November 25, 2014
Seppuku (“stomach-cutting”) is a ritual suicide by disembowelment. Traditionally only the samurai can do this act of suicide. Mostly it was used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor, rather than be captured and perhaps tortured to death. The noteworthy aspect of this practice is that it must be done in front of spectators, and the act of Seppuku is to put a sharp blade into one’s abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion. For me, this is difficult because I’m left-handed, and it seems more natural for me to move from the right to the left. Nevertheless, rules are the rules, and I must follow them.
I have always been attracted to the Right than the Left. The reasons are I hate chaos and firmly believe that there should be an order, and within what limitations there is direction, hope, and freedom. The Left to me seems to be based on emotion, while the Right has the logic - and it is hard for me to break away from what I find logical in a world that is truly illogical. The indifference of the suffering and those willing to accept fate as a wind from the East, West, South and North - I feel can be changed by a certain amount of will and passion. For this reason I joined the Tatenokai. It is the Shield Society that is devoted to traditional values and justice. I used to write and work for a college journal, “Ronso Journal," but it faltered due to lack of readership and therefore finances. The best thing working for the journal was meeting Yukio Mishima. I never met a famous man before and his charm, personality, and determination almost over-whelmed me. It was at this point, that I decided to join the Tatenokai, and devote my life to the man as well as to this organization.
Through Mishima’s connection we were able to train with the armed forces, and eventually Mishima commissioned a tailor to make us uniforms. I never wore anything other than clothes from a department store or from the mall. To have a designer measure my body in such great detail, made me proud to be part of this group. Once the uniform was finished, Mishima told us that we must put it all on at the same time. We were like children opening up presents at an orphanage. Once we put the uniform on, Mishima made us appear in front of a huge mirror. Our beauty shined through the clothing.
Of the ninety members of the Tatenokai, there were only four of us who were close to Mishima. We were Hiroyasu Koga, Masatoshi Koga, Masahiro Ogawa and yours truly. Mishima brought us to a meeting and we were told not to tell anyone about this meeting. It is there, that he told us about the plan to take charge of the office of a general and make our demands for traditional values. He asked each one of us if we are prepared to die for the cause. We all said “yes.” He then let us know that we must prepare for death through the act of Seppuku. We looked straight at him with tears in our eyes and said “of course.” He then took a knife, cut his index finger and squeezed out a bit of blood in a glass, and told us to do the same. We did, and each one of us drank a sip of the blood in that glass. This was the bond that couldn’t be broken. We swore that we would not say anything to anyone about this meeting.
Eventually Mishima pulled me aside to tell me that he wanted me to do the honor of beheading him. I said “yes of course.” A month later the told the rest of us that it will be him and me and the other two must remain alive. Of course, they were disappointed. I then ask Hiroyasu if he would behead me when the time comes. He said yes. The performance was set!
Throughout my life, I have never done anything of great importance. Now, this will be the final act where I clearly stand for something. I never felt more alive. Once a decision is made, I can feel the pressure coming off my shoulders. The happiness I felt that morning as we left for our appointment was intense. I was extremely nervous, but I also know that there is no turning back, and going forward was something beatific. Not only do I understand, but I truly embrace what Mishima told me in that “perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood. ”