This book was my first introduction to a great author not knowing that soon I’ll consider him as my favorite Japanese writer. I got curious into this biography as soon as I’ve read the introduction about his death by hara-kiri. His suicide caused such furor in Japan in 1970 for he was the best-known writer of his generation in Japan (Haruki Murakami was just 21 then). The book consists of Mishina’s childhood; born Kimitake Hiraoka, his early life as a student, his being a writer and his works, his married life and his abortive attempt at coup d’état which lead to his unexpected death. Well it is safe to say that he plans it. The book also reveals a study of Mishima’s sexuality which I guess was the main factor that affects his body of work. It’s not to say the themes of his books but the way he writes it beautifully. And his fascination with death is almost present in every one of it. His bibliography appears so often in every page that I planned to read any title from him I find once I finish reading this one. And with every book read, confirms my fascination for the author. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize a couple of times but failed to win for his imminent death.
The author examines Yukio’s life, including his narcissism, his devotion to body-building and the Japanese martial arts and his private army, the Tatenokai. Henry Stokes also explores the background to Mishima’s suicide and comes to the conclusion that it was Mishima’s bizarre aesthetic that led him to his suicide. As my favorite author, I’m glad to come across with this highly observe biography for one can fully understand one’s work by his life story. I highly recommend this to every devoted fan of Mishima and his works. And to the one’s who might want to give it a try for this sensitive author.
Opening Sentence: Yukio Mishima rose early on the morning of 25 November, 1970.
Last Sentence: This book then has been an attempt to describe how he will live-in my memory at least.