Ango Sakaguchi, who is one of my favorite authors, used to discuss various matters of our morality. He was not only an ordinary storyteller but also a profound thinker, even though his discourse didn't appear to be logical enough. He was neither a strict academician nor a religious philosopher. Actually, he considered himself as a literary writer, particularly of novels. However, I think that his talent suited rather criticism than creation. Perhaps, his intelligence was too keen to make a genuine fiction. An excessive intelligence would prevent us from indulging in an absurd fantasy. In fact, his works were often based upon real experiences of himself, it means that his imagination was restricted. However, it doesn't mean that he has no importance for us. His unique insights deserve fervent consideration of our morality.
His most famous essay named "Daraku-Ron" mentions a matter of our corruption after a defeat of Second World War. However, we need to pay attention to the fact that he attempted to change a definition of corruption. In other words, his opinion about moral corruption aimed at inverting the definition of it. The defeat of Second World War brought us a significant watershed, it meant that a radical change had come to our militaristic society. Justice in wartime should be forced to be abandoned, it was his confident statement. However, his logic was neither clear nor evident. It was so complicated that we can't solve the mystery easily. Certainly, he insisted that our lives in wartime were inhuman, but he didn't matter whether we had been drowned in corruption. His definition of corruption seems to be quite peculiar, because he didn't regarded corruption as moral wrong. He used to accuse japanese militarism of its corruption, but it didn't mean that they had been particularly depraved. What is most wrong was a moral affectation like a false saint rather than drowning in mere corruption. He proposed people abandoning all of vain hypocrisies, although he recognized that we can't stay without any affectations. In other words, he considered beauty to be inhuman because of its emptiness. However, people can't but pursue beauty instinctively. It's very harsh for us to see the truth of our world. Accordingly, we need to conceal the truth from ourselves. Probably, beauty is the most useful way to cover dreadful facts.
His opinion about corruption is so complicated and profound. He claims that the hypocrisy is useless, on the other hand, he says that we can never avoid it. Surely these message appears to be inconsistent with each other. In my opinion, he might have used to consider what must be human. The term "Humanity" sounds merely beautiful to most of people, but it's not easy to decide the definition of it precisely. His sensitivity to falsehood was so sharp that he could not have endured the truth distorted unfairly. However, he also admitted the fact that falsehood belonged to humanity. People sometimes tells a lie, or else confesses the truth. Humanity seems to consist of both of them. Therefore, it's not enough for being human to remove falsehood. He thought whether beautiful things should remain the same permanently or not, even though he couldn't conclude. His suspicion that beauty is merely a delusion seems to contrast with belief of Yukio Mishima. What is most important for Mishima was absolute beauty. He thought that beauty would never change slightly. His decision was based upon a basic recognition that true beauty should be permanent and immutable. Surely, Ango Sakaguchi agreed with him that beauty is the supreme value too, but he didn't have a certain belief that beauty should be everlasting. If anything, I think that he ended up in a conclusion that beauty is inhuman and immoral, so that it has to be abandoned finally. Apparently, his word "Corruption" implied the same judgement that beauty is a poisonous illusion. Explaining with an example of Kamikaze, he would have rather justify corrupt life than sublime death. Such a opinion about what life and death should be seems to contrast clearly with Mishima who used to insist that there could be the worth more important and significant than each life. In conclusion, Sakaguchi thought that corruption of japanese society after the miserable defeat was neither shame nor sin. He regarded decadence as what we should choose positively. His logic can't be said that everyone can see easily, but it's not a proper behavior to avoid attempting to understand what he told. Maybe his essay can disinfect venomous aestheticism like literature of Mishima.