Kaze to Ki no Uta

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The Poem of Wind and Trees
風と木の詩
(Kaze to Ki no Uta)
Genre Shōnen-ai
Manga
Written by Keiko Takemiya
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Shōjo Comic
Original run January 19761984
Volumes 17
Original video animation
The Song of Wind and Trees: Sanctus
Directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Music by Nobuyuki Nakamura
Released November 6, 1987
Runtime 60 minutes
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Kaze to Ki no Uta (風と木の詩?, lit. The Poem of the Wind and the Trees) is a shōjo manga with homosexual themes by Keiko Takemiya. It was first published by Shougakukan from 1976 to 1984 in the magazine Shōjo Comic. In 1979, it was awarded the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen/shōjo manga.[1] The series is widely regarded as a shōnen-ai manga classic, being one of the first in the genre to combine romantic and sexual relationships. It took nine years for Takemiya's publishers to agree to publish it, as Takemiya refused to censor the sexual elements of the story.[2]

Summary[edit]

Dealing both with lighter subjects of adolescence and coming of age and with darker themes such as racism, homophobia, pedophilia, rape, and drug abuse, Kaze recounts the personal histories of and relationship between two students, Serge Battour and Gilbert Cocteau, at a boarding school in Provence in the late 19th century.

Serge is the son of a French viscount and a Roma woman, attending the Lacombrade Academy near Arles at the request of his late father. Upon arrival at the school, he finds himself roomed with Gilbert, who is reviled by the school's pupils and professors for skipping classes and engaging in relations with older male students. Serge's efforts to befriend his roommate - and Gilbert's efforts to drive off and seduce the young aristocrat, in response - soon form a complicated and disruptive connection between the two.

Despite his apparent cruelty and promiscuity, however, Gilbert proves to be a tortured young man with a history of abandonment, objectification, and abuse. The primary antagonist in the story - Gilbert's uncle, Auguste Beau - is a respected figure in French high society who manipulates and molests his young nephew. Auguste's influence is so great that Gilbert believes that the two are in love and remains enthralled by Auguste, even after learning a disturbing secret about their relationship.

Serge perseveres in his attempts to bond with Gilbert despite threats of ostracism and violence, and eventually the two boys become friends and lovers. Faced with rejection by the faculty and students of Lacombrade, Gilbert and Serge flee to Paris and live for a short while as paupers. Gilbert, however, remains unable to escape the trauma his past and finds himself dragged into a life of hard drugs and prostitution. Hallucinating under the influence of the former, he runs in front of a moving carriage and dies under its wheels, convinced that he has seen Auguste. Some of the pair's few friends, who have recently rediscovered the couple, find and console the traumatized Serge.

Characters[edit]

