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Yukio Mishima

Posted By Kerry Bolton On January 14, 2011 @ 1:37 am In North American New Right | Comments Disabled

mishimalastday [1]5,098 words

Portuguese translation here [2]

Yukio Mishima, 1925–1970, was born Kimitake Hiraoka into an upper middle class family. Author of a hundred books, playwright, and actor, he has been described as the “Leonardo da Vinci of contemporary Japan,”[1] and is one of the few Japanese writers to have become widely known and translated in the West.

 

The Dark Side of the Sun

Since World War II, the West has forgotten what Jung would have termed the “Shadow” soul of Japan, the collective impulses that have been repressed by “Occupation Law” and the imposition of democracy. The Japanese are seen stereotypically as being overly polite and smiling business executives and camera snapping tourists. The emphasis has been on the soft counterpart of the Japanese psyche, on the “chrysanthemum” (the arts), and the repression of the “sword” (the martial tradition).[2]

The American cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict wrote of the duality of the Japanese character using this symbolism in her study, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,[3] to which Mishima referred approvingly.[4] Benedict had been commissioned by the US government in 1944 to write a study of Japanese culture. Portraying the Japanese as savages was fine for the purpose of war propaganda, but a more nuanced understanding was thought necessary for post-war dealings.

What Benedict described was the ethos of probably every Traditional society, regardless of time, space, and ethnicity. This “perennial tradition” was described by Julis Evola, who showed that traditional cultures have analogous outlooks. They perceive the earthly as a reflection of the cosmos, the mortal as a reflection of the divine. They regard the King or Emperor as a link between the earth and the cosmos, the human and the divine. This was the Traditionalist ethos Yeats desired to revive in Western Civilization, for example, in a manner similar to Mishima’s demand for the revival of the Samurai ethic in Japan. In such traditional societies, the King is also a priest who serves as the direct link to the Divine,[5] the warrior is honored rather than the merchant, and society is strictly hierarchical and regarded as an earthly reflection of divine order. Fulfilling one’s divinely-ordained duty as a king, soldier, priest, peasant, or merchant is the purpose of each individual’s life, and is sanctioned by law and religion.

Hence, in traditional societies the role of the merchant is subordinate, and the rule of money—plutocracy—as in the West today, is regarded as an inversion of the traditional ethos, a symptom of cultural decay. In traditional Japan, as Inazo Nitobe explains:

Of all the great occupations in life, none was further removed from the profession of arms than commerce. The merchant was placed lowest in the category of vocations—the knight, the tiller of the soil, the mechanic, the merchant. The samurai derived his income from the land and could even indulge, if he had a mind to, in amateur farming; but the counter and abacus were abhorred.[6]

Nitobe states that when Japan opened up to foreign commerce, feudalism was abolished, the Samurai’s fiefs were taken, and he was compensated with bonds, with the right to invest in commerce. Hence the Samurai was degraded to the status of a merchant in order to survive.[7]

According to Benedict, during the war, the Japanese regarded themselves as the only nation left in the world that had maintained the divine order. They believed it their duty to re-impose this order upon the rest of the world.

Japan’s Bushido, the “Way of the Knight,” is therefore analogous to that of other traditionalist societies, such as the chivalry of Medieval Europe and the warrior code explained by Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. To the Japanese warrior aristocracy the sword (katana) was a sacred object, forged with ceremony, its use subject to precise rules. [8]

Mishima insisted that Japan return to a balance of the arts and the martial spirit. Using the terminology of Jung, Mishima was calling Japan to “individuation” by allowing the repressed “Shadow” archetype, “The Sword,” to reassert itself. Mishima was himself a synthesis of scholar and warrior who rejected pure intellectualism and theory in favor of action.

Nitobe, in explaining Bushido, wrote that intellectualism was looked down upon by the Samurai. Learning was valued not as an intellectual exercise but as a matter of character formation. Intellect was considered subordinate to ethos. Man and the universe were both spiritual and ethical. The cosmos had a moral imperative.[9] This was discussed by Mishima in his commentary of Hagakure.

