En poursuivant votre navigation sur ce site, vous acceptez l'utilisation de cookies. Ces derniers assurent le bon fonctionnement de nos services. En savoir plus.

mardi, 01 décembre 2020

Sun & Steel: The Tatenokai Phenomenon in Brief  


Sun & Steel:

The Tatenokai Phenomenon in Brief

In post-1945 Japan — as in most of the states that lost in World War II — American occupation brought about radical political and social changes. In the 1946 to 1948 Tokyo trial (similar to Nuremberg), several leaders of the war cabinet were sentenced to death or long prison terms. It was also stipulated in the constitution that Japan cannot have its own armed forces, only Jieitai (Japan Self Defense Forces), a small number of volunteers for self-defense purposes.

Although Japan remained a monarchy, General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the occupying forces, forced Emperor Hirohito to sign the Ningen sengen (Humanity Declaration) and Western-style democratic parties appeared on the political palette. As a result of the peace dictatorship imposed on the Japanese Empire, the samurai spirituality, militarism, loyalty, and self-sacrifice that manifested themselves as a defense of the traditional order and a fight against materialism — the yamato-damashii (Japanese spirit) that is most appropriate to their collective consciousness — was severely repressed in Japanese society.

Lightning in summer and frost in winter.
The foot of Mount Fuji,
Is where the youth stand!
Our weapon is the soul of Yamato,
The sharp blade that we wield,
Reflect the color of the sky on a sunny day!
So move forward with courage. . .
Shield Society! [1] [2]

After post-war consolidation, the island nation experienced an economic explosion thanks to its well-organized elite education, investment in technology and innovation, and above all, the excellent work ethic of the Japanese people.


This economic prosperity was followed by increasing social welfare, of course. The consequences are well-known to Right-wingers but are worth repeating nonetheless. In modern welfare societies, the individual is much more vulnerable to leveling, emptiness, and rootlessness. While not to the same extent and depth as in the Western world, this trend has also prevailed in Japan since the second half of the 1950s. [2] [3] Amidst the mass of people flowing from the countryside into megapolises with rapidly growing populations, the individual soon lost his attachment to the traditional value system. In this rather chaotic spiritual vacuum, an alienated person could easily be steered in the wrong direction in the absence of firm spiritual orientations, especially as an inexperienced youth. This has been the case with most of the student movements in the 1960s under strong far-Left influence.

Recognizing this danger, Yukio Mishima, one of the most famous writers and artists of modern Japan, decided to take action.

Yukio Mishima was born in Tokyo in 1925 as Kimitake Hiraoka. Several samurais can be found among his ancestors. His genius for writing was already apparent in high school, and his first longer work was published in 1941. Shortly after that, he took the pseudonym Yukio Mishima. He completed his university studies after the Second World War and devoted himself exclusively to writing from 1948 onwards. He was a prolific artist with more than one hundred publications, including novels, dramas, essays, and short stories. He also performed in and directed plays and films and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature a total of four times.

Amid the turbulent social conditions of the 1960s, his interest turned to traditional Japanese spirituality and respect for the emperor. The 1960 assassination of Inejiro Asanuma, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan, greatly influenced his turn to the Right. Just seventeen years old, Asanuma’s assassin Otoya Yamaguchi justified his action by defending the concept of the empire before committing suicide in prison.


Mishima’s orientation was also reflected in his literary work. He has become very popular — and divisive at the same time — in Right-wing circles for works titled Patriotism (1966; published by the name of Sepukku in the Transylvanian Utunk magazine; also made into a film starring Mishima), Runaway Horses (1967-68), or The Voices of the Heroic Dead (1966). In his later work, he also sharply criticized the Emperor himself for announcing the Ningen sengen. My Friend Hitler (1968) — written for the stage — In Defense of the Culture (1969), and the Revolutionary Philosophy (1970) are considered his provocative and militant spirited works.

In the fall of 1968, he formed a private army for spiritual purposes: the Tatenokai (Shield Society) of 80 people, the aim of which is summarized in three principles:

  1. Communism is incompatible with Japanese traditions, culture, and history, and is against the imperial order.
  2. The emperor is the only symbol of our historical and cultural community and racial self-consciousness.
  3. The use of force is justified in light of the threat posed by communism. [2] [6]

Of course, Tatenokai’s numbers make it a symbolic army. But it is also in this that its strength and significance can be found, as Yukio Mishima was a master of symbolic politicization: he gathered the bravest and noblest youths of modern Japan into his elite guard, which showed a new quality in the face of ever-increasing deviation and decline. Tatenokai’s membership consisted mainly of young university students. They wore a brown-yellow uniform, and Mishima succeeded in getting Jieitai to provide military training to the members. Mishima often used the English name of the organization, Shield Society, and its abbreviation, SS, provocatively referring to the elite organization of National Socialist Germany, the Schutzstaffel.

The SS is an imaginary army. We don’t know when our time will come. Maybe it will never arrive; or perhaps as early as tomorrow. In the meantime, the SS is calmly ready. We don’t organize street demonstrations, we don’t have posters, nor Molotov cocktails, nor lectures, nor stone-throwing. We will only be determined to act at the last minute, as we are the least armed but most spiritual army in the world.[3] [7]

It is definitely important to examine the Right-wing paramilitaries and organizations that emerged in the second half of the twentieth century. In post-World War II welfare democracies, the militarist spirit lost much of its former appeal. The weakened Right-wing forces in Atlantic and communist Europe were unable to gain ground, due in part to the control of the reigning power, the lack of charismatic leaders of adequate capacity, and of the indifference that characterizes atomized society.


More serious autocratic initiatives tended to come from state authorities — that is, from above — mostly from the military, whose attempts had only a brief temporary success or were predestined to fail. Examples include the dictatorship of colonels in Greece, the Borghese coup in Italy, Antonio Tejero’s attempt in Spain, or — outside Europe — the majority of South American juntas. Civilian far-Right political movements (mainly in Italy and France) and cultural trends such as the skinhead movement often remained at the level where they started because of their low standards.

In the early 1990s, after the disintegration of the Eastern bloc, and in the second half of the first decade of the new millennium, the legal successors of several former organizations operating before and during World War II in Central-Eastern Europe reactivated themselves (for example, in Hungary, Romania, and Croatia) in order to cultivate the national traditions largely destroyed by the communist regimes and the multitude of socioeconomic problems associated with emerging liberal democracies. A lack of quality Right-wing and national elites, the almost-complete absence of appropriate intellectual orientations, and the work of agents and disruptors led to their decline.

What made Tatenokai different? It can be considered unique in terms of spirituality, purity, quality, and purpose among the post-War elite movements. Mishima thought of his private army:

I had a simple reason to create Tatenokai. Ruth Benedict once wrote a famous book called The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. These are the determinants of Japanese history: the chrysanthemum and the sword. After the war, the balance between the two was broken. Since 1945, the sword has not been dealt with. My dream is to restore that balance. To revive samurai traditions through my literary work and actions. That is why I asked Jieitai, so that my people could receive one month of training. [4] [8]

Mishima was also no stranger to open political confrontations. In 1969, he took part in a public and informal debate with the far-Left students of the University of Tokyo. Members of Japan’s existentialist generation in 1968, with their sympathy for communism, posed a serious threat to public life: they wanted to take their homeland out of the frying pan of capitalism and the US into the fire of communism and China. Mishima steered the debate on the subject of the emperor and the empire, pointing out the flaws of the ideology of his discussion partners. Mishima’s summary of the debate is striking: “Zengakuren students and I stand up for almost the same things. We have spread the same cards on the table, but I have the joker — the emperor.” [5] [9]


From the late 1960s onwards, Mishima consciously prepared for death, which was increasingly evident in his work. His interest turned to ritual suicide — sepukku, abdominal incision — yamato-damashii, and the reactionary 1876 Shinpūren rebellion, as well as the 1936 Ni Ni-Roku incident. In 1970, he decided he would die after the completion of his last work, The Decay of the Angel, and would use Tatenokai for this.

He found the most suitable comrades for the task in four members: Morita Masakatsu, Hiroyasu “Furu” Koga, Masahiro Ogawa, and Masayoshi “Chibi” Koga. The time for action came on November 25, 1970, when Mishima and four of his companions captured the commander, General Kanetoshi Mashita, at Ichigaya military base in Tokyo. He handed over his demands to the superiors, and then gave a speech from the central balcony of the building to the garrison’s soldiers: Only the army represented traditional Japanese values and spirituality. Its members represented Japan’s honor, and the Emperor should be given his absolute power back. The response from the majority of the audience was confusion and rejection. Mishima went back to the commander’s office after delivering his speech. Saving his honor before the emperor and the Homeland, together with Morita, he committed sepukku. [6] [10]

The emperor and modern Japan proved to be weak. Not Mishima, who consistently professed the institution of the empire, nor Tatenokai, who performed its task. Mishima was almost certain of the failure of his coup, yet he performed his last “stage” role with the genius of the artist and the dignity and honor of the samurai. This is well reflected in his statement to Jun Ishikawa shortly before his death:

“When I go out on stage, I expect the audience to sob. Instead, they burst out laughing.” [7] [11]

If you want to support Counter-Currents, please send us a donation by going to our Entropy page [12] and selecting “send paid chat.” Entropy allows you to donate any amount from $3 and up. All comments will be read and discussed in the next episode of Counter-Currents Radio, which airs every weekend on DLive [13].

Don’t forget to sign up [14] for the twice-monthly email Counter-Currents Newsletter for exclusive content, offers, and news.


This writing originally appeared in the monarchist anthology KIRÁLYSÁGBAN GONDOLKODUNK (WE THINK IN KINGDOM), edited by János Pánczél Hegedűs and Péter Uhel; Pro Regno Hungariæ Alapítvány, MMXVII.

See also VSZ’s “三島由紀夫 – Az utolsó szamuráj emlékezete [15]” in Stalker — Egy konzervatív forradalmár gondolatai, published November 25, 2010 (in Hungarian).

[1] [16] Excerpted from the Tatenokai march.

[2] [17] It is worth noting how Western tabloid media try to present the Japanese, their civilization, and their culture as superficially idiotic, narrowing them down for the laypeople to the annoying tourists, screaming and squeaking teen stars, microelectronics, snatched episodes of animated films, Godzilla, etc.

[3] [18] Henry Scott Stokes, Misima Jukió élete és halála (Budapest: Szenzár Kiadó, 2001), trans. Andrea Tóth, p. 217.

[4] [19] Stokes, 218-219.

[5] [20] Stokes, 251.

[6] [21] Stokes, 247.

[7] [22] A more detailed description of the Mishima coup is provided by Stokes (pp. 14-39) and Terebess [23] (in Hungarian).

[8] [24] Stokes, 318.



Article printed from Counter-Currents: https://counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://counter-currents.com/2020/11/sun-and-steel/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MishimaSpeech.jpg

[2] [1]: #_ftnref1

[3] [2]: #_ftnref2

[4] Image: https://counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ItsOkayCover.jpg

[5] here.: https://counter-currents.com/2020/07/its-okay-to-be-white/

[6] [2]: http://k

[7] [3]: #_ftnref3

[8] [4]: #_ftnref4

[9] [5]: #_ftnref5

[10] [6]: #_ftnref6

[11] [7]: #_ftnref7

[12] our Entropy page: https://entropystream.live/countercurrents

[13] DLive: https://dlive.tv/counter-currents

[14] sign up: https://counter-currents.com/2020/05/sign-up-for-our-new-newsletter/

[15] 三島由紀夫 – Az utolsó szamuráj emlékezete: http://v-stalker.blogspot.com/2010/11/az-utolso-szamuraj-emlekezete.html

[16] [1]: #_ftn1

[17] [2]: #_ftn2

[18] [3]: #_ftn3

[19] [4]: #_ftn4

[20] [5]: #_ftn5

[21] [6]: #_ftn6

[22] [7]: #_ftn7

[23] Terebess: http://www.terebess.hu/keletkultinfo/misi.html#2

[24] [8]: #_ftn8


yukio mishima,japon,lettres,lettres japonaises,littérature,littérature japonaise

Video of the Day:
Poetry With a Splash of Blood

In the latest episode of Guide to Kulchur, Greg Johnson, Guillaume Durocher, and Ty E join Fróði Midjord to discuss the life and art of Yukio Mishima. On November 25th, 50 years ago, Mishima committed ritual suicide to inspire the Japanese to return to their aristocratic honor culture.

The episode is archived on BitChute (video) and Spreaker (audio only). Guide to Kulchur streams live on DLive every Tuesday at 2:00 PM Eastern Time / 20:00 CET.

Previous episodes of Guide to Kulchur are archived on BitChute.

samedi, 28 novembre 2020

Yukio Mishima et la crise de l'identité japonaise au sommet de la prospérité économique


Yukio Mishima et la crise de l'identité japonaise au sommet de la prospérité économique

[Texte extrait du blog "Otakism", aujourd'hui disparu]

Ex: https://legio-victrix.blogspot.com

"Femmes : bulles de savon ; argent : bulles de savon ; succès : bulles de savon. La réflexion sur les bulles de savon est le monde dans lequel nous vivons".

Yukio Mishima (Pavillon d'or)

L'écrivain et dramaturge Yukio Mishima (Kimitake Hiraoka - 1925-1970) est certainement l'un des personnages japonais les plus emblématiques du XXe siècle pour avoir ouvert de façon excentrique les contradictions d'un pays millénaire qui avançait sur la voie du progrès sans même un regard sur le tachymètre.

Mishima, qui a reçu une éducation de samouraï, a vécu et est mort en tant que samouraï, étant entré, enfant, à l'école alors que le Japon militariste "entrait" en Chine. Sans l'attention de son père, qui voulait qu'il obtienne un diplôme d'ingénieur malgré son talent pour les arts, et en prenant soin d'une grand-mère malade et possessive, Kimitake s'est réfugié dans la littérature pour supporter l'oppression de la vie quotidienne, et c'est précisément pour cette raison qu'il a créé son nom de scène, dans l'intention de cacher ses activités à son père. Influencé par des œuvres telles que le Hagakure du XVIIe siècle ("le ventre de ma mère"), sa production a pris de l'importance immédiatement après la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, où il décrit avec une grande diligence littéraire la situation politique et sociale du pays, occupé par les forces américaines.


Toute son œuvre est imprégnée de paradoxes. La beauté et la mort, l'amour et le rejet, l'Orient et l'Occident en sont quelques exemples. Son thème central était la dichotomie entre les valeurs traditionnelles japonaises et la pauvreté spirituelle de la vie contemporaine, qui avait rendu le Japon moderne mais infertile. Homme hybride, il est l'exemple vivant du Japon de l'après-guerre qui, même lorsqu'il défend un retour aux valeurs traditionnelles, ne le fait pas sans l'influence occidentale omniprésente. Mishima parlait couramment l'anglais (comme instrument de sa tentative d'obtenir un prix Nobel), appréciait les penseurs occidentaux comme Oscar Wilde, et même son style littéraire était assaisonné de touches occidentales, le cas de La mer de la fertilité l’atteste, où de nombreux critiques voient l'influence notable des Grecs.

Enfant anémique, Mishima se sentait éternellement coupable face au médecin de l'armée qui le considérait comme inadapté au service, et qui a conduit Yukio à préparer une guerre qui n'est jamais venue, dans le rôle d'un samouraï légitime. En tant qu'écrivain, il a critiqué la nature sédentaire de ceux qui vivent de la pitié, arguant que les mots doivent susciter l'action. En tant que samouraï, il a perfectionné son corps (maître en kendô et karaté) et son esprit tout en luttant pour rassembler son peuple et l'inciter à se rebeller contre ce qui se faisait dans le Japon de son temps.

"Le Japon va disparaître, devenir inorganique, vide, de couleur neutre ;" Mishima

Comme le dit Jordi Mas, un chercheur sur l'Asie orientale, basé à Barcelone, il "craignait que le progrès économique se fasse au détriment de sa propre culture", alors que les Japonais, récemment humiliés par la guerre et la défaite, étaient soutenus par les Américains et ivres de travail et de bien-être matériel. Mishima revendique alors le droit du peuple japonais à jouir de la souveraineté et de la justice sociale, en préservant les traditions sans aliéner l'adaptation du pays à la technique industrielle.

La culture traditionnelle japonaise a été fortement réprimée par l'occupation américaine, qui y a déployé tous les moyens un moyen pour étouffer les valeurs nationalistes et militaro-expansionnistes du Japon, et pour faire place aux valeurs pacifistes, libérales et progressistes (et à l'American Way of Life, bien sûr). La censure américaine, émanant de la section de l'information et de l'éducation civiles (liée au commandement des forces alliées suprêmes du général McArthur), a supprimé les manifestations artistiques qui faisaient référence au passé féodal du Japon, comme le théâtre Kabuki, en plus de l'interdiction d'enseigner les arts martiaux japonais.


Alors que beaucoup étaient trop occupés à regarder les films hollywoodiens et les dessins de Hanna Barbera, certains Japonais étaient particulièrement gênés par la présence américaine et sa censure. Entre les années 1950 et 1970, on a assisté à une croissance des manifestations culturelles qui se référaient au nationalisme d'antan. Pendant cette période, les drames de samouraïs produits par Toei sont devenus populaires. Parmi les exemples de production de l'époque, citons le livre Requiem pour le cuirassé Yamato de Mitsuru Yoshida et les films Les sept samouraïs d'Akira Kurosawa et Le plus long des jours de Kihachi Okamoto.

Non seulement les artistes et les intellectuels, mais le gouvernement japonais lui-même a fait de son mieux pour revitaliser la culture traditionnelle du pays, en revalorisant l'architecture traditionnels dans les travaux publics, en investissant dans la préservation des sites historiques, en remettant en lumière les théâtres No et Kabuki, ainsi que la culture des samouraïs, toujours présente dans les écoles et les universités japonaises. En 1966, il publie le Programme pour la formation de l'image désirable du Japon, où il établit les caractéristiques du "Japon idéal", fortement influencé par le Bushido, code de conduite des samouraïs ("chemin du guerrier"). Je citerai le contenu du programme lorsque je parlerai du système éducatif japonais.

Mishima, cependant, a été le mentor de la tentative la plus symbolique pour restaurer ce Japon qui n'existait plus. Le 25 novembre 1970, accompagnés de 4 membres du Tatenokai (milice d'étudiants patriotes étudiant les arts martiaux sous la tutelle de Mishima), tous vêtus des uniformes de l'armée impériale, ils ont capturé le commandant Masuda du quartier général des forces d'autodéfense de Tokyo (ils ont tué 8 soldats qui avaient résisté lors de leur irruption). Mishima prononça alors un discours patriotique devant environ deux mille soldats, les invitant à lutter contre la constitution japonaise, rédigée par les Américains, et en faveur de la restitution de la puissance impériale. Face à l'indifférence des militaires, Mishima a commis le Seppuku (suicide rituel des samouraïs) après avoir crié trois fois : "Vive l'Empereur !

