Week 12: 傲慢と善良 😤😇 (Advanced Book Club)

Week 12

Start Date: January 27
Previous Part: Week 11
Home Thread: 傲慢と善良 :triumph::innocent:
Book club: Join the Advanced Book Club here!


Start date To read Num pages
Week 12 Jan 27 End 37

Discussion Guidelines

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current section(s) and any content in future sections.
  • When asking for help, please mention the page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun!


Mark your participation status by voting in this poll.
(Please feel free to update your status whenever you like!)

  • I’m reading along
  • I have finished this part
  • I’m still reading the book but I haven’t reached this part yet
  • I am no longer reading the book
0 voters

Proper Noun Readings

Name Reading
西澤 架 にしざわ かける Main character
坂庭 真実 さかにわ まみ Kakeru’s fiancée
坂庭 陽子 さかにわ ようこ Mami’s mom
坂庭 正治 しょうじ Mami’s dad
岩間 希実 いわま のぞみ Mami’s sister
剛志 つよし Nozomi’s husband
桐歌 きりか Nozomi’s daughter (mami’s niece)
大原 おおはら A male friend of Kakeru’s
美奈子 みなこ A female friend of Kakeru’s
あずさ A female friend of Kakeru’s
小野里 おのざと Matchmaker old lady
金居 智之 かない ともゆき Mami’s first suitor
花垣 学 はながき まなぶ Mami’s second suitor
Name Reading
阿佐谷 あさがや Where Mami lived
富洲 とよす Where Kakeru lives in Tokyo
小岩 こいわ Where Nozomi lives
群馬 ぐんま Prefecture Mami’s from
前橋 まえばし City Mami’s from

Quiz answers:

  • According to the internet, 石母田 can be read いしもだ,いしもた,いしぼだ,いしほだ,せきぼだ,いぼた… But the most common reading and the one used in the book is いしもだ
  • According to 高橋’s girlfriend, the average shoe size of Japanese women is 23.5. The internet seems to agree.
  • .Removing missing buildings from maps by marking them with an X seems to be really difficult psychologically! While 板宮 hurt his knee and can no longer walk all day, it’s not mentioned that it was the walking that damaged his knee, it’s not mentioned that this was caused by his job (in fact, walking seems to be generally considered to be good for the knees), and neither 板宮 nor 真美 mention the walking being that difficult so in my mind this is not the right answer.

I actually finished the book today. The ending felt a bit like a standard romance movie, I felt. It took a stranger to point out that this was a big love story they shared (based on what, exactly?). Kakeru was still determined to marry her no matter what (why? she lied to manipulate him and disappeared for months driving him nuts with worry. Is this a person you can trust?) and she also wants to marry him, not because she wants to marry someone with status and he fits the bill, but because she loves him for who he is? And they lose a lot of money because romantic, cancelling the planned wedding in order to marry in a tiny temple that somehow means something to only one of them.
And in the end, did they really decide of their own free will now? The story is, I suppose, that Mami needed to be independent and become her own person before she could marry on equal terms, instead of passing from one “guardian” to another. And we can suppose that Kakeru grew to know and actually respect her through all his investigations, and understood why she lied and why she ran and loved her for what she was. Even though we were shown none of this. In any case it’s still true that they are at an age when they’d better marry soon if they want to have children, and they happen to be with each other now, so…

As I commented elsewhere, this is the second book I read by 辻村 深月, and I can see common points in both. A very well researched social issue presented from as many angles as possible, a story to tie together the facts she wants to present, and an ending that feels kinda preachy, to be honest. It’s not that I disagree with what she’s saying, it’s the way she says it. It feels more like a childrens’ story with a moral to me than fiction for adults. Even though this novel was very clearly both for and about adults.

I learned a lot I didn’t know about attitudes towards relationships and marrying in Japan though. I do believe and hope Mami’s parents are not the norm, but I’ve seen this pressure/urge to marry in most Japanese books I’ve read. I wonder if this holds true for younger generations too, or whether it’s changing.

