can we talk about yukio mishima?

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Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Friday, 13 May 2005 05:14 (eighteen years ago) link

All I know I learned from Paul Schraeder!

Remy (x Jeremy), Friday, 13 May 2005 05:20 (eighteen years ago) link

I've read most of his books. A mad bastard, obviously, but I really love his writing. Clearly I have read translations only, but they still feel among the best written books, with the loveliest prose, I've ever read. It's an ambitious starting point, but the tetralogy is the best of Mishima, I think - and the connection between the books is tenuous enough that you can read any or all individually.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Friday, 13 May 2005 05:49 (eighteen years ago) link

i found it really interesting---almost koanic, the story of him, very young, finding a picture of sebastion in a jansons, masterbating to it, and only later finding it was a girl.

anthony, Friday, 13 May 2005 06:09 (eighteen years ago) link

I have been reading mishima recently, amst., specifically his later, dirty novel "confessions of a mask". what would you like to talk about?

cozen (Cozen), Friday, 13 May 2005 08:02 (eighteen years ago) link

"No. Tell him the answer is no."

Girolamo Savonarola, Friday, 13 May 2005 09:58 (eighteen years ago) link

i'm halfway through confessions of a mask, actually, so i can't really say anything except that i'm enjoying it.

el sabor de gene (yournullfame), Friday, 13 May 2005 19:50 (eighteen years ago) link

I only did a few of the middle ones before getting distracted by Patriotism, which I'd estimate I wind up thinking about at least once a month -- really beautiful book that just happens to be completely evil and wrong about everything ever.

I was starting investigations a while back for an article about camp, Romanticism, homosexuality and fascism, but the project petered out for lack of any central point to nail down. All I know is that it involves Mishima, Robert Brasillach, Starship Troopers, fascism as "the aestheticization of politics," and that part of Kiss of the Spider Woman where Molina's describing the Nazi film and basically says "yeah, I know they're Nazis, it's just that the film itself is beautiful."

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 13 May 2005 19:57 (eighteen years ago) link

(More specifically when he's describing the beautiful Nazi soldiers in terms having to do with racial superiority and such -- as if he can bracket the implications and just enjoy beauty even within fascist standards thereof.)

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 13 May 2005 19:58 (eighteen years ago) link

Nabisco as OTM as always with "really beautiful book that just happens to be completely evil and wrong about everything ever."

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Friday, 13 May 2005 20:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I've only read "Confessions of a Mask" -- I thought the rest of his novels were as "dirty"!

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 13 May 2005 20:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Temple of the Golden Pavillion is very good.

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 13 May 2005 21:01 (eighteen years ago) link

No, most of them aren't at all like that, Chris.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Friday, 13 May 2005 21:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, now I'm curious about that Patriotism book.

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 13 May 2005 21:13 (eighteen years ago) link

i've only read Spring Snow--but the awesome ending of that book strikes me as the "evil but beautiful" type, especially since it seems to be consciously striving for a kind of completely pointless tragedy just because it's "beautiful" somehow.

ryan (ryan), Friday, 13 May 2005 21:48 (eighteen years ago) link

Mishima is one of those figures that my sense is, yes, everything is wrong about him in every way, and it's kind of fascinating. My high school English anthology had Patriotism in it, and we were never assigned to read it, but it turned out that all the people I was friends with had, at some point, quit paying attention in class and were quietly reading that instead.

Camp/romanticism/fascism/homosexuality.. Pro wrestling. Fight Club. The Governator.

daria g (daria g), Saturday, 14 May 2005 01:16 (eighteen years ago) link

nabisco OTM re: "Patriotism". I'd probably rank The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion as his best, although I haven't read the tetralogy yet (tho a copy just came into my work hurrah). Forbidden Colours isn't his best but it's a sentimental favourite of mine. I need to re-read the short stories.

Anyone read Yourcenar's book on him?

this is one of my favourite photographs EVER:

etc, Saturday, 14 May 2005 03:53 (eighteen years ago) link

I am fairly certain there is a photo out there of him posed as St. Sebastian.