"La pureté parfaite est possible si vous transformez votre vie en un vers de poésie écrit avec un peu de sang ». Mishima

Sa mort est considérée comme la protestation ultime contre la décadence de la société japonaise. Il est nécessaire de le comprendre pour ne pas tomber dans l'erreur de l'accuser d'être un simple fanatique. Emilio, membre de la communauté de la littérature japonaise à Orkut, a bien résumé la situation : "Pour le lecteur sans méfiance, décontextualisé et globalisé, le patriotisme semble anachronique et pamphlétaire. Mais il est bon de rappeler que Mishima a vécu au Japon occupé militairement par les Américains". Yukio a eu la tête formée au plus fort du militarisme, il ne faut pas l'oublier.

Mishima a consacré sa vie à la mère patrie et à la nation. Il s'est battu contre la matérialisation de l'esprit d'un peuple qui a cessé d'être souverain. Il proteste "contre l'inopérationnalité, l'apathie de l'armée japonaise amorphe qui, on le sait, n'est rien d'autre qu'une police, plus destinée à réprimer le peuple, qu'une militia capable de sauvegarder la Nation.

Le discours de Mishima

L'acte radical de l'écrivain a suscité une étrange appréhension chez certains Japonais. Malgré la prise de conscience de l'extrémisme de l'acte de Mishima, ces Japonais se sont arrêtés pour réfléchir à leur destination en s'inquiétant de produire tant de richesses alors qu'ils se sentaient si vides et culturellement déconnectés des traditions du pays. Ils ont dès lors construit une vision d'eux-mêmes. La plupart des Japonais, au sommet de leur apologie de la consommation, n'ont vu dans l'acte qu'une excentricité de plus de Mishima et un très mauvais exemple. L'accueil en Occident, dépourvu d'idoles romantiques, a été beaucoup plus fort, découvrant la force de l'œuvre complète de Mishima avant le Japon lui-même, qui ne l'a reconnue correctement qu'après avoir revisité son héritage dans les années 80, en essayant de comprendre ce que les gaijins y voyaient d'important.


"La mort est une sorte de châtiment éternel, infligé à la société occidentale matérialisée qui vit loin de la nature. Pour nous, ce n'est pas le cas, de manière absolue, puisque nous nous considérons comme faisant partie intégrante de la nature. C'est pourquoi la mort, aux yeux de mon peuple, est un prix, quelque chose comme la transformation, la liberté de la matière. Mourir, c'est partir, pas disparaître. Autrefois, le monde chrétien, je crois, avait la même philosophie ou une philosophie similaire. Et c'est à ce moment qu'elle a réussi à se consolider. Eh bien, nous voulons retrouver pleinement ce mode de vie et l'appliquer à une grande politique nationale et populaire. Le contraire reviendrait à accepter indéfiniment l'hibernation de l'âme japonaise". Yukio Mishima

"Écoutez toujours votre esprit. Il vaut mieux avoir tort que de suivre simplement le conventionnel. Si vous avez tort, cela n'a pas d'importance, vous avez appris quelque chose et vous deviendrez plus fort. Si vous avez raison, vous avez fait un pas de plus vers une vie plus élevée".  Extrait de Hagakure, l'œuvre qui a le plus influencé l'écriture de Mishima...

dimanche, 22 novembre 2020

Cinquantenaire d’une action sacrificielle

0 attyTOeA3KmVOjHI.jpg

Cinquantenaire d’une action sacrificielle


Ex: http://www.europemaxima.com

Il y a cinquante ans, le 25 novembre 1970, Hiraoka Kimitake se donnait la mort par seppuku dans le bureau du général commandant l’armée de l’Est en plein cœur de la capitale japonaise. Son kaishakunin (assistant), Masakatsu Morita, lui tranchait aussitôt la tête. Quelques minutes plus tard, le même Morita s’appliquait le suicide rituel. Ainsi suivait-il son maître, l’écrivain connu sous le pseudonyme de Yukio Mishima.

Né à Tokyo le 14 janvier 1925, le jeune Kimitake adopte ce nom de plume dès 1941. « Mishima (“ homme de l’île ”) est le nom d’une ville située entre le Fuji-yama et la mer, lieu où se réunissait le groupe “ Art et Culture ”, offrant une vue remarquable sur le sommet enneigé de la montagne, explique Bernard Mariller. Quant à Yukio, il est dérivé du mot “ neige ”, yuki, symbole de la pureté et de la romantique fragilité des choses et de la vie, mais choisi aussi en hommage à un ancien poète romantique, Ito Sachio, qui l’avait adopté comme dernière syllabe de son “ prénom ” (1). »

Plus grand écrivain japonais du XXe siècle et fin connaisseur du monde moderne surgi de la défaite de 1945, Yukio Mishima sait l’utiliser avec la ferme intention de retrouver l’esprit ancestral et martial des siens. À l’instar de Maurice Bardèche qui se tournait volontiers vers Sparte et les Sudistes, il souhaite que le Japon renoue avec sa réalité nationale bafouée par une pesante modernité occidentale.

Écrit en 1971 par Yves Bréhéret et Jean Mabire, l’ouvrage Les Samouraï (2) s’ouvre sur les ultimes instants de cette conjuration ratée et décrit avec plus ou moins d’exactitude le double seppuku. Quelques heures auparavant, Yukio Mishima achevait L’Ange en décomposition, le dernier volet de sa tétralogie La Mer de la fertilité. Cependant, plus que son œuvre littéraire, il souhaitait que la postérité retînt son « œuvre de chair », sa tentative de coup d’État au nom de la tradition nipponne.


Avec l’aide des miliciens de son groupe paramilitaire patriotique, La Société du Bouclier (ou Tatenokai) – comprendre « agir en bouclier de l’Empereur » -, il se rend au quartier général de la Jieitai, les forces japonaises d’auto-défense, dans la caserne d’Ichigaya et prend en otage le chef de corps. Puis, pendant une dizaine de minutes, Yukio Mishima, revêtu de l’uniforme de son groupe rappelant la tenue des aspirants avant-guerre, harangue les élèves-officiers présents. Il exalte les vertus nationales, exige l’abrogation de l’article 9 de la Constitution de 1946 qui, au mépris de toute souveraineté, interdit au Japon de déclarer la guerre et en appelle à la mutinerie. Son intervention ne suscite que réprobations, mécontentements et injures…


Comprenant qu’il avait perdu peut-être avant même de commencer ce coup d’éclat, Yukio Mishima se fit seppuku. Il en connaissait le rituel précis. Il l’avait déjà pratiqué face aux caméras dans l’interprétation d’un lieutenant de l’armée impériale pour l’adaptation cinématographique de son propre texte Yukoku (Patriotisme) paru en 1966. Bien sûr, la classe politique, les prescripteurs d’opinion publique et les autorités condamneraient son action. Qu’importe ! Par son sacrifice et celui de Masakatsu Morita, l’auteur de Confession d’un masque (1949) cherche à sortir ses compatriotes de leur torpeur. Par un ensemble de gestes, il les invite à redécouvrir un passé glorieux, à restaurer les principes nationaux, guerriers, paysans et esthétiques, à susciter un nouvel ordre politique, culturel et social propre au peuple japonais.

62795.jpgAssumant une « étiquette » de « réactionnaire », Yukio Mishima fonde en 1968 la Société du Bouclier. Dès février 1969, la nouvelle structure qui s’entraîne avec les unités militaires japonaises, dispose d’un « manifeste contre-révolutionnaire », le Hankakumei Sengen. Sa raison d’être ? Protéger l’Empereur (le tenno), le Japon et la culture d’un péril subversif communiste immédiat. Par-delà la disparition de l’article 9, il conteste le renoncement à l’été 1945 par le tenno lui-même de son caractère divin. Il critique la constitution libérale parlementaire d’émanation étatsunienne. Il n’accepte pas que la nation japonaise devienne un pays de second rang. Yukio Mishima s’inscrit ainsi dans des précédents héroïques comme le soulèvement de la Porte Sakurada en 1860 quand des samouraï scandalisés par les accords signés avec les « Barbares » étrangers éliminent un haut-dignitaire du gouvernement shogunal, la révolte de la Ligue du Vent Divin (Shimpûren) de 1876 ou, plus récemment, le putsch du 26 février 1936. Ce jour-là, la faction de la voie impériale (Kodoha), un courant politico-mystique au sein de l’armée impériale influencé par les écrits d’Ikki Kita (1883 – 1937), assassine les ministres des Finances et de la Justice ainsi que l’inspecteur général de l’Éducation militaire. Si la garnison de Tokyo et une partie de l’état-major se sentent proches des thèses développées par le Kodoha, la marine impériale, plus proche des rivaux de la Faction de contrôle (ou Toseiha), fait pression sur la rébellion. Les troupes loyalistes rétablissent finalement la légalité. Yukio Mishima tire de ces journées tragiques son récit Patriotisme.

Intervient dans sa vue du monde politique « un nationalisme populaire dont les idées-force sont : le refus de l’étiquette occidentale dans les rituels d’État japonais; la défense de l’essence nationale (kokusui); la remise en cause de l’idée occidentale du progrès unilinéaire; la nation est la médiation incontournable des contributions de l’individu à l’humanité (3) ». Dans « La lutte du Japon contre les impérialismes occidentaux », Robert Steuckers prévient que « le mode religieux du Japonais est le syncrétisme (4) », soit un recours fréquent au « tiers inclus » non-aristotélicien. Il rappelle en outre que « le Japonais ne se perçoit pas comme un individu isolé mais comme une personne en relation avec autrui, avec ses ancêtres décédés et ses descendants à venir (5) ». Il mentionne par ailleurs sur un fait méconnu, voire moqué, en Occident. « Pour le Japonais, la Nature est toute compénétrée d’esprits, sa conception est animiste à l’extrême, au point que les poissonniers, par exemple, érigent des stèles en l’honneur des poissons dont ils font commerce, afin de tranquilliser leur esprit errant. Les poissonniers japonais viennent régulièrement apporter des offrandes au pied de ces stèles érigées en l’honneur des poissons morts pour la consommation. À l’extrême, on a vu des Japonais ériger des stèles pour les lunettes qu’ils avaient cassées et dont ils avaient eu un bon usage. Ces Japonais apportent des offrandes en souvenir des bons services que leur avaient procurés leurs lunettes (6). » Yukio Mishima se rattache aussi à « la vision sociale de Shibuwasa Eiichi (1841 – 1931) : subordonner le profit à la grandeur nationale; subordonner la compétition à l’harmonie; subordonner l’esprit marchand à l’idéalisme du samouraï. Ce qui implique des rapports non froidement contractuels et des relations de type familial dans l’entreprise (7) ».


Sa disparition fut-elle vaine ? Son décès volontaire correspond au début d’une décennie d’indéniables succès économiques, techniques et bientôt culturels à travers manga, séries télé pour adolescents et dessins animés dans le monde occidental. Dénigré et incompris sur le moment, le geste sacrificiel de Yukio Mishima a néanmoins frappé les esprits et infuse depuis cinq décennies si bien qu’il remue toujours les consciences les plus vives. Le 15 mai 1971, les États-Unis restituent au Japon l’île d’Okinawa et retirent leurs armes nucléaires. En revanche, leurs bases militaires continuent à défigurer les lieux. À partir de 1975, au grand dam de la Chine, de Taïwan et de la Corée du Sud, différents Premiers ministres du Japon se rendent à titre officiel au sanctuaire shinto Yasukuni où sont sanctifiées les âmes de tous les soldats de l’Empire du Soleil levant tombés pour le tenno.

« Par cet acte radical, Mishima revendiquait, une ultime fois, le droit sacré, car signé par son sang, à la résistance à l’acculturation, à la révolte envers une clique politicienne corrompue et vendue, ayant renié l’héritage de ses pères, à la contestation du “ tout économique ” et à la protestation contre la perte de l’âme collective, destin des sociétés modernes, conclut Bernard Mariller. Mais, par sa portée générale, au-delà du temps et de l’espace, le message de cet “ homme au milieu des ruines ” que fut Mishima cessait d’être étroitement japonais, pour atteindre l’universel, s’adressant à tous les peuples, cultures et races menacés par les mêmes dangers. Mishima devenait un “ éveilleur et un réenchanteur de peuples ”, l’un de ces personnages qui ne laissent jamais les peuples au repos – celui du cimetière -, leur rappelant sans cesse, pour être en accord avec leur génie, ce qu’ils furent et ce qu’ils doivent devenir. Retenons la leçon. Dans nos héritages européens se dissimulent les germes féconds de notre devenir, tant il est vrai que le passé est l’avenir du futur (8) ».

Lors de son XIIIe colloque national, le 10 décembre 1979 au Palais des Congrès à Paris, intitulé « Le GRECE prend la relève », la « Nouvelle Droite » honora avec raison la mémoire de quatre figures exemplaires (Julius Evola, Arnold Gehlen, Henry de Montherlant et Yukio Mishima) en plaçant leur portrait respectif bien en évidence sur la tribune des intervenants (9). La dissidence métapolitique comprenait tout l’impact historique du dernier héraut de l’unité du Chrysanthème et du Sabre. Cinquante ans après sa sortie sacrificielle, souvenons-nous de Yukio Mishima, incarnation de hauteur, de tenue et de verticalité, exemple de fidélité aux aïeux samouraï et paysans et grande volonté entièrement dévouée à la vocation kathékonique du Yamato.

Georges Feltin-Tracol


1 : Bernard Mariller, Mishima, Pardès, coll. « Qui suis-je ? », 2006, p. 21.

2 : Yves Bréhéret et Jean Mabire, Les Samouraï, Balland, 1971. Le volume existe aussi en Presses Pocket, 1987.

3 : Robert Steuckers, Europa, tome III, L’Europe, un balcon sur le monde, Éditions Bios, 2017, p. 269.

4 : Idem, p. 259.

5 : Id.

6 : Id.

7 : Id., p. 269.

8 : Bernard Mariller, op. cit., p. 94.

9 : cf. le compte-rendu dans Éléments, n° 28 – 29, mars 1979.

起て!紅の若き獅子たち (Get Up! Young Crimson Lions)

Anthem of the Tatenokai

The Shield Society (楯 の 会 or "Tatenokai" in Romanji) was a Japanese nationalist paramilitary organization led by the celebrated writer Yukio Mishima, who sought to protect traditional Japanese values, restore the samurai tradition, and defend the figure of the Emperor (The latter being considered by him as the greatest symbol of identity of his people). Founded on October 5, 1968, the Mishima organization was characterized by promoting physical health and martial arts, being made up of a hundred young volunteers willing to serve as a human "shield" in defense of the Emperor. Aiming to combat the damage liberalism and consumerism were causing to Japanese society, Mishima attempted to rally his people and, on 1970, he and several members of the Tatenokai briefly seized control of the headquarters of the Self-Defense Force and attempted to carry out a coup d'etat to restore Japanese Imperial rule. After the plan failed, Mishima and Masakatsu Morita, chief leader of the Tatenokai student division, committed suicide. "We have seen Japan get drunk with prosperity and fall into a spiritual void... We have had to contemplate the Japanese desecrating their history and traditions... The real Japan is the true spirit of the samurai... When you (soldiers) wake up, Japan will wake up with you... After meditating calmly over four years, I have decided to sacrifice myself for the ancient and beautiful traditions of Japan, which disappear quickly, day by day... The army has always treated Tatenokai well, why do we bite the hand that has been extended to us? Precisely because we revere it... Let's save Japan, the Japan we love" (Yukio Mishima's final speech on the balcony of the Ichigaya Barracks in Tokyo, November 25 , 1970).

vendredi, 31 janvier 2020

In Defense of Mishima


In Defense of Mishima

I have read Andrew Joyce’s article “Against Mishima [2]” at The Occidental Observer with great interest and mixed feelings. I admire Dr. Joyce’s writings on the Jewish question, but to be candid, his critique of Mishima is on the whole tendentious and shallow. It is also overly emphatic on some topics while neglecting or downplaying other equally, if not more, important ones.

Dr. Joyce seems fixated on Mishima’s sexuality, which Joyce attributes to his unhealthy family environment and peculiar upbringing. Mishima’s sexuality is understandably regarded as unsavory by most traditional-minded people. But Dr. Joyce had gone a bit too far with his meticulous attention to this particular issue. Furthermore, I’m afraid that many of his claims about Mishima’s private life are based on taking his novel Confessions of a Mask as a straightforward autobiography, which is not supported by Mishima scholarship.

Mishima is certainly not a paragon of traditional sexual morality. That said, is he still worthy of the respect he receives from white nationalists? I believe the answer is yes, if we focus on the uplifting aspects of his life and work, including many of his writings and speeches that were given short shrift in Dr. Joyce’s article and perhaps are also generally less known to people who do not read Japanese.

The kernel of Dr. Joyce’s argument is that “if key aspects of his biography, including the death, are linked significantly more to his sexuality than his politics, then this is grounds to reconsider the worth of promoting such a figure,” which was later reinforced by his other claim that “a theory thus presents itself that Mishima’s carefully orchestrated death was a piece of homosexual sadomasochist theatre rather than anything political, let alone fascistic or in the tradition of the Samurai.”

To be frank, I found this assertion utterly preposterous. When a man delivers a speech about the importance of the Samurai tradition, then kills himself Samurai-style by cutting open his stomach—literally “spilling his guts”—it seems perverse to wonder if he is being insincere, if he is engaging in “homosexual sadomasochist theatre.” Irony, camp, and theatrics are all fake. There is nothing ironic or campy or fake about actually killing oneself.

Joyce simply ignores the text of Mishima’s final speech, in which he decried the ugly post-war era of Japan, deploring its materialistic and spiritually vacuous society. He lambasted venal and cowardly mainstream politicians. He called for Constitutional reform. He highlighted the authenticity of the Japanese military tradition, contrasting it to the miserable reality of the Japanese Self-defense Force, pointing out the dishonor of the Japanese military forever being a mercenary force of America and capitalists. He rejected the hypocrisy and nihilism of the post-war democracy and its mantra of “respect for human lives.” He reasserted the paramount status of the Tennō (Emperor) and Dentō (tradition), and urged the audience to die as real men and warriors combating the nation-wrecking post-war political regime and value system.

Then he demonstrated that he meant it.

The speech remains every bit as pertinent, powerful, and inspiring when read today as it was back then. The speech alone is enough to guarantee the immortality of Mishima as a nationalist figure of global significance, to say nothing of his numerous politically and culturally themed writings, fiction and non-fiction alike, and his other relevant speeches, which Dr. Joyce was either unaware of or chose to ignore.

A central argument of Dr. Joyce against Mishima is that “he seems hardly political at all. His fiction, denounced by early critics of all political hues as full of ‘evil narcissism’ possessing ‘no reality,’ is almost entirely devoid of ideology.” This could not be further from the truth and seems based on sheer ignorance. I wonder how many works of Mishima Dr. Joyce has actually read or even read about? Did he ever read Mishima’s final speech in full, or his Anti-Revolutionary Manifesto?

Admittedly, Mishima was not a political theorist or a philosopher; he was primarily a novelist and playwright. But being a nationalist writer and activist, his literary world was rich in themes drawn from Japanese history, traditional culture, politics, and current affairs. And, when it comes to political and ideological relevance, it is accurate to understand Mishima more as a Right-wing artist and inspirational activist than a theorist, which certainly has value for the Dissident Right in the West.

