The fiction of Japanese author Tanabe Seiko (b. 1928) makes an important critique of women`s social position in postwar Japan. Tanabe`s Noriko trilogy (1973-1981) explores the strictures placed on women as the protagonist confronts her double, descends to the brink of madness, and ultimately accepts her own mortality. Likewise, Tanabe`s 1992 short story "Don`t Be So Sweet" depicts a character whose complex gender identity blurs conventional boundaries between male and female. Together, these texts reveal Tanabe`s insistence that human beings may be happy only when they are free to express their naturally complex and inconsistent identities.