— Onima Shah
When I first read Act I, it was extremely confusing for me to read. I had a difficult time comprehending what I was reading. However, after reading it again for the second time, I think it started to become more clear to me. I thought it was interesting when someone in their responses compared this to “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” as I felt the same way reading Act I for the second time. The character Koharu was similar to Linda in Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl. To me, both Koharu and Linda faced similar situations and were treated poorly by society. Although Koharu and Linda are from completely different eras in completely different parts of the world, both are seen to be outcasts in their respective societies. While Linda was able to get out of her situation and find herself in circumstances that were a bit better than before, Koharu is seemingly alone and trapped in her situation. She cannot be with the one she loves, and she wants to get out of the suicide pact she made with Jihei, her lover. She tries to get out of the deal with Jihei’s brother, who disguised himself as a samurai, but Jihei ends up hating her after finding this out. I really feel a lot of sympathy for Koharu, as it seems that there is no way out. She does not seem to be in control of her life, and it is difficult to take control when she is constantly being treated as an object and is not even considered to be a part of their society. Although the other characters like Jihei and his brother have done bad things, it seems that Koharu is always at fault and being blamed and there seems to be nothing she can do about it. She cannot even change her situation, because of the rigidness of the society she is in. I hope that when I continue reading, Koharu regains her humanity and her situation gets better. Jihei does not deserve her in my opinion, he should stay with his family and he will probably treat her badly if they do end up together. To me, he seems very selfish and I don’t believe that he truly loves her, but I understand that he felt betrayed when he heard her talking to his brother.