This poor, deformed boy was a hungry thief, made the sex-xlave of a haughty dominatrix Matsu, herself a former servant who had been raped by the master's son. Now old and rich, she seeks a replacement for her abandoned...展开(and assumed dead) hunchback infant son. While denying incest, she humiliates and rapes him, getting extra pleasure by painfuly manipulating his hump. This "tomb of flesh" was the visible answer to the pregnant girl's prater to mark her hated, unborn child.
The virginal Minstreal is also in love with the hunchback. He tells her "I'll always be a stranger, existing only for others. Always feared, a mere object of interest, until finaly, I'll be a laughingstock... I'm like the one who's 'it' in hide-and-seek. I chase them and they run away laughing. He remembers childhood dreams of incestuous or forbidden lust. Since the town's birth records were mysteriously stolen the truth of the susbected incest in unknowable. However, rumors persist that the baby, like the defomed and abandoned Oedipus, was saved by the servant ordered to desert him. These and other rumors are whispered by a chorus of ancient hags and crippled, male masseurs.
The hunchback is depicted as the ultimate outcast: born of rape, abandoned, deprived of his inheritance, despited, sexualy desired, and abused, and finaly murdered. Two women, one his grotesque, sexualy depraved mother (described as "an aging bride"), the other a virginal, young minstrel wearing a middy blouse (described as "a girl student"), fight viciously over his body and his memory.
The play also works as an extended metaphor or allegory for Japan's relationship with the West, especialy America. Like the poor servant raped by her rich master, and also like her deformed, despited child, modern Japan was an innocent youth which desired and feared the powerful, rich West. Hating yet desiring the rapist, Japan became a grotesque parody of the West, learning the worst lessons of sadistic imperialism, militarism and colonialism. The atomic holocaust - a final gift of contamination from the idolized/demonized rapist - created another deformed baby, a living tomb of memories, a tomb of twisted flesh. The abandoned, hunchbacked child re-emerged as the global outcast, the atomic-contamined pariah, the child of rape and incest, filled with self loathing, lacking identity, simultaneously loving and hating the parent-rapist.