Gilbert Cocteau
Protagonist, 14 years old. A son of adultery between Auguste Beau and the wife of his step-brother, Anne Marie, Gilbert was initially rejected by both of his parents and raised without parental care or affection. Auguste is the first member of his family to take an interest in him, though he takes Gilbert in only to train him as his personal pet. Dealing with sexual, physical and emotional abuse at a young age leaves Gilbert an antisocial cynic unable to deal with love or social interaction except through sex. Initially antagonistic and even violent towards Serge, Gilbert rejects the other boy's early attempts to befriend him. However, Serge's persistent altruism slowly wins Gilbert over, and the two flee to Paris as lovers. Gilbert, though, has difficulty adjusting to the 'poor life' and doesn't want to work. While Serge is absent from their house a group of men gang rape Gilbert and drug him. Weak and poor, he returns to prostitution and is found by Serge too late.
Serge Battour
Protagonist, friend of Gilbert, 14 years old. The orphaned son of the viscount Battour and a beautiful Roma woman named Paiva. Heir to an aristocratic house, Serge is a musical prodigy with a noble and humanistic sense of morality. Despite his roommate's ill-treatment of him, he remains devoted to attempting to help and understand Gilbert. His attraction to the other boy, though, causes him confusion and distress, particularly when he finds that he can count neither on the Church nor his friends for advice and support. Initially manipulated by Gilbert's uncle Auguste, he later learns of the man's abusive relation with Gilbert and, after winning his roommate's heart, flees both Lacombrade and Auguste with Gilbert.
Auguste Beau
Antagonist. A poet and Gilbert's real father, though posing as Gilbert's uncle. Auguste is an adopted son of the house of Cocteau. Raped by his elder step-brother in his own youth, he abuses Gilbert - first physically and emotionally and later sexually - at a young age. At first attempting to raise Gilbert to be an 'obedient pet,' he later works to transform him into a 'pure' and 'artistic' individual through neglect and manipulation of Gilbert's obsessive love for him. Upon learning of Serge's relationship with Gilbert, he works to separate the pair, refusing to allow his 'nephew' to bond with anyone who might potentially care for him. He shows true concern only in his last moments when he realizes that Gilbert has fallen in love with Serge. Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa.
Jean-Pierre Bonnard
Famous painter and pedophile. He kidnaps a young Gilbert from Auguste and rapes him. Despite this, the two later encounter one another again in Paris, and the manga implies that Gilbert 'forgives him' for his earlier assault. He makes another appearance in the manga's final volume when Gilbert and Serge visit him.
Pascal Biquet
Friend of Serge. An eccentric, iconoclastic classmate of Serge and Gilbert and a close friend of the former. Dismissive of religion and classical education, he insists upon the importance of science and takes it upon himself to teach Serge about sexuality. While mildly attracted to Gilbert, he is also the most frankly heterosexual of Serge's confidants, helping to introduce the sheltered teen to women.
Karl (Carl) Meiser
Serge's first friend at Lacombrade. A gentle, pious boy who struggles with his attraction to Gilbert.
Aryon (Arion) Rosemarine (Rosmarineay, Rosmariné)
Student superintendent general in the school. Rosemarine was raped by Auguste, when he was 15 years old. Truly close only to his classmate Jules de Ferrier, he appears to cooperate with Auguste's manipulative treatment of Gilbert despite the hatred and disgust he feels towards both of the pair. He does, though, form a friendship with Serge and, in his last scenes, aids Gilbert and Serge in their escape to Paris.
Jules de Ferrier
Student supervisor and Rosemarine's childhood friend. Though he is a nobleman, his family's fortune was lost with the death of his father. However, due to his connections to Rosemarine and his intelligence, he is able to attend Lacombrade for free and goes on to graduate early. Both Rosemarine and Gilbert are unusually trusting of him, and he has been known to provide tea and comfort to them during stressful times.

The Vision[edit]

It is said that the author, Keiko Takemiya, received her inspiration for Kaze to Ki no Uta and designed the full plot in a single night. She then told her friend Norie Masuyama of the planned story and, following the publication of the manga, the two collaborated on a novel which provided a second half to the story, Kami no Kohitsuji (神の子羊?, lit. Agnus Dei or the Lamb of the God), by Noris Haaze (a pen name of Masuyama).

Media[edit]

The manga was adapted into a roughly hour long animeis one anime adaptation of this manga, made in VHS tape and LD, and five music albums (LP records). Two of the records are image albums, that is, LP records, named 1) /Kaze to Ki no Uta/, Part 1, and 2) Part 2, /Requiem for Gilbert/. Two more are 3) synthesizer version of 1) and 4) Music collection LP of the OVA /Kaze to Ki no Uta/. 5) The last is coupling album. Its Side 1 is the Side 1 of 1) and Side 2 is a selected music collection from the other image album of Takemiya, /Natsu e no Tobira (The Door to Summer) /.

