Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima (nom de plume of Kimitake Hiraoka) is one of my favorite authors. Not only was he a prolific and varied writer, his life itself is rich and interesting. From Mishima’s homosexuality to his politics, Mishima’s biography is fascinating, ending in a ritual seppuku. You might look for the 1985 film by Paul Schrader titled Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters for a treatment of Mishima’s life.

Mishima is one of those author who has written far more than even a dedicated reader will read: novels, poems, essays, plays, and even acting and directing plays himself. His focus on sexuality, death, and political change, along with his extreme right-wing politics, probably kept him from winning the Nobel Prize in Literature that went to his countryman and mentor, Yasunari Kawabata. But it is important to note that Mishima, like Kawabata and Tanizaki, represents the strong growth of Japanese literature bridging the traditional and the modern.

This is a partial list of the writings of Yukio Mishima:

  • Confessions of a Mask 1949
  • Thirst for Love 1950
  • Forbidden Colors 1951-1953
  • The Sound of Waves 1954
  • he Temple of the Golden Pavilion 1956
  • Kyoko’s House 1959
  • After the Banquet 1960
  • The Black Lizard and Other Plays 1961
  • The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea 1963
  • The School of Flesh 1963
  • Silk and Insight 1964
  • Acts of Worship (ss) 1965
  • Madame de Sade 1965
  • Patriotism 1961
  • Death in Midsummer and other stories 1953
  • The Rokumeikan 1956 Hiroaki Sato, 2002
  • Way of the Samurai 1967
  • The Decline and Fall of The Suzaku 1967
  •  My Friend Hitler and Other Plays 1968
  • The Terrace of The Leper King 1969
  • Sun and Steel 1968
  • The Sea of Fertility tetralogy: 1965-1970
    • Spring Snow 1969
    • Runaway Horses 1969
    • The Temple of Dawn 1970
    • The Decay of the Angel 1971

I am just now reading The Sea of Fertility and find myself enthralled, but previosly I have read many of Mishima’s novels and consider The Confessions of a Mask, The Sound of the Waves, and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, amongst my favorite and most esteemed novels of all time.

We are lucky to have this very interesting interview with Mishima (and in English):

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