4806040005_b70748afe4_b.jpgDr. Joyce maintained that “Mishima, of course, never explored the Emperor’s role in World War II in any depth, and his chief fixation appears solely to have been the decision of the Emperor to accede to Allied demands and ‘become human.’” This is a baffling statement which again simply betrays Dr. Joyce’s lack of knowledge. Besides rightfully decrying the Showa Emperor’s self-demotion to “become human” from his traditional status of “Arahitogami” (god in human form or demigod), Mishima also critically examined the Emperor’s role in politics before, during, and after the war, which revealed that what Mishima essentially venerated was not the individual Tennō but the tō (the unique and time-honored Japanese monarchical system).

For example, Mishima criticized the Showa Emperor, expressing strong sympathy with the rebel soldiers of the “2.26 Incident” of 1936, who were genuine patriots with lofty ideals who were mercilessly crushed by the explicit order of the Emperor. His Patriotism and Voice of the Martyrs were written with great feeling in commemoration of them. [1] [3]

Mishima also extolled the spirit and actions, and lamented the defeat of, the Samurai bands (prototypes of the movie The Last Samurai) who held fast to traditional values in defiance of Japan’s westernization in the wake of the Meiji Restoration. This is justifiably perceived as his criticism of the Meiji regime. Interested readers are recommended to take a look at my old review of the book Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima here [4].

Mishima believed that the Emperor could unify Japanese society as a cultural figure, standing above the political realm. He believed that if the monarchy stood as a national and cultural principle of unity, this would create a free space for political debate and cultural innovation, without endangering the cohesion of society. This view is rooted in Japanese tradition, but seeks to make space for important elements of modernity, including political pluralism and cultural freedom. One may agree or disagree with such views, but contra Joyce, they do exist, and they are not vague or vacuous.

A comprehensive search will discover that Mishima’s many books, essays, dramas, and speeches contain explicit or implicit messages defending Japan’s political, cultural, and military traditions, including but not limited to Bushido, expressed with the beauty and exuberance that are Mishima’s literary hallmarks and showing his profound cultivation in ancient Japanese and Chinese classics. His non-fiction books on cultural and political topics include For the Young Samurais, Introduction to Hagakure, Sun and Steel, and Theory of Cultural Defense. The same themes are discussed in his novel Runaway Horses and numerous essays. The five books cited above are especially popular and widely read in France and Italy.

In Sun and Steel (1968), Mishima writes, “Sword/martial art means to fight and fall like scattering blossoms, and pen/literary art means to cultivate imperishable blossoms.” Mishima has certainly lived up to this ideal himself, fulfilling it with his own sword and pen. According to literary critic Koichiro Tomioka, Sun and Steel is almost Mishima’s “literary suicide note” in which his cultural and philosophic thoughts were condensed. In it, Mishima argues that it is exactly the post-war era, in which all values have been inverted, that necessitates the revival of the ancient ethic code of “Bun-Bu-Ryodo” (cultivating a mastery of both pen and sword), as when “Bu” (sword) is gone, “Bun” (pen) slackens and decays. It is in the healthy tension created by the contrasting “Bun” and “Bu” that Mishima was seeking to reclaim traditional Japanese sensibilities.

Mishima also made some famous political statements in a long and heated debate with Leftist students at Tokyo University in 1969, the peak of a cultural and political maelstrom that had swept across Japan’s campuses at large. Their discussion went beyond different political stances into philosophical realms. While the students advocated transcending time and realizing a conceptual revolution in a new space, Mishima upheld the continuum of time. The topics included the Emperor, arts and aesthetics, ego and flesh, morality of violence, politics and literature, time and space, beauty as concept and reality, etc. While being an avowed and ardent Right-wing nationalist in politics and culture, Mishima actually showed sympathy with the Left-wing students’ opposition to capitalism and big business, telling the students: “If you guys are willing to recognize the sanctity and solemnity of the Emperor [as the head of the Japanese national community], I am willing join your ranks.”

Dr. Joyce also made a few jaundiced remarks that detract from his credibility. For example, he claims “[Mishima] was so poor at articulating his ideas to troops during his coup attempt that he was simply laughed at by gathered soldiers.” This is a surprisingly uninformed and erroneous assertion. It was true that Mishima was jeered and taunted by the gathered troops, who interrupted his speech multiple times by shouting. But their behavior had nothing to do with Mishima’s alleged inability to articulate his ideas. Mishima, after all, made a career of articulating ideas, a talent that did not fail him in his final speech.

The problem, rather, lies with the soldiers themselves, who understandably resented the fact that they were convened to listen to Mishima’s speech under duress because Mishima had taken their commander hostage. Moreover, most post-war Japanese servicemen were mere salarymen in a prosperous and materialistic society. They had little connection with the Japanese warrior tradition and were hardly capable of appreciating the problems of the spiritually vacuous society that had produced them. Mishima was perhaps aware of the possibility that he was “casting pearls before swine,” but he knew that his actions would give his words a far larger audience than the hecklers before him. Interestingly enough, according to a 2015 Mishima memorial in the Japanese nationalist publication Sankei Shimbun, some of the soldiers who mocked Mishima’s words later came around to his way of thinking.


Dr. Joyce states that “[Mishima] lied during his own army medical exam during the war in an effort to avoid military service.” This was simply not true. According to a number of Japanese books and essays on Mishima written by his supporters and critics alike, a large amount of evidence on this particular issue pointed to Mishima’s father Azusa Hiraoka using his government connections to help his son evade military conscription, about which Mishima was unaware. Another version of the story is that, although Mishima passed the initial exam, he was diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and was judged physically unqualified and excluded from military service, which was unsurprising due to his chronically weak physical conditions from early childhood.

Rather than chasing after such pointless shadows, it is far more worthwhile to take notice of the fact that Mishima had long felt pangs of conscience and an acute sense of survivor’s guilt for his inability to fight as a result of his physical condition in his youth, which partly explained why he took up body building after the war, striving to become a better man in both physical and spiritual senses, and entered the cultural and spiritual world of Bushido and the Samurai.

Another baseless and snide remark from Dr. Joyce is “One could add speculations that Mishima’s military fantasies were an extension of his sexual fixations, including a possible attempt to simply gain power over a large number of athletic young men. But this would be laboring an all-too-obvious point.” There is simply no evidence that Mishima harbored such baleful intent toward the young men who joined his Tatenokai (Shield Society). There has not been a single allegation of sexual impropriety, either before or after Mishima’s death, either from the young men themselves or from the media at large, including many hostile tabloid papers eager to pounce on the first possible chance to sling mud at Mishima. Surely one could expect that Mishima’s young followers, however juvenile and starry-eyed they might have been back then, would have said something in the last half-century if they had really become targets of Mishima’s “sexual fixations.”

Dr. Joyce moves from disparaging Mishima to demeaning Japanese culture in general in his misguided dismissal of Seppuku. Joyce’s major source, namely Toyomasa Fuse, is a Leftist who hates his ancestral cultural roots, like many Japanese and other East Asians who have either grown up in post-war American society or have been educated in toxic American institutions of higher learning. A simple search online reveals that Fuse was one of a select few Japanese groomed by the American occupation regime as a new intellectual elite. Fuse went to the US in 1950, sponsored by the US government, and later received both his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley, where he became a full-fledged Leftist and anti-traditionalist scholar. He was an active member of the anti-Vietnam War movement and moved from the US to Canada in 1968 with some other anti-war college professors. As the founder of the hilariously named Canada Suicide Studies Society, he specialized in and taught “Suicide Studies” at York University from 1972 until his retirement in 1997. Consulting Fuse on Japanese militarism is like consulting the Frankfurt School about Prussian militarism. Joyce, of all people, should know better.

The last sweeping and sloppy charge against Japanese culture by Dr. Joyce that I would like to counter is this: “Again, we must question, at a time when we are trying to break free from high levels of social concern and shaming in Europe, whether it is healthy or helpful to praise practices originating in pathologically shame-centered cultures.”

Surely Dr. Joyce realizes that social shaming in today’s Western countries is fundamentally different from social shaming in traditional Japanese society.

The shaming of whites in Western societies was imposed by an alien hostile elite on the native white populace for the purpose of undermining their traditional culture and values. But the shame culture of Japan is imposed by the Japanese community on its own members to encourage them to live up to communal standards and serve the common good. To put it simply, shaming in the West is an alien contrivance to undermine white society by pinning whites down with false guilt, while shaming in Japan is an indigenous and organic way that the Japanese maintain social norms and enhance social cohesion. The gradual decline of Japanese shaming culture in recent years due to Western influence is another trend that has alarmed traditionalists and nationalists in Japan.

If white societies had greater social cohesion and responsibility, reinforced by shaming, they probably would have resisted the takeover of hostile alien elites. Perhaps, then, white nationalists should study and adopt Japanese shaming mechanisms instead of bashing and trashing them. By calling traditional Japanese shame-centered culture embodied by Mishima “pathological,” Dr. Joyce might as well be quoting from the Frankfurt School, which sought to pathologize healthy white family and social norms, which are not so different from healthy Japanese norms.


[1] [5] Two of the leaders of the uprising, senior captain Asaichi Isobe and senior captain Hisashi Kōno, evoked the greatest empathetic feelings from Mishima, and their patriotism, sincerity, and Samurai mettle became sources of his literary creations. Mishima wrote Patriotism and Voice of the Martyrs based on the Prison Note of Isobe, which featured the revengeful ghosts of the 2.26 uprising soldiers and Kamikaze pilots.

In a conversation with Tsukasa Kōno, elder brother of senior captain Hisashi Kōno, who was a key member of the uprising and committed suicide after the coup failed, Mishima remarks on the Showa Emperor’s dismissive words on the officers who decided to commit suicide: “Go ahead and kill themselves if they want. I’m not going to honor those despicable men with any official envoy.” Mishima commented: “It was not the rightful conduct for a Japanese Emperor. This is so sad.” Tsukasa asked Mishima: “Had those young officers known what the Emperor had said, would they have still shouted ‘Tennō Heika Banzai!’ (Long Live His Majesty the Emperor) before the firing squad?”

Mishima answered: “Even when the Emperor didn’t behave like an emperor, subjects ought to behave like subjects. They knew they must fulfill their part as subjects and chanted ‘Long Live the Emperor,’ believing in the judgment of the heaven. But what a tragedy for Japan!” When uttering his, he looked teary and his voice choked. After publishing Voice of the Martyrs, Mishima wrote in a letter to Tsukasa: “I wrote it with an intention to present it before the memorial tablets of your younger brother and other deceased officers of the 2.26 Uprising.”


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2020/01/in-defense-of-mishima/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Grave_of_Yukio_Mishima.jpg

[2] Against Mishima: https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2020/01/08/against-mishima-sex-death-and-optics-in-the-dissident-right/

[3] [1]: #_ftn1

[4] here: https://www.counter-currents.com/2014/09/naoko-inoses-persona-a-biography-of-yukio-mishima/

[5] [1]: #_ftnref1

mercredi, 15 janvier 2020

Ryuji Tsukazaki on Mishima


Ryuji Tsukazaki on Mishima

Following the publication of my review of Yukio Mishima’s guide to Hagakure, Andrew Joyce, a fellow contributor to The Occidental Observer, has published a thorough and highly critical account of the Japanese writer’s life. I was going to draw attention to Joyce’s piece, which has already been republished by The Unz Review.

Here is a partial summary of Joyce’s points:

  1. Despite being married, Mishima had a completely degenerate gay sex life and neglected his children.
  2. Mishima’s right-wing politics were adopted late and were vague, insincere, and ultimately a kind of posing.
  3. Mishima’s spectacular last day, far from being a serious traditionalist/militarist political statement, was merely the ultimate enactment of his perverse and self-destructive psycho-sexual fantasies.

Joyce concludes:

Members of the Dissident Right with an interest in Japanese culture are encouraged to take up one or more of the martial arts, to look into aspects of Zen, or to review the works of some of the other twentieth-century Japanese authors mentioned here. Such endeavors will bear better fruit. Above all, however, there is no comparison with spending time researching the lives of one’s own co-ethnic heroes and one’s own culture. As Europeans, we are so spoiled for choice we needn’t waste time with the rejected, outcast, and badly damaged members of other groups.

I invite you to read Joyce’s piece in full.

runaway.jpgAll this having been said, I still encourage people to watch Paul Schrader’s film on Mishima and to read Mishima’s guide to Hagakure (or better yet, Hagakure itself). I will myself, when time permits, try to read Mishima’s later more political fiction (e.g. Runaway Horses) and other nonfiction. A work of art is no less compelling, a logical argument no less persuasive, whatever the author’s personal deficiencies or proclivities.

On TOO, Joyce’s piece has received an informative, nuanced, and detailed comment from a certain Ryuji Tsukazaki, who seems to be fluent in Japanese. I reproduce Tsukazaki’s comment in full:

This essay probably needed to be written. But to any readers who think it seems a little unfair aggressively negative – it is.

The assertion that Mishima “seems hardly political at all” is just silly. It’s true that rightists who read his fiction often find it disappointing. Taken as a whole, his literary oeuvre certainly contains more weird homoeroticism than it does right-wing nationalism. But Mishima also wrote a lot of non-fiction, which was mostly explicitly political. Some titles that come to mind right away are “In Defense of Culture”, “For Young Samurai”, and “Lectures on Immorality”. (These are all my unofficial titles. I don’t think any of them are officially translated.) They are treatments of Japanese political culture, identity, and morality in the post-war era. It’s impossible to tie them to gayness or sadomasochism; they’re obviously sincere. Mishima also took part in debates on campuses during the late 60s student riots (he wrote essays about them too).

Despite the assertion that he became political “in the 60s”, perhaps because he was afraid of growing old – his most explicitly political work of fiction, Patriotism, came out in 1961, halfway through his career, when he was 35. “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea”, another major midcareer work of fiction, isn’t explicitly political, but very clearly touches on themes of authentic masculinity, loyalty, and patrimony.

“he argued that Japanese right-wingers “did not have to have a systematised worldview,”” I don’t know the context of this quote, or what he said in the original, but it’s actually hard to argue with – especially because Japanese right-wingers have never HAD a systematised worldview. The desire for metaphysical, moral, and/or ideological formal systemization is very European. Prewar Japanese historical figures will often be described as fighting for democracy and human rights in one context and as fierce right-wing militarists in others (Kita Ikki and Toyama Mitsuru come to mind). If Mishima’s assertion bothers you, don’t sweat it – it’s not about you, it’s about the Japanese.

“Mishima is a pale shadow of ultra-nationalist literary contemporaries like Shūmei Ōkawa…” I have to niggle about this. Shumei Okawa is neither literary nor contemporary. He was active in the prewar era only, and I’m unaware of any fiction he wrote. The others you mentioned may be superior to Mishima as ultranationalists but not as men of letters.

As I said, this essay did need to be written – it’s hard to look deeply into Mishima and feel comfortable with Western rightist idolization of him. He was nothing so simple and appealing as le based Japanese samurai man. And it’s true that his life and work was driven greatly by his sexuality. It’s untrue that he was politically insincere or shallow. He was nothing like a European fascist, and he couldn’t be called a traditionalist. Nonetheless, he prioritized the authentically Japanese over the modern or Western; he prioritized the healthy over the sick, and the strong over the weak; and the masculine over the feminine or androgynous. He brought up these themes repeatedly in his writings, fiction and nonfiction.

“Mishima was a profoundly unhealthy and inorganic individual” – this sentence stuck out to me as undeniably true. And I think it’s also true of many other important writers and thinkers. When Nietzsche wrote that wisdom appears on earth as a raven attracted by the scent of carrion, he was doing nothing so simple as attacking wisdom. Blond Beasts rarely write groundbreaking philosophy or provocative fiction; conflicted people who hate themselves and/or the world they were born into do that more. (Nietzsche himself could be described as an unhealthy and inorganic individual, though not to Mishima’s level.) Mishima’s disturbed sexuality and weak, sick childhood were catalysts that forced him to really grapple with masculinity and identity on a personal and intellectual level. When we read about him we should be aware that he was not an ubermensch and that he was a pervert. I don’t see that as reason to dismiss him.

mercredi, 11 septembre 2019

Mishima’s Life for Sale


Mishima’s Life for Sale

Yukio Mishima
Life for Sale
Translated by Stephen Dodd
London: Penguin Books, 2019

This past year has seen three new English translations of novels by Yukio Mishima: The Frolic of the Beasts, Star, and now Life for Sale, a pulpy, stylish novel that offers an incisive satire of post-war Japanese society.

Mishima’s extensive output includes both high-brow literary and dramatic works (jun bungaku, or “pure literature”) and racy potboilers (taishu bungaku, or “popular literature”). Life for Sale belongs to the latter category and will introduce English readers to this lesser-known side of Mishima. Despite being a popular novel, though, it broaches serious themes that can also be found in Mishima’s more sophisticated works.

YM-life.jpg27-year-old Hanio Yamada, the protagonist, is a Tokyo-based copywriter who makes a decent living and leads a normal life. But his work leaves him unfulfilled. He later remarks that his job was “a kind of death: a daily grind in an over-lit, ridiculously modern office where everyone wore the latest suits and never got their hands dirty with proper work” (p. 67). One day, while reading the newspaper on the subway, he suddenly is struck by an overwhelming desire to die. That evening, he overdoses on sedatives.

When his suicide attempt fails, Hanio comes up with another idea. He places the following advertisement in the newspaper: “Life for Sale. Use me as you wish. I am a twenty-seven-year-old male. Discretion guaranteed. Will cause no bother at all” (p. 7). The advertisement sets in motion an exhilarating series of events involving adultery, murder, toxic beetles, a female “vampire,” a wasted heiress, poisonous carrots, espionage, and mobsters.

In one episode, Hanio is asked to provide services for a single mother who has already gone through a dozen boyfriends. It turns out that the woman has a taste for blood. Every night, she cuts Hanio with a knife and sucks on the wound. She occasionally takes Hanio on walks, keeping him bound to her with a golden chain. Hanio lives with the woman for a while, and her son remarks, rather poignantly, that the three of them could be a family. The scene calls to mind the modern Japanese practice of “renting” companions and family members.

By the end of the vampire gig, Hanio is severely ill and on the verge of death. Yet he is entirely indifferent to this fact: “The thought that his own life was about to cease cleansed his heart, the way peppermint cleanses the mouth” (p. 83). His existence is bland and meaningless, devoid of both “sadness and joy.”

When Hanio returns to his apartment to pick up his mail, he finds a letter from a former classmate admonishing him for the advertisement:

What on earth do you hope to attain by holding your life so cheaply? For an all too brief time before the war, we considered our lives worthy of sacrifice to the nation as honourable Japanese subjects. They called us common people “the nation’s treasure.” I take it you are in the business of converting your life into filthy lucre only because, in the world we inhabit, money reigns supreme. (p. 79)

With the little strength he has remaining, Hanio tears the letter into pieces.

Hanio survives the vampire episode by the skin of his teeth and wakes up in a hospital bed. He has scarcely recovered when two men burst into his room asking him to partake in a secret operation. After the ambassador of a certain “Country B” steals an emerald necklace containing a cipher key from the wife of the ambassador of “Country A” (strongly implied to be England), the latter ambassador has the idea of stealing the cipher key in the possession of the former. The ambassador of Country B is very fond of carrots, and it is suspected that his stash of carrots is of relevance. Three spies from Country A each steal a carrot, only to drop dead. All but a few of the ambassador’s carrots were laced with potassium cyanide, and only he knew which ones were not. It takes Hanio to state the obvious: any generic carrot would have done the trick, meaning that the spies’ deaths were in vain.

