Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima

Japanese writer
Date of Birth: 14.01.1925
Country: Japan

Biography of Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima, a Japanese writer, was born on January 14, 1925, in Tokyo, Japan. As the son of a high-ranking official who admired Hitler and Nazism, he received his education at a prestigious elite school in Tokyo. He started writing at a young age and published his first short story under the pseudonym Yukio Mishima when he was just sixteen.

During World War II, Mishima wanted to join the army but was unsuccessful. He worked at a factory in Tokyo and continued writing during the war. After Japan's defeat, he studied law at the University of Tokyo and worked at the Ministry of Finance in 1948-1949. In 1949, his second novel, "Confessions of a Mask," was published, which brought him rapid fame. The story of a boy discovering his homosexuality and having to hide it behind a mask was well-received by Japanese teenagers who seemed to lack such literature.

This was followed by other novels, including "Forbidden Colors" (1953), "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" (1959), "The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea" (1963), and "Sun and Steel" (1968). Mishima also wrote numerous screenplays, including the famous "Madame de Sade," and some for Kabuki theater and modern "No drama."

In 1966, Mishima played the lead role in the film "Patriotism," which he directed based on his short story of the same name. Both the film and the story tell, in shocking detail, the story of a young Japanese officer and his devoted wife, their preparation, and the execution of a ritual suicide known as "seppuku." The effect was hypnotic and deeply penetrating. Mishima became increasingly fascinated by Japan's militaristic samurai past. He also sympathized with and embraced the tradition of homosexual love between samurai warriors (which shocked Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century).

Mishima's literature, which he wrote under the pseudonym "Yukio Mishima" meaning "Enchanted by Death Devil," represents a mesmerizing play of masks, the beauty of violence and agony. Even the titles of his plays are provocative, such as "My Friend Hitler" and "Marquis de Sade." Homosexual motifs are evident in his early novels, such as "Confessions of a Mask" and "Forbidden Colors." "Confessions of a Mask" is based on autobiographical stories, depicting the passions and experiences of a young Japanese man in the mid-20th century who keenly feels his difference from ordinary people. First published in 1949, this work shocked Japanese (and later European) readers not only with the author's bold frankness, confessing his homosexual-sadistic fantasies but also with the unusual maturity of style and virtuosity of writing for a 24-year-old author.

Despite his homosexuality, Mishima was married and had two children. He was so fascinated by the physical perfection of the body that he passionately devoted himself to physical training. Engaging in karate and kendo, traditional Japanese martial arts, this once effete young man, who had failed the physical tests for military service, managed to build his own private army called the "Shield Society." Its purpose was to protect the emperor in the event of a left-wing uprising or communist attack, which Mishima, due to his paranoia, feared in the late 1960s.

On the morning of November 25, 1970, Mishima and four of his Shield Society comrades entered the headquarters of the Self-Defense Forces. They bound the chief of staff, General Masuda, and demanded that the nearby stationed military units be assembled on the parade ground and allow Mishima to speak to them. Armed with swords, they made their way to the roof of the building, where Mishima delivered a ten-minute speech to the thousands of service members gathered below. He criticized the Japanese constitution for prohibiting the creation of an army, accusing it of betraying the spirit of Japan: "We see Japan basking in prosperity, sinking further into spiritual emptiness... Can you really enjoy the life that the world has given you, where the spirit has died?". The headquarters was immediately surrounded by the police, and within half an hour, agitated soldiers were lined up on the parade ground. Reporters occupied the rooftops of neighboring buildings, and television helicopters circled in the sky. Amidst the rising hisses and shouts, only fragments of phrases could be heard: "You must rise to defend Japan! The Emperor!... There will be no other chance to change the constitution!" But there were no volunteers to storm the parliament. After shouting "Long live the Emperor," Mishima disappeared into General Masuda's office. The tragic finale had been planned in advance: he put on his uniform over his naked body, inserted a cotton plug into his anus (to avoid an embarrassing mishap). Morita, Mishima's favorite student, handed him an antique sword made by a famous master. Mishima sat down on the floor, bared his abdomen, and made a deep, long cut with the sword. In accordance with tradition, one of his followers, Morita, who was rumored to be Mishima's lover, decapitated his teacher with the same sword and then took his own life.

As a child, Mishima drew beautiful knights dying from wounds and was unpleasantly surprised to learn that Joan of Arc was not a man, as he had believed, but a woman dressed in men's clothing. Since that day, he developed a hatred for women in men's clothing and became agitated when his wife wore trousers. At the age of 12, Mishima experienced his first orgasm while looking at a painting depicting the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, dying from arrow wounds.

Around the same time, he fell in love with a male classmate and developed fetishes for three things: underarm hair, perspiration, and white gloves. Mishima was an avid masturbator, fantasizing about sadistic scenes and cannibalistic passions. In his youth, he became interested in women and had a romantic relationship with a girl during his studies. When she married someone else, Mishima got so drunk that he never got drunk again in his life.

Thanks to his literary fame, Mishima could be somewhat open about his sexual preferences and frequented gay bars in the Ginza district of Tokyo. He despised effeminate men and was what the Japanese called a "two-sword carrier," meaning he felt equally comfortable with both men and women but preferred men. Mishima adored young rough and even crude boys. During his trip to New York in 1952, he visited numerous gay bars in search of his male ideal.

He often strolled through parks, befriended young boys, and invited them to his hotel room. However, Mishima also enjoyed courting women, but he did not like "participating in the final act" with them. It cannot be said that women were enamored with the writer. He had a rather peculiar appearance - a well-developed muscular torso at a height of 5 feet 2 inches, with thin, weak legs. One popular magazine conducted a poll among girls, and 50% of them answered that they would rather commit suicide than marry the popular novelist. However, one woman did come along and became his wife in 1958. Her name was Yoko Sugiyama, and Mishima's mother despised her with all her being, consumed by jealousy towards her son. Mishima's marriage served as a facade that forced him to maintain appearances - a facade that his widow only discovered after his death, reading newspaper reports about her husband's homosexuality.

Mishima treated Yoko as an equal and often invited her to socialize with his friends, which was unheard of in Japan at the time.

Mishima's greatest erotic interest was painful, bloody death, and everyone who knew the writer said that his suicide could be considered an exceptional form of masturbation.