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Remembering Yukio Mishima:
January 14, 1925–November 25, 1970

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Yukio Mishima was one of the giants of 20th century Japanese literature. He has exercised an enduring influence on the post-World War II European and North American New Right. In commemoration of his birth, I wish to draw your attention to the following works on this website:

I also recommend watching Paul Schrader’s beautiful and moving dramatic portrait Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, now available in a stunning new edition from the Criterion Collection.

Many English translations of Mishima’s writings are available, but not all of his books are worth reading. I recommend beginning with The Sound of Waves, his most naive, charming, and popular novel. Those drawn to his studies of nihilism should read The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (the latter is partly dramatized in Schrader’s Mishima). The best collection of Mishima’s stage works is My Friend Hitler and Other Plays. (My Friend Hitler is about the Röhm purge.) Mishima’s most important autobiographical work is Confessions of a Mask. (Sun and Steel also falls in this category, but should be read after Confessions.) Mishima’s philosophy of life and death is found in his Way of the Samurai, a commentary on the Hagakure.

Starting in the late 1950s, Mishima also dabbled in acting and directing. In 1966, he directed and starred in a 30 minute film adaptation of his short story “Patriotism,” about the ritual suicide of a military officer after a failed coup. (Also a theme of Mishima’s 1969 novel Runaway Horses.) After Mishima’s death, the film of Patriotism was withdrawn by his widow, but after she died, it was released on DVD by the Criterion Collection.

Mishima’s charismatic performance as a swaggering tough guy in Masumura Yasuzo’s entertaining 1960 gangster movie Afraid to Die is available on DVD. He also appears as a human statue in Black Lizard, a movie so weird and wonderful that it is worth seeking out on VHS. (It highly deserves a DVD release.) Black Lizard is based on a play by Mishima, but I was unable to determine how faithfully it follows the original.

There is very little good secondary literature on Mishima. I can recommend Henry Scott Stokes’ biography The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima, Marguerite Yourcenar’s Mishima: A Vision of the Void, and Roy Starrs’ Deadly Dialectics: Sex, Violence, and Nihilism in the World of Yukio Mishima. Yourcernar and Starrs deal with Mishima in relation to philosophy and religion, and although the theses and arguments of both authors strike me as confused, they still manage to ferret out a lot of interesting information.

Finally, I want to recommend a little-known website by an important Counter-Currents writer: Jack Donovan’s Headless God: A Tribute to Yukio Mishima.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Posted January 15, 2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Is anyone here who can read 日本語 and is familiar with 三島’s works? Any especially recommendable writings or videos you could point out, other than the English-translated things mentioned in the article?

  2. selbstgebildete
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    What do you think of the bio by John Nathan?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted January 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I don’t remember it.

  3. phil white
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    From the Kerry Bolton article:

    “Mishima was himself a synthesis of scholar and warrior who rejected pure intellectualism and theory in favor of action.”

    This attitude pretty much parallels the ideas of a political activist even smarter than Saul Alinsky. I also concur.

    “The climate of an age is unalterable. That conditions are worsening steadily is proof that we have entered the last stage of the Law.”

    Now there’s a hopeful thought.

    • Mark Robinson
      Posted January 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      This attitude pretty much parallels the ideas of a political activist even smarter than Saul Alinsky. I also concur.

      Jews win because they’re always attacking us, since the 1st century AD without a stop.

      I’ve read Flavius Josephus recently and he well could be Alan Dershowitz or Daniel Pipes, it shows that the jewish mind didn’t have changed in 20 centuries … High ethnocentricity and self-importance will be with the “chosens” forever.

      • White Republican
        Posted January 15, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Adolf Hitler remarked of the Jews in Mein Kampf: “His traits of character have remained the same, whether two thousand years ago as a grain dealer in Ostia, speaking Latin, or whether as a flour profiteer of today, jabbering German with a Jewish accent. It is always the same Jew.”

  4. phil white
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Would a political and cutral alliance with Japanese nationalist be helpful?

  5. TorBaker
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I really appreciate these “how to get started on this particular thinker”-guides. Although it may not be that necessary with writers Mishima, it has helped me a lot when it comes to people like Heidegger and Guénon. It feels like one get to chance to actually make some progress when it comes to these ideas. The only other venue in the patriot/white nationalist movement that could do this was in my opinion Dr. Johnsons` show on VOR.

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