Like Hanio’s other adventures, it is the sort of hare-brained caper one would expect to find in manga. Perhaps Mishima is poking fun at the ineptitude of Western democracies, or Britain in particular. (I am reminded of how Himmler allegedly remarked after the Gestapo tricked MI6 into maintaining radio contact that “after a while it becomes boring to converse with such arrogant and foolish people.”)

After the carrot incident, Hanio decides to move and blurts out the first destination that comes to mind. He ends up moving in with a respectable older couple and their errant youngest child, Reiko. Reiko’s parents are traditionalists who treat him with “an almost inconceivable degree of old-fashioned courtesy” (p. 122). The father reads classical Chinese poetry and collects old artifacts, among them a scroll depicting the legend of the Peach Blossom Spring. Reiko, meanwhile, spends her days doing drugs and hanging out with hippies in Tokyo. She is in her thirties, but she acts like a young girl. Although her parents are traditionally-minded, they bend to her every whim and do not discipline her.

It is explained that Reiko’s would-be husband turned her down out of a mistaken belief that her father had syphilis. Bizarrely, Reiko has convinced herself that she inherited the disease and that she will die a slow and painful death. Her death wish (combined with her parents’ negligence) appears to be the cause of her self-destructive behavior. She dreams of losing her virginity to a young man who would be willing to risk death by sleeping with her. Yet her fantasies turn out to be rather domestic. She play-acts a scene in which she tells an imaginary son that his father will be coming home at 6:15, as he does everyday.

This reminds Hanio of his former life as a copywriter and suddenly causes him to realize that the scourge of the city is palpable even in the cloistered confines of the tea house in which he is staying: “Out there, restless nocturnal life continued to pulse. . . . Such was the hell that bared its fangs and whirled around Hanio and Reiko’s comfortable little tomb” (pp. 147-48).

Hanio makes his escape one night when Reiko takes him to the disco. At the end of the novel, he visits a police station and asks for protection from some mobsters who want him dead (long story). The police dismiss him as delusional and cast him out. He is left alone, gazing at the night sky.

Underneath the campy pulp-fiction tropes, Life for Sale is a sincere meditation on the meaningless and absurdity of modern urban life. Surrendering one’s life is the most convenient escape from such an existence. The only alternative is to identify a higher purpose and pursue it relentlessly—after the manner of Mishima himself.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2019/08/mishimas-life-for-sale/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LifeForSale.jpg

dimanche, 11 février 2018

Editorial EAS: Colección Pensamientos & Perspectivas


Editorial EAS: Colección Pensamientos & Perspectivas

Un golpe de efecto en el mundo cultural actual, una llama que pretender avivar el fuego del interés por el conocimiento, un respiro de aire fresco en el saber de Occidente… Nuevas plumas salen al descubierto para enfrentarse al ensayo y a la literatura cotidiana; pensadores y literatos, trovadores y ensayistas que pretenden despertar nuevas mentes y redescubrir la esencia de lo que es pervertido por los mass media, eso es Pensamientos & Perspectivas, la esencia del simbolismo del ‘Árbol’ transmitida por plumas disidentes del siglo XXI y plasmada en aquellos autores que despiertan mentes inquietas.


JÜNGER: Tras la guerra y la paz

Autores: Fernando Sánchez Dragó, Dr. Javier Nicolás, Troy Southgate, Alain de Benoist, Alexander Dugin, Luca L. Rimbotti, Gianfranco de Turris, Robert Steuckers, Julius Evola†, Ernst Jünger†, Eduard Alcántara, Andrea Berná, José Luis Ontiveros†, Santiago de Andrés, Carlos X. Blanco, Juan Pablo Vitali y Fernando Trujillo.


Jünger y el Nacionalsocialismo por Javier Nicolás


Incluye ensayos inéditos en castellano de Ernst Jünger


Distancia y emboscadura habrían sido desde siempre los signos de una personalidad que observa, que medita, que percibe, que se implica en la lucha física de la vía del guerrero como un modo de vivir la acción desde la lejanía. Porque un espíritu libre, aristocrático, no podría soportar el mal olor y el peso de la gravedad de sus contemporáneos –«es preferible escribir un verso que representar a sesenta mil imbéciles en el parlamento», llegará a afirmar– por mucho que sus reflexiones le llevasen por los telúricos senderos del arraigo y de la nación y se sintiese en perfecta sintonía con un nacional-bolchevique como Niekisch. Pero su antinazismo tenía que ser, se quiere angustiosamente que fuese, algo consustancial. Su antinazismo habría precedido, se quiere angustiosamente que precediese, a la existencia del propio nacionalsocialismo.

Lo que narra el libro es el relato del diálogo directo de un soldado, de un pensador, de un escritor, de un nacionalista alemán con el fenómeno político e ideológico crucial del siglo XX, que, para bien o para mal determinó su vida, al igual que lo ha hecho con todas las nuestras.


ORWELL: Viviendo el futuro y recordando el pasado por VV.AA.


¿Qué historia conoces sobre la vida y obra de George Orwell? 
¿El modelo de “sociedad orwelliana” se está llevando a la práctica?
¿Existe una manipulación del lenguaje en base a una neo-lengua implantada?

¿Denuncia Orwell el Nuevo Orden Mundial, o se atrevió a revelar los planes de las Sociedades Secretas sabiendo ya que nadie podría evitarlos?

“La libertad es el derecho de decir a la gente lo que no quiere oír” George Orwell


A voz de pronto y haciendo uso del (sin)sentido común, cualquier ciudadano apuesta por la seguridad a costa de la privacidad, prefiere dormir tranquilo, saber que todo está bajo el control de una entelequia que todo lo observa y vela por el “Bienestar” de todos. “Nadie tiene nada que temer si no hace nada malo”, la cuestión que nadie se plantea es ¿qué es lo “malo” y qué es lo “bueno”?.

Lo “bueno” y lo “malo” está supeditado a los designios de la política electoralista, de la alta finanza y el Gran Capital, de aquellos poderes que están por encima del ciudadano, esas entidades que no nos consultan sobre lo que deseamos, que aplican sus políticas restrictivas cada vez con mayor dureza y sin importarles lo que le han prometido al electorado, sus planes, los planes de los electos en cada legislatura cada vez se distancian más de los programas electorales que diseñan, la mentira es claramente más visible y descarada.

El Orden natural ha sido revertido por el orden material y ello lleva a que el ego impere por doquier. No importa lo social, lo común… el espíritu de comunidad popular ha sido colapsado por el “yoísmo”. Los medios de masas trabajan constantemente en plasmar en la mente de las personas el mensaje que les interesa a los que siniestramente dirigen el destino de los pueblos, y esto nos lleva a lo que decía Alphonse Bertillon: “se puede ver sólo lo que se observa y se observa sólo lo que está en la mente”.

Manuel Quesada


MISHIMA: El último samurái

Autores: Dr. Kerry Bolton, Troy Southgate, John Howells, Wulf, Dimitris Michalopoulus, Christopher Pankhurst, Koichi Toyama, Douglas P., Vijay Prozak.

Pour toutes commandes:

Web: www.editorialeas.com
Contacto: info@editorialeas.com

samedi, 16 décembre 2017

Yukio Mishima and the spirit of a genius based on the soul of history: The last great Japanese writer


Yukio Mishima and the spirit of a genius based on the soul of history: The last great Japanese writer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan witnessed many shifting sands since the Meiji Restoration of 1868 based on modernity, liberalism, nationalism, Westernization, reaching out to the past, forging a new future, and other convulsions that ultimately led to a brutal war. In other words, the paths were often contradictory and clashed not only on the political front but also within the soul. Of course, the events of World War Two altered the image of Japan internationally and ultimately enabled America to creep into the psyche of this nation – for good and bad. Hence, the genius of Yukio Mishima is that his books – and thinking – fused the complexities facing individuals in this new world of opportunity – and in the new world of forgetting the past that irked this amazing writer.

In Sun and Steel, Mishima writes, “Was I ignorant, then, when I was seventeen? I think not. I knew everything. A quarter-century’s experience of life since then has added nothing to what I knew. The one difference is that at seventeen I had no ‘realism’.”

mishimasword.jpgIf we take these words out of context but relate them to certain ideas held by Mishima, then these worlds can equally equate to the changing landscape of Japan based on skyscrapers and the dilution of faith and philosophy. In other words, maybe Japan had learned everything under the Meiji Restoration based on the hypocrisy of Western, Catholic, and Islamic empires that utilized fear and control at the drop of a hat. Of course, while Islamization followed the Ottomans and Catholicism followed the Spanish – the British view was that you didn’t have to enslave one hundred percent by destroying indigenous faiths. Instead, the essence of the British Empire was to exploit resources at all costs – while destroying the soul of poor indigenous British nationals based on child labor, the workhouse, and a host of other barbaric realities.

This is the world that modern Japan in the Meiji Era woke up to in the nineteenth century. It was a knowledge that exploitation, power, theft, the adulteration of culture, impinging and enslaving the indigenous through various forms outside of chains, controlling resources, and crushing the psyche of others would ultimately benefit the respective ruling elites of Western, Catholic, and Islamic empires. However, for Japan, the same logic they responded to was to become altered based on the changing shifts of time. Hence, Japan was out of step while the international ruling elites utilized their respective hypocrisy, while still controlling wealth and mindsets by utilizing all the negatives of Christianity and Islam to crush the spirit.

Mishima, fearing the soul of Japan was being lost indefinitely based on aspects of the above and the ravages of modernity in defeating the past – would also turn against “words” in time based on his idea of weakness. It is all these convulsions that Mishima sought to express. This is a far cry from modern and relatively mundane writers including Haruki Murakami, Kenzaburo Oe, Banana Yoshimoto, and others, who could never envisage such a world based on being “typical modern souls.”

yukio_mishima_by_reign_of_phoebus-d36cjrf.jpgMishima said, “If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death?  No death may be called futile.”

Once more, if we take this out of context but relate it to a psyche that once existed within the body politic of certain Japanese warlords, then Mishima may deem aspects of modern Japan – and modern societies in general – to lack “dignity.” Equally, in the mind of Mishima, many aspects of modernity leads to a “futile” existence based on ignoring the past in relation to culture, society, and history.

Mishima wrote, in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, “The past does not only draw us back to the past. There are certain memories of the past that have strong steel springs and, when we who live in the present touch them, they are suddenly stretched taut and then they propel us into the future.”

Once more, if these words are taken out of context but relate to ideas held by Mishima, then it appears that the future and past are interwoven providing the past re-emerges. Of course, the degree of the past and its hold on the future is open to interpretation. Yet, in the eyes of Mishima a nation can’t truly be propelled if the past is negated and the new God now becomes modernity, the work ethic without a greater goal, a robotic existence based on national insurance numbers, the usurpation of tax by a self-centered central state, and the destruction of high culture for a quick fix based on trash. Therefore, the final days of Mishima were fused with all the convulsions that he witnessed personally – and based on the history he read – and a changing Japan that he feared would destroy the soul of this nation.

Mishima wrote, “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.”

In a past article, I said, In Mishima’s short memoir, Sun and Steel, it is clear that his obsession during the last ten years was a fusion of writing and bodybuilding to an extreme.  This book was published in 1968 and it reflected the psyche of Mishima in this period of his life. He now fused the pen with physical training and concepts of the new Japan betraying the old and glorified Japan. The book Sun and Steel relates to Mishima throwing away his earlier novel Confessions of a Mask. After all, Mishima was now building up to be a man of strength. In other words, the Nietzsche ubermensch was born within the ego and spirit of Mishima.”

Overall, while parts of the Islamic world are crushing freedom and writers are being butchered by Sunni Islamists in Bangladesh; while in the opposite direction the West is in a self-imposed machinery of narrowness based on the need to follow the politically correct narrative; then Mishima is an individual who is free from not only this world based on his dramatic death but, equally important, this great writer was free during his time on this earth despite all the trappings of modernity that could have crushed his soul. Therefore, in comparison with other contemporary writers in Japan, it is abundantly clear that Mishima is the last great writer who remains unmatched based on his literature and the power of his psyche in the last moments of his life.


Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

http://moderntokyotimes.com Modern Tokyo Times – International News and Japan News

https://moderntokyonews.com Modern Tokyo News – Tokyo News and International News


https://twitter.com/MTT_News Modern Tokyo Times



jeudi, 07 décembre 2017

Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea


Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea remains imprinted upon the mind long after one has read it. It is one of Mishima’s shorter novels, but its tightly-woven narration heightens the intensity of the atmosphere, simulating a taut bowstring upon readying an arrow.

The novel takes place in Yokohama, Japan’s leading port city, during the American occupation, and unfolds mainly from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy by the name of Noboru Kuroda. Noboru lives alone with his mother Fusako, who runs a luxury shop that sells Western-style clothing; his father died when he was eight years old. He belongs to a gang of six precocious young boys who espouse a form of nihilism and hold mainstream society in contempt, reserving especial scorn for fathers.

mishimasailor.jpgNoboru is fascinated with the sea and ships. He convinces his mother to take him to a port, where a sailor by the name of Ryuji Tsukazaki, second mate aboard a freighter ship, shows him around his ship. The reader is introduced to Ryuji when Fusako invites him to the Kurodas’ home and Noboru observes the two embracing through a hole in the wall behind a chest in his bedroom.

Ryuji is rough-hewn, muscular, and ruggedly masculine. As a young man he was drawn to the restlessness and vastness of the sea and its rejection of the static confinement of landbound strictures. He was convinced that glory lay in store for him: “At twenty, he had been passionately certain: there’s just one thing I’m destined for and that’s glory; that’s right, glory!” (15). He wanted to lead a life of danger and adventure. Thus his vision of glory was inseparable from the perilous nature of seafaring: “They were consubstantial: glory and the capsized world. He longed for a storm” (15).

Ryuji becomes a hero to Noboru. As a young boy growing up without a father in postwar Japan, Noboru looks to him as a role model and worships the ideal of glory that he represents. He is in awe of Ryuji and likens him to “a fantastic beast that’s just come out of the sea all dripping wet” (41).

Ryuji leaves when his ship sets sail again, and his return marks the beginning of Part Two of the novel. Upon returning, Ryuji proposes to Fusako and the two agree to marry, which enrages Noboru. By marrying Fusako and embracing a life of domesticity, Ryuji is forced to sacrifice life at sea. He realizes this and at one point briefly questions his choice:

Are you really going to give it up? The feeling of the sea, the dark, drunken feeling that unearthly rolling always brings? . . . Are you going to give up the life which has detached from the world, kept you remote, impelled you towards the pinnacle of manliness? The secret yearning for death. The glory beyond and the death beyond. Everything was ‘beyond,’ wrong or right, had always been ‘beyond.’ (87)

Noboru becomes disillusioned with his former hero. Having turned his back on a life of glory, Ryuji forsakes his status as a hero of mythical proportions and becomes an everyday sort of fellow. This is foreshadowed in a scene in which he encounters Noboru one afternoon and calls out to him while flashing a forced grin. Here Ryuji comes across as a sheepish, almost pitiable figure attempting to endear himself to the boys.

Noboru informs the gang of Ryuji’s engagement to Fusako, and they decide it is necessary to “make that sailor a hero again” (107). There is a single means through which this can be achieved. The boys lure Ryuji to a secluded area under the pretense of getting him to talk about his adventures at sea. Ryuji begins to muse about the life he left behind. As he speaks, the immensity of his decision hits him just before he meets his end: “Now only embers remained. Now began a peaceful life, a life bereft of motion” (142).

The prose in the final scene is subtle and understated, which lends it a haunting effect. Mishima also refrains from inserting moral judgments that would color the reader’s interpretation of the deed, recalling Ryuji’s description of the sea’s indifference to human moral schemes.

Like many of Mishima’s works, the novel is essentially an allegory for the decline of traditional Japanese culture and the masculine spirit of the samurai amid the onslaught of Westernization and modernity.

Fusako embodies both the Westernization of Japan and the essence of the feminine. She leads a thoroughly Western lifestyle and decorates her home with Western furnishings, wears Western clothing, etc. She also represents the mentality of the modern West, one which prioritizes economic security, stability, and contentment above all other values. Such values are inherently feminine, eschewing adventure and heroism for comfort and safety. Fusako symbolizes the archetypal feminine, that which is earthbound and static, while Ryuji’s youthful aspirations represent celestial masculinity, that which strives to attain glory and greatness. Female seduction represents a woman’s attempt to lure a man into her domain and drag him down to earth, thereby derailing his quest for glory. Thus the gang scorns fatherhood because they realize that their fathers were each forced to compromise their individual quests for greatness and make concessions to societal custom.

The sense of glory that Noboru and the gang see in Ryuji is the antithesis of bourgeois, modern Western values, which in Mishima’s view were eroding traditional Japanese notions of honor. Thus the ideal of glory that Noboru reveres symbolizes the martial ethos of the samurai, and Noboru and the gang serve to enforce bushidō, the samurai code.

Yet Ryuji himself falls short of fulfilling this ideal. The choice between land and sea that lies before him and his ambivalence in the face of this dilemma is a reflection of the uncertain identity of postwar Japan, a country that over the course of a single century had transitioned from a feudal state into a global military power and was forced to grapple with how to reconcile its indigenous culture with modernity. Ultimately Japan pursued the course of Westernization, reflected in Ryuji’s rejection of his former life.

Thus Ryuji’s rejection of his life at sea in order to marry Fusako represents a surrender to the West/modernity as well as to the feminine. Faced with the fall of his hero, Noboru comes to believe that Ryuji can only be redeemed through dying a heroic death. The gang’s final act symbolizes an attempt to halt Westernization and restore heroism and glory to Japan. In this sense the gang parallels Mishima’s militia, the Tatenokai (“Shield Society”). On the morning of November 25, 1970, Mishima and four Tatenokai members seized control of a Japanese military base and attempted to enact a coup that would restore prewar imperial rule in what is now known as the Mishima Incident. The coup failed but ultimately served as a symbolic ritual (like the murder of Ryuji) that set the stage for Mishima’s suicide.

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea is far more than an exploration of adolescent mischief gone awry. It illustrates that civilizations fluctuate between two opposite poles: a feminine spirit of bourgeois complacency and mediocrity and a masculine spirit that valorizes glory and greatness. The difference between the two is perhaps most evident in their respective attitudes toward death. In societies characterized by the former, an early or unnatural death is considered the worst fate that can befall a man. Many modern people expend an enormous amount toward artificially prolonging the degenerative state of old age for as long as possible. In societies characterized by the latter, it is held that weakness and dishonor are far worse than death. In such societies it is regarded as noble and heroic to sacrifice one’s life for a great cause, the “Grand Cause” that Ryuji invokes while reminiscing upon his life at sea (142). Mishima sought to do the same and intentionally committed seppuku when he was in his prime.