The American occupation was such an inversion of the Japanese spirit that Ian Buruma, writing in the “Foreword” to the 2005 edition of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, states:

 

Young Japanese today might have a hard time recognizing some aspects of the “national character” described in Benedict’s book. Loyalty to the Emperor, duty to one’s parents, terror of not repaying one’s moral debts, these have faded in an age of technology-driven self-absorption.[10]

 

The Way of the Samurai

Mishima’s aesthetic ideal was the beauty of a violent death in one’s prime, an ideal common in classical Japanese literature. As a sickly youngster, Mishima’s ideal of the heroic death had already taken hold: “A sensuous craving for such things as the destiny of soldiers, the tragic nature of their calling . . . the ways they would die.”[11]

He was determined to overcome his physical weaknesses. There is much of the Nietzschean “Higher Man” about him, of overcoming personal and social restraints to express his own heroic individuality.[12] His motto was: “Be Strong.”[13]

World War II had a formative influence on Mishima. Along with his fellow students, he felt that conscription and certain death waited.[14] He became chairman of the college literary club, and his patriotic poems were published in the student magazine.[15] He also co-founded his own journal and began to read the Japanese classics,  becoming associated with the  nationalistic literary group Bungei Bu, that believed war to be holy.

However, Mishima barely passed the medical examination for military training. He was drafted into an aircraft factory where kamikaze planes were manufactured.[16]

In 1944, he had his first book, Hanazakan no Mori (The Forest in Full Bloom) published,[17] a considerable feat in the final year of the war, which brought him instant recognition.

While Mishima’s role in the war effort was obviously not as he would have wished, he spent the rest of his life in the post-war world attempting to fulfill his ideals of Tradition and the Samurai ethic, seeking to return Japan to what he regarded as its true character amidst the democratic era in which the ideal of “peace” is an unquestioned absolute (even though it has to be continually enforced with much military spending and localized wars).

 

The Will to Health

In 1952, Mishima, then an established literary figure, traveled to the USA. Sitting in the sun aboard ship, something he had been unable to do in his youth because of his weak lungs, Mishima resolved to match the development of his physique with that of his intellect.

His interest in the Hellenic classics took him to Greece. He wrote that, “In Greece there had been however an equilibrium between the physical body and intelligence, soma and sophia . . .” He discovered a “Will towards Health,” an adaptation of Nietzsche’s “Will to Power,” and he was to become almost as noted as a body builder as he was a writer. [18]

Literary Assault

In 1966, Mishima wrote: “The goal of my life was to acquire all the various attributes of the warrior.”[19] His ethos was that of the Samurai Bunburyodo-ryodo: the way of literature (Bun) and the Sword (Bu), which he sought to cultivate in equal measure, a blend of “art and action.”[20] “But my heart’s yearning towards Death and Night and Blood would not be denied.” His ill-health as a youth had robbed him of what he clearly viewed as his true destiny: to have died during the War in the service of the Emperor, like so many other young Japanese. He expressed the Samurai ethos: “To keep death in mind from day to day, to focus each moment upon, inevitable death . . . the beautiful death that had earlier eluded me[21] had also become possible. I was beginning to dream of my capabilities as a fighting man.”[22]

In 1966, Mishima applied for permission to train at army camps, and the following year wrote Runaway Horses, the plot of which involves Isao, a radical Rightist student and martial arts practitioner, who commits hara-kiri after fatally stabbing a businessman Isao had been inspired by the book Shinpuren Shiwa (“The History of Shinpuren”) which recounts the Shinpuren Incident of 1877, the last stand of the Samurai when, armed only with spears and swords, they attacked an army barracks in defiance of Government decrees prohibiting the carrying of swords in public and ordering the cutting off of the Samurai topknots. All but one of the Samurai survivors committed hara-kiri. Again Mishima was using literature to plot out how he envisaged his own life unfolding and ending, against the backdrop of tradition and history.

