Waves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...for the three of them to eat and asks what the other men think about Terukichi Miyata—whom he calls “old Uncle Teru”—bringing his youngest daughter, Hatsue, back to the island. Years... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
...Hatsue, however, he begins to feel down on himself for “his own poor condition in life”—Terukichi Miyata is the wealthy owner of two large freighters, but Shinji is just a lowly... (full context)
Chapter 3
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...another young man tells him Yasuo is on his way to a party given by Terukichi Miyata to celebrate Hatsue’s homecoming. (full context)
Chapter 10
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
One night, at the public bathhouse, the wealthy and powerful self-made man Terukichi Miyata struts into the crowded baths and undresses, revealing his aged but shapely form. As... (full context)
Chapter 11
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...note and opens it carefully. In the letter, Hatsue writes about how the night before, Terukichi overheard the gossip about her and Shinji and has forbidden her not just from seeing... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...one letter in particular that describes Yasuo’s assault. Hatsue writes that though she told her father about what Yasuo did to her, Terukichi is still on good terms with Yasuo’s family.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
The news that Terukichi has forbidden Hatsue to see Shinji reaches the lighthouse that evening. Chiyoko, overhearing the gossip,... (full context)
Chapter 12
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
Shinji’s mother approaches the surprisingly modest home of Terukichi Miyata. She is nervous—she knows that simply being seen approaching the house is enough to... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...about the encounter from one of Hatsue’s letters. Shinji, too, feels angry and humiliated that Terukichi turned his mother away. He begins to feel guilty about telling his mother so much... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...to meet Hatsue. Just then, he hears a rageful voice call Hatsue’s name. Shinji sees Terukichi come out of the shadows—he has been hiding and waiting for Hatsue. He grabs her... (full context)
Chapter 14
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
...incident at the Yashiro Shrine. Shinji is surprised, then, when the captain of one of Terukichi’s coasting freighters, the Utajima-maru, comes to his house and asks Shinji to join the crew... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
...will pray for him every day until his safe return. She says she believes her father has some special reason for putting Shinji and Yasuo on the same freighter—she begs Shinji... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...hand, is profoundly lazy. He often brags to the other crewmembers that after this journey, Terukichi will make him his son—and then Yasuo himself will be the owner of the freighter.... (full context)
Chapter 15
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...Shinji insists he simply did his job. Jukichi asks if Shinji has heard anything from Uncle Teru . Shinji says he hasn’t, and Jukichi is silent. (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
At dusk, as Shinji returns to shore, he spies one of Terukichi’s big freighters out on the ocean. He marvels at how, just a few months ago,... (full context)
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...Hatsue are together. She asks for her mother to act as a go-between and persuade Terukichi to let Shinji marry his love. The lighthouse-keeper’s wife immediately puts the letter down, changes... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
On the way to Terukichi’s, the lighthouse-keeper’s wife spies Shinji’s mother doing laundry in the stream with some other diving... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
At the Miyata home, the lighthouse-keeper’s wife enters and finds Terukichi already descending the stairs. He greets her happily and asks what she has to say.... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
Terukichi continues explaining himself to the shocked women. He admits that after he stopped Shinji and... (full context)