Thank you @miwuc for running such a fun club! I may have not been reading along with you all for much of the time, but I still enjoyed the chat and the quizzes even after the fact. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I agree, although I have less problems with the book being preachy (although I am not a fan of it), my main problem is the lackluster ending since it makes me feel like most that we learnt about the characters was useless. I don’t understand why this author spends so much time on basically irrelevant plot points and then gives us so little resolution. I still don’t understand why they got married in the end. I guess it’s not as preachy for me because I can’t even understand what the author is trying to preach. :laughing: There was no talk about them definitely wanting kids, so I am confused what they want to get out of marrying now. And the whole ordeal with the second love interest for Mami was so weird? What was the point of that now?
The most painful for me was the scene with the old lady at the temple who gave this speech about them just being a grand love story. Like, no? It’s fine to date/marry someone for reasons such as the person being pleasant and reliable enough to start a family with them – something we saw with Mami’s ex-marriage-candidate, I suppose. But why now bring love into it? I don’t see it. I don’t even know what about him she is supposed to love, she was just annoyed by him being out a lot with his friends and everything else she liked was mostly status, no? And from his POV if I’d get married solely for having kids, I probably wouldn’t marry someone who just disappeared without telling anyone anything for months. How can you trust this person being reliable as a parent? And if you don’t want kids, why the need to commit? Just build up trust again and get to know each other now that you are supposedly on equal footing.

And not sure if I missed this or if it even became relevant again, but will Mami work for Kakeru now? She quit her job for him in the beginning, is that still a thing? How does she feel about that now?


Well, despite my grievances with the book, I still very much enjoyed reading it with the club! Thanks for running it, @miwuc ! You did a great job, the quizzes were a lot of fun and it was nice to discuss the book with everyone and get different opinions and viewpoints on the story!


I guess the preachy part was that marriage is not the ultimate goal in life. Mami was ready to break up and okay with it. Supposedly she married Kakeru not because she needed to marry someone but because she really liked him personally. And she seemed very aware that getting married was only the beginning of a life they’d have to keep figuring out step by step. She also realized that their marriage was their own, and that parents or friends had nothing to do with it (which isn’t strictly true if they will still be in their life, but it seems they are determined to set boundaries).

The love interest was there as a box to tick, I’m afraid. Mami had some kind of inferiority complex because she had no relationship experience before Kakeru, and this was magically resolved now that someone asked her out, apparently.

It’s unclear whether she’ll work for Kakeru or not. I suppose the idea is that now that she has stood on her own and proved worthy, whatever she decides to do will be her own choice at least.

While they never talked specifically about the desire to have children, from what I’ve been reading this is exactly what the purpose of marriage is supposed to be in the eyes of most. If you marry and don’t immediately procreate you start being talked about (and to), at least in the books I’ve been reading (hopefully less so in real life). Mami had even arranged with Kakeru’s mother to share the burden of child care, so it definitely was on her mind, whether she deeply desired it or not. We are also to assume that she will have better chances to be a better mother than her own now that she got herself a few months of life experience.

The love angle I’ll agree was a little out of nowhere. I think Kakeru is supposed to have “proved” his love in that he didn’t give up on her all this time, and was willing to forgive and forget (realizing his own mistakes in the relationship may have helped with that). He didnt even cancel the booked wedding venue. To me though this could be better interpreted as stubborn clinging to the one person he felt he could marry, the alternative being months and years of dreary 婚活. Mami has supposedly clearly loved him from the start, he was her 100% after all. :roll_eyes:

Basically Kakeru got over his 傲慢 and Mami over her 善良 so now they can live happily ever after. :joy:


Thank you for this write up, this is very insightful!

That’s the craziest part to to me. If my significant other were to vanish before our marriage, I would cancel the venue after like a week because I would think that even if they left on their own accord and for good reason, that we would need to work on their mental health and our relationship and not get married in the near future. Same when believing that they were abducted, I’d cancel as well because I would assume my partner is currently going through a deeply traumatic situation, which also doesn’t make me think it’s a good idea to get married when they come back. It feels like Kakeru never really took the stalker situation seriously anyway.

I also don’t find it very romantic but rather as not taking the mental health crisis seriously that Mami must’ve been through (and him as well? It must be traumatic to think for a good chunk of time that your s/o might be in imminent danger and then find out you have been lied to in such a significant way. And his friends also told him in the worst possible way and were also a big disappointment to him. I wonder if he broke up the friendship with them? If yes, that’s another huge blow for your mental health, I would assume. Even if they behaved shitty, they have been friends for years from what I understood).
I don’t think what Mami did was right, but something must have been deeply wrong for her to lash out in such a way and I find it pretty crazy that you would cling onto marrying this person in this state.


While going through the text, I found myself once again frustrated by a character’s observations and interpretations regarding a certain event.

