Character and Role of Tsu

Tsu as the Heroine

Tsu the heroine in the drama Twilight of a Crane by Junji Kinoshita. In her real form, she is a hen-crane. Once she is shot by a cruel man with an arrow, Yohyo rescued her and she falls in love with him. She disguises as a woman and becomes the wife of Yohyo. She weaves a piece of clothe called Senba Ori which gives Yohyo enough money to live a lazy life of doing nothing. Unfortunately, Yohyo’s mind is poisoned by two vicious men, Sodo and Unzu enticing him to force Tsu to weave more clothes and he does. Tsu to make him happy unwillingly consents. During the process she loses her weight and the trust for husband; so she has to leave her grief-stricken husband in order to be mingled with nature.

Tsu is not merely a character but a symbol of pure innocence, fidelity and goodness. She allocates her all chambers of the heart for her husband and acts the loving wife’s character. She is innocent and is loved by children and the villagers. She knows all the folk lore and enjoys playing with children. However, she never forgets her duties as a wife. She is intelligent enough to understand the hidden motives behind the ill-bread characters like Sodo and Unzu; therefore, she tries her best to take her husband away from their company.

Her mind is not spoilt by materialism; she weaves not for money but to see the pleasure of her husband. She envies money and has no idea why people love it so much. She bears her pain and sacrifices her feathers in order to make Yohyo happy. She is thunderstruck when she is called as a cross woman by him. She pleads heaven and villagers not to separate her from him. This shows her love for Yohyo which had no leaps and bounds. 

At the end, she sacrifices almost all the feathers of her to fulfil her beloved husband desire. During the process she notices her husband sees her in her real form of a crane. With the loss of feathers and trust, she loses the ability to stay in her human form and sadly has to leave her desired life. Her symbolic departure shows how materialism can affect the true love and happiness.


Close Analysis by Lines


“Thank you, my dear, Now, I’ll make supper for you.”

“I wish I could. But I have to prepare supper!”


These lines show her devotion to her husband and her duty consciousness as a loving wife. She loves playing with children and the meantime, she knows that she has to cook for her husband. Further, their conversation reveals the love and respect they share. 


Tsu: ……………..? (She stands in silence inclining her head on one side like a bird)

Sodo: “She acted just like a bird”

Although she is in human form, at certain times her birdy identity is visible by her actions. This confirms the suspicion of Sodo and Unzu about the rumors of a crane in a human form. Sometimes her tongue slips show her true identity as a bird. This adds a feeling of suspense to the play.


Tsu: But you are moving to the other world where I can never live. You are casting your lot with those malicious, terrible people who shot me with an arrow.


I’d like to live with you in this small house peacefully and quietly without being troubled by any one. My darling you shouldn’t be the same as they. You should be a man of the world I belong to.


She is referring to the materialistic world where there is less space for true human qualities like love, compassion and empathy. Tsu is worried about Yohyo trying to join the money minded society leaving his simple pastoral life. Tsu’s expectations are revealed in the second part of the quote; where she craves for a simple happy life without too much of desires. She is referring to the natural world as ‘the world I belong to’.


Sodo: You see, Yohyo? If she says she can’t weave any more, you’ve got to threaten to leave her.

This shows how the money minded people like Sodo and Unzu add venom to the beautiful life of Tsu and Yohyo. They share a peaceful and caring relationship where they spontaneously honor and care for each other. In contrary, it is the way of the money oriented world to get things done at any cost. They use Yohyo’s gullible and innocent nature to manipulate him to threaten his wife to get what they want.


Yohyo: Well……. Because if we have money, we can buy nice things we want.

Tsu: Buy? What’s “Buy”? What’s nice thing? What do you want beside me?

The lines show the insatiable drive of human being who are running after money. They are never satisfied with what they have. Tsu does not understand what that nice thing is. She is worried that Yohyo is fonder of money than her love. She indirectly questions what really buying is; buying is a concept of material world where money intervenes. But, Tsu belongs to the natural world which only give things expecting nothing in return. 


Yohyo: Yes, I dislike you, I don’t like you. I’m not fond of you-you are a cross woman!

