Yukio Mishima  

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"Yukio Mishima was known just as much for his novel Confessions of a Mask as for his spectacular suicide." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Yukio Mishima (January 14, 1925 - November 25, 1970), a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, film director, nationalist, and founder of the Tatenokai. 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 Yasunari Kawabata. His works include the novels Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and the autobiographical essay Sun and Steel. 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.

Ideologically a right wing nationalist, Mishima formed the Tatenokai, an unarmed civilian militia, for the avowed purpose of restoring power to the Japanese Emperor. On November 25, 1970, Mishima and four members of his militia entered a military base in central Tokyo, took the commandant hostage, and attempted to inspire the Japan Self-Defense Forces to overturn Japan's 1947 Constitution. When this was unsuccessful, Mishima committed seppuku.


Major works

Japanese Title English Title Year English translation, year ISBN
假面の告白
Kamen no Kokuhaku
Confessions of a Mask 1948 Meredith Weatherby, 1958 ISBN 0-8112-0118-X
愛の渇き
Ai no Kawaki
Thirst for Love 1950 Alfred H. Marks, 1969 ISBN 4-10-105003-1
禁色
Kinjiki
Forbidden Colors 1953 Alfred H. Marks, 1968-1974 ISBN 0-375-70516-3
潮騷
Shiosai
The Sound of Waves 1954 Meredith Weatherby, 1956 ISBN 0-679-75268-4
金閣寺
Kinkaku-ji*
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion 1956 Ivan Morris, 1959 ISBN 0-679-75270-6
鏡子の家
Kyōko no Ie
Kyoko's House 1959   ISBN
宴のあと
Utage no Ato
After the Banquet 1960 Donald Keene, 1963 ISBN 0-399-50486-9
午後の曳航
Gogo no Eikō
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea 1963 John Nathan, 1965 ISBN 0-679-75015-0
絹と明察
Kinu to Meisatsu
Silk and Insight 1964 Hiroaki Sato, 1998 ISBN 0-7656-0299-7
三熊野詣
Mikumano Mōde
(short story)
Acts of Worship 1965 John Bester, 1995 ISBN 0-87011-824-2
サド侯爵夫人
Sado Kōshaku Fujin
(play)
Madame de Sade 1965 Donald Keene, 1967 ISBN 0-394-17304-X
憂國
Yūkoku
(short story)
Patriotism 1966 Geoffrey W. Sargent, 1966 ISBN 0-8112-1312-9
真夏の死
Manatsu no Shi
Death in Midsummer and other stories 1966 Edward G. Seidensticker, Ivan Morris,
Donald Keene, Geoffrey W. Sargent, 1966
ISBN 0-8112-0117-1
葉隠入門
Hagakure Nyūmon
Way of the Samurai 1967 Kathryn Sparling, 1977 ISBN 0-465-09089-3
わが友ヒットラー
Waga Tomo Hittorā
(play)
My Friend Hitler and Other Plays 1968 Hiroaki Sato, 2002 ISBN 0-231-12633-6
太陽と鐡
Taiyō to Tetsu
Sun and Steel 1970 John Bester ISBN 4-7700-2903-9
豐饒の海
Hōjō no Umi
The Sea of Fertility tetralogy: 1964-
1970
  ISBN 0-677-14960-3
  I. 春の雪
  Haru no Yuki
   1. Spring Snow 1968 Michael Gallagher, 1972 ISBN 0-394-44239-3
  II. 奔馬
  Honba
   2. Runaway Horses 1969 Michael Gallagher, 1973 ISBN 0-394-46618-7
  III. 曉の寺
  Akatsuki no Tera
   3. The Temple of Dawn 1970 E. Dale Saunders and Cecilia S. Seigle, 1973 ISBN 0-394-46614-4
  IV. 天人五衰
  Tennin Gosui
   4. The Decay of the Angel 1970 Edward Seidensticker, 1974 ISBN 0-394-46613-6
*For the temple called Kinkaku-ji, see Kinkaku-ji.




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