In 1960 Mishima wrote the short story Patriotism, in honor of the 1936 Ni ni Roku rebellion of army officers of the Kodo-ha faction who wished to strike at the Soviet Union in opposition to the rival Tosei-ha, who aimed to strike at Britain and other colonial powers.

The 1936 rebellion impressed itself on Mishima, as had the suicidal but symbolic defiance of the last Samurai in the Shinpuren Incident of 1877. In Patriotism the hero, a young officer, commits Hara-kiri, of which Mishima states: “It would  be difficult to imagine a more heroic sight than that of the lieutenant at this moment.”[23]

Mishima again wrote of the incident in his play Toka no Kiku[24] Here he criticizes the Emperor for betraying the Kodo-ha officers and for renouncing his divinity after the war, which Mishima viewed as a betrayal of the war dead. Mishima combined these three works on the rebellion into a single volume called the Ni ni Roku trilogy.

Mishima comments on the Trilogy and the rebellion:

Surely some God died when the Ni ni Roku Incident failed. I was only eleven at the time and felt little of it. But when the war ended, when I was twenty, a most sensitive age, I felt something of the terrible cruelty of the death of that God . . . the positive picture was my boyhood impression of the heroism of the rebel officers. Their purity, bravery, youth and death qualified them as mythical heroes; and their failures and deaths made them true heroes in this world . . . .[25]

It is the frequent expression of Mishima’s feeling that “failure and death,” such as that which ended both the 1877 and 1936 rebellions, made the traditionalist rebels “true heroes in this world,” that indicates a metaphysic at work underlying his outlook and especially his actions, in regarding not the result of an action as of significance but the purity of the action per se. This is beyond politics, which aims to achieve results, or “the art of the possible,” and enters what the Hindu would call dharma.

In early 1966, Mishima systemized his thoughts in an 80-page essay entitled Eirei no Koe,[26] again based on the Ni ni Roku rebellion. In this work he asks, “why did the Emperor have to become a human being?”[27] While the work remained obscure, it provided the basis for the founding of his paramilitary Shield Society several years later.

In an interview with a Japanese magazine that year, Mishima upheld the imperial system as the only type suitable for Japan. All the moral confusion of the post-war era, he states, stems from the Emperor’s renunciation of his divine status. The move away from feudalism to capitalism and the consequent industrialization disrupts the relationships between individuals. Real love between a couple requires a third term, the apex of a triangle embodied in the divinity of the Emperor.[28]

 

The Tatenokai

The following year Mishima created his own militia, the Tatenokai (Shield Society) writing shortly before of reviving the “soul of the Samurai within myself.” Permission was granted by the army for Mishima to use their training camps for the student followers he recruited from several right-wing university societies.

At the office of a right-wing student journal, a dozen youths gathered. Mishima wrote on a piece of paper: “We hereby swear to be the foundation of Kokoku Nippon.”[29] He cut a finger, and everyone else followed, letting the blood fill a cup. Each signed the paper with their blood and drank from the cup. The Tatenokai was born.[30]

The principles of the society were:

(1) Communism is incompatible with Japanese tradition, culture, and history and runs counter to the Emperor system;

(2) The Emperor is the sole symbol of our historical and cultural community and racial identity; and

(3) The use of violence is justifiable in view of the threat posed by communism.[31]

The militia was designed to have no more than 100 members, and to be a “stand-by” army concentrating only on training, without any political agitation. The metaphysical basis of Mishima’s thinking for the militia was expressed by his description of the Tatenokai as “the world’s least armed, most spiritual army.”[32] They were following the path of tradition, which had sustained the Japanese during World War II against overwhelming material forces, as described by Ruth Benedict.[33] Mishima referred to Benedict’s book when explaining that his reason for creating the Tatenokai was to restore to Japan the balance of the “chrysanthemum and the sword” which had been lost after the war.[34]

The emblem that Mishima designed for the society comprised two ancient Japanese helmets in red against a white silk background.