The modern world is defined by that which Fusako embodies: a desire for contentment and economic security at the expense of glory and heroism. In Greek mythology, sailors who were lured to land by the seductive song of the Sirens invariably met their end. Likewise the prospect of easy living appears alluring in times of national uncertainty but in the long run leads to civilizational decline. Thus the final act of the novel represents not the depravity of disturbed teenagers but rather the role of gang violence in enforcing justice and restoring order to a disturbed world.

dimanche, 04 décembre 2016

Chant de la Tatenokai ( Société du bouclier), fondée par Yukio Mishima


Chant de la Tatenokai ( Société du bouclier), fondée par Yukio Mishima

起て!紅の若き獅子たち (高音質ハイレゾ)

起て!紅の若き獅子たち (楯の會の歌) 昭和45年5月

作  詞 三島 由紀夫
作編曲 越部 信義 
歌 唱 三島由紀夫と楯の會

夏は稲妻 冬は霜
富士山麓に 鍛え来し
若きつはもの これにあり
われらが武器は 大和魂
晴朗の日の 空の色
雄々しく進め 楯の會
憂いは隠し 夢は秘め
品下りし世に 眉上げて
男とあれば 祖國を
蝕む敵を 座視せんや
やまとごころを 人問わば
凛々しく進め 楯の會
兜のしるし 楯ぞ我
よみがえりたる 若武者の
堂々進め 楯の會

samedi, 23 avril 2016

L'universo eroico di Yukio Mishima


vendredi, 01 mai 2015

Mishima entdecken


Mishima entdecken

von Jens Strieder

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Dieses Jahr wäre Yukio Mishima 90 Jahre alt geworden. Ein Sammelband beleuchtet die verschiedensten Facetten des japanischen Ausnahme-​Autors. Zweifelsohne: Mehr als ein Geheimtipp für Mishima-​Leser.

mishDDDD.jpgBereits vor fünf Jahren, kurz vor dem 40. Jahrestag seiner öffentlich inszenierten Selbstentleibung, erschien mit Yukio Mishima – Poesie, Performanz und Politik ein Sammelband. Er behandelt zentrale Themenkomplexe in dessen Werk.

Kein starrer, politischer Blick

Die behandelten Themen reichen von Mishimas Ästhetisierung und Poetisierung des Politischen über seine Beziehung zur traditionellen japanischen Dichtung und dem Theater bis hin zum performativen Charakter der eigenen Vita und der philosophischen Selbstkonzeption des Autors. Sämtliche Beiträge des Bandes stammen von Japanologen und ausgewiesenen Kennern der Materie.

Dieser Umstand hat positive und negative Seiten. Zum einen wird so ein allzu starrer Blick auf den politischen Werdegang Mishimas verhindert, zu dem häufig vor allem diejenigen neigen, die ausschließlich aus diesen Gründen mit dem Autor sympathisieren. Auf der anderen Seite führt die größere Distanz der Beiträger jedoch auch zu dem altbekannten akademischen Dünkel, der sich, ganz dem Zeitgeist verpflichtet, auch gern mal in moralisierenden Urteilen erschöpft.

Nichtsdestotrotz weisen die einzelnen Texte auf viele interessante Sachverhalte hin und untersuchen ihren jeweiligen Gegenstand mit großer Akribie. Christoph Held, der sich mit Mishimas kurzer Erzählung Yukoku, zu Deutsch Patriotismus, befasst, legt beispielsweise überzeugend dar, warum die politische Dimension der Geschichte in erster Linie als Teil ihrer ästhetischen Konstruktion zu verstehen ist. Mishima selbst sagte einmal, Yukoku sei keine politische Erzählung. Tatsächlich ging es Mishima wohl eher darum, den derart in Szene gesetzten Tod als höchsten Akt der Reinheit und ästhetischen Vervollkommnung in seinem Sinne darzustellen.

Verbindung von Geist und Tat

Sehr interessant ist auch ein Beitrag von Gerhard Bierwirth, der sich mit Mishimas Streben nach Anerkennung befasst und dabei Hegels Phänomenologie des Geistes im Hinterkopf hat. Dabei bestechen besonders seine Thesen zu Mishimas Konzeption der Verbindung von Geist und Tat hervor. Sie waren charakteristisch für den Japaner und er machte sie er auf verschiedene Weise für sich fruchtbar. In dem Beitrag Mishimas Seppuku als performatives Motiv bei Murakami und Shimada von Claudia Wünsche wird vor allem das Verhältnis der späteren japanischen Autorengeneration zu Mishima beleuchtet. Dass ein stark vom Westen geprägter Autor wie Haruki Murakami mit Mishima vergleichsweise wenig anzufangen weiß, dürfte auf der Hand liegen. Umso interessanter ist es zu sehen, wie die beiden Autoren die Person Mishimas in ihr Werk integrieren. Dies geschieht beispielsweise durch eindeutige Anspielungen. Hier wird aber auch deutlich, wie sehr Mishimas gesamtes Schaffen nach wie vor primär vor dem Hintergrund seines Todes und seiner letzten Lebensjahre betrachtet wird.

Nietzsche und Mishima

Zu dieser Zeit entstand seine nicht selten als Hauptwerk bezeichnete Roman-​Tetralogie Das Meer der Fruchtbarkeit. Auf den ersten Blick wenig originell mag der Beitrag des japanischen Sozialphilosophen Ken´ichi Mishima wirken. Gegenstand ist hier der Einfluss Nietzsches auf Mishima. Nun gibt es in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts etliche Autoren, die sich mit Nietzsche beschäftigten. Der Text enthält aber einige interessante und wichtige Erkenntnisse zu Mishimas Nietzsche-​Rezeption, die unter anderem maßgebend für seinen vitalistisch-​ästhetizistischen Heroismus war. Auch die Distanz zum eigenen zeitgenössischen kulturellen Umfeld teilten beide. Etwas trockener wird es bei Rebecca Maks Untersuchung von Die Stimmen der toten Helden, die sich mit der intermedialen Dualstruktur dieser Prosaerzählung befasst und primär Japanologen bzw. Literaturwissenschaftler interessieren dürfte.

Erfreulicherweise befindet sich die Erzählung auch im Anhang, so dass deutschsprachige Leser die Möglichkeit haben, einen weiteren, bisher nicht ins deutsche übertragenen Text Mishimas kennen zu lernen. Ohne Zweifel: Alle in diesem Band versammelten Texte lesenswert. Entscheidend ist dabei wohl, wo der Interessenschwerpunkt des jeweiligen Lesers liegt. Für begeisterte deutsche Mishima-​Leser ist der Band jedoch wohl unverzichtbar. Denn die bisher zu diesem Autor erschienene Sekundärliteratur ist kaum oder nur noch antiquarisch erhältlich.

Yukio Mishima – Poesie, Performanz & Politik. Iaponia Insula. Studien zu Kultur und Gesellschaft Japans Bd. 21. Iudicium Verlag 2010. 269 Seiten. 24 Euro.

mercredi, 22 avril 2015

Il sogno di Mishima

vendredi, 06 mars 2015

Yukio Mishima: the Body as Spirit


The Body As Spirit: Yukio Mishima, Author, Intellectual, And Warrior

“It is… possible for people to use the body as a metaphor for ideas,” Japanese author Yukio Mishima says in Sun and Steel.

Mishima had been a weak and sickly child, doted on by his over-protective grandmother. He wasn’t allowed to play with other boys, and grew up alienated from male culture (as well as from his mother, who was not allowed to look after him unsupervised). For him, Mishima says, “words came first of all; then… came the flesh. It was… already wasted by words.”

Yukio Mishima, bodybuilder and author

Yukio Mishima

For the author the answer to this waste — which he must have seen also in the Japan of post-World War II, defeated by the American atomic bomb — was to take up Kendo (traditional Japanese sword fighting) and bodybuilding, and to transform his thin frame into a powerful vehicle that could compete with his intellect.

The competition was partly one for attention, and partly one for a Way of being. Like aesthetes in the West, flamboyance and sincerity were not alien to each other, but one and the same. Controversially, Mishima formed his own private army, of about 100 members: the Tatenokai or “Shield Society.” He wanted, he said, to create a society for students who couldn’t, because of ideological reasons, join the Marxists on campus — Marxism was all the rage at the time.

One of the issues that divided the author and the Marxists (whom Mishima respected) was devotion to the emperor. Mishima never said it, but another — and perhaps an even more important area — was the body. The Tatenokai, and Mishima’s own “Way” of being was increasingly to the physical. In a flash of insight, Mishima

understood all kinds of things hitherto unclear to me. The exercise of the muscles elucidated the mysteries that words had made. It was similar to the process of acquiring erotic knowledge. Little by little I began to understand the feeling behind existence and action.

Marxism was intellectual. Mishima was increasingly concerned with the physical, precisely as an expression of ideas rooted in a kind of primordial drama. The flash of insight had come as the author considered the nature of tragedy.

Tragedy, says Mishima, “is born when the perfectly average sensibility momentarily takes unto itself a privileged nobility…”

It follows that he who dabbles in words cannot participate in it. It is necessary, moreover, that the “privileged nobility” find its basis strictly in a kind of physical courage… Tragedy calls for an anti-tragic vitality and ignorance, and  above all a certain ‘inappropriateness.’

By “ignorance,” of course, Mishima does not mean stupidity, vulgarity, or uncouthness (Mishima was very much concerned with elegance, though not as we might understand it today), but, rather, a move away from the intellect toward instinct.

Inoffensive in the West, “inappropriateness” was perhaps a more shocking idea in Japan of Mishima’s era (and even today), where rules of social etiquette are strict and complex, and understanding ones place in the order of society comes as second nature. But, the tragic hero must, of course, go against the convention of his own time. He is the one that steps forward, taking on the challenge to save society from some existential threat, while everyone else goes about their more mundane business.

It is odd, then, that Mishima suggests that the physical body “is foreign to the spirit,” being closer to ideas. Nevertheless, in criticizing those who allow their bodies to become ugly, he suggests that the body can be a vehicle for the spirit. A bulging belly is a “sign of spiritual sloth”, for example. This and other unattractive traits, says Mishima, is “as though the owner were exposing his spiritual pudenda on the outside of his body.”

The author equates such physical ugliness with “individuality.” “If,” says Mishima cryptically, “the body could achieve perfect, non-individual harmony, then it would be possible to shut individuality up for ever in close confinement.” But the idea of “perfect, non-individual harmony” seems to be key to Mishima’s growing interest in the physical. He could escape from the world of the internally and externally ugly through perfecting the body and making that his guiding spirit.

Angel Millar

Angel Millar is an author, blogger, and the editor of People of Shambhala.

lundi, 23 février 2015

Yukio Mishima: nazionalista, genio e morte perfetta


Yukio Mishima: nazionalista, genio e morte perfetta

di Lee Jay Walker

Ex: http://chronachelodigiane.net

Yukio Mishima afferma: “Se valutiamo così altamente la dignità della vita, come possiamo non valutare anche la dignità della morte? Nessuna morte può essere definita futile“. Questo osservazione è scioccante per molte persone che non hanno mai letto Mishima, o letto profondamente il suo lavoro. Poi la sua morte incombe sulla realtà o irrealtà, poiché in ultima analisi si liberò o si dedicò a una mera illusione?

In realtà, da dove iniziare quando si scrive su Mishima? Inoltre, un critico deve affermare che conosce l’argomento dal lavoro interiore dell’individuo di cui scrive? Oppure immagini e riflessioni avrebbero maggiore profondità, grazie alle immagini degli ultimi momenti di Mishima? Dopo tutto, milioni di buddisti e cristiani hanno letto i libri sacri, ma la storia ci dice che il Buddismo Zen ha sostenuto il nazionalismo fino in fondo in Giappone, negli anni 30 e 40. Pertanto, i templi buddisti di Kyoto nel secolo scorso salutarono il massacro di cinesi inermi. Allo stesso modo, gli aborigeni in Australia si chiedono dove siano l’amore e la pace cristiani? Adolf Hitler rispettava l’Islam in quanto Muhammad avviò la schiavizzazione dei non-musulmani nella jihad, imponendo il potere dalla legge islamica Sharia e della dhimmitudine. Secondo Hitler, il cristianesimo era debole, mentre l’Islam era forte perché questa fede giustificava le guerre sante con il Corano e gli Hadith, radicati nella realtà della guerra e della concentrazione del potere. Quindi, forse è meglio guardare le istantanee e poi formulare le idee; perché Mishima certamente fece così. Dopo tutto, il nazionalismo come tutte le ideologie e o modelli di pensiero si basa su miti, ma con elementi di verità. Se la verità esiste veramente. Detto ciò, la mia istantanea di Mishima è la sua morte, perché le istantanee della storia fluivano nel suo sangue, ma finendo con l’arrampicarsi sugli specchi. Dopo tutto, la morte di Mishima non ha mutato il Giappone o riportato il Paese all’età di Edo, quando il senso di un Giappone isolato non esisteva pienamente per via del complesso sistema daimyo. Sì, un Giappone isolato esisteva, in certa misura, ma era un mito perché il daimyo Shimazu commerciò ed invase Ryukyu (Okinawa). Allo stesso tempo, la completa nipponizzazione del nord era in corso e presto gli Ainu si dissolsero nella schiatta e nella realtà coloniale linguistica giapponese. Pertanto, i momenti finali di Mishima furono un dramma totale, perché le sue azioni furono inutili. Tuttavia, dicendo ciò, Mishima morì di morte desiderata, nonostante i momenti finali siano una realtà che non si può pienamente percepire. Presumo che per quei fugaci minuti e secondi prima del decesso autoindotto, mente e spirito di Mishima fossero in estasi perché parte della sua fantasia divenne la realtà desiderata. Ma ben presto un articolato nazionalista non sarebbe stato, al dunque, per nulla impressionato da Mishima. perché l’occidentalizzazione continua a venare la psiche giapponese.

Nella breve memoria di Mishima, “Sole e Acciaio”, è chiara la sua ossessione degli ultimi dieci anni per la scrittura e un culturismo estremo. Questo libro fu pubblicato nel 1968 e riflette la psiche di Mishima che fuse la penna con l’allenamento fisico e i concetti sul “nuovo Giappone” che tradiva il “vecchio e glorificato Giappone”. Sole e Acciaio parla di come Mishima si sbarazza del suo precedente romanzo “Confessioni di una maschera”, perché ora Mishima costruiva l’uomo forte. In altre parole, l'”Ubermensch” di Nietzsche nasceva nell’io e nello spirito di Mishima. Mishima ora puntava ad allontanarsi dal suo genio letterario e a sprofondare nel mondo del “corpo e dell’azione”. Tuttavia se, come sostenuto, desiderava liberarsi e abbandonare il “potere della parola”, formandosi da “guerriero” nella sua visione del mondo, allora non ci riuscì. Gli ultimi giorni struggenti della sua vita si basarono sul “potere delle parole” e delle “idee”, derivanti dalla passione interiore in cui confusione, nazionalismo, ricerca dell’attenzione e uomo d’acciaio si fusero nella morte che l’ha glorificato. Mishima evidenziò anche la dualità con cui costantemente lottò, quando afferma: “Molte persone esprimono incredulità che un simile processo possa già essere al lavoro fin dai primi anni di una persona. Ma, senza ombra di dubbio, è ciò che mi è successo, gettando così le basi di tendenze contraddittorie in me, nella determinazione ad andare avanti lealmente, nella funzione corrosiva delle parole, svolgendo il lavoro della mia vita. E il desiderio d’incontrare la realtà in qualche campo in cui le parole non giochino alcun ruolo”. E’ chiaro che la dualità di Mishima deve avergli causato enorme ansia, insieme allo sviluppo di un forte ego basato su potere e forza. Dopo tutto, se si guarda il filmato della sua “rivolta illusoria”, allora si può vedere una passione e uno spirito difficile da trovare nell’ego altrui. Forse Mishima semplicemente combatteva contro se stesso? O forse l’ego ha superato la realtà o forse “la droga della vita” si fuse nella “droga di una morte glorificata?” Qualunque cosa stesse realmente accadendo nella sua mente, certamente credeva in se stesso, perché la trama nazionalista desiderata veniva ignorata dalle masse. Mishima aveva una natura complessa, perché aveva poco tempo per i cosiddetti intellettuali, venerando gli uomini d’azione. Nella sua mente s’identificava con samurai famosi, forti capi militari e persone che si sacrificarono. Ciò trascinò la sua anima, perché vedeva l’abilità letteraria come debolezza, ma come poteva Mishima esprimersi ed ispirare gli altri senza le “parole della passione?” L’allenamento fisico ossessivo di Mishima indicava la creazione del sé guerriero, ma i guerrieri che si sacrificarono avevano qualcosa da sacrificare. Mishima non aveva nulla da sacrificare, perché le sue azioni non furono solo inutili, ma dovute al mondo illusorio che si era creato. La maggior parte delle cricca letteraria del Giappone, negli anni ’60, era di sinistra, e i suoi libri erano incentrati su modelli di pensiero militaristi e nazionalisti. Mishima quindi si fissò sul Bunburyodo e una morte che facesse appello al suo ego. “Il mare della fertilità”, scritto da Mishima in quel periodo era una raccolta di quattro libri molto intriganti. L’anno successivo iniziò l’addestramento in una base militare e formò il suo esercito privato. Mishima era ormai negli ultimi anni di vita ed era intento alla fine nobile desiderata. Mishima nel 1969 su Runaway Horses affermava: “In che situazione strana tende a ritrovarsi un uomo all’età di trentotto anni! La sua giovinezza appartiene al lontano passato. Tuttavia, il periodo della memoria inizia con la fine della giovinezza e ad oggi non ha una singola vivida impressione. Quindi persiste nel sentire che nulla più che una barriera fragile lo separa dalla giovinezza. Ascoltando sempre con la massima chiarezza i suoni di questo dominio vicino, ma senza poterne penetrare la barriera“.

sun_and_steel.jpegMishima, nato nel 1925, era molto giovane durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale ma poté partecipare all’ultimo anno di guerra; era scusato. All’epoca deve esser stato ossessionato dall'”uomo d’acciaio”, perché il suo amico Hasuda, collega scrittore, afferma: “Credo che si debba morire giovani, alla sua età”. Hasuda fu fedele alla parola, perché si suicidò. Sembra che l’omosessualità possa anche aver tormentato Mishima, poiché in Confessioni di una maschera (1949) si occupa di emozioni interiori e passioni. Tuttavia, se Mishima conosceva bene la storia di molti samurai, allora avrebbe creduto che l’omosessualità fosse la forma più pura di sesso. Inoltre, molti leader del Giappone nel periodo pre-Edo ed Edo ebbero concubini maschi. Pertanto, Mishima si vergognò dell’etica cristiana arrivata in Giappone con la Restaurazione Meiji (1868)? Se no, allora molti “uomini d’acciaio” del vecchio Giappone ebbero relazioni omosessuali e questo andava inteso alla luce della realtà. Dopo tutto, la lealtà nel vecchio Giappone era per il sovrano daimyo e i compagni samurai. Pertanto, la compassione era ritenuta cosa per deboli, a causa della natura della vita. Non sorprende che forti legami maschili prendessero piede nella psiche dei samurai e tale realtà culturale sia all’opposto dell’immagine dell’omosessualità nel Giappone moderno, percepita per deboli. Il Wakashudo aveva diversi modi di avviare i ragazzi nel “vecchio Giappone” e nella mentalità dei samurai, le donne venivano viste femminilizzare gli uomini indebolendone lo spirito. Il sistema Wakashudo fu spesso abusato dal clero buddista per proprie gratificazioni sessuali, in passato. Tuttavia, il sistema dei samurai si basava sulla creazione di “un processo di apprendimento secondo un codice etico” impiantando lealtà e forti legami per cui, in tempi di difficoltà, i samurai rimasero attaccati all’istruzione ricevuta. Mishima, gonfiando i muscoli e dalle competenze marziali ben levigate, divenne l'”uomo d’acciaio”. Tuttavia, fu contaminato dalle pose femminili fusesi nel suo martirio. Posò volentieri di fronte alle telecamere e le immagini di San Sebastiano ucciso da molte frecce o del samurai che invoca il suicidio rituale, giocarono la sua psiche e il suo essere. Il mondo di Mishima era reale e surreale, perché potere e forza si fusero, ma avendo una natura femminile seppellita nell’anima. Mishima dichiarò: “Il tipo più appropriato di vita quotidiana, per me, fu la quotidiana distruzione mondiale; la pace è il più duro e anormale modo di vivere”. Pertanto, il 25 novembre 1970, si avverò ciò che Mishima era divenuto. Tale realtà si basava su visioni suicide, quindi il suo mondo illusorio sfociò in un fine violenta. Tuttavia, la verità di Mishima fu la fine violenta e caotica entro una realtà struttura. Dopo tutto, Mishima stilò dei piani successivi alla morte. Inoltre, Mishima si dedicò per tale giorno da anni, ma ora il tempo della recitazione era finito, in parte, perché ancora si agitava nel mondo dell'”ego”. Nel suo mondo illusorio il “sé” avrebbe agito collettivamente con forza, a sua volta generando “uno spirito” tratto dal sogno di Mishima di morte glorificata. Eppure, non era un soldato, dopo tutto aveva mentito, non avendo combattuto per il Giappone; quindi, la retorica nazionalista fu proprio tale e il 25 novembre fu più una”redenzione personale” che pose fine alla “dualità della sua anima”. L’uomo delle parole sarebbe morto nel “paradiso dell’estremo dolore”, perché l’ultima sciabolata che lo decapitò non fu netta, furono necessari diversi tentativi. Dopo tutto, non era un soldato, non era un samurai e lo non erano neanche i suoi fedeli seguaci. L’atto finale è la prova che i “sognatori” sono proprio ciò; quindi, il finale non fu una bella immagine di serenità, ma una scena “infernale stupida e di follia autoindotta”. Il mondo illusorio di Mishima non poteva cambiare nulla, perché non riusciva a riscrivere la storia. Sì, dopo di lui si poté riscrivere la storia e forse questa era cui Mishima anelava?

