True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.This is the strange but true story of a well known Japanese author and actor who tried to overthrow Japan's government in 1970.
― Yukio Mishima
We live in an age in which there is no heroic death.Yukio Mishima was an internationally recognized Japanese author. He was nominated 3 times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
― Yukio Mishima
His novels are aesthetic marvels that deal with controversial topics. They're focused on death and political change.
Mishima was incredibly productive — pumping out novels, books of essays and plays (Noh and Kabuki) while engaging in a successful acting and modelling career.
Other people must be destroyed. In order that I might truly face the sun, the world itself must be destroyed....Mishima was right wing all the way. However, he didn't identify with any of Japan's many right wing groups. He espoused his own brand of ultra nationalism.
― Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
He wanted to restore power to the Emperor but was also highly critical of Emperor Showa (for renouncing his claim of divinity after WWII).
Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they're just repeating what others before them have done.Mishima was born in Yotsuya on the edge of the Imperial Palace to an upper class family. His family had royal roots (he was the great, great, great, great grandson of a Daimyo). However, parents and grandparents didn't hold any royal titles.
― Yukio Mishima, After the Banquet
His upbringing was strange. His father believed in military style discipline. As a child, Mishima had his face held up to the side of a speeding train by his father.
He was raised by his grandmother for several years who locked him indoors with his female cousins and their dolls. His grandmother was known for strange violent outbursts.
Attempt to Overthrow the Government
Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.Mishima avoided the draft in WWII by pretending to have tuberculosis. At the age of 43 (at the height of his career) he suddenly signed up for the army and successfully completed basic training.
― Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses
Mishima had a secret. He was recruiting and training his own small private army on the side. He planned to overthrow Japan's elected government to install a military regime under the name of the Emperor.
On November 25, 1970, he and four of his men entered the office of the commandant of Ichigaya Camp (the headquarters of Japan's Military similar to the Pentagon in the US). They tied up the commandant.
Mishima made a speech to soldiers who were gathered in the camp's parade square. He urged them to follow him and overthrown the government. They jeered and taunted.
He returned to the commandant's office and committed seppuku. One of his men performed the customary samurai duty of kaishakunin (beheaded him). It was Mishima's last dramatic statement.
The Story Gets Stranger
There's a huge seal called 'impossibility' pasted all over this world. And don't ever forget that we're the only ones who can tear it off once and for all.As a young man, Mishima had a formal marriage introduction to Michiko Shoda. The two families asked the couple to be married (arranged marriage). Someone said no. Mishima went on to marry another women. Michiko Shoda went on to marry the son of the Emperor. She is now the Empress of Japan.
― Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
A samurai is a total human being, whereas a man who is completely absorbed in his technical skill has degenerated into a function, one cog in a machine.Yukio Mishima wrote 40 novels. Some of them were pumped out fast for money. Others are considered masterpieces of literature. They're a little on the racy side.
― Yukio Mishima
Rare English InterviewA rare English interview with Yukio Mishima.