severia: (Toshio2)
severia ([personal profile] severia) wrote2016-10-05 08:06 pm

Ozaki Toshio and Sexuality (or not)

1) If you don't seem to care about a certain gender, does that mean you're not interested in that gender, in the way that your sexuality will exclude that gender?

2) Just because you happens to love someone the most, does that automatically mean you harbor romantic feelings for said person? Does that mean you're into their gender in the first place?

My personal reading is that, no, Toshio isn't interested in women. In my opinion, Ono has implied it a bit too often for me to just ignore the possibility (unlike Seishin, whom Ono really steered clear from in this kind of matter which made me reluctant to conclude stuff, because, what the heck even to conclude? I have no info on that whatsoever).

Let's look at the instances of these implications in Shiki:

-Toshio kind of has no idea of how marriage and non-platonic relationship with women works. (1.4: (about Kyouko) "Toshio wasn't sure whether it was more appropriate to say she didn't come by more often than that or that she came by that frequently.")

-Toshio really isn't having sex with any woman (while this is also partly because he doesn't want to contribute to the survival of the Ozakis) (2.8.2: "Unfortunately for Takae her son did not share in her values. Toshio had no attachment to Ozaki. In fact he came to feel it as a restraint. Toshio was no longer a child who cursed it to the point of saying Ozaki should just die out but he thought that if it was going to die out, he wouldn't mind if it did. At the very least he didn't appear to be taking any proactive measures to prevent it.") (3.6.3: "'Busying yourself in the village' was a code word for Takae. She was asking if he wasn't keeping himself busy with a woman from the village. Don't ask how he knew. That seemed to be the only thing it could mean from Takae. In fact it'd been something he'd been asked since high school, to his frustration.")

-He felt no attraction whatsoever towards Kyouko, likely until now. (3.8.8: "Toshio couldn't call to mind why he'd chosen Kyouko as his wife in the first place. Even if he tried to remember the time between their meeting and marriage, it was lacking in any raw emotion on his part. Looking back on it now, he realized that it was nothing more than him not wanting his parents to choose a wife for him.")

4 instances are, for me, often enough to conclude that he really isn't interested in women, especially considering what was being stated in each instance. I do sincerely think that, whatever Toshio's sexuality is, it doesn't include the opposite gender, which rules out bisexuality and heterosexuality.

Now, on to #2:

I think it's clear as day who Toshio's favorite person is from the novel. While his feelings for other people remain shallow or questionable (and then he's totally cold and unfeeling towards the rest), this guy is downright fond of his childhood friend, Seishin. Enough to seek him out first regarding almost everything; enough to wish (and demand) for his support; enough to want to share his thoughts with him on a lot of things; and enough to want Seishin to visit him when the guy has the time.

So, he likes Seishin a lot. What's the nature of his feelings, then? Does he like the guy beyond platonically? Does he have a thing for guys then?

My personal reading is that, no, Toshio doesn't seem to harbor romantic feelings for Seishin. However, this is only based on gut feeling and general impressions (even if I think everyone would agree with me, haha). I'm admittedly quite unclear about the limits and requirements of romantic love, even if I also experience romantic attraction myself. Part of me honestly thinks that, even if we can categorize things like certain kinds of love into neat little boxes, only the individuals involved are able to give a final say to what kind of feeling they're having, not other people.

I'm only able to categorize Toshio's feelings using my own set of standards. This doesn't mean I'm right, but this is what makes sense to me so I'll just go with it for now. Firstly, to me, what makes romantic love romantic love:

1) Basically, you'd want to be in some kind of relationship with them. A relationship that's exclusive to you both.
2) Jealousy when you see them being involved with other person in a similarly romantic manner.
3) You'll care about them and want to do things for them, but you'll also be quite demanding and controlling in return.
4) You often want to be around them. You really love to see them. Affection.
5) Wanting to merge views and life path with them.
6) You want to have them all to you.

Now, let's look at how these fits Toshio:

1) Toshio has never put any importance into romantic relationships in the novel, period.

2) Well, Seishin has never been involved with other people romantically so how would we know?

3) Toshio is quite the epitome of uncaring... Probably harsh, but he's quite the kind who asks and asks and still asks but never gives when it comes to Seishin, the way I see it. Even if he knows Seishin doesn't wish for things to be certain way, he still pushes for it while he still can. Granted, he probably seems that way because the matters regarding Sotoba are of utmost importance that he cannot afford to care for individual desires, but I still think of him as utterly egotistical because while it seems like he's doing things for Sotoba, he's actually doing it for himself. I wouldn't call him egotistical if he actually denies his own desires and ego just like how he denies Seishin's.

4) This one is Toshio. He loves being visited by Seishin when the guy has the time (that his mood greatly improves when it happens -- and he's equally disappointed when Seishin couldn't) and discussing stuffs with Seishin that he seems a bit out of sorts when he couldn't, even if he ultimately wishes for Seishin to just agree with him on things. Seishin is his mood booster, as well as an individual who manages to make him feel really down and angry and probably frustrated. I'd say that Toshio, whose feelings for people usually remain steady, experiences emotional ups and downs when it comes to Seishin.

5) Well... he wants Seishin to agree with him for his own sake. That probably doesn't count, does it?

6) Possessiveness? I'd say that he could probably look quite possessive to some (from how he's so demanding and all), but I largely think of him as seeing Seishin as an extension of himself so that's probably why he could look somehow possessive, which is to say it isn't actually possessiveness. At the very least, he largely values himself as the doctor of the village and Seishin as the monk, and them being leaders of the village. So it's in his desires that Seishin would perform his leadership duties just like he does.

So yeah, that's my opinion on Toshio's feelings for Seishin.

As such, I don't think Toshio likes guys. Nothing about that can be concluded from the novel -- Ono has never implied anything of this sort, just like how she steered clear from the matter involving Seishin's sexuality. No info whatsoever. Besides, this is just a gut feeling, but if he doesn't harbor romantic feelings even for someone he likes the most, then he's probably also not into this demographic.

If you ask me, I personally think that Toshio is most probably asexual.