Abe Akira: Short Stories Literary Elements

Abe Akira: Short Stories Literary Elements


Contemporary, realistic fiction, short story (for "Peaches," the only one of Akira's stories to be found in English)

Setting and Context

Ambiguously modern-day Japan, with flashbacks to dates around 1942 and World War II

Narrator and Point of View

First-person point of view from the unnamed narrator, who is a grown Japanese man looking back on his past through memories

Tone and Mood

Contemplative, thoughtful, unhurried, unhopeful

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: the narrator, who looks back on memories from his youth. Antagonist: the faults of memory, which distort reality until he can't tell what really happened in his past.

Major Conflict

The narrator is attempting to reconcile various aspects of one particularly vivid and deceptive memory; he does so by revisiting various recollections from his youth in order to shed light on that one central memory.


At the very end, the narrator comes close to a theory concerning the circumstances of the memory before realizing that many things could have gone wrong in the process because of the self-dependence and unreliability of memory, and he evokes a closing image of himself wheeling himself as a baby in a pram, representing the biased qualities of memory.


The first lines of the story tell of the deceptiveness of memory. This foreshadows the end, in which he decides that his memory has ultimately deceived him, and he will never figure out the truth.


"But the scene needs more commentary." (pg 2)

This statement is followed by many pages of extensive commentary.


The narrator remembers that the year of his memory must be 1942 since his father was fighting in the Japanese Navy during WWII.


The imagery of peaches occurs throughout the story, especially when in conjunction with his mother's infidelity with the son of the landowner, the man who planted the peach trees.


In the central memory, the narrator and his mother must hurry back home, but the peaches in the pram won't allow them to go any faster because of the danger of bruising them. They are therefore forced to walk slowly.


The rotting of the peaches in the house parallels the rotting of the narrator's mother's marital fidelity to her absent husband.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

"While I am busy congratulating myself on my stagecraft..." (pg 1)

This "stagecraft" is his vivid remembrance of the central scene.


“But I am constantly being shocked anew at how wildly deceptive memory can be. It beguiles us at every turn.”

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