Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei): Higuchi Seitarou’s role

Higuchi Seitarou is an anachronism.

Dressed in a yukata, he introduced himself as a god of matchmaking the first time we (the viewers) saw him. Quite a few immediately deduced that he was of dubious scruples when he made a mistake in the repetition of his name: instead of Kamotaketsunominokami, he repeats it as Kamotaketsunominokamo. From a recognized Shinto god, Kamo Take-tsunomi no Kami (Mikoto), he became an uncertainty. Kamo in Japanese elicits an uncertainty from the person speaking it: it’s akin to the English ‘maybe,’ more or less. The dubiousness of his character further persists with his comprehensive information regarding Watashi’s life. There seemed to be an aura of omnipotence around him. Maybe he was a god, after all?

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Future episodes have served to debunk this belief: he was neither a respected god of Kyoto or the Yatagarasu who led Jimmu in the union of Japan. He was just another human being with ways of obtaining vast amounts of information, as the ninth episode explicated. I recognize that a lot of viewers (myself included) looked upon Higuchi with derogation until the previous episode: he seemed to be a loafer, a dilettante, and an indolent.

Nothing much really changed in our perceptions through the next seven episodes: it seemed that our preconceptions were confirmed, even, especially with Higuchi’s presence as Master in the Disciple Club. There’s something I recently noted, however, after revisiting the first episode: in his own way, he was already trying to help Watashi (even before his cerebral speech in the ninth episode) and was wise. He asked Watashi in the first episode:

And why have you spent these two years in such a timid state? […] But that’s not all, is it?

A more visible example is the fact that it was Higuchi who exhorted Watashi to talk to Akashi during the Obon festival, but he dismissed her in his cowardice. (One can assume Ozu was also heavily involved with this and may have been the mastermind behind the plan, but it doesn’t change the fact that Higuchi helped Watashi recognize his feelings for Akashi.

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More of his personality was revealed in the most recent episode, and it was illuminating, to say the least. Aside from the fact that he challenges Watashi to face reality and live in the present, the entirety of his personality was also encapsulated with this short statement of his:

Speaking of which, a few days ago, when I left the university I ran into an old friend. They [sic] were not looking so comfortable at all, and hurried off somewhere. […] Why would they be embarrassed? It’s not them who had to repeat classes.

He simply takes life with its vicissitudes in stride. He takes life as it is: he has dreams, but they’re not impossible to achieve; he even has a beautiful girlfriend (Hanuki). He does not feel envy towards those who have succeeded before him, or anger that he’s been in university for a long time.

What’s the matter? Are you asleep?

He asked Watashi that when he was mumbling about his ideals, before he went on his philosophical and intelligent speech that was purposeful and direct. In contrast to the lofty idealism of Watashi, he is the pinnacle of grounded realism. Take life as it comes and as it is, and enjoy it to the fullest, because no one ever gets out alive. I hope Watashi listens to him, because he’s a very sensible man, come to think of it, despite everything.

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4 Responses to “Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei): Higuchi Seitarou’s role”

  1. Mystlord Says:

    Yup I agree. Originally I didn’t see him in a positive light, but over the course of the past few episodes, he’s become quite the character. His power does lie in his realism, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his own dreams, rather he has the motivation and willpower to fulfill them. Originally I didn’t understand the meaning of the 20000 Leagues Under the Sea book he was reading, but I realized in this latest episode just how much of a dreamer he is. His emotional response at finishing the book translated into a burning desire to see the world himself – that’s why he took Watashi’s globe and pinned a bunch of flags on it.

    He’s the character that Watashi should in a way hope to become. Instead of merely dreaming, Watashi should apply actions to those dreams like Higuchi.

  2. Michael Says:

    You’ve made some great points. In some ways, yes, he’s the character that Watashi should emulate. I’m not saying that Watashi should become a dilettante; I’m saying he should ground his desires in reality and then work towards these desires and goals, not using his choices as his excuses but facing the fact that he has been afraid of risk. He’s a dreamer, but he works for those dreams, and his dreams are not impossible. Indeed.

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