Summary of ÉS ü@(by Amy Marutani)
After K's funeral, sensei gets confronted by the question, ügWhy did K committed suicide?üh from various people as if they were telling him ügHurry-up and confess that you've actually killed himüh. Sensei will repeat the words in K's last letter as an answer, while the newspapers reported that K committed suicide because of depression and shame that he got disowned by his family while another reported that he did it out of insanity. Soon afterwards sensei and the ladies moved out, he graduated, and married the ojousan. The two ladies and sensei were happy, though he had a dark shadow with him that he thought will take him down a sad destiny. At his new wife's request, they visited K's grave together. Sensei thought that his wife wanted K to rejoice that they were going to live happily as she prayed, while he prayed with guilt and regret. He then made a commitment that they will never visit K's grave together.
Sensei continued to blame himself for K's death, and he secretly hoped that his marriage will lead him to a new life without suffering from guilt. However every time he faces his wife he was haunted by K and reality. For he felt his wife like a rope that tied him and K where ever he went, and sensei started to distance himself from her. His wife became concerned and questioned his behavior, but he never found the courage to tell her the truth. Sensei figured that it will be selfish of him if he confessed to her so she can comprehend and forgive him, but overall he believed that it will be place a dark memory in his wife. A year latter he drowned himself with books and study to ease himself, but found it useless forcing himself to a goal with no true will. For sensei was disturbed for the fact that his belief that he was great individual despite how the society is, was immediately shattered by K. He found himself as a same human as his own uncle, and began to lose respect for himself as he had been for others.
Since books didn't work, sensei began to drown himself with sake to help him forget. Though while drunk he becomes aware how foolish his actions were and becomes even more depressed. And his mother-in-law and his wife, who he deeply loved, all the time finds him at a pitiful state. His wife begged him to stop drinking and at one point cried and said to him that he has changed as a person and might have not if K were still alive. In return sensei answered probably, although he knew sadly that the meaning of his answer was different than what his wife interpreted but never felt to give her the real explanation. He finally stopped drinking on his own and once more turned to books. This again does not work for he is saddened that the only person he loves cannot understand him, even though he was capable of having her comprehend and take him out of his loneliness. At the same time sensei thought of what really brought K to his death. At first he thought that K did it over his loss in love but finally concluded that K must have killed himself to escape from loneliness. Sensei then realize that he too was on the same path as K.
He vigorously nursed his mother-in-law when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. All the time after he secluded himself from the world, he wanted to help someone desperately and it was the one time he felt he did something good. After her mother passed, his wife told him that he is the only one left she can rely on. And to this sensei felt that his wife was very unfortunate for his wife since he cannot even rely or trust himself. As time passed, sensei treated his wife sincerely as he possibly could for her, and the she appeared to be pleased but had an uneasy vague feeling towards his behavior for she still didn't understand him. Sensei comprehended that a woman has a character that tends to be more blissful and appreciative to receive kindness and affection even if it seems from an obligation that is out of its path, more than when she is loved for typical reasons that are affluent. This particular character made him think is more keen than in men. Occasionally sensei had a fearful shadow creep up on him unexpectedly. At first it felt like it was coming from the outside, though he latter finds the shadow coming out of his own heart. From that point, sensei began to wonder if the shadow of fear have always been hidden in the depths of his heart ever since he was born. As he began to speculate such notion, he also suspected that his mind was losing sanity but didn't felt like to seek a doctor or anyone for help. He felt he sensed the nature of the human sin profoundly, and such sentiment made him visit K's grave every month, made him nurse his mother-in-law, and demanded him to treat his wife kindly. And the same emotion made him want the beating of a whip from strangers as he walked by them as a punishment that he deserves. But sensei then considered that it would be better if he'd beat himself instead by others. His thoughts then lead to him to a conclusion that he should kill himself, and it couldn't be helped for he decided to live as if he was truly dead.
Though sensei decided to live as if he were dead, sometimes his heart would became overwhelmingly restless and out of no where a powerful focre came out to grasp his heart that maked him immobile all over. Then the force pressured him down and spoke to him that he is a man with no privilege to do anything, asked him why he gets in people's way, and will coldly laugh that sensei already knows it well enough himself. Sensei tried to fight against the force and voices but is pinned down as if he were thrown in a prison. Sensei perceived that the easiest and effortless way to get out of the powerful grip was to commit suicide, and eventually became the only answer. Sensei actually attempted two or three times to walk toward his end, but had his feelings for his wife stop him from going further every time. He never thought of having his wife to die with him nor did he desired to tell her the truth, for he knew he had his own fate and sacrifice while his wife had her own. The other reason why he didn't kill himself earlier was because of the words his wife said to him once her mother passed away, and he couldn't leave her living alone even if it leaves in him agony and hopelessness. In the letter to 'watashi' sensei asked him to remember of how he lived. He also mentioned that all throughout the time they spent together since they met his own dark shadow was with him. Sensei did have the will to see 'watashi' again, but when summer was at its hottest peak the Emperor Meiji passed away and that was when sensei realized that the spirit and the beliefs of the Meiji era began with and ended with the emperor's life. Sensei then told his wife that his own generation was heavily influenced by the Meiji spirit and felt that they were like old relics left by time. His wife jokingly replied that then he should follow his lord to his grave. (junshi).
He turned to his wife and said if he would do junshi, it would be a junshi for the spirit of the Meiji era. At that point he also felt that the old word had new meaning. A month later, sensei was sitting in his study at night listening to the cannon as the sign of the Imperial Funeral, and to him it was the sign that the Meiji era has passed for good. In the newspaper sensei reads the last words of General Nogi before he died. He reads ever since when the enemy stole General Nogi's flag during the Seinan War he wanted to make amends for such dishonor through his death. Sensei counts the years of since the war in the tenth year of Meiji, which shows that the Emperor wanted to kill himself for thirty five years just waiting for the chance and proper time to die. Then two to three days latter sensei himself finally decided to commit suicide. He tells 'watshi' that just as he doesn't comprehend with the reason of General Nogi's death that 'watashi' will also be bewildered with the reasons of sensei's death. He mentions it is because he and 'watshi' are separated by time, for both came into the world and lived in different eras. Though it might be better to simply answer that they are two different beings born with different characters. Either way sensei claims that he had done his best that 'watashi' can understand him in his letter about his strange self that took ten days to finish. He wrote his letter as a story of how his past and experience had forged him and felt it necessary to write it. He'd be satisfied with 'watashi' or others to understand what was part of the Meiji era, and have the good and bad things in his past to serve as a model for them. Though he still wants all of this kept form his wife, for he does not want her memories stained in anyway even after he is dead.