The Three Crabs: A Woman Letting Lose
Oba, Minako. "THE THREE CRABS." Japan Quarterly 25, no. 3 (1978). Accessed May 26, 2022. ProQuest.
“The Three Crabs” is written by a Japanese author named Oba Minako. Oba Minako was born on November 11, 1930, and is known for creating stories that challenge traditional familial roles.
The main character of “The Three crabs” is a woman named Yuri. We first meet Yuri when she is walking along the beach. The story then continues with Yuri making a cake with her daughter Rie for a bridge party she ditches. With the excuse that her sister is in town, she leaves the bridge party and drives to an amusement park where she meets the man in the pink shirt. They both leave the amusement park and have sex in Yuri’s car in the Three Crabs motel parking lot.
My favorite part of the story is Yuri and Rie’s interactions in the bathroom. On the surface, their conversation about Yuri’s makeup can be seen as comical banter, but this interaction has deeper meaning. For example, “Rie came in and said in a tone that sounded like a school principal’s…‘You want to look young, don’t you, Mommy’” (Oba 93). This conversation highlights the difference between societal pressures on females of different age groups. Rie thinks her mother is ridiculous for wanting to look younger but Rie can’t say anything because the expectation of children is to listen to their parents. The expectation of Yuri is to be a mother but through her putting on makeup & creating banter, she becomes more than her mother persona. Yuri acknowledges Rie’s opinion when she recalls that she had the same opinion toward her mother when she was younger; “She recalled that she herself had once looked at her own mother in the same way” (Oba 93). Despite the heavy topic within this comical scene, the interaction of femaleness at different stages made this part so special.
My least favorite part of the book was when Yuri met the man in the pink shirt. The scenes containing their interaction were beautifully written, but the act of cheating I disliked. The significance of her interactions with the man in the pink shirt represented Yuri letting loose as a woman instead of adhering to her rigid role as a mother and a wife; “She moved her body any way she wished in the man’s arms. After a while they moved apart and started to move freely” (Oba 110). I understand that, but why must Yuri cheat in order to be validated as a woman? These scenes highlight the double standards against women who are faced with the painful decision of being hurt or becoming unfaithful to their partners in order to gain the freedom of being both a mother and an individual. In the man with the pink shirt's eyes, she is seen as a woman, but in Takeshi’s eyes, she is seen as only a wife and mother.
I rate this book a 10 out of 10. I recommend this book to individuals who love to read dramatic non-fiction books.