Hey, and voila voila, here you are.

daria g (daria g), Saturday, 14 May 2005 04:36 (eighteen years ago) link

Sexy motherfucker.

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 14 May 2005 06:04 (eighteen years ago) link

i could write a thesis on that, but i would have to wank to it first

anthony, Saturday, 14 May 2005 06:39 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
All right, nearly two years have passed. I am totally embroiled in Mishima right now-- picked up 'Decay of the Angel' from my parents' basement and totally fell in love with the gorgeous precision of the prose. Then read 'Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea,' and I just finished 'Thirst for Love,' which was good but most disappointing thus far.

'Sailor...' has some of the most chilling scenes of childhood brutality that I've ever read (ie- when the naked boys beat and skin a cat). Really astounding stuff. Next is 'Spring Snow,' then 'Runaway Horses.'

the table is the table, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 03:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Also, he picked up Tennessee Williams on a street in NYC. And they were naked before they realized who the other was. Good story-- I think it was mentioned in the New Yorker article about the heir to the Estee Lauder fortune a while back.

the table is the table, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 03:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Not a novel, but my favorite will always be 'Sun and Steel'. One of the most affecting thing I've read. I fear re-reading it now as a not-so-romantic 30 y.o. might spoil the memory.

Otherwise 'Temple Of The Golden Pavilion' and 'The School of Flesh' are pretty classic too.

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 15:12 (sixteen years ago) link

Great stuff. One of my favorite authors based on Spring Snow alone - I really should go back and re-read Sea of Fertility now - at the time I felt like each successive book was weaker than the predecessor, and so gave kind of short shrift to the last two. Might have different perspective now, having read them all, his biography, and some other stuff. "Golden Pavilion" is definitely worth reading.

mitya, Wednesday, 25 April 2007 05:05 (sixteen years ago) link

six months pass...

watching law & order and vincent d'onofrio & the other woman (dont know name) were searching the apartment of a suspected serial killer. woman runs her hand along the bookshelf: "novels by yukio mishima?" d'onofrio: "domination porn for intellectuals"


and what, Thursday, 25 October 2007 18:18 (fifteen years ago) link

Mishima fans must see 'Black Lizard'. It was sold as camp, but it's so much more. Adopted for the screen & starring Yukio (as the 'Human Statue').

Milton Parker, Thursday, 25 October 2007 19:09 (fifteen years ago) link

I really loved "Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea", but haven't gotten around to reading the other Mishima stuff I bought.

polyphonic, Thursday, 25 October 2007 19:10 (fifteen years ago) link

i think i would find this totally unreadable now..

daria-g, Thursday, 25 October 2007 20:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Read "Spring Snow" and "Confessions..", liked them ok...something a bit stiff, not as grim as I thought it would be, but its not as if I ws reading v closely and I did end up feeling like wanting to read a lot more in the end.

What are his plays like?

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 27 October 2007 11:27 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Scratch the above: Sea of Fertility tetralogy is pretty much vital, just takes a while to tune into his schitck which, through sheer repetition and stuff like BELIEF and CONVICTION carried me along and becomes anything but schtick.

Anyone catch the run of Schrader's film at the ICA this week? Glass's score is as oppressive as Mishima's 'nonsense'.

Gotta see his film next.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 19 July 2009 09:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Forbidden Colours is a fascinating look into the gay life of Japan circa the 1950s. Also a look into Mishima's own sexual arrangements, it seems.

gonna be a long hot summer for the MS Word paperclip (the table is the table), Sunday, 19 July 2009 18:11 (fourteen years ago) link

also this catalog/book is indispensable, imho.

gonna be a long hot summer for the MS Word paperclip (the table is the table), Sunday, 19 July 2009 18:14 (fourteen years ago) link

I really loved "Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea"

Your heartbeat soun like sasquatch feet (polyphonic), Sunday, 19 July 2009 18:26 (fourteen years ago) link

born s1ocki (cankles), Sunday, 19 July 2009 18:30 (fourteen years ago) link

what a piece of ass

born s1ocki (cankles), Sunday, 19 July 2009 18:30 (fourteen years ago) link

didn't know cankles was gay. damn.

i've only read the sailor who fell from grace with the sea, and acts of worship, a collection of his short stories. i need to read more, seems like he led an extraordinary life. the circumstance surrounding his suicide sound utterly surreal

michael jatas (r1o natsume), Sunday, 19 July 2009 21:40 (fourteen years ago) link

four months pass...

