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The Sound of Waves

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  12,441 ratings  ·  1,202 reviews
Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. A young fisherman is entranced at the sight of the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. They fall in love, but must then endure the calumny and gossip of the villagers.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 4th 1994 by Vintage International (first published June 10th 1954)
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Robert Enomoto The description of the setting of a story is important to give the readership a wholesome view of where the story takes place. It also educates the re…moreThe description of the setting of a story is important to give the readership a wholesome view of where the story takes place. It also educates the readership of the culture, customs and traditions of the Japanese.(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Jim Fonseca
I’ve read a half-dozen novels by this Japanese author. All have been dark, focused on planning secret rebellions, a planned murder, ritual suicide, death and reincarnation. The author himself headed up a ritualistic right-wing group and ended up committing ritual suicide. So imagine my surprise to find I’m reading a book about first love with a happy ending! (We know this from the blurbs on the cover, so I’m not really giving away plot.)


It’s a coming-of-age story of a young man on a small Japane
Steven Godin
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
The first couple of times I read Mishima, he left me feeling a little cold, and I wasn't in any rush to return to him. But return to him I did, after picking up this in a charity bookstore recently. And this simple tale of boy-meets-girl easily eclipsed the other Mishima books I'd read. It is, in all intents and purposes, a little work of art, that captures the purity of love and candor of youthful desire beautifully. He handles his story is a maturely and realistic conceived way, that never pus ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The fresh morning breeze blows through your face, the sun is rising in the far horizon. An early ray of sunlight catches your vision and you feel temporarily overwhelmed by the gentle brightness of its glare but you welcome the comforting warmth caressing your skin. The chirping of morning birds and the steady buzzing of insects melt into a unified chorus of vitality that invigorates your slowly rising spirit. A smile comes to your lips. You live a simple rural life, uncomplicated, fulfilling. Y ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

The most enduring stories are often very simple. Boy meets girl, they like each other, the world conspires to drive them apart, they remain faithful to each other and, in the end, they may be reunited or forever alone. His name is Shinji, her name is Hatsue, but for most of the book they are referred to as 'the boy' and 'the girl'. The boy is a poor fisherman whose father has been kille
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dream land
Recommended to Mariel by: I think I love Yukio Mishima now
I'm probably crazy and am imagining a considering feeling between Yukio Mishima and me. I'm feeling like he's a kindred spirit kind of author who wants the same kinds of things that I wanted. (Past tense, I mean. For him, not me. I want.)

Pretend I'm not crazy. What if The Sound of Waves was a beautiful story about young love between two young and loving individuals? Shinji, a simple guy who liked simple, pure at heart things like providing for his family and village. Not simple life stuff like
More like 4 and a half stars.

My introduction to Yukio Mishima’s work a couple of years ago left a lasting impression: the prose, even translated, was intoxicating, the characters tragically real and the setting perfectly captured. A friend especially recommended I read “The Sound of Waves” next. This is a short book that contains a familiar story: coming of age and falling in love for the first time. We never really get tired of writing and reading about that, do we? But you’ll find no tired cli
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan

'When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.'
Rainer Maria Rilke

My city, Lublin, is situated more than six hundred kilometres from the sea but thanks to Yukio Mishima and The Sound of Waves (1954) I could absorb it with all my senses. Not only imagine it but almost feel the salty taste on my
Liz* Fashionably Late
Kinda BR with Lau and Shii :P

"But the strange way in which love can torture the heart with desire was no longer a novel thing for him."

Mishima was a peculiar author and his uniqueness is reflected in Shinji and Hatsue's love story. You can expect Mishima's commitment to the island with detailed, aesthetic descriptions just as much as to breasts and tanning.

Star-crossed lovers are often fated and forced to chose between life and love so I thought I knew what to expect from The Sound of Waves
Clearly, breasts fascinated Mishima. Now that we’ve established this (or rather he did through a couple of scenes and descriptions)…

This is a story that embraces modern sexuality and teenage angst, a love story involving a young fisherman, Shinji, and a rich man’s daughter named Hatsue. Where there is love, there is rivalry, for Shinji must deal with another boy who feels entitled to Hatsue. As a result, conflict and gossip ensues and though deeply in love, Shinji and Hatsue find themselves cons
This was an endearing book about how a boy meets a girl. It reminded me of Romeo and Juliet a bit although with a much happier ending. ☺️ ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
A simple story told beautifully.
May 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, esp. fans of Murakami, people looking to try asian literature
Instead of reading the classics that most people read during their junior year of high school, we read stuff like this. Which, truth be told, is perfectly okay with me, because this is an absolutely stunning novel that I probably never would've read if it weren't for my International Baccalaureate program.

The book centers around a young teen romance that seems destined to never be achieved - yes, a typical plot, but it is approached so atypically by Mishima. He writes in a style not too unlike t
Hiba Arrame
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hiba by: Hicham Mellouki
Shelves: favorites
Only a couple of days ago, I was wondering when was I going to read a book this year and name it a favourite. And then this one came along.
Again, the plot is quite simple, with a few small twists here and there to give it a flavor.

All along the book, I felt myself lulled into a very calming state of mind, I felt myself burying my toes into the lukewarm sand, right when the sun is sitting; I felt its reddish rays kissing my cheeks, and the northern cold breeze tingling every inch of my skin. I
George K. Ilsley
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese, fiction
An unusual book for Mishima — I kept expecting the handsome young fisherman to kill himself, or for the lovers to jump off the cliff, but no! It's Happily Ever After for once. Classic in tone and execution, this novel truly demonstrates Mishima's range and talent. And sadly emphasizes the loss of that talent. Makes one wonder about the bulk of his work which remains unavailable in English. ...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Shinji was too sweet a character for a Mishima novel. He lacked the destructive personality and anti-authority sentiments of a Mishima protagonist.

