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About Yukio Mishima
Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫 Mishima Yukio?) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威 Hiraoka Kimitake?, January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970), a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, and film director. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. He was considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968 but the award went to his fellow countryman Yasunari Kawabata. His works include the novels Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and the autobiographical essay Sun and Steel. His avant-garde work displayed a blending of modern and traditional aesthetics that broke cultural boundaries, with a focus on sexuality, death, and political change. Mishima was active as a nationalist and founded his own right-wing militia. He is remembered for his ritual suicide by seppuku after a failed coup d'état attempt, known as the "Mishima Incident".
The Mishima Prize was established in 1988 to honor his life and works.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Shirou Aoyama (http://www.bungakukan.or.jp/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Books By Yukio Mishima
Travelling in Thailand in the early 1940s, Shigekuni Honda, now a brilliant lawyer, is granted an audience with a young Thai princess—an encounter that radically alters the course of his life. In spite of all reason, he is convinced she is the reincarnated spirit of his friend Kiyoaki. As Honda goes to great lengths to discover for certain if his theory is correct, The Temple of Dawn becomes the story of one man’s obsessive pursuit of a beautiful woman and his equally passionate search for enlightenment.
It is 1912 in Tokyo, and the hermetic world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders — rich provincial families unburdened by tradition, whose money and vitality make them formidable contenders for social and political power. Shigekuni Honda, an aspiring lawyer and his childhood friend, Kiyoaki Matsugae, are the sons of two such families. As they come of age amidst the growing tensions between old and new, Kiyoaki is plagued by his simultaneous love for and loathing of the spirited young woman Ayakura Satoko. But Kiyoaki’s true feelings only become apparent when her sudden engagement to a royal prince shows him the magnitude of his passion — and leads to a love affair both doomed and inevitable.
In 1932, Shigeuki Honda has become a judge in Osaka. Convinced that a young rightist revolutionary, Isao, is the reincarnation of his friend Kiyoaki, Honda commits himself to saving the youth from an untimely death. Isao, driven to patriotic fanaticism by a father who instilled in him the ethos of the ancient samurai, organizes a violent plot against the new industrialists who he believes are usurping the Emperor’s rightful power and threatening the very integrity of the nation. Runaway Horses is the chronicle of a conspiracy — a novel about the roots and nature of Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to war.
It is the late 1960s and Honda, now an aged and wealthy man, once more encounters a person he believes to be a reincarnation of his friend, Kiyoaki — this time restored to life as a teenage orphan, Tōru. Adopting the boy as his heir, Honda quickly finds that Tōru is a force to be reckoned with. The final novel of this celebrated tetralogy weaves together the dominant themes of the previous three novels in the series: the decay of Japan’s courtly tradition; the essence and value of Buddhist philosophy and aesthetics; and, underlying all, Mishima’s apocalyptic vision of the modern era.
"The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"
- Prologue -
On July 2, 1950, the shocking news startled the public eyes and ears that national treasure “Kinkaku-ji” was destroyed by setting it afire and the arson was the young monk of this temple.
The agony and distress of a young monk hidden in the shadow of this incident - undelitable curse of his life, shouldering a fateful child with carrying a handy.
His soul was robbed by the magical power of the beauty of “Kinkaku” and finally immersed in fantasy as it was a tragedy.
An immortal masterpiece - 31 years old genius Mishima wrote in an exquisite style of the confession prose as the final settlement of his youth.
In this fascinating document, one of Japan's best known-and controversial-writers created what might be termed a new literary form. It is new because it combines elements of many existing types of writing, yet in the end fits into none of them.
At one level, it may be read as an account of how a puny, bookish boy discovered the importance of his own physical being; the "sun and steel" of the title are themselves symbols respectively of the cult of the open air and the weights used in bodybuilding. At another level, it is a discussion by a major novelist of the relation between action and art, and his own highly polished art in particular. More personally, it is an account of one individual's search for identity and self-integration. Or again, the work could be seen as a demonstration of how an intensely individual preoccupation can be developed into a profound philosophy of life.
All these elements are woven together by Mishima's complex yet polished and supple style. The confession and the self-analysis, the philosophy and the poetry combine in the end to create something that is in itself perfect and self-sufficient. It is a piece of literature that is as carefully fashioned as Mishima's novels, and at the same time provides an indispensable key to the understanding of them as art.
The road Mishima took to salvation is a highly personal one. Yet here, ultimately, one detects the unmistakable tones of a self transcending the particular and attaining to a poetic vision of the universal. The book is therefore a moving document, and is highly significant as a pointer to the future development of one of the most interesting novelists of modern times.
Set in rural Japan shortly after World War II, The Frolic of the Beasts tells the story of a strange and utterly absorbing love triangle between a former university student, Koji; his would-be mentor, the eminent literary critic Ippei Kusakudo; and Ippei's beautiful, enigmatic wife, Yuko. When brought face-to-face with one of Ippei's many marital indiscretions, Koji finds his growing desire for Yuko compels him to action in a way that changes all three of their lives profoundly. Originally published in 1961 and now available in English for the first time, The Frolic of the Beasts is a haunting examination of the various guises we assume throughout our lives, and a tale of psychological self-entrapment, seduction, and crime.
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