Mishima Yukio

Mishima, Yukio

Yukio Mishima (yōō´kēō mĬsh´ēmä), 1925–70, Japanese author, b. Tokyo. His original name was Kimitake Hiraoka and he was born into a samurai family. Mishima wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He appeared on stage in some of his plays as well as directing and starring in films. During World War II he worked in an aircraft factory. Upon graduation (1947) from Tokyo Univ., he served a brief time in the finance ministry before devoting himself entirely to writing. Mishima and the youthful members of his Tatenokai [Shield Society] practiced physical fitness and the ancient arts of the samurai, e.g., karate and swordsmanship, attempting to return to the ideals of Japan under Imperial rule. His tetralogy The Sea of Fertility traces the fading of the old Japan in the first decade of the 20th cent. and continues through the aftermath of World War II. The individual novels of this group are: Spring Snow (tr. 1972), Runaway Horses (tr. 1973), The Temple of Dawn (tr. 1973), and The Decay of the Angel (tr. 1974). Other important novels include the semiautobiographical Confessions of a Mask (1949; tr. 1958); The Sound of Waves (1954; tr. 1956), a simple love story of a boy and girl in a Japanese fishing village; The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1956; tr. 1963), a brilliant depiction of a psychopathic monk who destroys the temple he loves; After the Banquet (1960; tr. 1963), the story of a successful businesswoman who marries an aging politician and attempts to restore his former glory; and the allegorical tale The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (1963; tr. 1965). All contain paradoxes: beauty equated with violence and death; the yearning for love and its rejection when offered; plus an exquisite attention to detail in the delineation of character. After an unsuccessful demonstration in which he harangued the Japanese self-defense forces for their lack of power under the Japanese constitution, Mishima committed ritual suicide (seppuku).

See biographies by J. Nathan (1974) and H. S. Stokes (1975).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Silk and Insight: A Novel
Mishima Yukio; Frank Gibney; Hiroaki Sato.
M. E. Sharpe, 1998
Modern Japanese Stories: An Anthology
Ivan Morris; Edward Seidensticker; George Saitō; Geoffrey Sargent; Ivan Morris.
Charles E. Tuttle Publishing, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Contains "The Priest and His Love" by Mishima Yukio
Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology
Donald Keene; Donald Keene.
Grove Press, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Contains excerpts from "Confession of a Mask" by Mishima Yukio
The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima
Jerry S. Piven.
Praeger, 2004
Six Lives, Six Deaths: Portraits from Modern Japan
Robert Jay Lifton; Michael R. Reich; Suichi Kato.
Yale University Press, 1979
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Mishima Yukio (1925 - 1970): The Man Who Loves Death"
The Obsession to Destroy Monuments: Mishima and Boll
Nemoto, Reiko Tachibana.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 39, No. 2, Summer 1993
Glossing Scripts and Scripting Pleasure in Mishima's Confessions of a Mask
Rhine, Marjorie.
Studies in the Novel, Vol. 31, No. 2, Summer 1999
Reading against Culture: Ideology and Narrative in the Japanese Novel
David Pollack.
Cornell University Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "The Critique of Everything: Yukio Mishima's the Sea of Fertility"
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