I knew I wasn't going to enjoy this one when Shinji talked of how he dreamed of owning a freight ship to relieve her mother of her duties.
Smitha Murthy
If you love the sea as I do, then please don’t hesitate to read this book. I love my mountains, yes, but I also adore the sea. If I don’t go to a beach every few months, then I feel like there is this piercing absence of a good friend from my life. In ‘The Sound Of Waves’ Yukio Mishima brings the sea alive - its rhythms, forms, and essence. At heart, this is a simple love story. But like most of the Japanese authors I have read, there is a lyricism that touches you.

There is a Zen-like poetry to
Sentimental Surrealist
The weakest entry in the Mishima canon that I've read so far. It's hampered in part by near-rape scene that's played at first like a bit of tawdry drama and then (after it's thwarted, thank Amun-Ra, but the way it plays out still sucks) an utterly jarring and unfunny and just plain "why" turn toward slapstick of all fucking things that's timed about as well as a fart at a funeral. Structural problems abound, too. For the whole of the last two chapters, it seems that Mishima had written himself i ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, simple and classic story of the trials of love. Also, these Vintage editions are just gorgeous.
April Hayes
Jun 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As unabashedly delicious and pervy as one of those really good/bad Aussie teen soaps from the early ‘90s, but written by a literary and philosophical genius.

I love how Mishima just dashed off all these pulp novellas throughout his career, in between his masterworks, but didn’t accord them any less respect, attention, or craft. It’s like if Tolstoy, between "Anna Karenina" and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," decided to write steamy young adult fiction or gay soldier stories, and you could buy them at
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a novel ?! oh my God , how gentle and high moral was the characters !! it was really amazing story of a first love between two innocent good spirits , i loved Japan through this book , and Yukio Mishima's description of scenes makes you really hear the sound of waves love love love . ...more
Daniel Warriner
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sound of Waves (1954) by Yukio Mishima is a fairly slim novel that rather surprised me. After reading his Death in Midsummer and Other Stories (1953) and short story "Patriotism" (1960), both dark and philosophical, this one, by comparison, felt refreshingly light and optimistic. I didn't know he had it in him. And while the subject of suicide does come up, as an option in the mind of the young protagonist, [spoiler...] nobody offs themselves or dies in otherwise tragic circumstances, as ten ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

This is the incongruity between happiness and sadness. Ecstacy, which is happiness in in its most extreme, does not bring one to anywhere beyond life. He will still be alive, as before, maybe more uplifted, in a walking-in-the-clouds kind of joy but that'd be it. In contrast, sadness in its most extreme often brings suicide as an option Not only can death be desired, it can actually be realized. Not even the possibility of future happiness can rescue the man.

We know, of course, that Yukio Mishim
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shinji and Hatsue live on the tiny Japanese island of Uta-Jima (Song Island), where they fall in love. Shinji is a poor young fisherman, and Hatsue is a pearl-diver, and the daughter of the terrifying Terukichi Miyata, the richest man on the island. Naturally, Terukichi wants his daughter to have nothing to do with the boy she loves.

Any story about two young lovers whose families get in the way of their happiness is bound to be compared to Romeo and Juliet. “The Sound of Waves” is the anti-R&J.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
Reading "The Sound of Waves" by Yukio Mishima was a bit different from his style due to his narrations on an island called Utah-Jima, its inhabitants and the waves as we are likely to perceive them as eternal phenomena, that is, something taken for granted with less changes. All living or natural there might bore us at first sight of this interesting novel but Mishima could make it for his readers by means of his exceptional literary expertise. I don't know Japanese so I presumed 'Song Island' a ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came into The Sound of Waves directly after reading Mishima's The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea, and the contrast was jarring. In The Sound of Waves, Mishima’s fetish for manliness is leeched of the corrupting influences that pervert the protagonist, Noboru, in The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea. Mishima paints the setting of Uta-Jima as an idyllic microcosm of the traditional Japan that he seems to yearn for. In general, the plot mirrors the idealism of the setting by parin ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
mishima really said: she's not like the other girls AND he's not like the other boys ✨ ...more
Ms. Jones
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When I first began the school year teaching Global Lit, this was one of the texts I most looked forward to teaching. For one thing, I really enjoy reading novels and for another, this is a beautifully-written one. It reminds me of teaching the juniors last year and reading Ragtime in preparation to teach it.

There are undoubtedly heartbreaking moments in this story. There are also incredible subtleties that make re-reading it really enjoyable. Mishima uses nature metaphors vivid and often, and w
Abraham Salas
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It always looked like it was going to happen a tragedy, or that they would have real hard obstacles to be together. But being sincere, they both were too young; what is more difficult at that age than the father of your girl decides to lock her up and you are unable to be with her? And also you are so inexperienced about a lot of stuff to know how to react.
I liked the writing, very fluid but not simple; after a while I felt I knew the island.
I loved the beginning but not that much the ending.
María Alcaide
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, 2017
4.5 *s
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Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫) was born in Tokyo in 1925. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Jurisprudence in 1947. His first published book, The Forest in Full Bloom, appeared in 1944 and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask (1949). From then until his death he continued to publish novels, short stories, and plays each year. His crowning achievement, th ...more

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“He heard the sound of waves striking the shore, and it was as though the surging of his young blood was keeping time with the movement of the sea's great tides. It was doubtless because nature itself satisfied his need that Shinji felt no particular lack of music in his everyday life.” 16 likes
“In the pale light of daybreak the gravestones looked like so many white sails that would never again be filled with wind, sails that, too long unused and heavily drooping, had been turned into stone just as they were. The boats' anchors had been thrust so deeply into the dark earth that they could never again be raised.” 11 likes
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