S/D biographies on the guy? I've been reading a few pages of Forbidden Colours every night before bed, and am only like a hundred pages in, but damn, I really need to know more about this guy.

retrovaporized nebulizer (╓abies), Tuesday, 8 December 2009 18:19 (thirteen years ago) link


retrovaporized nebulizer (╓abies), Tuesday, 8 December 2009 18:19 (thirteen years ago) link

...Okay then, shucks.

retrovaporized nebulizer (╓abies), Saturday, 12 December 2009 00:50 (thirteen years ago) link

i like both of these. feel free to talk about him any time. he is among my favorites...

The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima by Jerry S. Piven

Mishima by Marguerite Yourcenar

And now my dick is where? Oh, this is too rich (the table is the table), Saturday, 12 December 2009 09:05 (thirteen years ago) link

five years pass...

vhs of arena doc bunged onto the tube

Strongly agree w/Oshima's comment - he should've observed his own decay.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 20 June 2015 08:57 (eight years ago) link

I watched that a few months ago. It's pretty good but the sound is a tad rough.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 20 June 2015 22:32 (eight years ago) link

Its an awful copy, get what you pay for.

Mishima as an artist is totally dead at the moment isn't he? He is a bit like Fassbinder or Pasolini - a v interesting figure but no one talks about him at all, books aren't reissued (though his film was), no essays, little engagement.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:37 (eight years ago) link

I only knew about him from new-ish writers talking about him on forums. Don't know if he's in any different a situation from the other japanese writers from around that period. Vintage are keeping a few of his books in the shops.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:56 (eight years ago) link

Sure - its not as if they are hard to find, but he is so out of the conversation.

I see more around the likes of Soseki.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 21 June 2015 19:34 (eight years ago) link

mishima's biography, especially his fateful end, can't help but affect how people read his work -- for good or ill -- so maybe that is part of the issue.

Treeship, Sunday, 21 June 2015 20:56 (eight years ago) link

i read the sound of waves in 9th grade and didn't think much of it. i bought confessions of a mask a few years ago and it's still on my shelf.. i really like the film about him though

Treeship, Sunday, 21 June 2015 20:57 (eight years ago) link

Mishima as an artist is totally dead at the moment isn't he? He is a bit like Fassbinder or Pasolini - a v interesting figure but no one talks about him at all, books aren't reissued (though his film was), no essays, little engagement.

people don't talk about fassbinder and pasolini any more?

wizzz! (amateurist), Sunday, 21 June 2015 20:59 (eight years ago) link

No what I meant is that people still talk about both of those but not Mishima - but they are all v alike as these artists who actually also had a very high profile when alive.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:20 (eight years ago) link

I've read so much Mishima. I like the bucolic class-observation stuff ("After The Banquet") way more that the overtly fascist stuff. It does seem as if his profile has dipped but compared to whom? He's still the third most widely read Japanese novelist in the West after Murakami and Ishiguro, no?

Oe's best work (his early stuff, "Nip The Buds, Shoot The Kids", "A Personal Matter", "Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness") is similar to, and rivals, Grass afaic. I was told that Oe and Mishima would do alternating lecture tours around the Japanese university circuit and rebut each other's lecture from the previous month. 1994 was 21 years ago but he got the Nobel

got a long list of ilxors (fgti), Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:37 (eight years ago) link

Oe that is, not Mishima. Mishima's "Forbidden Colours" is the craziest book, the most beautiful manifesto-for-misanthropy ever written by a 24 year old

got a long list of ilxors (fgti), Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:39 (eight years ago) link

A few of Mishima's former lieutenants moved into concert booking in the 70s and 80s and would take curious musicians (Bowie, Sylvian) around on Mishima tours

got a long list of ilxors (fgti), Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:40 (eight years ago) link

I'm halfway through Donald Ritchie's memoirs and the tiny snippets of info and gossip about Mishima are so alluring.