Nonostante ciò, Mishima è un genio letterario e aveva più spirito ed ego della maggior parte delle persone. Il suo potere poggiava sui “demoni interni con cui lottava” e su una cultura che glorificava il sacrificio di sé. Tuttavia, Mishima non aveva nulla da sacrificare, perché l’ultimo evento della sua vita non scosse il Giappone, essendo più che altro “egoismo” nato dall'”irrealtà”. Eppure, l’opera di Mishima è molto particolare e nel XX secolo affianca i più grandi scrittori internazionali. Pertanto, il ragazzo di Tokyo fu enigmatico e dalla cruda passione. Purtroppo la passione di Mishima manca oggi e forse è qui che il suo “genio risiede”. In Mishima si può immaginare l’energia del passato e il visionario. Pertanto, le mancanze nella sua vita furono le mancanze di tutti; ma ciò va trascurato, perché ignorare gli scritti di Mishima significa ignorare una forza potente nell’energia letteraria del Giappone. Mishima, a differenza della maggior parte degli scrittori, trascese la nazione a cui apparteneva, perché la sua scrittura colpisce un nervo scoperto nell'”animo interiore”.

Fonte: aurorasito

samedi, 15 novembre 2014

Mishima: "La mer et le couchant" (1955)

Mishima: "La mer et le couchant" (1955)

Lu par Laurent James

mardi, 23 septembre 2014

Naoko Inose’s Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima


Naoko Inose’s Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima

By Riki Reipersona

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Naoko Inose
Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima [2]
Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 2013

Editor’s Note:

This is a review of the Japanese edition of Persona, which is available now in English translation. I have read the translation, which appears to be much longer (864 pages) than the Japanese original. It is a treasure trove of information on Mishima.  As an aside, the book’s unselfconscious frankness about sex and meticulous cataloging of genealogy and rank give one a sense of the consciousness of pre-Christian European society. 

The Japanese version of Persona was originally published in November 1995 by Bungei Shunshu (literally meaning “the Literary Spring and Autumn”), an established and prestigious publishing house in Japan. The author, Mr. Naoki Inose, is a maverick and contentious figure who served as the vice governor of Tokyo municipality for a long time while also being a highly prolific and popular writer, having penned no less than 30 books so far, mostly on political, historical, and cultural themes. He was lately in hot water, being forced to step down from his official post due to alleged involvement in a murky financial scandal. His political and administrative stance, by post-war Japanese standards, is mainstream conservatism (center-Right).

The main body of the book has about 390 pages, including a prologue, four chapters, and an epilogue. There is also a brief postscript and an extensive bibliography which together occupy another nine pages. Considering the length of the book, it is surprising that there are only four chapters. The 17-page Prologue is a novel-like start, the main character of which is a former schoolmate of Yukio Mishima, and whose father also happened to be an old acquaintance and old schoolmate of Mishima’s father Azusa Hiraoka (Hiraoka is the real family name of Mishima), both pursuing the careers of elite imperial government officials, but with quite different fates. The author’s intention in starting the book in this way was to highlight Mishima’s family background so as to shed light on the factors, both familial and historical, that shaped and molded the early development of Mishima’s quite unorthodox and eccentric personality.

Indeed, the author goes far further than most would expect, expatiating on the overall political and social picture of Japan in the late Meiji and early Taisho periods at the very beginning of the 20th century, which, in the author’s presumed reckoning, might better disclose and clarify the political, socio-cultural, and family backdrops of Mishima’s childhood, which was characterized by a mixture of docile and rebellious elements. The first chapter, called “The Mystery of the Assassination of Takashi Hara,” lasts almost 80 pages. Here the author talks about the historical background of the time in which Mishima’s grandfather Sadataro Hiraoka saw his career blossom then wither due to larger and uncontrollable political struggles.

Sadataro was a capable functionary favored and appointed by then the Internal Minister and later the Prime Minister of Japan Takashi Hara, nicknamed the “Commoner Prime Minister,” to be the governor of Karabuto (the Southern half of the Sakhalin Island, ceded to Japan by treaty after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and forcibly annexed by Soviet Union at the end of WWII). However, due to some suspicious financial dealing and mishaps which were seized by political foes to attack him, and political sectarian conflicts during the Hara administration and after his assassination, Sadataro was relieved of his governorship, and from then on, Mishima’s family’s fortune started to take an abrupt and sharp downturn.

The second chapter, “The Insulated Childhood,” shifts attention from the rise and fall of the Hiraokas to Mishima himself. Mr. Inose spends 90 pages on Mishima’s complex and seeming contradictory childhood, using narration interspersed by flashbacks, and talks about the family life of the Hiraokas, the inter-relationship of family members, religion, Mishima’s grandparents and parents, especially his fastidious and arbitrary grandmother and his bemused father, against the background of decline of the family’s fortunes as a result of political failures of his grandfather. The author devotes large passages to explaining such matters as Mishima’s poor physical health, his tender, timid, and self-isolating personality as a child molded by the uncannily tense family ambience, and his father’s desperate last-ditch effort that brought about his narrow escape from the military draft in his late teen years near the end of the Second World War.

In this chapter, the author also starts to introduce Mishima’s passion for literature, which developed quite early, and his first attempts at writing, as well as his friendship and literary exchanges with several likeminded youths who gave him encouragement and inspiration. One point meriting emphasis is the influence of Zenmei Hasuda, a young imperial army officer, a steadfast traditionalist and nationalist, and a talented writer who killed a senior officer for cursing the Emperor and then committed suicide near the end of the war.

In the third chapter, that lasts almost 100 pages, the author continues to elaborate on the young Mishima’s literary and private life, culminating in his crowning literary achievement, the novel Kinkakuji translated as The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which the author rightfully perceives as a landmark of the first phase of Mishima’s literary life, which is characterized by richly colored, minutely detailed, and often unsettling depictions of the inner lives of men among the ruins of post-war Japan — a formerly proud nation wallowing in nihilism.

It is noteworthy that Mishima’s works at this stage are rather different from the second stage of his literary activities, in which his works display a clearly nationalist and Rightist perspective. While Mishima’s exquisite writing reached its peak (or near peak) quite early in his life, his understanding of and awakening to the Japanese identity and nationalism centered on the monarchist tradition underwent a gradual process of maturation and was still immature and inchoate at his first literary stage, i.e. the time around his writing of Kinkakuji and other non-nationalist works, in contrast to his second literary phase of more virile, robust, and nationalistic works from Sun and Steel to The Sea of Fertility. In addition, Mishima’s dandyesque personal life of drinking, socializing, and mingling with fashion-conscious rich girls as described in this chapter was also indicative of his less than mature literature and personality at his stage of his life.

yukio-mishimaXXXXWW.jpgChapter four, being the longest of the four chapters at about 110 pages, stands out as a relatively independent account of Mishima’s later years, dealing with both literature and political/ideological developments, leading to his failed coup, featuring his impassioned exhortation to the military servicemen and his ritual suicide by seppuku. This part covers the Mishima most familiar and interesting to Western readers. The chapter covers his body-building practices, his continued literary endeavors, consummated by the masterpiece The Sea of Fertility,his nominations for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and his increasingly active socio-political undertakings, including organizing his private militia troop, the Tatenokai (Shield Society), his serious and strenuous military training in Jieitai (Self-Defense Force), the post-war Japanese military — with the rather naïve aim of safeguarding the Emperor in concerted effort with the military in case of domestic unrest or even sedition at the hands of the leftist or communist radicals — and the events of this final day, November 25, 1970.

Although Persona has an overly long and detailed discussion of Mishima’s family history, the book still flows and proves an engaging read on the whole. The last chapter, though a bit overshadowed by the three preceding chapters, is definitely the most pertinent and fascinating of the whole, filled with interesting facts with insightful and trenchant observations.

Mishima’s veneration of the Emperor (Tenno) and ultimately the Imperial bloodline (Kotoh) of Japan, his candid criticism of Emperor Hirohito, and his final urge toward the coup and the subsequent suicide were already implied in his Kinkakuji, albeit symbolically as the impregnable top floor of the Kinkakuji pavilion itself. These themes became explicit in Voice of the Spirits of Martyrs published in 1966, which especially demonstrates Mishima’s mixed feelings if not overtly bitter resentment of Hirohito for his ignoble role in the failed Ni-Ni-Roku (Feb. 26) Coup of 1936[1] and his abject “I-am-a-human-not-a-god” announcement in 1945.[2] In the book, Mishima speaks through the mouth of a 23-year-old blind man, giving voice to the spirits of the Ni-Ni-Roku rebels and the Kamikaze pilots, i.e., the spirits of martyrs, speaking of the post-war economic boom coupled with the moral decay of Japanese society:

Under the benevolent imperial reign, the society brims with peace and stability. People smile albeit not without conflicts of interest and confusion of friends and foes. Foreign money drives and goads people, and pseudo-humanism becomes a necessity for making a living. The world is shrouded in hypocrisy while physical force and manual labor are despised. Youthful generations feel suffocated by torpor, sloth, drugs, and meaningless fights, yet they all move along the prearranged path of mundanity like meek sheep. People think about making money, even small amounts, for which they degrade their own value. Private cars multiply, whose stupid high speed renders people soulless. Tall buildings mushroom while the righteous cause and moral principles collapse, and the glittering glass windows of those buildings are just like fluorescent lights of implacable desires. Eagles flying high in the sky and break their wings, and the immortal glories are sneered at and derided by termites. In such a time, the Emperor has become a human.[3]

According to Mishima, the daily routines under the rapid economic growth of 1960s is but an ugly and hollow sign of happiness, all attributable to the fact that the Emperor Hirohito has proclaimed himself no longer a divine figure, a sacrosanct “Arahitogami”[4] but a mere human being devoid of sanctity. Mishima expressed this view via the collective voice of the spirits of the martyrs, that the Emperor has assumed a duality of image, one being the last sacred embodiment of the national myth, and the other being one kind smiling grandfather presiding over the economic rationalism of the current age, and it is the latter, the protector of the daily routines of the post-war Japan, that Mishima found intolerable, as the voice of the martyr spirits makes quite clear:

The reign of His Majesty has been dyed in two different colors. The period of the bloody red color ends with the last day of the war, and the period of the ash grey color begins from that day. The period of the authentic red color soaked with blood starts with the day when the utmost sincerity of the brotherly spirits was thrown away, and the period of that pallid grey color starts from the day of the ‘I-am-a-human’ announcement of His Majesty. The immortality of our deaths is thus desecrated.[5]

The “brotherly spirits” here refer to the soldiers of the failed 2.26 coup of 1936, failed by the Emperor Hirohito, by his headstrong refusal to understand and sympathize with their righteous patriotism and pure sincerity. Mishima also believed that the “I-am-a-Human” announcement of Hirohito in the wake of WWII rendered the heroic sacrifices of the lives of the Kamikaze Tokkottai (Special Attack Units) utterly futile and pointless.

According to the author, Mishima’s mother Shizue revealed a little secret about the writing of Voices of the Spirits of Martyrs on the occasion of the commemoration of the seventh anniversary of Mishima’s death, namely, the work was actually written one night. She recollected that Mishima handed the manuscript to her as he had always done and uttered “I wrote this in one stroke last night, and it’s now completed.” She read through it quickly, felt her “blood curdled,” and asked Mishima how he wrote this piece. Mishima answered: “I felt my hand moving naturally and the pen sliding on the paper freely. I simply couldn’t help it even if I wanted to stop my hand. Low voices as if murmuring could be heard across my room in the midnight. The voices seemed to be from a group of men. When I held my breath to listen carefully, I found they were the voices of the dead soldiers who had participated in the 2.26 Incident.” Shizue continued to remark that “I had known the saying about haunting spirits before but didn’t paid attention until that moment when I came to realize that Kimitake (Mishima’s real first name) was perhaps haunted by something, and I felt chills down my spine.”[6]

In the summer of the same year Voices of the Spirits of Martyrs was published, Mishima went to Kumamoto Prefecture on Kyushu Island, South Japan, and this trip would prove to have a decisively catalyzing effect on the consolidation of the nationalist and traditionalist ideology that guided his later literary and political actions, provided the urge for the writing of his final work The Sea of Fertility, and eventually paved the way for his suicide. The pivot of Mishima’s interest was the local Samurai warrior group Shinpuren (The League of Divine Wind) which was violently opposed to the various policies of westernizing reform enacted by the Meiji regime in the 1870s.

The original driving force of the Meiji Restoration was the idea of “Revering the Emperor and Repelling the Foreign Barbarians” (Sonnojoi), which stipulated that legitimacy came not from the Shogun but from the Emperor and that Western forces, epitomized by the dreaded “Black Ships,” must be decisively expelled.[7] Yet after abolishing the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate by uniting around the rallying call of “Sonnojoi,” the newly-established Meiji regime immediately and drastically changed its course and started to purse a policy of reform: opening Japan to the outside world, imitating Western ways, and curbing or eliminating the traditional customs of Japanese society deemed by the new regime as un-Western and uncivilized. New laws were promulgated by the Meiji government: the former Shizoku (Samurai aristocrats) were prohibited from carrying swords in public places, a sacred and unalienable right in their eyes, marking their distinguished status from the masses. They were also forced to change their hairstyles (cutting off the buns at the back of their heads). These were the direct causes to the Insurrection of Shinpuren in 1876 (the ninth year of the Meiji period).

The members of Shinpuren were so thoroughly alienated and infuriated by the Meiji government that they went to comical lengths to reject modernity. For example, when banknotes replaced traditional metal coins, they refused to touch them with their hands, picking them up with chopsticks instead. They made long detours to avoid walking under electrical wires. If no detour was possible, they would cover their heads with a white paper fan and pass hurriedly under the wires. They cast salt on the ground after meeting anyone dressed in western garb. When they decided to revolt against the Meiji government, they insisted on using only traditional bladed weapons like the sword (Katana), spear (Yari), and cane knife (Naginata), instead of the “dirty weapons of the western barbarians.”

This group, consisting of about 170 men, launched a night-time attack on the Kumamoto garrison. The garrison troops were caught off guard and initially panicked. But they regrouped and started to fire volleys of bullets into the armor-wearing, sword-wielding Shinpuren warriors storming at them. The samurai fell one after another, and altogether 123 warriors died in the battle or committed seppuku after sustaining serious wounds, including a dozen 16- or 17-year-old teenagers.

It was indeed a sad and heart-wrenching story. Why were they willing to die to protect their right to carry samurai swords? It is hard to comprehend it by the commonsense of our de-spiritualized modern age. The rebellion was mocked by newspapers in Tokyo as an anachronism even at the time, let alone in post-War Japan. Nevertheless, the Shinpuren samurai believed they were serving the cause of righteousness and justice, and it was their spotless sincerity and combination of faith and action that deeply impressed Mishima. The following passage his comment on Shinpuren in a dialogue with Fusao Hayashi[8]:

Talk about the thoroughness of thinking, when thinking expresses itself in an action, there are bound to be impurities entering it, tactics entering it, and human betrayals entering it. This is the case with the concept of ideology in which ends always seem to justify means. Yet the Shinpuren was an exception to the mode of ends justifying means, for which ends equal means and means equal ends, both following the will of gods, thus being exempt from the contradiction and deviation of means and ends in all political movements. This is equivalent to the relation between content and style in arts. I believe there also lies the most essential, and in a sense the most fanatical sheer experimentation of the Japanese spirit (Yamatodamashii).[9]

As hinted previously, the trip to Kumamoto and the examination of the historical record of Shinpuren gave Mishima a model and meaning for his future suicide. In fact, three years before his suicide he published a piece in the Yomiuri Shinbun, in which he stated rather wistfully the following words: “I think forty-two is an age that is barely in time for being a hero. I went to Kumamoto recently to investigate the Shinpuren and was moved by many facts pertaining to it. Among those I discovered, one that struck me particularly was that one of the leaders of theirs named Harukata Kaya died a heroic death at the same age as I am now. It seems I am now at the ceiling age of being a hero.”[10] From such clues, which are actually numerous, the author argues that Mishima started at about forty to reflection on his own death and probably settled on terminating his own life upon the completion of his four-volume lifework The Sea of Fertility.

