Yukio Mishima cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Yukio Mishima

Japanese author (1925-1970)

1925   -   1970


movement: Japanese nationalism, Japan Romantic School, Second Generation of Postwar Writers, aestheticism
country of citizenship: Japan
native language: Japanese
languages spoken, written or signed: Japanese
educated at: Law and Politics faculty of the university of Tokyo
occupation: translator, actor, novelist, film director, screenwriter, poet, essayist, playwright, lyricist, critic, model, film actor, writer, author, prosaist, military personnel
award received: Shinchosha literature award, Kishida Theatre Award, Yomiuri Prize, 読売ウイークリー, 每日艺术奖, 芸術祭 (文化庁), Golden Arrow Award
influenced by: Murasaki Shikibu, Izumi Shikibu, Fujiwara no Teika, Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Ihara Saikaku, Mimei Ogawa, August Strindberg, Raymond Radiguet

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫, Mishima Yukio, 14 January 1925 – 25 November 1970), born Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威, Hiraoka Kimitake), was a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, Shintoist, nationalist, and founder of the Tatenokai (楯の会, "Shield Society"), an unarmed civilian militia. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. He was considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, but the award went to his countryman and benefactor Yasunari Kawabata. His works include the novels Confessions of a Mask (仮面の告白, Kamen no kokuhaku) and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (金閣寺, Kinkaku-ji), and the autobiographical essay Sun and Steel (太陽と鉄, Taiyō to tetsu). Mishima's work is characterized by "its luxurious vocabulary and decadent metaphors, its fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles, and its obsessive assertions of the unity of beauty, eroticism and death".Mishima's political activities made him a controversial figure, which he remains in modern Japan. From his mid-30s, Mishima's right-wing ideology was revealed increasingly. He was proud of the traditional culture and spirit of Japan, and opposed what he saw as western-style materialism, along with Japan's postwar democracy, globalism, and communism, worrying that by embracing these ideas the Japanese people would lose their "national essence" (kokutai) and their distinctive cultural heritage (Shinto and Yamato-damashii) to become a "rootless" people. Mishima formed the Tatenokai for the avowed purpose of restoring sacredness and dignity to the Emperor of Japan. On 25 November 1970, Mishima and four members of his militia entered a military base in central Tokyo, took its commandant hostage, and tried to inspire the Japan Self-Defense Forces to rise up and overthrow Japan's 1947 Constitution, which he called "a constitution of defeat". After his speech and screaming of "Long live the Emperor!", he committed seppuku.
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