To purchase Katana Duet please visit this page.
This webpage is an introduction to a story about two identical male twins bound together by a horrible crime and how their love is challenged and fulfilled in a new land.
Although this site does not contain any adult material whatsoever, the novella itself narrates an incestuous relationship between the Matsumoto brothers and should not be read by anyone who would be offended. Furthermore, the love between these two samurai are not the only taboo union in the tale.
My job is never to convince the reader this relationship is sound, just why their bond evolved in this way.
The story was written after I read a proposal on a publisher’s site calling for “twincest”. Katana Duet is a work of fiction and art, not my attempt to condone the behavior of the characters in the story.
:: Thanks ::
I’d like to express my appreciation to Martin Ojuroye for editing the submission draft of Katana Duet, Kikue Mugen who designed the cover the book and numerous other people who read drafts of the work and provided much needed criticism and encouragement.
:: Reviews ::
:: Meditations on Katana Duet ::
The following is a general summary of the story. Any details which may hint at a spoiler has been omitted. After all, this is a tale about secrets, deceit and personal revelations.
Katana Duet starts in Japan amidst the Boshin War of 1868 during which the country was embroiled in a military conflict in which the shogun was removed from power and the emperor became the sole head of state. During this time, domains or feuds had to side with either the Tokugawa shogunate or the Imperial faction.
The Matsumoto samurai brothers are from Ise-han, a fictional domain in northern Japan which eventually lost to the invading ImperialistArmy.
After directly experiencing the tragedies of war and a brutal crime at the hands of their enemy, the twins migrate to Edo (now renamed Tokyo) and struggle to survive in the city. Akeno becomes a lowly paid teacher at one of many new academies just established in the city, while Aki works at a silk shop. Akeno recognizes that his brother has the potential to continue his education abroad and willingly compromises his own morals to acquire the funds needed to send Aki to the United States.
Eventually both brothers end up in Madison Wisconsin as tenants of the Lennartsson family. The home is occupied by another pair of siblings, Konrad a science student and his innocent younger sister Klara.
Unlike many Japanese students who are funded by the government, the twins soon run out of money and their dreams of getting an education quickly fade like the mists on Lake Mendota.
Aki and Akeno are forced to perform as the “Katana Duet” in a series of local performances. While the extra money seems to offer them hope, much more serious problems begin to loom in their home.
Just as the Matsumoto brothers were scarred by the tragedy of 1868, the Lennartsson brother and sister pair also suppress a dark secret and desires.
Both families have to choose between their own blood and love to survive.
Katana Duet is an uncommon romance with gothic overtones and a touch of sinister science. It was difficult for me to write because ofcourse the taboo of incest is hard to overcome, however I hope any reader who gives this story a chance will realize that “incest” was not adopted to be a sensational angle, but rather a psychological one. Ultimately, it was my intent to convey an intense love story.
In gothic literature, the most used and abused stock character is the virginal young maiden. Klara on the surface level is very similar to those classic heroines, but her appearance is probably all she has in common with those figures.
She enjoys cooking gingerbread men, reading and collecting carnival or fair memorabilia and is quiete fond of her dollhouse. What many would perceive as a her frozen emotional development may in fact be an expression of what she wants to be, not who she really is.
Every story has a hero driven by a sense of duty, honor and love. Only the reader can decide if Konrad lives up to those ideals or in fact he is willing to pursue them to the point of self destruction.
Like many older brothers, Konrad is protective of sister however his sense of duty is also born of a deeper bond he cannot easily express.
Konrad is a good but destitute student who abandons his own life path to pursue a greater goal. One wonders if his scientific work is simply a temporary balm for his own futile struggle against the inevitable. I think his research is an inquiry not only into the illness which affects his sister but into his own psyche.
Else & Leif Lenartsson
Aunt Else and Uncle Leif are the guardians of Klara and Konrad both of whom are eager to be free from supervision. Else and Leif are hardworking farmers whose concerns are not only for the two young lives but also secrets which threaten the stability of the family.
My brother and I are two and one.
There is only “us”
Our love is born from the womb of tragedy.
The birth of the twins is something of a mystery. Both brothers have a well rehearsed story that they have decided “seems” to be right in regards to how they came into this world and were soon orphaned. To me their story is a bit like a folktale, far fetched, extraordinary and deeply metaphorical. According to Aki and Akeno their parents were travelling when a forest wildfire separated their mother and father. They were born on a riverbank between rushing waves and a roaring inferno.
“We were probably a piteous sight, barely crawling in our mother’s warm fluids and wailing from being buffeted by the storm of hot and cold around us.”
Akeno strikes me as someone who lives in a cycle of low self worth and feels compelled to sacrifice himself. Ofcourse Akeno’s willingness to put himself second is because he sees his role as “supporter” to Aki. While both twins see the other as a reflection of one entity, it is actually Akeno who begins to break free from the conjoined psychology between the two of them.
I think Akeno was able to develop a sense of self faster than his sibling because Aki did not come to his aid that night in 1868. The sense of abandoment undermines the bond they had sense childhood. Futhermore, in the United States, Akeno befriends and dotes on Klara which allows him to define himself as being “separate” from Aki. Ironically the relationship with Klara also deepens his bond with Aki once he realizes that nothing in the Lennartsson household is as it seems.
Who does he believe? Klara or Aki?
What troubled me about Akeno is that he has difficulties in deciding who he wants. To me, he wants both Klara and Aki…
In public he is the more friendly and docile brother, more than happy to do menial chores which Aki would avoid. Behind closed doors Akeno is actually sexually dominant due to his experience with O-Hana the older and attractive female silk shop owner in Tokyo.
If Aki was the “brains” of the pair, Akeno is the labor. It was his hardwork and willingness to sacrifice everything which allowed both Aki and he to come to the United States. He was the twin first to accept the solution to the financial distress by performing in “Katana Duet”.