The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima

The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima

The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima

The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima

Synopsis

This psychological study focuses on one of Japan's most prolific writers, Yukio Mishima, whose fiction was suffused with images of sadomasochism, homosexual rape, hatred of women, vengeance, rage, and humiliation. Mishima's violent homoerotic imagery and fascistic politics have aroused a range of reactions- from hostile criticism to idealizing fantasies and even militant devotion. Still, he has been called an extraordinary talent and compared to Hemingway, Proust, and Joyce. Here we venture deep into the mind and personal history of Mishima, who was also an eccentric exhibitionist, posed nude for surreal photographs, acted in gangster films, and played the part of a Hollywood celebrity. Amid his flamboyance, Mishima's sexual perversity and right-wing militant politics have also aroused trepidation in many readers and critics, especially in light of his ritual suicide by disembowelment.

Piven gives us a psychological understanding of the life, fantasies, and obsessions of Mishima, as all followed early trauma, severe conflict, narcissistic injury and an ensuing fixation on death. We see, for example, how Mishima's psychotic and authoritarian grandmother suffocated him emotionally by sequestering him from his mother and the outside world for the first 12 years of his life. Unlike other works that explain and amplify his philosophy, The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima deconstructs his philosophy, removing his masks, pretenses, and disguises.

Excerpt

What is so ghastly about exposed intestines? Why must we cover our eyes
in horror when we see a person's innards? Why does gushing blood arouse
such astonishment? Why are intestines so hideous? … Isn't it utterly iden
tical to the beauty of glistening youthful skin? If human beings could but
invert their souls and bodies, gracefully roll them inside out like rose petals,
and expose them to the sun and May breeze.

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, pp. 62-63/58

You weren't afflicted with leprosy…. Youth never perishes, the Body is
deathless.

The Terrace of the Leper King, p. 218

Why a psychoanalytic study of Yukio Mishima? K. R. Eissler suggested that great artists suffer from “the pathology of genius.” Mishima (19251970) was undoubtedly one of the most prolific and creative writers of this century, author of some 40 novels, 33 plays, over 80 short stories, and voluminous essays. He is also one of Japan's most complex and “perverse” authors, one whose immensely violent homoerotic imagery and fascistic politics have aroused hostile criticism, idealizing fantasies, and militant devotion.

Mishima is perhaps the most published and well-known Japanese author. Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata called him an extraordinary talent, the kind of genius that comes along perhaps once in three centuries. He has been compared to Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, Honoré de . . .

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