By this time, Mishima felt that his calling as a novelist was completed. It must have seemed the right time to die. He had been awarded the Shinchosha Literary Prize in 1954 for The Sound of Waves and the Yomiuri Literary Prize in 1957 for The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. His novels Spring Snow and Runaway Horses had sold well, but he was aggravating the literati, amongst whom his sole defender at this time was Yasunari Kawabata, who had received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, Mishima missing out because the Nobel Prize committee assumed he could wait awhile longer in favor of his mentor. Kawabata considered Mishima’s literary talent  to be exceptional.

Mishima characterized the  intelligentsia as:

The strongest enemy within the nation. It is astonishing how little the character of modern intellectuals in Japan has changed, i.e., their cowardice, sneering, “objectivity,” rootlessness, dishonesty, flunkeyism, mock gestures of resistance, self-importance, inactivity, talkativeness, and readiness to eat their words.

 

The Hagakure

Mishima’s destiny was shaped by the Samurai code expounded in a book that he had kept with him since the war. This was the Hagakure, the best-known line of which is: “I have discovered that the way of the Samurai is death.”

The Hagakure was the work of the seventeenth-century Samurai Jocho Yamamoto, who dictated his teachings to his student Tashiro. The Hagakure became the moral code taught to the Samurai, but did not become available to the general public until the latter half of the nineteenth century. During World War II it was widely read, and its slogan on the way of death was used to inspire the Kamikaze pilots. Following the Occupation it went underground, and many copies were destroyed lest they fall into American hands.[35]

Mishima wrote his own commentary on the Hagakure in 1967.[36] He stated in his introduction that it was the one book he referred to continually in the 20 years since the war and that during the war he had always kept it close to him.[37]

Mishima relates that immediately following the war, he felt isolated from the rest of literary society, which had accepted ideas that were alien to him. He asked himself what his guiding  principle would be now that Japan was defeated. The Hagakure was the answer, providing him with “constant spiritual guidance” and “the basis of my morality.” Like all other Japanese books of the war period, the Hagakure had become loathsome in the democratic era, to be purged from memory, but in the darkness of the times it now radiated its “true light.”[38]

It is now that what I had recognized during the war in Hagakure began to manifest its true meaning. Here was a book that preached freedom, that taught passion. Those who have read carefully only the most famous line from Hagakure still retain an image of it as a book of odious fanaticism. In that one line, “I found that the Way of the Samurai is death,” may be seen the paradox that symbolizes the book as a whole. It was this sentence, however, that gave me the strength to live.[39]

 

The Feminization of Society

One of the primary themes of interest for the present-day Western reader of Mishima’s commentary on Hagakure is Mishima’s use of Jocho’s observations on his own epoch to analyze the modern era. Both seventeenth century Japan and twentieth century Japan manifest analogous symptoms of decadence, the latter due to the imposition of alien values that are products of the West’s cycle of decay, while those of Jocho’s day indicate that Japanese civilization in his time was in a phase of decay. Therefore, those interested in cultural morphology, Spengler’s in particular, will see analogues to the present decline of Western civilization in Jocho’s analysis of his time and Mishima’s analysis of post-war Japan.

The first symptom considered by Mishima is the obsession of youth with fashion. Jocho observed that even among the Samurai, the young talked only of money, clothes, and sex, an obsession that Mishima observed in his time as well.[40]

Mishima also pointed out that the post-war feminization of the Japanese male was noted by Jocho during the peaceful years of the Tokugawa era. Eighteenth-century prints of couples hardly distinguish between male and female, with similar hairstyles, clothes, and facial expressions, which make it impossible to tell who is the male and who the female. Jocho records in Hagakure that during his time, the pulse rates of men and women, which usually differ, had become the same, and this was noted when treating medical ailments. He called this “the female pulse.”[41] Jocho observed: “The world is indeed entering a degenerate stage; men are losing their virility and are becoming just like women . . .”