Mami recalls the elderly-looking delivery guy who handed a love letter to her coworker, Meguchan, at their workplace. When Meguchan showed them the letter, they mocked the incident by calling it dangerous, but in reality, they knew there was no actual danger. They never suspected that the man would turn out to be a stalker. Mami remarks on the man’s situation, expressing, “He, like myself, is someone who feels the pressure to marry from his surroundings, does not want to be alone, and seeks to be loved.” She even thinks that the delivery person overlaps with her suitors Kanai-san and Hanagaki-san.
Acknowledging the author’s association of the elderly appearance with the age of 40, I find it dangerous to trivialize a 40-year-old man giving a love letter to a woman in her 20s at the workplace.
First and foremost, this situation creates discomfort for the woman who works there and has direct contact with that individual. If the woman is uncomfortable with the situation, she will need to explain the incident to her superiors or HR to request a change in the department. It is not always easy to do that and might not be possible to change your spot fast enough.
Another point is that the man might be obsessed with Meguchan, and although he appears harmless, he may not accept rejection and could potentially become a stalker, even posing a threat to her. He in fact, instead of applying one of the marriage-hunting methods described in the book, prefers to give a letter to a much younger woman at the workplace whom he knows nothing about.
Mami brushes off the incident by saying, “He also wanted to be loved.” I don’t think it’s appropriate for the author to interpret it within the context of marriage only. If she were committed to including it, I would have preferred her to address the potential risks without downplaying them. I’m not aware of the situation in other countries, but here, numerous women experience harassment from delivery personnel. They are targeted due to factors such as being young, students, widows, or just living alone.


Finished this book last night.

I agree with the general view that the book is a bit preachy; I think it’s too interested in its themes and not interested enough in its stories and characters. There were some parts I definitely liked (thinking in particular of the section where Kakeru is talking to the marriage consultancy lady here), and it’s always interesting to read a book with the club that I wouldn’t ever have chosen to read myself. On net, 3 stars.

Apparently of the characters that turn up in the final Mami sections, both Yoshino and Sanae/Chikara are separately major characters in two other books by the author. I guess if you’ve read those then them turning up here as little cameo parts makes more sense than if this is the only book by the author you’ve read.

On Kakeru and Mami getting married – I could see this from Mami’s point of view: she had a massive shock and ran away, but she didn’t give up on the idea of the relationship entirely: that’s why she didn’t want to talk to her parents at all, because it would have closed off the idea of ever getting back together with Kakeru. So I can see “after six months on her own she figures out what she wants and isn’t desperate for marriage any more and is in a position to actively choose to marry Kakeru when he asks”. I’m a bit less sure we got enough of Kakeru’s trajectory on this. Certainly he now understands more of Mami’s past history and has a lot of sympathy with it; but we don’t get any of his view after he finds out that Mami lied about the stalker, so there’s a bigger gap to fill in to get from when we last saw him to “Mami definitely is the person I want to marry, regardless”.


I also finished the book the other day (it felt like a very short week).

I quite liked the end of chapter 3. The explanation of why Mami didn’t contact her family seemed convincing to me. The only strange part is indeed that her family was not more worried about her safety, but maybe this is a Japan thing, with the country being so safe in general??

As for Kakeru still wanting to get married with Mami, it’s true we don’t get how he reached this decision/state of mind, but I dunno, he got to understand her much better and had several months to think about it, and that’s enough of an explanation for me. Throughout his part we did see him realizing that he had been neglecting her feelings, and we also saw how much affection he has for her, if only by how tenaciously he kept investigating. He just also doesn’t seem like the type to get super mad? Maybe that’s his 鈍感 side.

It also makes sense to me that he didn’t cancel the wedding venue as that would be admitting that he had lost her, which would be difficult to do (he says it at some point much earlier in the book: 「式場をキャンセルすれば、真実がそれまでに戻ってこないと認めるようで、それだけはどうしても嫌だった」). Also paying the cancelling fee and having a small wedding at the temple is probably still way cheaper than having a big wedding with guests?

I was a bit more perplexed by the epilogue, which looked like a pretty straightforward romande movie ending as @omk3 puts it, with the only nuance that she admits being a bit unsure about the future, which is normal. I expected things to be left more open, largely because I thought my friend who recommended the book had mentioned an unclear ending, but I may have misunderstood.

I also read the 解説, but it was mostly boring so I don’t really recommend doing so. The only mildly interesting part was when it mentioned free will, and how Kakeru’s previous girlfriend got married quickly after splitting up with him because she wanted kids, and it questions whether wanting kids was really a desire born from her free will, or something stemming from societal pressure/expectations. This is a topic that was kinda missing from the book, but maybe that would have been too much to handle in one novel. The 解説 also mentioned Sanae being the main character in another book (青空と逃げる), but I didn’t know this was also the case for Yoshino!