The heavy influence of Shinpuren is manifest in the second volume of The Sea of Fertility, namely Runaway Horses, in which the protagonist Isao Iinuma, a Right-wing youth, holds a pamphlet titled The Historical Story of Shinpuren and was depicted as possessing an burning aspiration of “raising a Shinpuren of the Showa age.” And the full content of the aforementioned book was inserted into Runaway Horses in the form of a minor drama within a major drama. The historical background of the novel was set in early 1930s. The 19-year-old Isao attempts to assassinate a man called Kurahara, known as the king fixer of backdoor financial dealing, who was in Mishima’s eyes the representation of Japanese bureaucrats who considered the “stability of currency” as the ultimate happiness of the people and preached a cool-headedly mechanical if not callous way of crafting economic policies. Kurahara was quoted saying, “Economics is not a philanthropy; you’ve got to treat 10% of the population as expendable, whereby the rest 90% will be saved, or the entire 100% will die” — the self-justifying words of a typical ultra-realist and even a nihilist — a stark contrast to the pre-War ideal of the Emperor as an absolute patriarch, a profoundly benevolent feudal ruler who guarded the identity, history, and destiny of the Japanese people — a metaphysical figure that Mishima embraced, held dear, and vowed to defend and revive regardless of cost.


In sum, Mishima’s spiritual and historical encounter with Shinpuren and his military training can be viewed as elements in the design of his own death, as steps ascending to the grand stage. Shortly after concluding his military training, Mishima wrote a short book, A Guide to Hagakure, on Jocho Yamamoto’ famous summation of Bushido doctrine, Hagakure. Mishima’s Guide also illuminates his final action:

One needs to learn the value of the martial arts to be pure and noble. If one wants to both live and die with a sense of beauty, one must first strive to fulfill necessary conditions. If one prepares longer, one will decide and act swifter. And though one can choose to perform a decisive action oneself, one cannot always choose the timing of such an action. The timing is made by external factors, is beyond a person’s powers, and falls upon him like a sudden assault. And to live is to prepare for such a fateful moment of being chosen by destiny, isn’t it?! Hagakure means to place stress on a prior awareness and a regulation of the actions for such preparations and for such moments that fate chooses you.[11]

It is exactly in such a fashion that Mishima prepared for and embraced his self-conceived and fate-ordained final moment, to serve a noble, beautiful, and righteous cause.


1. Emperor Hirohito was angry at the assassinations of his trusted imperial ministers at the hands of the rebel soldiers. He vehemently refused to lend an ear to the sincere patriotic views of the rebels, refused to side with them, and immediately ordered the suppression of the coup and had the leaders tried and executed quickly.

2. Emperor Hirohito made this announcement partly due to the pressure of the US occupation forces, i.e. the GHQ, and partly willingly, as a cooperative gesture if not an overtly eager attempt to ingratiate himself with the conqueror.

3. Naoki Inose, Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima (Tokyo: Bungei Shunshu Press, 1995), p. 323.

4. Meaning literally “a god appearing in human form,” a highly reverential reference to the Japanese Emperor until the end of WWII.

5. Persona, pp. 323, 324.

6. Persona, p. 324.

7. American naval fleets commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry to force Japan to open itself to the world, which first arrived in 1853 and once again in 1854.

8. A famous and highly accomplished literary figure of contemporary Japan who is known for being flamboyant and highly contentious writer and literary critic. As a young man, he was a Leftist, he turned toward the Right-wing nationalism in the 1930s and remained a staunch and steadfast nationalist during the war and throughout the post-war years until his death.

9. Persona, pp. 327, 328.

10. Persona, p. 333.

11. Persona, p. 341.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/09/naoko-inoses-persona-a-biography-of-yukio-mishima/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/persona.jpg

[2] Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1611720087/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1611720087&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=62KCMLUZAWELMOLQ

mardi, 26 août 2014

The Immortal Death of Mishima


The Immortal Death of Mishima

By Christopher Pankhurst

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

When Yukio Mishima arose on the morning of November 25th 1970 he knew that it would be his last day on Earth. It was the deadline for completion of his novel, The Decay of the Angel, the fourth book in his tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. He placed the completed manuscript, sealed in an envelope addressed to his publisher, on a table. Mishima had given intimations that the completion of the tetralogy would be the culmination of his life’s work. A month before his death he wrote to his future biographer, “Finishing the long novel (The Sea of Fertility) makes me feel as if it is the end of the world.”[1] The previous night he had left a note on his desk saying, “Human life is limited, but I would like to live forever.”[2]

He had spent some time preparing for his last day. Just the week before, there had been a major exhibition of his life held in Tokyo. One hundred thousand people viewed the exhibition, a token of Mishima’s popularity. Only Mishima, and a few of his most trusted comrades, knew that the exhibition was also a valediction. Prominently on display was Mishima’s 16th-century samurai sword, made by Seki no Magoroku, which he would be taking with him on the morning of November 25th to stage an attempted coup d’etat.

Mishima’s co-conspirators in the plan were four members of his private army, the Tatenokai, or Shield Society. This small corps (about 100 men) was formed with the stated intention of protecting the Emperor and, due to Mishima’s prestige, was allowed to use official military facilities for its training purposes. Mishima had arranged a meeting with General Mashita on the morning of the 25th and the group of five men was escorted to his office in the Ichigaya military base in Tokyo. There they took the general hostage and demanded that all the soldiers present at the garrison be assembled on the parade ground to listen to a speech given by Mishima. Mishima delivered his halting speech to a chorus of jeers from the assembled soldiers. He concluded with the patriotic chant, “Long live the Emperor!”

Retiring back to the general’s office he concluded that, “They did not hear me very well.” He then stripped to the waist and knelt down. Again shouting, “Long live the Emperor!” he stabbed himself in the abdomen with a short sword. This was the ancient samurai form of suicide by disemboweling: hara-kiri or seppuku. He pulled the blade across his stomach spilling blood into his lap until his intestines poked out of the deep cut. His second-in-command, Masakatsu Morita, then attempted to behead Mishima to relieve his agony, as had been agreed beforehand. Morita aimed a blow but missed the neck, cutting deeply into Mishima’s back. Another blow also missed the neck and a third, though on target, failed to sever the head. Another of the Tatenokai, Hiroyasu Koga, then took over and sliced Mishima’s head from his body. Morita then attempted an unsuccessful seppuku, barely penetrating his skin, and Furu-Koga cut his head off.

Mishima’s act of seppuku was the first to take place in Japan since the end of the Second World War, when hundreds of Japanese subjects committed seppuku in the grounds of the Imperial Palace to apologize to the Emperor for having lost the war. Many of the combatants in the Pacific also committed seppuku rather than suffer the dishonor of being captured by the Americans. Mishima’s suicide was radical and atavistic; it was a complex gesture both culturally and individually; and, ultimately, despite the confusion surrounding his act, it ensured that he would make his mark on eternity.

The Japanese Prime Minister, on hearing the news of Mishima’s death commented that, “He must have been kichigai, out of his mind.”[3] This judgement had more to do with the political establishment’s sense of embarrassment at Mishima’s anachronistic act than anything else. The point was expressed more clearly by the writer Nobuko Lady Albery: “It was a political embarrassment as well because just when Japan was on the point of becoming a member of the advanced industrialized nations whom we have copied so doggedly all those years; and then, here comes this writer killing himself as if the clock were put back two centuries.”[4]

In order to understand Mishima’s radical suicide it is necessary to understand the context of suicide in Japanese society, and the specific meaning of seppuku as a form of suicide. It is also necessary to consider Mishima’s own ideas concerning ritual death; ideas which are a complex mix of the traditional and the idiosyncratic.

Yukio-Mishima-Portrait02-766x1024.jpgIn Japan suicide has never been the taboo act that it traditionally is in the West. Since the advent of Christianity suicide in the West has been forbidden by the Church and often also by law. This taboo against suicide stems from Augustine who argued that life, being a gift from God, is not to be taken away, even by one’s own hand. This taboo was enshrined in law and continues to cast a dark shadow into modern times. As recently as 1969 a teenager was birched in The Isle of Man for attempting to commit suicide.[5] And it is still the case that official investigations into suicides will try their best to remain euphemistic about the cause of death:

Religious and bureaucratic prejudices, family sensitivity, the vagaries and differences in the proceedings of coroners’ courts and post-mortem examinations, the shadowy distinctions between suicides and accidents – in short, personal, official and traditional unwillingness to recognize the act for what it is – all help to pervert and diminish our knowledge of the extent to which suicide pervades society. . . For suicide to be recognized for what it is, there must be an unequivocal note or a setting so unambiguous as to leave the survivors no alternatives: all the windows sealed and a cushion under the dead head in front of the unlit gas-fire.[6]

In addition to the religious taboo against suicide there are other significant differences in the perception of suicide in Japan and the West. Suicide in the West is now generally seen as a mental health issue, and the potential suicide is treated as a psychological problem. This diagnosis tends to come from a deeper assumption that the problem lies at the level of the individual. In Japan there is a much stronger sense of social belonging so that it is perfectly possible for someone to commit suicide for reasons that have more to do with social standing. There is a specific type of suicide that is seen to represent atonement for a social or legal misdeed (whether real or perceived). This type of suicide is known as inseki-jisatsu.

Suicide after a social scandal is called inseki-jisatsu (suicide to take responsibility for a scandal) in Japan, but the inseki-jisatsu occurs regardless of whether the person is guilty or guiltless. Inseki-jisatsu is caused by a sense of disgrace. Those who commit inseki-jisatsu think that a scandal related to them adversely affects a community which they belong to, and that the scandal disgraces their names regardless of the truth of the scandal. . . Inseki-jisatsu occurs in Japan because the Japanese people tend to possess a strong sense of belonging to their community, and they cannot imagine losing the community which forms their identity. After the inseki-jisatsu, people usually do not blame the people who have committed suicide. . . because blaming the dead is thought to be disrespectful in Japan.[7]

Whereas in the West suicide is a shameful, forbidden act, in Japan there is a long tradition of the honorable suicide. For a Japanese person suicide can be a means of making amends or redeeming himself. Suicide can also serve to make amends for another person. Inseki-jisatsu can sometimes be carried out by employees who wish to cover up for their bosses’ corruption. The suicide will thus remove a key witness whilst at the same time atoning for any sense of scandal. This is considered to be a noble act because it allows for the good name of one’s community to remain intact. The ultimate honor, in this context, is to die for the Emperor. Most famously, the kamikaze pilots in the Second World War were eager to give their lives in service to the Emperor. To be chosen for such a suicide mission was considered a great honor.

This cultural distinction between Japanese and Western attitudes to suicide also extends to “murder-suicides”:

A Japanese mother (in Los Angeles) attempted to drown herself and her two children in the sea in 1985. The mother survived, but her two children died. This mother was prosecuted for murder, and the mother was regarded as an egoistic mother who killed her children without necessity in the USA. However, Japanese society was sympathetic to the mother. The mother and her children were treated as an expression of alteregoism, and it was thought that the children could not live happily without a mother even if they were not killed. Mothers who killed their children and then attempted suicide are usually not punished severely in Japan while in the USA those mothers are severely punished for the murder of their children.[8]

Even though Japanese society has changed rapidly and has become increasingly Westernized it is still affected by its historic attitude towards suicide. According the World Health Authority, Japan has the highest suicide rate of any developed country at almost 26 per 100,000 people.[9] About a quarter of suicides in Japan are motivated by financial concerns, and the number has been increasing since the global financial crisis in 2008 led to a contraction of the Japanese economy. Often, suicide is considered an honorable solution to debt because life insurance payments will cover the amount owing. Thus, social stigma is banished and the person’s good reputation remains unblemished.

It is necessary to bear in mind this important difference of attitude between Western societies and Japan when considering Mishima’s suicide. He came from a tradition that was capable of understanding the sense of honor that could be associated with suicide. Within this culture of honorable suicide, seppuku is considered as a particularly noble act. Seppuku was the traditional form of suicide practiced by the samurai so it is associated with great courage and aristocracy. The degree of courage needed to carry out this act is both immense and self-evident. According to Toyomasa Fusé, a renowned expert on the subject:

Of all types of suicide, seppuku is considered to be the most painful. Since the lower abdomen has heavy muscle linings and fats, even the sharpest blade would not be able to pierce it easily. It is said that the deepest thrust of the sharpest blade could not be more than 7cm deep. A samurai committing seppuku is expected to stab the left side of his abdomen first and then slit it open sideways. In the process he will also cut and slit the internal organs, causing excruciating pain. It usually takes hours before one dies successfully, thereby prolonging the excruciating pain and requiring a superhuman courage and perseverance. It is understandable, then, that this form of suicide had become a way of dying and a badge of courage for a proud warrior class such as the samurai in Japan.[10]

Mishima’s autopsy found that he had a cut five inches long and up to two inches deep across his abdomen.[11] His seppuku was evidently carried out according to the superhuman standards set down by the samurai, and would have required great physical strength as well as courage. If anything, Mishima’s seppuku is even more remarkable for the fact that he was not trained to carry it out. His biographer, Henry Scott Stokes, interviewed two of Mishima’s martial arts teachers who both confirmed that he was not trained to carry out seppuku. One commented that his wrists were stiff and that he was unable to hold his kendo sword correctly, whilst the other said that Mishima had asked him for details of how to carry out seppuku, on the pretext that he was to write something on the subject.[12]

yu6133770_128960986741.jpgIn fact, Mishima had written a description of seppuku in gruesome detail some years earlier. In the short story, Patriotism, he describes a young officer who is unwilling to act against his former comrades who had taken part in the Ni Ni Roku rebellion. In order to maintain his honor, the officer commits seppuku:

The lieutenant aimed to strike deep into the left of his stomach. His sharp cry pierced the silence of the room. Despite the effort he had himself put into the blow, the lieutenant had the impression that someone else had struck the side of his stomach agonizingly with a thick rod of iron. For a second or so his head reeled and he had no idea what had happened. The five or six inches of naked point had vanished completely into his flesh, and the white bandage, gripped in his clenched fist, pressed directly against his stomach. He returned to consciousness. The blade had certainly pierced the wall of the stomach, he thought. . . With only his right hand on the sword the lieutenant began to cut sideways across his stomach. But as the blade became entangled with the entrails it was pushed constantly outward by their soft resilience; and the lieutenant realized that it would be necessary, as he cut, to use both hands to keep the point pressed deep into his stomach. He pulled the blade across. It did not cut as easily as he had expected. . . By the time the lieutenant had at last drawn the sword across to the right side of his stomach, the blade was already cutting shallow and had revealed its naked tip, slippery with blood and grease. But, suddenly stricken by a fit of vomiting, the lieutenant cried out hoarsely. The vomiting made the fierce pain fiercer still, and the stomach, which had thus far remained firm and compact, now abruptly heaved, opening wide its wound, and the entrails burst through, as if the wound too were vomiting. Seemingly ignorant of their master’s suffering, the entrails gave an impression of robust health and almost disagreeable vitality as they slipped smoothly out and spilled over into the crotch. . . Blood was scattered everywhere. The lieutenant was soaked in it to his knees, as he sat now in a crumpled and listless posture, one hand on the floor. . . The blade of the sword, now pushed back by the entrails and exposed to its tip was still in the lieutenant’s right hand. It would be difficult to imagine a more heroic sight than that of the lieutenant at this moment, as he mustered his strength and flung back his head.[13]

Mishima was viscerally aware of the gory reality of seppuku even if he was not formally trained to carry it out. He was not naïve about what seppuku would entail. But at the same time he did have a very romantic view of seppuku, glorifying it as an aesthetically pleasing, divinely sanctioned, and heroic death.

His fascination with the aesthetic aspects of violent death was first presented in his autobiographical novel Confessions of a Mask, published when he was 24 years old. In this work, Mishima recounts finding an art reproduction of Guido Reni’s St. Sebastian amongst his father’s books. As he looks at the picture of the male nude penetrated by arrows he becomes overwhelmed with sexual arousal, filled with “pagan joy,”[14] and for the first time in his life he masturbates, ejaculating into his hand. This conflation of homosexual arousal, artistic aestheticism, bloody violence, and youthful death would remain important concerns of Mishima’s throughout his life.

Mishima’s sense of “pagan joy” whilst masturbating over the painting of Sebastian is apt, as Sebastian has long been both an unofficial patron saint of homosexuals and an honorary pagan. It has long been recognised that depictions of Sebastian can attract inappropriate sexual attention. In the early 16th century a particularly lifelike depiction of a nude Sebastian by Fra Bartolommeo had to be removed from the church where it had been on display because women were admitting through the confessional that it was inspiring them to sinful thoughts.[15] More recently Derek Jarman filmed a quasi-pornographic life of Sebastian, which fell foul of the censors due to its graphic content.

The historical Sebastian was a captain in the Praetorian Guard who promulgated Christianity and actively sought to convert others to that faith. He was originally a favourite of the Emperor Diocletian but when he fell from grace due to his religious activities he was ordered to be executed. He was tied up and shot at with arrows. Although the iconography depicting his martyrdom is usually associated with this scene, he did not actually die from his wounds. He was rescued and nursed back to life by a woman, St. Irene. Sebastian then denounced the Emperor and was clubbed to death as a punishment.

The fact that Sebastian was a favourite of Diocletian but then, later in life, denounced him provides an interesting parallel with Mishima’s own life. When he was a boy, Mishima was awarded a silver watch by Emperor Hirohito for his academic achievements. As was customary for the Japanese, Mishima worshipped the Emperor. But following Japan’s defeat in 1945, Hirohito was forced by the Americans to renounce his divinity. In a speech to the nation, he stated that the Emperor was not divine, and that the Japanese were not superior to other races. For many Japanese, particularly Right wing nationalists, this was an unacceptable humiliation. Mishima was later to write a story in which the ghosts of kamikaze pilots return from the dead to berate the Emperor for renouncing his divinity. In Japan, criticism of the Emperor was a severe social taboo. Despite Mishima’s avowed, indeed somewhat extreme, Emperor worship, he became a controversial figure in Japan for this criticism of the Emperor.

Mishima saw the Emperor as a fixed, solar principle in whom was embodied the sacred potential of the Japanese people. Like Sebastian whose denunciation of Emperor Diocletian was motivated by knowledge of a higher principle, allegiance to which was more powerful than allegiance to life, Mishima’s criticism of Hirohito was inspired by the realisation that the Emperor was a divine presence, and that this divinity was the source of ultimate meaning. His allegiance is primarily to this numinous presence and only secondarily to the person of the Emperor. “Why did the Emperor have to become a human being?” he asks in Voices of the Heroic Dead. And, like Sebastian, Mishima was willing to die in service to this ultimate metaphysical allegiance.

Mishima was later to write a sort of aesthetic manifesto, Sun and Steel, in which he described how his role as a writer had become inadequate, and how he sought fulfilment through the cultivation of the body. As Mishima saw it, words had led him towards a certain conception of beauty; but due to the temporal corrosiveness of words which could only reveal beauty by segmenting reality into semantic chunks – and thereby presenting a succession of endings to the continuity and purity of life – the pursuit of literature was no longer sufficient to his ambition. He equates intellectual activity with nocturnal and weak pursuits, and he contrasts this with the practice of physical development which is solar and strong. Through this physical development he is able to aspire to an ideal form, one that can achieve a greater sense of purity than merely spiritual or intellectual development.

Because Mishima has come to see literature as hamstrung in its pursuit of beauty, due to the temporal and subjective constraints that delimit its scope, he turns instead to the body as a means of approaching the ideal. As in Confessions of a Mask, written almost twenty years earlier, he sees the death of the idealised, youthful body as a sort of perfection: “Here lies the mysterious significance of an early death, which the Greeks envied as a sign of the love of the gods.”[16] The ageing process becomes a sort of falsification, as it is a degeneration of youth, beauty and purity. Mishima has come to see youthful death as a means of cheating this degeneration; of retaining purity; and of conferring immortality.

