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Yukio Mishima, Suicide & Patriotism in Japan.


18 Jan 2004
Please give me your opinion on the following topic:

Analyze Yukio Mishima's treatment of suicide in "patriotism."

Anything about Yukio, suicide and patriotism in Japan is appreciated.
Thank you very much. :D
I love Mishima Yukio for his life, for his art and his final act.
The suicide for Mishima, is a rebellion act that oppose the interior humanity against the obscure state-system; Patriotism, but also Runaway Horses, is the confirm of necessity of a free spirit.
Hello Shidenkai:

Thanks for your reply. I need to write a paper on the above subject. Can you recommmend me some articles (from the web) or books? It's okay though if there isn't any. (^_^)
I Remember Thinking...

how I would rather take a lot of pills & go to sleep.I arrived in Japan about 30 days after he killed himself and it was still a big topic of conversation. It takes a lot of nerve to slice you guts out and signal someone to lop off your head! He sure was a prolific writer.

I think a lot of people misunderstand the depth of Mishima

I hope you didn't write that paper on Mishima yet. If you did, shame on you...I would of loved to had given you some amazing insights about the man; things people didn't know about not even his closest friends.

Mishima was not just a man who committed suicide and he wasn't bent on a mission like some may have thought previously.

Please reply to me Francois if you get a chance!

Don't write that paper without me.
Well if there is a need to say to people Mishima was gay but also had militaristic fetishes and let's be thankful he got nowhere in politics in Japland!!!
I came by to find hot women...anyways
I asked some Japanese about his patriotism on "2ch".
Since I asked in a Japanese literature thread, they pretty knew much about his works.
They said what he did in the military base had nothing to do with patriotism. His suicide seemed to be a kind of mental masturbation to satisfy his deep, sexually-oriented desire. I think he did not really like the military itself but liked himself of being in the military.

If you like Mishima, I strongly recommend Tanizaki as well.
I believe Tanizaki's sense of beauty represents what traditional Japanese culture is.
......as addictive as crack.

As a Japanese, I am glad to see this thread.
People should respect the man for his works. Sure he was a functional schizophrenic with deep rooted sexual emotions but that doesn't mean you associate that with his entire work. This man was nominated for the Noble prize three times ! His suicide has more relevance for right-wingers and people who love Japan then say your average outsider ??
Very interesting to see these interviews:

Especially this one:

I think a lot of what Mushima was standing for was mainly the resistance of Japan's Western influence and the loss of its traditional values. Hopefully, he was not hoping that Japan would become a militaristic state again, but that the people of Japan would remember where they came from and that Japan could be its own nation again and not be so heavily dependent on the West. Remember that this was 1970, less than 30 years after the end of World War II and Japan's defeat from American nuclear bombs.
Mishima's legacy

I agree, @Uchite that Mishima was resisting the loss of traditional Japanese values, but I don't think he was at all opposed to Western influence. His works were written in such a context of Western thought that I am convinced he loved all culture, but what he hated was the ugliness of modern industrialization which has destroyed so much of the earth's beauty in the past fifty years.

In Mishima's death, I don't see it as any erotic death cult act. I've thought about it a lot because I believe him to be one of the world's major twentieth-century novelists. His death happened as it did immediately after he completed his "Cycle of Fertility". The film Mishima directed by Paul Schrader in 1985, which may be found under Mishima_(movie) on Wikipedia, gives a lot of insight into his final hours.

The last novel of "The Cycle" is a work of deep despair. When Mishima stood in front of the troops exhorting them to revolt, I believe he expected they'd join him in resistance but instead they laughed, and his seppuku was an act of utter disillusionment. That is, in my opinion, what his death meant. It wasn't some cheap sex thrill.
Don't know much about Mishima's life and death, but I respect him as a writer. His book, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, is one of the darkest books that I've ever read. I felt compelled to read that book just on the basis of the title's poetry.

Here's a hint of what it's about. (BTW, an American movie was made based on the novel, but there's no trailer on youtube.)

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Mishima, taking the whole "if I don't get my way I'm holding my breath" thing to a whole new level with ritual disembowelment. That'll show'm!!!
Didn't Mishima suffer from manic-depression (bipolar illness)? This illness alone was probably responsible for his death by suicide. Incidentally, manic-depression (bipolar I especially) was often mistaken for schizophrenia in those days.
If you study the biographies of great writers, artists, poets, and musicians who took their own lives, you'll be surprised at how many of them suffered from bipolar illness, I or II. Lord Byron, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Wolfe, van Gogh, etc. Here is a good book on the subject: "Touched with Fire," by Kay Redfield Jamison.

Yeah, well anyone can speculate on his mental disorders, but he died almost 40 yrs ago now, and his legacy is really his written works and not whether or not he chewed bubblegum, or whatever ...

I'm interested in a couple of things - do any members here have ideas to contribute about Mishima's actual writings generally and more particularly about how oddly (as it seems to me) the situation of being "gay" is portrayed in his novels. In Forbidden Colours, the hero is manipulated with money, forced into marriage and the relationships presented are quite peculiar in Western terms.

As a non-Japanese, I grapple with being able to form any understanding of how the characters of Mishima's work fit into Japanese society at large. Are they as peculiar as they seem to me?

Secondly, I'd be interested in knowing other Japanese writers whose works are available in English who give some insight into the gay world of more contemporary Japanese life.
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