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Mishima, Yukio

society sea japan

(Japanese, 1925–70)

Mishima's autobiographical Confessions of a Mask (1949) describes his own sexual confusion as well as the chaos of post-war Japan. Bitterly ashamed of Japan's renunciation of her imperial past, Mishima founded a paramilitary society called the (Emperor's) Shield Society in the late 1960s. In ritual manner, precisely described in his short story ‘Patriotism’ from Death in Midsummer (1966), Mishima committed suicide by seppuku or disembowelment in 1970. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1959) works back from the trial of an arsonist who has destroyed a centuries-old Buddhist shrine, to trace the motives for the crime. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (1964) is Mishima's most famous work, and not for the squeamish. A young boy sees his mother's lover offend against the code of honour he holds sacred, with horrific consequences. Mishima began his tetralogy The Sea of Fertility in 1965, and finished it the night before he died.

Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Oe Kenzaburo  AT

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