Thursday, November 8, 2007

TamTam Books' Tribute to YUKIO MISHIMA

Mishima in front of the movie poster from his film "Yukoku (Patriotism)"

Yukio Mishima is probably the first writer that struck me as being glamorous. I was introduced to his work by my Uncle who had a copy of a photo book by Eikoh Hosoe called “Ba-ra-kei: Ordeal by Roses.”

The book consisted of images of Mishima in various poses, including a famous image of Mishima posing as St. Sebastian. An image that caused the first erotic impulse in Mishima when he was a child.

As a teenager I read Mishima’s “Confessions of a Mask” and it made a huge impression on me. Partially due to the gay context, which to me was totally fascinating – due to its outsider status

Like one admiring Dali as a painter when young, Mishima was the first writer that said to me ‘hey this is an interesting field to be in.’

What became super fascinating is when Mishima became political in the 60’s. It was obvious to me that he wasn’t tied to the right wing due to its ideas, but more to the surface beauty of Fascism.

He even started up his own private army called The Shield Society

The photograh below of Yukio Mishima and Shintaro Ishihara who at the time was a young author who specialize in books regarding the Sun youth culture that took place in Japan during the 50’s. The film “Crazed Fruit” is based on one of his novels and it starred his brother Yujiro Ishihara, who was the James Dean of Japan. Ishihara is currently the Mayor of Tokyo.

One of the interesting books I have come upon in Japan is one on Mishima’s house. He lived very close to my wife’s grandmother in Tokyo. She mentioned to me that she has seen Mishima on the bus – which is quite remarkable to me. The book starts off in the front yard of his residence and then leads us into the front room, the upstairs, which consist of the bedroom, and the most fascinating of all – his office. One can look at his bookcase, which of course are books in Japanese – but one stood out due to its English title. It was a Gay guide to New York City.

What Mishima is famous for is his death. The author and four members of his The Shield Society were invited to see a member of the Military elite at a base. Mishima and his ‘army’ took over the office, tied up the General, and demanded that he will be allowed to make a speech to the Japanese soldiers.

Without a loudspeaker or amplification Mishima started to give out his speech on the top of the building to the soldiers down below. But once he realized that they couldn’t hear him, Mishima then went back to the office where the General was held.

He and another member of his troop committed suicide in a practice called seppuku.

news movie “The Death of Mishima Yukio” 1970

Nevertheless Mishima is probably one of the major writers of the 20th Century. I have always admired his work and his dandy-view of the world.

The following are actual footage of Mishima:

Yukio Mishima Interview in English (9 minutes)

Yukio Mishima rare interview in English (and in color) 4 min.

Yukio Mishima … Early Life and Career (IN ENGLISH)

The following film footage is an excerpt from a film directed and written by Mishima called “Yukoku (Patriotism)

Yukoku – Yukio Mishima’s Harakiri scene (beautiful, but very intense!)

Over the years there have been films based on Mishima’s work, but he actually starred in a film called Karakaze Yaro (Afraid to Die) directed by the great Yasuzo Masumura

Here are my favorite Mishima books:

“The Sailor Who Fell From The Grace With the Sea”

“Confessions of a Mask”

“Sound of Waves”

“Death in Midsummer: and Other Stories”

“Acts of Worship: Seven Stories

“Forbidden Colors”

“After the Banquet”

“Sun and Steel”

“Madame de Sade (play)

“Five Modern No Plays”


Anonymous said...

Great post Tosh! I have no idea what your poll "Is it really that important?" is about but of course I voted!

faustpatrone said...

Great job indeed putting all those visual resources about Mishima. Thanks I had downloaded all the images, for I am a devoted fan of the japanese "Sensei" Mishima.

Thanks to all people who contribute to sharing knowledge and emotions. Thanks from the deep of heart.

Anonymous said...

yukio was a great figure of old japan,ideas and wish,that not exist anymore,but this is the reason because he was a great person to fight against the new japan too much submitted to USA.
anyway mishima yukio appear in other movies,not only in this,where was main characther.
in one of these movies,he was a doll robot.

Al said...

Nice collection in one post! You've got one picture wrong though. The St. Sebastian painting that fascinated Yukio was this one:

Have you read The Temple of the Golden Pavilion?

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Are You sure the picture of Mishima as St. Sebastian is part of "Ba-ra-kei"?
Somewhere I read it belongs to Shinoyama Kishin's "Death of a man" (1966) and not to Eikoh Hosoe. Best regards