OVA[edit]

  • 1. Kaze to Ki no Uta - SANCTUS -, OVA, 6 Nov., 1987 (VHS/Beta tape) / 21 Nov., 1987 (LD)
Herald Enterprise Inc. and Shougakukan
Total time: 60 minutes
Staff
Director : Yasuhiko Yoshikazu
Producer : Utagawa Touju, Asami Isamu et al.
Pictures by : Takemiya Keiko, Sugino Sachiko, Futagi Makiko and others.
Music : Nakamura Nobuyuki
Cast (Voice actors)
Sasaki Yuuko (Japanese Wikipedia article) (Gilbert)
Ohara Noriko (Serge)
Sakakibara Yoshiko (Rosmarinay)
Shiozawa Kaneto (Auguste)
Takemura Hiroshi (Pascal)

Music albums[edit]

  • 1) Kaze to Ki no Uta (The Poem of Wind and Trees). image album, 1 July 1980
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Side 1
1. Main Theme
2. Theme of Gilbert
3. Theme of Serge
4. Dialogue
5. The Poem of the Wind and the Trees
Side 2
1. Piano Cocerto, Kaze to Ki no Uta
  • 2) The World of Takemiya Keiko - Aesthetics of Love. combined album, 25 Oct. 1981
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Note: Side 1 is same as that of LP /Kaze to Kino Uta/, and Side 2 is music collection selected from the LP /Natsu e no Tobira (The Door to Summer) /, which is the album of music collection from the OVA /Natsu e no Tobira (夏への扉) /.
Side 1 (from the Poem of Wind and Trees)
1. Main Theme
2. Theme of Gilbert
3. Theme of Serge
4. Dialogue
5. The Poem of the Wind and the Trees
Side 2 (from the Door to Summer)
1. Theme of Marion
2. Theme of Ledania
3. Theme of Love
4. The Burning Summer
5. Main Theme
  • 3) Kaze to Ki no Uta, Jiruberu no Rekuiemu (Requiem for Gilbert), image album, 21 July 1984,
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Side 1
1. Ave Maria
2. In the Course of Waking from Dreams
3. A Bird is Made of Snow
4. Invitation to Travel
Side 2
1. Now, Just into the Dreams
2. The Dream
3. Plaited Strings of Love
4. My Angel, I Pray...
5. Ave Maria
  • 4) Kaze to Ki no Uta - the Digital Trip, synthesizer fantasy, 21 May 1985
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Note: Entries are same as /Requiem for Gilbert/. This is the synthesizer version.
  • 5) Kaze to Ki no Uta - SANCTUS -, OVA soundtrack LP, 6 Nov., 1987
Pony Canyon (Pony Canyon Inc.)
Note: This is the music collection from the OVA /Kaze to Ki no Uta - SANCTUS - /. This album was published in the form of CD and cassette tape at the same time.

Reception[edit]

First serialised in Shōjo Comic in January 1976, Kaze has been called "the first commercially published boys' love story",[3] though this claim has been challenged, as the first male-male kiss was in the 1970 In the Sunroom, also by Keiko Takemiya.[4] Matt Thorn says that Kaze was "the first shōjo manga to portray romantic and sexual relationships between boys", and that Takemiya first thought of Kaze nine years before it was approved for publication. Takemiya attributes the gap between the idea and its publication to the sexual elements of the story.[2]

Midori Matsui describes Kaze to Ki no Uta as "surreptitious pornography for girls", and likens Gilbert to a femme fatale. Toku regards Kaze to Ki no Uta as groundbreaking in its depictions of "openly sexual relationships", spurring the development of the boys' love genre in shōjo manga,[3] Matsui regards Kaze to Ki no Uta as being influential in creating the yaoi doujinshi subculture, as it is more sexually explicit than Moto Hagio's works.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  2. ^ a b Thorn, Matthew (2004) Girls And Women Getting Out Of Hand: The Pleasure And Politics Of Japan's Amateur Comics Community in Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan William W. Kelly, ed., State University of New York Press
  3. ^ a b Toku, Masami (2007) "Shojo Manga! Girls’ Comics! A Mirror of Girls’ Dreams" Mechademia 2 p. 27
  4. ^ Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Mar. 27, 2007: The first draft of history (some revisions may be necessary).Tcj.com. Retrieved on 2008-12-23
  5. ^ Matsui, Midori. (1993) "Little girls were little boys: Displaced Femininity in the representation of homosexuality in Japanese girls' comics," in Gunew, S. and Yeatman, A. (eds.) Feminism and The Politics of Difference, pp. 177–196. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

External links[edit]