The problem for Mishima was that at the time he was writing Sun and Steel he was no longer a young man. He had missed his opportunity to be conscripted to an early death during the Second World War. In order to achieve an ideal physical form, and so recapture the perfection of youth, Mishima takes up bodybuilding. The weights come to embody the principle of steel: a counterpoint to human flesh that confers a condition of hard immortality. By fashioning his body in this way, he is able to create a form that is somehow an unveiling of a deeper truth: “By its subtle, infinitely varied operation, the steel restored the classical balance that the body had begun to lose, reinstating it in its natural form, the form that it should have had all along.”[17] Like a sculptor, he reveals the perfect form that lies inherent in the uncarved stone. And thus, in diurnal, solar, physical activity, Mishima finally creates the sculpted form that will provide a fitting sacrifice for the Emperor. This sacrifice will allow his form to retain its recreated perfection for eternity.

The attempt to achieve an aestheticisation of the body, and an elevated sense of purity, ran concurrent with Mishima’s lifestyle which was, in many respects, deeply embedded in the Kali Yuga. His homosexuality was notable in Japan at that time, if not for its practice then for his literary depiction of it. Indeed, there was no term for homosexuality in Japanese:

In the modern idiom, one might say he was “outed as gay,” but circa 1950s Japan lacked a conceptual term that linked sexual practice to identity in this capacity. Likely for this reason Mishima felt it necessary to coin the first word of its kind, danshokuka, which translates to the effect of “man lover person.” This neologism, presented in the novel Forbidden Colors (1954), starkly broke away from traditional Japanese notions of sexual orientation in favor of a more Western construction of the self.[18]

In Confessions of a Mask, Mishima describes the masturbation fantasies he had as a teenage boy. These involve a great deal of torture, blood, and cannibalism, always inflicted on young men. The literary expressions of his homosexual desire were always explicit and morbid, and seem to jar with his fanatical pursuit of an idealised purity. Further to this, he posed for a series of somewhat avant garde photographs, collected in the book Torture by Roses. He also posed for photographs as Saint Sebastian, modelled on the Reni painting he described masturbating over in Confessions. And, he starred in a number of downmarket gangster films. His house was very large and styled as a Western colonial house at a time when Japanese houses tended to be small and modest, and of an Eastern character. So, in many respects he was unusual in being very interested in and influenced by contemporary Western tendencies whilst at the same time developing an increasingly extreme view of Japanese purity.

mishima.jpgAll of this leads many observers to conclude that the right wing nationalism that Mishima adopted in the 1960s, culminating in his formation of the Tatenokai and attempted coup d’etat, was another mask that he wore, one that provided him with a convenient pretext to commit the suicide that he had aestheticised and eroticised for so long. Whilst it would be foolhardy to try to identify the “real” motives of such a complex man, it is still possible to see that this argument is inadequate to the facts. One critic who follows this line of thought declares that Mishima’s suicide was, “the ultimate in literary irony.”[19] A rereading of the extract quoted above concerning the physical effects of performing seppuku should give appropriate context to thoughts of an ironic suicide. A person does not cut out his intestines as an act of literary irony.

Yet, at the same time, Mishima’s embrace of nationalism was somewhat problematic. In Runaway Horses, the second novel of his final tetralogy, he tells the story of Isao, a Right-wing nationalist intent on sparking an Imperial revolution. Isao is a fanatic inspired by a book, The League of the Divine Wind by Tsunanori Yamao. In The League of the Divine Wind, the story is told of a group of nationalist samurai who objected to the reforms of the Meiji restoration, such as commerce with foreigners and the prohibition on wearing a sword. They attempt to instigate a revolution to cleanse Japan of these impurities. When the revolution fails, each of the men commits seppuku. Isao is utterly enchanted with this book and gathers together a group of like-minded nationalists who attempt to follow the example of the League of the Divine Wind. His intent is to carry out a series of assassinations and attacks on infrastructure, then to commit seppuku. His idea of seppuku is utterly romantic: “Before the sun. . . at the top of a cliff at sunrise, while paying reverence to the sun. . . while looking down upon the sparkling sea, beneath a tall noble pine. . . to kill myself.”[20] When the Lieutenant to whom he describes this ideal points out that it is not possible to choose the exact circumstances of one’s death the text continues: “Isao gave no heed to the Lieutenant’s words. Subtle discourse, exegesis, the ‘on the one hand this, on the other that’ approach – all these were foreign to his way of thinking. His ideal was drawn upon pure white paper in fresh black ink. Its text was mysterious, and it excluded not only translation but also every critique and commentary.”[21]

Isao is committed to the purity of the act rather than the contingencies of its enactment or the likelihood of its success. For him, it is essential that there must be the possibility of ultimate meaning in life, and for him this meaning is effected through the figure of the Emperor. What can be seen as a pathological suicidal impulse is, in fact, rather more subtle than that. Isao cannot countenance living in a Japan that has become corrupted through internal venality and imported decadence. For him, the Emperor is the point of singularity around which all else must orbit for life to have meaning. His revolutionary act is exoterically aimed at purifying Japan and resisting the encroachment of the foreign barbarians, but esoterically it is aimed at achieving the realisation, the immanence, of the existence of an ultimate principle:

And the greatest sin is that of a man who, finding himself in a world where the sacred light of His Majesty is obscured, nevertheless determines to go on living without doing anything about it. The only way to purge this grave sin is to make a fiery offering with one’s own hands, even if that itself is a sin, to express one’s loyalty in action, and then to commit seppuku immediately. With death, all is purified. But as long as a man goes on living, he can’t move either right or left, or take any action whatever, without sinning.[22]

As Runaway Horses unfolds, Isao appears more and more as a misguided figure. He is continually coming up against the reality of the contingencies of life that jar with the beautiful ideal he has constructed for his own life. His father betrays him to the police before his group are able to carry out their attacks. His father reasons that Isao is a naïve idealist who lacks pragmatism, “There’s such a thing as the favorable moment. Determination alone counts for nothing. Thus I have to conclude that my son is too young. The necessary discernment is still beyond him. . . Rather than take action, the best course is to achieve results without acting.”[23] This assessment is a fundamental misunderstanding of Isao, and by extension, of Mishima.

The interesting thing about Runaway Horses is that the character of Isao is an exact analogue of Mishima in many respects. At the time of writing the book Mishima himself was in the process of forming a small corps of right wing nationalists who would attempt a similar, albeit less murderous, rebellion. It is also certain that Mishima was already committed to the idea of carrying out seppuku as the climax to this action. Many critics have dismissed Mishima’s politics as silly and suggested that the formation of the Tatenokai and the assault on Ichigaya were merely elaborate pretexts for the performance of Mishima’s seppuku. The characterisation of Isao tends to support this analysis as it shows that Mishima has moved on from the idealised and romantic notions of heroic seppuku that he depicted in Patriotism. Instead, we can read Isao as Mishima’s attempt to detach himself somewhat from the naïve idealism he had previously described. Unlike the officer in Patriotism, Isao is unable to achieve the death that he had envisaged. He exists in a messy world of contingency, and when he finally commits seppuku he must do so hastily, before being captured. This leads some to conclude that Mishima was far too sophisticated to really believe in the ideals of the Tatenokai, and that he simply exploited them for his own narcissistic ends.

There is some plausibility to this view but it is crucial to understand that the Tatenokaiand attempted coup were not incidental to Mishima’s intentions but were the apposite vehicle for them. He was sincere in his Right-wing nationalism and in his wish to re-establish samurai values and he was willing to die for this cause. Yet at the same time he realised that there would be no chance of his miniscule, poorly trained army succeeding in their coup. This disjunction between the purity of his idealised ambition and the pragmatic possibilities open to him also encompasses the various personal and artistic proclivities that seem out of sync with his uncompromising aesthetic of death and Emperor worship, such as his homosexuality and sadism. It would appear that his awareness of weakness, decadence and egotism was no barrier to his grasp of numinous purity. And in death he was able to transcend all of these things and realise perfection. Isao, despite not being able to commit seppuku in the manner he had dreamed of, nonetheless experiences a profound and victorious vision in death: “The instant that the blade tore open his flesh, the bright disc of the sun soared up and exploded behind his eyelids.”[24]

Lying behind all of Mishima’s diverse interests was a deeper imperative to establish the reality of an ultimate source of meaning, beyond human contingency. For Mishima this principle was embodied in the Emperor. The siege of Ichigaya was undertaken with a sincere motive but the external, real world, outcome of the event was always going to be a matter of secondary importance. The incidental details of his suicide, including his lifelong preparation, were arranged with a superior artist’s eye for the dramatic. But all of this was in service to a greater idea, one which could only be realised through transcending contingency. With his death he was able to sacramentalize his life and achieve a final victory by touching the face of the divine. As the note read, “Human life is limited, but I would like to live forever.”


1. Henry Scott Stokes, The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima (Peter Owen, 1975), p.235.

2. Ibid., p. 234.

3. Ibid., p. 51.

4. The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima (supplementary documentary on Mishima: A life in Four Chapters), 2008, DVD, The Criterion Collection.

5. A. Alvarez, The Savage God: A Study of Suicide (Penguin Books, 1971), p. 66.

6. Ibid., p. 106.

7. Aya Maeda, “How suicide has been conceived in Japan and in the Western World: Hara-kiri, Martyrdom and Group Suicide,” in Erich A. Berendt (ed.), Facing Finality: Cognitive and Cultural Studies on Death and Dying (University of Louisville Press, 2009), p.100.

8. Ibid., p. 102.

9. Rob Gilhooly, “Inside Japan’s ‘Suicide Forest’,” The Japan Times, June 26, 2011.

10. Toyomase Fusé, “Suicide and Culture in Japan: A Study of Seppuku as an Institutionalized Form Of Suicide,” Social Psychiatry, 1980, 15, pp. 57-63.

11. Scott Stokes, The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima, p. 51.

12. Henry Scott Stokes, “Headless in Ichigaya: Yukio Mishima’s Legacy,” 2006, Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

13. Yukio Mishima, Patriotism (New Directions, 1966), pp. 45-51.

14. Yukio Mishima, Confessions of a Mask (Panther Books, 1972), p. 37.

15. Richard A. Kaye, “‘Determined Raptures’: St. Sebastian and the Victorian Discourse of Decadence,” Victorian Literature and Culture, 1999, 27(1), p. 27.

16. Yukio Mishima, Sun & Steel (Secker & Warburg, 1971), p. 68.

17. Ibid., p. 24.

18. Matthew Chozick, “Queering Mishima’s Suicide as a Crisis of Language,” Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, 15 October 2007.

19. Peter Abelsen, ‘Irony and Purity: Mishima’, Modern Asian Studies, 30(3), pp. 651-79.

20. Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses (Vintage Classics, 2000), p. 125.

21. Ibid., p. 125.

22. Ibid., p. 188.

23. Ibid., p. 315.

24. Ibid., p. 421.

Source: The original version of this essay was published in a Black Front Press volume on Mishima. This version is to be reprinted in a Ravenshalla Arts compilation of writings by Christopher Pankhurst.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/08/the-immortal-death-of-mishima/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Grave_of_Yukio_Mishima.jpg

[2] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/mishimalastday.jpg

[3] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/renisebastian.jpg

jeudi, 29 avril 2010

Das Geheimnis von Sonne und Stahl: Yukio Mishimas Sun and Steel (1972)

Das Geheimnis von Sonne und Stahl: Yukio Mishimas Sun and Steel (1972)

Matthias Schneider  

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de/ 

sunsteel.jpgYukio Mishima war sicherlich eine der schillerndsten, exzentrischsten und interessantesten Figuren, die je das Licht der literarischen Welt erblickten. Hierzulande erfreuen sich seine Werke wie Geständnis einer Maske, Patriotismus, Schnee im Frühling oder Liebesdurst großer Beliebtheit – dies jedoch zumeist innerhalb eines eher kleinen Zirkels. Man könnte also von einem „Geheimtip“ sprechen. Dabei dürfte dieser Mann bei weitem kein Unbekannter sein. International berühmt und sogar zwischenzeitlich im Gespräch für den Literaturnobelpreis gilt Mishima als einer der Exportschlager aus dem Land der aufgehenden Sonne.

Tod durch traditionelles Selbstmordritual

Abgesehen von seinen sprachlichen Fähigkeiten, welche sich durch einen ausgeprägten Wortschatz und einen unverhohlenen Ästhetizismus auszeichnen, sind besonders die tragischen wie extremen Umstände seines Ablebens vielen in Erinnerung geblieben. Der Mann, der am 25. November 1970 nach einem gescheiterten Restaurationsversuch und eigenem Treuebekenntnis zum japanischen Kaiser Seppuku Selbstmord beging, schockte damit sicherlich nicht nur seine Bewunderer und Leser. Auch die Medien zeigten großes Interesse an den Umständen und Hintergründen dieser spektakulär inszenierten Selbstentleibung.

Zwischen Körperkunst und schöngeistiger Kunst

Mishima wählte diese Methode des Freitods nicht zuletzt, weil er sich den Samurai verbunden fühlte. Sein jahrelanger Kraftsport und die mit militärischer Strenge ausgeübten Kampfkünste geben ein Zeugnis hiervon. Überhaupt gehörte das Formen des eigenen Körpers zu Mishimas Hauptbetätigungsfeldern. Welcher Art sein Selbstverständnis in Bezug auf seine sportlichen Aktivitäten war, erläutert Mishimas autobiographischer Essay Sun and Steel. Leider wurde dieser bis jetzt nicht ins Deutsche übertragen.

Die Symbole Sonne und Stahl

Die Sonne war für Mishima aufgrund seiner Erfahrungen im Krieg lange negativ besetzt. Sie spiegelte sich im Blut der gefallenen Soldaten und beschien die leblosen Körper. Mishima schätzte den Schatten, arbeitete fast ausschließlich zur nächtlichen Stunde. Doch diese Wahrnehmung verändert sich im Verlauf von Sun and Steel. Hier wird sie mitunter zum Lebens- aber auch zum Todessymbol, jedoch durchweg positiv konnotiert. Der Stahl wiederum steht als Synonym für die Gewichte, welche Mishima zehn Jahre zu einem fast religiös anmutenden Bestandteil seines Lebens werden ließ. Sie stellen als Abbild der Welt einen Kontrast zu seinen Muskeln dar, welche für ihn selbst stehen und durch den Stahl geformt werden. Zu deuten ist dies als Ausdruck der Überschneidungen zwischen dem „Selbst“ und der „Umwelt“.

Von Ameisen und Bäumen – Die zwei Pole der Wahrnehmung

Mishima unterschied zwei grundlegende Pole seiner Wahrnehmung: Zum einen die Worte, welche natürlich unmittelbar mit seiner Arbeit als Schriftsteller verbunden waren. Zum anderen identifizierte er das, was er als eigentliche Realität bezeichnete und auch das Bewusstsein des eigenen Körpers beinhalte. In seiner Welt markierten diese beiden Pole einen Zwiespalt. Im Gegensatz zu anderen Menschen, bei denen ein Körperbewusstsein bereits vor dem Umgang mit Wörtern auszumachen ist, attestierte sich Mishima in Hinblick auf seine eigene Person einen Vorrang der Worte. Dieser Vorrang würde sich über seine gesamte Kindheit und Jugend erstreckt haben. In Sun and Steel benutzt Mishima hierfür das Bild eines Baumes (Körper/Realität) mit weißen Ameisen (Worte). In seinem Fall prognostiziert er den Zerfall des Baumes durch das Einwirken der Ameisen, welcher schon einsetzte, bevor dieser wirklich wachsen konnte. Schlussendlich hätten die Ameisen (Worte) damit nicht nur den Baum zerstört oder unterdrückt, sondern auch sich selbst aufgehoben.

Künstlerisches Schaffen als „Verklärung von Wirklichkeit“

Mishima sah den Umgang mit der Sprache innerhalb seines eigenen literarischen Wirkens als eine auf Individualität beruhende Art der Verklärung von Wirklichkeit. So schildert er in diesem Essay ein Erweckungserlebnis bei einer religiösen Zeremonie. Bei dieser tragen junge Männer, allerdings von anderer Statur als er, einen Schrein und blicken dabei scheinbar von Lust erfüllt oder vom Schmerz gequält zum Himmel. Er beteiligt sich hieran und wird durch den eigenen Blick zum Himmel, welcher zugleich durch sein eigenes Aufgehen in der religiös-ekstatischen Masse markiert wird, mit einer anderen Bewusstseinsebene konfrontiert.

Es bemächtigte sich seiner ein Gefühl von Transzendenz. Im Stählen des eigenen Körpers sieht der Erweckte von nun an einen Weg, diesen Zustand dauerhaft herbeizuführen. Es geht ihm darum, ein Gleichgewicht zwischen Intellektualität und maskuliner Körperkraft zu schaffen. Die Worte entsprachen bisher nur dem Sehen im Sinne eines Selbstbewusstseins. Nun solle sich ein Gefühl der wahren Existenz verwirklichen, welches Mishima als eine Harmonie von innerem Bewusstsein und dem Ruf einer äußeren Stimme zu erkennen glaubt.

Körperkultur als Schlüssel für das Erreichen von Transzendenz

Die Einheit von innerem Streben und alltäglicher Pflicht stellte für Mishima ein höchstes Ideal dar, was somit auch einen möglichen Endpunkt des Lebens markierte. Auf diesen bereitet sich der wahre Krieger durch seine körperliche Arbeit vor. Mishima weist explizit darauf hin, dass ein tragischer und heroischer Tod, welcher für ihn das Ideal darstellte, nicht durch Muskelschwäche und Schlaffheit des Körpers zu verwirklichen ist.

Auf diese Weise gewährt seine Schrift einige recht persönliche Einblicke, die seine körperlichen Aktivitäten als Weg zur Transzendenz und so auch zum eigenen Tod verständlich machen. Besonders deutlich wird dies, wenn Mishima die Wirkung eines kalten Windhauchs auf seiner vom harten Training schweißglänzenden Haut beschreibt: eine Art betäubendes Gefühl entfaltet sich, so als spüre der Kämpfer seine Muskeln, seinen Körper nicht mehr. Jeder, der seinen Körper ähnlich in Schuss hält, wird dieses Gefühl sicher schon einmal am eigenen Leib erfahren haben.

Sun and Steel als Zugang zu Mishimas Selbstverständnis

Besonders interessant an Mishimas Schrift ist die unbestreitbare Tiefgründigkeit seiner Reflexionen über die Rolle des eigenen Körpers und seiner Wahrnehmung in einem scheinbar beständig fortwährenden Kampf. Speziell jene, welche schon ein wenig mit seiner Biographie vertraut sind, werden in diesem posthum veröffentlichten Werk ein wertvolles Utensil zum besseren Verständnis von Mishimas Selbstbild erkennen. Aber auch für diejenigen, denen der japanische Dichter noch unbekannt ist, lohnt sich die Lektüre.

Yukio Mishima: Sun and Steel. Kodansha America 1994. 107 Seiten. Englisch