This is the turning point of the play where Yohyo’s mind is completely occupied and haunted by materialistic gains. Here, he forgets the love born in his heart for his beloved wife. Despite of all her sacrifices and devotion, she is accused as a cross woman and this is the first point the reader finds Yohyo speaking her in this manner. This pathetically seals the short lived happily ever after life they had. Further, this reveals how the desire for monetary gains affect the relationships and love.


Tsu: … come out, you cowards! Please…. you’re silly-you unfair! Please… I loathe you! I hate you! … Come out, you-….. I’m sorry I said I hate you.

Tsu loses her senses as she sees her family drifting apart before her very eyes. She accuses the people who have done this to her life. Here again her malice-free heart is visible as she apologizes her raged words. Throughout the play, the audience awe-stricken by the goodness she demonstrates.  


Tsu: …. Because, If I go beyond it, I’m afraid I may not live longer….. Pardon me, my darling…… But you may go to Kyoto to sell it – and, please, come back with the money gained!

This shows the depth of her sacrifice just to give her husband joy and wealth. She even goes to the extent into the jaws death for that. She only requests him to come back to her. This is a graphic example of her love and her devotion to her husband as a wife.

Tsu: …. Because, If I go beyond it, I’m afraid I may not live longer….. Pardon me, my darling…… But you may go to Kyoto to sell it – and, please, come back with the money gained!

This shows the depth of her sacrifice just to give her husband joy and wealth. She even goes to the extent into the jaws death for that. She only requests him to come back to her. This is a graphic example of her love and her devotion to her husband as a wife.


Sodo: Look, Unzu! A crane- there’s a crane – a crane’s weaving on the loom.

Yohyo: …. I’ll take a short look, May I, Tsu? …..(At last, he peeps through a crevice in the door to the next room) Oh, Heavens! There’s only a crane!

Again Yohyo is forced to look into the loom braking his promise to Tsu. Throughout the play it is visible how he is manipulated to do things that he is truly not willing to do. Because of this act of breaking promise, Tsu has to leave Yohyo as she cannot remain in the form of human again.


The end of the play is quite tragic as a loving family drifts apart as Tsu forever leaves Yohyo. The story through the character, Tsu raises the poignant truth about the place to love and trust in the material world. Although she loves unconditionally, Yohyo dreams to enjoy mere materialistic pleasures in a distant city. This shows how people do not value their present life and running after a future they had never seen. The end result affects both Tsu and Yohyo. Tsu turning into her crane form and mingling with nature may suggests that true love only found in nature which unconditionally and selflessly sacrifices for others wellbeing. Further, it critically explores the role of money and how it poisons the mind of human to be inhuman.

Tsu is an ideal wife that every man can expect in their lives. However, her desire to lead a simple life is disturbed by the outsiders who crave for money. As a character of that pure spirit, her leaving is quite hurtful to the reader. However, the message she leaves to the world is the most important thing. It is about true love.

What is your idea of the play? Let’s discuss more salient features of Tsu’s character in the comment section. 

Download the pdf worksheet of the play here.

Related Posts:

Money vs Love in the Play Twilight of a Crane by Kinoshita


Post a Comment


  1. Tsu being that innocent is very scary. Innocence is a trait to be acknowledged but among all the malicious beings it is frightening. It is a true tragedy to have people like yohyo among us; to know how to love and yet give in to something as vicious and deadly as money and choose materialism over the worldly luxury of true love. How unfortunate to lose a woman who can love you truly. She is just like nightingale. Selfless and genuine. To find people with that much kindness to sacrifice themselves is truly a lot of courage to be acknowledged. Thank you for this eye opening analysis. I look forward for more.

    1. What more salient features could there possibly be, if I may ask?

    2. That's true. That's what truly happens. When there is bad around goodness, it is natural goodness to leave. True love and goodness cannot stay with too much of malice.

  2. thank you sir for these amazing posts.

  3. good content ............plz write about Tsu characteristics next time like LOVE Nature and innocent

    1. there are some examples for LOVE NATURE and INNOCENT characteristics of tsu but its not clear can u write it step by step