Celebrities Replace Heroes

Jocho condemns the idolization of certain individuals achieving what we’d today call celebrity status. Mishima comments:

Today, baseball players and television stars are lionized. Those who specialize in skills that will fascinate an audience tend to abandon their existence as total human personalities and be reduced to a kind of skilled puppet. This tendency reflects the ideals of our time. On this point there is no difference between performers and technicians.

The present is the age of technocracy (under the leadership of technicians); differently expressed, it is the age of performing artists. . . . They forget the ideals for a total human being; to degenerate into a single cog, a single function becomes their greatest ambition . . .[42]

The spectacle of Hollywood and everything that the words “star” and “celebrity” suggest epitomize the cultural banality of the world today.

 

The Boredom of Pacifism

Under pacifism and democracy, the individual is literally dying of boredom, rather than living and dying heroically.

Ours is an age in which everything is based on the premise that it is best to live as long as possible. The average life span has become the longest in history, and a monotonous plan for humanity unrolls before us.[43]

Once a young man finds his place in society, his struggle is over, and there is nothing left for youth apart from retirement, “and the peaceful, boring life of impotent old age.” The comfort of the welfare state ensures against the need to struggle, and one is simply ordered to “rest.” Mishima comments on the extraordinary number of elderly who commit suicide.[44] Now we might add the even more extraordinary number of youth who commit suicide.

Mishima equates socialism and the welfare state, and finds that at the end of the first, there is “the fatigue of boredom” while at the end of the second there is suppression of freedom. People desire something to die for, rather than the endless peace that is upheld as a Utopia. Struggle is the essence of life. To the Samurai, death is the focus of his life, even in times of peace. “The premise of the democratic age is that it is best to live as long as possible.”[45]

 

The Repression of Death

The modern world seeks to avoid the thought of death. Yet the repression of such a vital element of life, like all such repressions, will lead to an ever-increasing explosive tension. Mishima states:

We are ignoring the fact that bringing death to the level of consciousness is an important element of mental health . . . Hagakure insists that to ponder death daily is to concentrate daily on life. When we do our work thinking that we may die today, we cannot help feeling that our job suddenly becomes radiant with life and meaning.[46]

 

Extremism

Mishima states that Hagakure is a “philosophy of extremism.” Hence, it is inherently out of character in a democratic society. Jocho stated that while the Golden Mean is greatly valued, for the Samurai one’s daily life must be of a heroic, vigorous nature, to excel and to surpass. Mishima comments that “going to excess is an important spiritual springboard.”[47]

 

Intellectualism

Mishima held intellectuals in the same contempt as Westerners who were also in revolt against the modern world, such as D. H. Lawrence, who believed that the life force or élan vital is repressed by rationalism and intellectualism and replaced by the counting house mentality of the merchant, not just in business but in all aspects of life. Jocho stated that:

The calculating man is a coward. I say this because calculations have to do with profit and loss, and such a person is therefore preoccupied with profit and loss. To die is a loss, to live is a gain, and so one decides not to die. Therefore one is a coward. Similarly a man of education camouflages with his intellect and eloquence the cowardice or greed that is his true nature. Many people do not realize this.[48]

Mishima comments that in Jocho’s time there was probably nothing corresponding to the modem intelligentsia. However, there were scholars, and even the Samurai themselves had begun to form themselves into a similar class “in an age of extended peace.” Mishima identifies this intellectualism with “humanism,” as did Spengler. This intellectualism means, contrary to the Samurai ethic, that “one does not offer oneself up bravely in the face of danger.”[49]

 

No Words of Weakness

The Samurai in times of peace still talks with a martial spirit. Jocho taught that, “the first thing a Samurai says on any occasion is extremely important. He displays with this one remark all the valor of the Samurai.”[50] Jocho stated: “Even in casual conversation, a Samurai must never complain. He must constantly be on his guard lest he should let slip a word of weakness.” “One must not lose heart in misfortune.”