MaresNest, Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:51 (eight years ago) link

Isn't Ishiguro an English language author? (I recall him saying he didn't know that much about Japan)

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 21 June 2015 22:09 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

Some interesting comments too.

I've heard a number of Japanese creators complain that Japanese people are too homogeneous. That sounded to me like the sort of complaint a lot of people have about their own countrymen, it seemed especially ridiculous when considering the sheer variety of subcultures. But I've heard this complaint about Japan a bit more than most places (which isn't saying much because I don't know much about most countries).
I read an interview with Ishiguro yesterday and he said if he stayed in Japan he would have become a conformist businessman.

Thoughts on this?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 1 December 2015 19:03 (seven years ago) link

I wish he had.

Whoremonger (jed_), Tuesday, 1 December 2015 19:46 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...


Found it as I was reading about the translator.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 16 January 2016 21:03 (seven years ago) link

Massive biog, has anyone read it?

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 16 January 2016 21:28 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

I haven't read enough Mishima, but what I've read, I have loved because of the unflinching judgement he makes of his characters. There's a purity in his contempt which somehow becomes a universal sympathy for? acknowledgement of? human failure.
Maybe I've just read the cold ones.

attention vampire (MatthewK), Monday, 27 February 2017 11:02 (six years ago) link

Nah its all like that.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 28 February 2017 21:30 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

There is a Mishima novel, never translated before, now available in English for the first time.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 2 December 2018 22:31 (four years ago) link

The translator is a corp lawyer

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 13 December 2018 23:33 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

Has anyone read Beautiful Star? It was I think his only science fiction novel, written in 1962 but only translated into English last year. It's about a family of four who each come to the realization that they hail from different planets after being visited by flying saucers. It's the first Mishima I've read and it exceeded even my inflated expectations--a gorgeously rendered meditation on humanism vs. nihilism and the fickle nature of romance and politics, all steeped in Cold War paranoia.

I found cheap vintage paperbacks of The Sound of Waves, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, and After the Banquet last week, so those are next on the queue.

J. Sam, Thursday, 24 August 2023 16:21 (one month ago) link

Interesting I'll have to check that out. I've only read CONFESSIONS OF A MASK and TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN PAVILION. It's hard to track his books down! It always seemed to me that he was obsessed with shame.

budo jeru, Thursday, 24 August 2023 18:55 (one month ago) link

I was told by a J to E translator friend that Beautiful Star is excellent excellent

Still waiting on someone to tackle Kyoko’s House

Snoopy is a cat, who lives in a cage (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 24 August 2023 19:13 (one month ago) link

Re: availability I meant to mention Beautiful Star has only been released in the UK so far, so I had to order an import copy to the US. Was about $23 incl. shipping, totally worth it.

J. Sam, Thursday, 24 August 2023 20:36 (one month ago) link

Frolic and Star are new ones that I'd love to read. I don't know how I ended up reading virtually everything of his in English but he is very addictive.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 24 August 2023 22:39 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

i found a copy of THE SOUND OF WAVES in a thrift store yesterday and inhaled half of it last night; will take in the other half tonight i'd guess.

so far it's about young love blossoming in small fishing town on and island. pretty great if not mind-blowing

budo jeru, Friday, 15 September 2023 19:53 (one week ago) link

It's an amazing book imo, follow it up with "After The Banquet" for Mishima at his light-romantic best

my best wishes to all (flamboyant goon tie included), Friday, 15 September 2023 20:39 (one week ago) link

i'll look into it. normally i wouldn't let a book jump straight to the beginning of my to-read list, but it basically charmed my pants off. sometimes you just gotta live!

budo jeru, Friday, 15 September 2023 22:39 (one week ago) link

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