Hero vs. Byronic Hero

This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.

As a WWII junkie, I read about Sugihara Chiune several months ago on Wikipedia, and because of his interesting life story, I decided to buy and watch this wonderful documentary called Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness.

I ended up really liking the documentary (I highly recommend it!) and am again amazed how one person can impact a lot of people or the whole world. Sugihara is basically a Japanese Oskar Schindler. Like Schindler, his actions in Lithuania (he issued out transit visas to many Jewish people) allowed many Jewish refugees to escape to Japan where they then were moved to Shanghai for the duration of the war. Like Schindler, Sugihara’s been recognised by the Yad Vashem and is so far the only Japanese person to be honoured as a Righteous Among the Nations.

Unlike Schindler, though, Sugihara helped out the Jewish people with no intents of gaining anything back from them, unlike Schindler who originally wanted to use the Jewish people as unpaid labourers and benefit from the profit. This is where I am contemplating on something. Both of them are heroes who saved many people lives. However, which of them are more fun to study? More fun to try to write as a character? I see Sugihara as a normal hero with many Samurai traits in him (his mother was from a middle-class Samurai family), and I see Schindler as a Byronic hero of some sort. I mean, not only did Schindler wanted to profit from the war, but he was a womaniser, a drinker, and pretty much a scheming man only wanting to take care of himself. Simply put, Schindler was not a saint, making Sugihara look like one when compared to him.

Of course, it’s not fair to compare them both, but from a literary perspective, from a character analyser’s perspective, it’s actually pretty interesting. Personally, I think Schindler would be more fun to portray, but Sugihara with his Samurai background and his love for travelling and knowledge also interests me.

Hmmm. Just something to think about.


  1. Thanks for the review. My husband loves documentaries, so I will have to pass this on!

  2. Sounds like a really interesting story. I should check it out sometime when I actually get free time. *glares at my job* lol

  3. Schindler definitely got more street cred with the movie though.

    As a WWII junkie, does this also mean you saw Inglorious Basterds?

  4. Thank you! Haha, yeah, I wasn’t too happy with the layout but it’ll have to do. I actually have never heard of Quiznos.

    I didn’t know anything about Sugihara and Schindler. You sure did some research here! And I learned something too. You are right though, Sugihara does seem like such a saint, but Schindler’s character would definitely be an interesting one to portray.

  5. c h l o e on

    I heard of him before but never really got to read anything about him. I will try to get that documentary and watch it myself.

    Both of them are interesting figures~ Schindler is fun if portrayed but I find Sugihara a better figure than him.

  6. I actually really like chemistry. :D My friends have been trying to help me with calculus though but I pretty much get it…I think. I just have a lot of trigonometric identities to memorize -____- :( But I only like a subject when I fully understand it. The only time I like math is when it makes sense to me & I know how to solve a friggin problem! Otherwise, I hate it because it’s too hard for me to understand. -_-

    I’d have to agree with you! I think Schindler probably would be more entertaining to watch/play/be turned into a movie BUT Sugihara is the better person. :)

  7. Very much something to think about.

    “unlike Schindler who originally wanted to use the Jewish people as unpaid labourers and benefit from the profit.” – when I first read this my reaction was HOW could you say such a thing. But yes, you are very right.

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