 

The Flow of Time

Jocho reference to “the flow of time” indicates that he recognized the cyclic nature of the life of a cultural organism 400 years before as Spengler explained it to the West.[51] Mishima points out that while Jocho laments “the decadence of his era and the degeneration of the young Samurai,” he observes “the flow of time,” realistically stating that it is no use resisting that flow.[52] As Jocho stated: “The climate of an age is unalterable. That conditions are worsening steadily is proof that we have entered the last stage of the Law.”[53]

Jocho employs the analogy of seasons just as Spengler did in describing the cycles of a civilization: “However, the season cannot always be spring or summer, nor can we have daylight forever. What is important is to make each era as good as it can be according to its nature.”[54] Jocho does not recommend either nostalgia for the return of the past, or the “superficial” attitude of those who only value what is modern, or “progressive” as we call it today.

A Samurai’s Destiny

Mishima’s literary output was like a blueprint for his own personal military plan of attack upon the modern era, in keeping with the Way of the Samurai. Mishima would not have expected a final act of defiance against the modern world to end in “victory” in any conventional sense. Having been imbued with the traditional ethos of Japan during the war, it was the spiritual dimension that mattered. Against vastly superior material forces, this spiritual dimension had sustained Japan’s “mission” to bring hierarchy to the East and to the Pacific, as the only nation that had maintained this traditionalist outlook. Benedict records that this belief was retained in the immediate post-war era and that this was still motivated by a spiritual outlook:

Japan likewise put her hopes of victory on a different basis from that prevalent in the United States. She would win, she cried, a victory of spirit over matter. America was big, her armaments were superior, but what did that matter? All this, they said, had been foreseen and discounted. . . .

Even when she was winning, her civilian statesmen, her High Command, and her soldiers, repeated that this was no contest between armaments; it was a pitting of our faith in things against their faith in spirit.[55]

November 25, 1970 was chosen as the day that Mishima would fulfill his destiny as a Samurai, pitting his faith in spirit against the modern era. Four others from the Tatenokai joined him. All donned headbands bearing a Hagakure slogan. The aim was to take General Mishita hostage to enable Mishima to address the soldiers stationed at the Ichigaya army base in Tokyo. Mishima and his lieutenant, Morita, would then commit Hara-kiri. Only daggers and swords would be used in the assault, in accordance with Samurai tradition.[56]

The General was bound and gagged. Close fighting ensued as officers several times entered the general’s office. Mishima and his small band each time forced the officers to retreat. Finally, they were herded out with broad strokes of Mishima’s sword against their buttocks. A thousand soldiers assembled on the parade ground. Two of Mishima’s men dropped leaflets from the balcony above, calling for a rebellion to “restore Nippon.”

Precisely at mid-day, Mishima appeared on the balcony to address the crowd. Shouting above the noise of helicopters he declared: “Japanese people today think of money, just money: Where is our national spirit today? The Jieitai[57] must be the soul of Japan.”

The soldiers jeered. Mishima continued: “The nation has no spiritual foundation. That is why you don’t agree with me. You will just be American mercenaries. There you are in your tiny world. You do nothing for Japan.” His last words were: “I salute the Emperor. Long live the emperor!”

Morita joined him on the balcony in salute. Both returned to Mishita’s office. Mishima knelt, shouting a final salute, and plunged a dagger into his stomach, forcing it clockwise. Morita bungled the decapitation leaving it for another to finish. Morita was then handed Mishima’s dagger but called upon the swordsman who had finished off Mishima to do the job, and Morita’s head was knocked off in one swoop. The remaining followers stood the heads of Mishima and Morita together and prayed over them.