Overall I decently enjoyed the book, none of it was a drag for me (even if I admit the plot in part 1 was progressing very slowly), and it was interesting from a cultural point of view. I liked how all the little pieces of story added up to reveal a whole picture, with details that seemed irrelevant at first being reused later. But I can’t say I loved it either, it wasn’t a page turner let’s say. In kagami no kojou I liked the fantasy aspects which obviously were not present here, and the ending in that book was pretty epic. But I think @omk3 is very right that both books are similar in how they analyse a social issue from multiple points of view. Thanks for pointing it out!

Thanks a lot everyone for reading along and sticking with the book club until the end! Reading all your comments was very interesting. I’m really glad you liked the quizzes and appreciate your kind words ^^ I will make one final quiz so stay tuned!


The 解説 says the other book with Yoshino is 島はぼくらと | L32 though now I reread that part it only says she’s in it, not that she’s a major character in it.


Ha thanks I somehow forgot about that part apparently! ^^’ I don’t think this counts as a spoiler btw?


Probably not, but I just get used to whacking the blur spoiler over whole paragraphs in these threads :slight_smile:


I think it is unclear whether the book ends happily ever after. Can we interpret the two characters coming together as a happy ending? Would such a marriage be a happy marriage, considering their reasons for getting married?

Thanks so much for hosting the book club! While the book wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I really enjoyed learning more about Japanese society and culture through it.


Here it is… THE FINAL QUIZ!! And I did not spare you, it’s a bit of a tough one I think.

Here be spoilers
What was the name of the wedding venue that they canceled?
  • アルカンシエル
  • サンタアンジェリ
  • カサデアンジェラ
  • ミランジェハウス
0 voters
When did Mami and Kakeru meet again?
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
0 voters
What train station did they meet at?
  • 陸前大塚駅
  • 陸前富山駅
  • 陸前小野駅
  • 陸前赤井駅
0 voters

Thank you @miwuc very much for hosting this club! I wrote it before, but I really really enjoyed your weekly quizzes!

And thanks to all of you: It was much fun to read a book together with you all!

Unfortunately, the book itself disappointed me. Might be because I had read かがみの孤城 by the same author before and truly loved that. My expectations were apparently way too high. In that book, admittedly, not all that much really happened for major parts of the book either, but for that book I did not mind at all. I enjoyed also the slow parts. The settting and the underlying main topic were much more interesting for me. And I was completely captivated by the ending. (I did not care at all whether it was 100% logically convincing or not.)

While it was not really bad to read 傲慢と善良, it felt too much as if I was constantly being lectured on marriage issues. And that unfortunately made a more lasting impression on me than the parts I enjoyed reading. Further, the ending was ok for me, but nothing more than that. Nothing special in any way.

@omk3 I would not have realized if you had not made the comparison, but I think you are absolutely right. The two books are very similiar in one respect: They look at a topic from as many angles as possible. Thanks for pointing this out!

@heikimi For me personally, it is not really a happy ending. I am missing being able to relate to the main characters. For me, there are not really strong emotions conveyed on either side I would expect of a happy ending. But I got the impression that it is meant to be a happy ending by the author. After all, Mami got what she had wanted for years and she still wanted it after having grown considerably in the past months, and Kakeru kept looking for her and he did not cancel the wedding arrangements, so there was a strong interest in her (not sure whether love is the right word here) on his side as well.

I will not be joining for the next advanced book club pick because it would be nice to reduce my 積読 pile at least a bit and the book chosen next did not catch my interest at all, so I had no good excuse why I should order even more books (I prefer paper books and am not living in Japan, so when I decide to order something I always order several books at once, which then increases my 積読 pile again… :laughing:). But I hope to read another book with you again soon!


Seems I’m a bit late to the party here. First and foremost I just want to thank everybody for the weekly discussions! Even the weeks when I was too busy to engage much I still really enjoyed reading all the responses. Also thank you @miwuc for hosting! I really love when book club hosts do something to go a bit above and beyond. The weekly quizzes were a lot of fun.

Most of what I’d want to say has already been posted. I was ultimately also a bit underwhelmed, especially after having read 鏡の孤城。There were a lot of interesting ideas and perspectives, but not a ton of narrative or emotional payoff. I don’t regret reading, but 500+ pages and a couple months was a steep price to pay.

I’ll also be sitting out the next pick so I can finally finish some other books in my pile, but I can’t wait to read with all of you again!


Quiz answers:

  • They were supposed to get married at ミランジェハウス. The other choices are actual names of wedding venues that I found on the web.
  • They met up again in July, which means Mami disappeared for 5-6 months.
  • They met at 陸前大塚駅, a stop on the 仙石線 line, which a line that starts in Sendai then goes North-East following the coast. The other choices are names of other stations on that same line.