The Sound of Waves

by

Yukio Mishima

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Yasuo Kawamoto Character Analysis

Yasuo Kawamoto is the brash, braggadocious, and entitled president of Uta-jima’s Young Men’s Association. A member of a relatively wealthy and powerful family on the island, Yasuo talks endlessly of his sexual exploits and banal accomplishments, yet he has never known a day of hard work in his life. He adorns himself in fine clothes and watches, yet he is completely disconnected from the natural life that surrounds the island. Yasuo is the perfect antagonist because he believes that his class and his wealth make him better—and more deserving—than those around him, even as he ignores the moral imperatives to be selfless and to learn from and work with nature. Instead, Yasuo is promiscuous, self-serving, and easily drawn into maelstroms of gossip and rumor. He leaves the island at every chance he gets, and while he claims to care for Hatsue, he only wants her because of her money and her social clout. When he attempts to rape Hatsue, believing a rumor about her having slept with Shinji, he is attempting to punish her and exert dominance over her—but a swarm of hornets begins stinging him, illustrating the fact that his failure to learn the lessons of nature and respect those he purports to care for have made him disconnected not just from the world around him but from himself. When Terukichi Miyata secretly conducts an experiment and sends both Shinji and Yasuo out on his lumber freighter, hoping to see which young man will be the best match for Hatsue, Yasuo cowers on deck in the midst of a deadly typhoon while Shinji risks life and limb for the good of the crew. Yasuo’s inability to work with nature or to stand up for what is right ultimately condemns him—Terukichi chooses to adopt Shinji into his family and marry him to Hatsue, leaving Yasuo alone and isolated.

Yasuo Kawamoto Quotes in The Sound of Waves

The The Sound of Waves quotes below are all either spoken by Yasuo Kawamoto or refer to Yasuo Kawamoto. 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 9 Quotes

All the time the luminous watch of which Yasuo was so proud, strapped above the hand with which he was holding onto the branch of the beech tree, was giving off its phosphorescent glow, faintly but distinctly ticking away the seconds. This aroused a swarm of hornets in the nest fastened to this same branch and greatly excited their curiosity.

Related Characters: Yasuo Kawamoto, Hatsue Miyata
Related Symbols: Hornets
Page Number: 89-90
Explanation and Analysis:

After a moment Yasuo glanced back and saw that Hatsue had come down from the grove without his knowing it and was following along about two yards behind him. She did not so much as smile. When she saw him stop walking, she stopped too, and when he started on down the steps again, she started too.

Related Characters: Yasuo Kawamoto, Hatsue Miyata
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

“I know exactly what you two are thinking. You’re planning to give Yasuo a beating. But you listen to me—that won't do a bit of good. A fool’s a fool, so just leave him alone. Guess it’s hard for Shinji, but patience is the main thing. That’s what it takes to catch a fish.”

Related Characters: Jukichi Oyama (speaker), Shinji Kubo, Ryuji, Yasuo Kawamoto, Hatsue Miyata
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“Which one of you fellows is going to take this lifeline over there and tie it to that buoy?”

The roaring of the wind covered the youths’ silence.

“Don't any of you have any guts?” the captain shouted again.

Yasuo’s lips quivered. He pulled his neck down into his shoulders.

Then Shinji shouted out in a cheerful voice, and as he did so the white flash of his teeth shone through the blackness to prove that he was smiling.

“I’ll do it,” he shouted clearly.

Related Characters: The Captain (speaker), Shinji Kubo (speaker), Yasuo Kawamoto
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Sound of Waves LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Sound of Waves PDF

Yasuo Kawamoto Character Timeline in The Sound of Waves

The timeline below shows where the character Yasuo Kawamoto appears in The Sound of Waves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
The president of the Young Men’s association, Yasuo Kawamoto, enters the hut by opening the door with a loud bang. The brash, self-important... (full context)
Chapter 5
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...a day on the Taihei-maru, Shinji hears someone on the docks gossiping: it’s rumored that Yasuo Kawamoto and Hatsue are going to be married. Distressed by the news, Shinji spends the... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...relieved, but then he remembers the rumor he heard. He asks Hatuse if she and Yasuo are really going to be married. Hatsue begins laughing—she says the rumor is a lie.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
On the ferry, Chiyoko runs into Yasuo, who is returning to the island from the mainland after attending to some business for... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
On the journey back, Chiyoko asks Yasuo what news there is on the island. He tells her about Hatsue’s return—and her beauty.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...up at the eaves of one of the nearby houses. Shinji recognizes the figure as Yasuo. Yasuo turns around and spots Shinji. Shinji smiles and waves, but Yasuo only stares back... (full context)
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
The day before—unbeknownst to Shinji—Chiyoko went to see Yasuo. She told Yasuo that she had seen Shinji and Hatsue coming down the mountain, clinging... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
After spotting Shinji—and purposefully ignoring him—Yasuo hurries home, where he obsesses about how Shinji managed to bed Hatsue. His animosity toward... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
Hatsue greets Yasuo defensively but politely. Yasuo says he has been waiting to give her a fright. Hatsue... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Yasuo wrestles Hatsue to the ground. Hatsue spits in Yasuo’s face—but this only arouses him more.... (full context)
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
Yasuo drives the hornet away and begins calling out for Hatsue. He promises he won’t do... (full context)
Chapter 10
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...Association, and the same thing happens to him. Several days later, Ryuji tells Shinji that Yasuo is spreading horrible rumors about Shinji. Ryuji tells Shinji that he has his back no... (full context)
Chapter 11
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...emotionally invested in Hatsue’s letters as Shinji himself—especially in one letter in particular that describes Yasuo’s assault. Hatsue writes that though she told her father about what Yasuo did to her,... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
...Shinji and Ryuji’s anger, warns them not to pick a fight with a fool like Yasuo. When it comes to love, what’s needed, as in fishing, is patience. (full context)
Chapter 14
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
...be a good, hardworking sailor. Shinji at last agrees. The next day, he learns that Yasuo, too will join the crew—he is anxious and pained, but his excitement drowns out his... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
On the day of departure, Shinji and Yasuo board the ferry to the mainland. At the docks, Shinji sees Hatsue whisper something to... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
In the city of Toba, Shinji, Yasuo, and the captain board the massive Utajima-maru. The captain shows Shinji and Yasuo to their... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
...journey, he bonds with his fellow seamen during long discussions about matters small and large. Yasuo dominates these conversations, while Shinji mostly sits silently in the corner, observing others. (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...the ship is busy, but Shinji does his best to keep up with his duties. Yasuo, on the other hand, is profoundly lazy. He often brags to the other crewmembers that... (full context)
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Just before midnight, Shinji and Yasuo wake up for their shift to watch the ropes and buoy lines in case they... (full context)
Chapter 15
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
...see if Shinji was truly the man his daughter believed him to be, or if Yasuo would be the better match. He recruited both young men to work on the freighter—and... (full context)