Ten thousand mourners attended Mishima’s funeral, the largest of its kind ever held in Japan.[58] “I want to make a poem of my life,” Mishima had written at 24 years of age. He had fulfilled his destiny according to the Samurai way: “To choose the place where one dies is also the greatest joy in life.” Mishima wrote in his commentary on Hagakure: “The positive form of suicide called hara-kiri is not a sign of defeat, as it is in the West, but the ultimate expression of free will, in order to protect one’s honor.”[59]

After his death, his commentary on the Hagakure became an immediate best seller.[60]

Notes

1. Henry Scott Stokes, The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985), p. 15.

2. Stokes, p. 18.

3. Ruth Benedict, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, 1946,(New York: Mariner Books, 2005).

4. Stokes, p. 18.

5. Evola states of this: “Every traditional civilization is characterized by the presence of beings who, by virtue of their innate or acquired superiority over the human condition, embody within the temporal order the living and efficacious presence of a power that comes from above.” Hence, the Roman Pontifex for example, means “a builder of bridges” between the natural and the supernatural. Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World (Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1995), p. 7.

6. Inazo Nitobe, Bushido: The Code of the Samurai, 1899 (Sweetwater Press, USA, 2006), p. 104.

7. Nitobe, p. 105.

8. Evola, p. 84.

9. Nitobe, p. 59.

10. Ian Buruma, “Foreword,” The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, p. xii.

11. Mishima, Confessions of a Mask (London: Peter Owen, 1960), p. 14.

12. Mishima was “well versed in Nietzsche” (Stokes, p. 152).

13. Stokes, p. 72.

14. Stokes, p. 80.

15. Stokes, p. 81.

16. Stokes, p. 89.

17. Stokes, p. 89.

18. Stokes, p. 119.

19. Stokes, p. 152.

20. Mishima, Sun and Steel (London: Kodansha International, 1970), p. 49.

21. During World War II.

22. Mishima, Sun and Steel, p. 59.

23. Mishima, “Patriotism,” Death in Midsummer and Other Stories (New Directions, 1966), p. 115.

24. Stokes comments that Mishima “was a brilliant playwright, perhaps the best playwright of the post-war era in Japan. His dialogue was superb and the structure of his plays excellent.” (p. 170).

25. Mishima, cited by Stokes, p. 200.

26. Mishima, The Voices of the Heroic Dead, 1966.

27. Stokes, p. 200.

28. Sunday Mainichi, March 8, 1966.

29. “Imperial Japan.”

30. Stokes, p. 203.

31. Stokes, p. 205.

32. Queen Magazine, England, January 1970.

33. Benedict, p. 21. See below.

34. Comments to Stokes, p. 227.

35. Kathryn Sparling, “Translator’s Note,” Yukio Mishima on Hagakure: The Samurai Ethic and Modern Japan, 1967 (New York: Basic Books, 1977), p. viii.

36. Yukio Mishima on Hagakure: The Samurai Ethic and Modern Japan, 1967 (New York: Basic Books, 1977).

37. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 4.

38. Mishima on Hagakure, pp. 5–6.

39. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 6.

40. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 17. Jocho, Hagakure, Book One.

41. Mishima on Hagakure, pp. 18–19. Jocho, Hagakure, Book One.

42. Mishima on Hagakure, pp. 20–21.

43. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 24.

44. Mishima on Hagakure, pp. 24–25.

45. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 27.

46. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 29.

47. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 61.

48. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 67. Jocho (Book One).

49. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 69.

50. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 74. Jocho (Book One).

51. Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West (London, George Allen and Unwin, 1971).

52. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 82.

53. This refers to the entering of three progressively degenerate stages according to the Buddhist cycles of history. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 95, note 11.

54. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 83.

55. Benedict, p. 21.

56. Stokes, pp. 29–51.

57. Army.

58. Stokes, p. 241.

59. Mishima on Hagakure, p. 46.

60. Kathryn Sparling, “Translator’s Note,” Yukio Mishima on Hagakure, p. vii.

 


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