Talk:Yukio Mishima/Archive 1

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Question as to the cause of jeering and mockery

I've heard conflicting accounts of this, and hopefully someone can clear this with a reputable source. We all know that Mishima's final speech went somewhat awry. However, the current article states that, due to the poor reaction from the crowd, he could not be heard and thus ended his affair rather early. By contrast, I've previously read that technical difficulties (either insufficient sound or faulty equipment) prevented him from being properly heard, and thus the crowd voiced their frustration. If a fellow user would provide insight on this matter, it would be greatly appreciated. --AWF

The soldiers were not sympathetic (he was generally looked on as a buffoon because of his publicity stunts) and heckled him; also he was drowned out by the helicopters. There is a partial recording though. Xanthoxyl 15:49, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Kimitaké

Wow, a whole article and redirect. Thanks Kimitake for writing under a pen name! Um, I had found this whole long list of works and I tried to just use the most common or well known novels. Did not include information about his wife and children because I didn't think they're really important. I'm sure they were to him, but ...


Wikipedia naming policy is to use the better known of the names as the main entry, even if it's a pseudonym Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). I moved this entry from Mishima's birth name (Kimitake Hiraoka) to here and put a redirect from the other to here. --Zippy 08:54, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Somehow this was moved away to the inverted name order, by which Mishima is not known in English. Moved back to "most common name". -- Someone else 02:43, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Explanation request

It is not clear from the aarticle what his cause was that he tried to convince the army of. Can anyone explain? Rmhermen 15:38, Jan 21, 2004 (UTC)

He didn't really have a point, just kept talking about it being time for the SDF to "be men" and "act now that the time is right". There's a vague idea of him wanting the SDF to force the government to amend Japan's constitution to allow a military force but even that is an obscured theme in the speech. HaydenDerk —Preceding undated comment added 20:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC).

Essentially, he wanted to restore supreme command to the emperor. Exploding Boy (talk) 06:56, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
While at the same time saying that the Emperor should have abdicated the throne in honor of the war dead? I think the idea that the Emperor as the supreme command is a bit of a generalisation. If anything, I'd say that he wanted to return to an Imperialist government with supreme control resting in the hands of the people's military. The Emperor to Mishima wasn't necessarily an ideal monarch but the symbol of Japan so it makes sense that he would want the Emperor restored to his former place of glory (i.e. the Chrysanthemum of Japan) without giving him any specific governmental powers. Put simply, a return to Imperialism with more than a touch of militarism. HaydenDerk —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.211.230.156 (talk) 12:58, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Nobel nomination

During the 1960s, Mishima wrote some of his most successful and critically acclaimed novels, acted in films, and was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize.

This is a little bit misleading - there are no official nominations for Nobel Prizes like for the Academy Awards. Who nominated him for the Nobel Prize? --zeno 14:49, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

When organisations like PEN nominate a writer for the Nobel Prize for Literature, it is usually announced. In this way we know, for example, that the Esperanto poet William Auld has been nominated at least three times, and Maria Luisa Spaziani several times. I do agree that we should find a citation for this. Crculver 17:47, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Here is one source on the nomination I could find: http://www.vill.yamanakako.yamanashi.jp/bungaku/mishima/nenpu/his65_70.html . Apparently he was nominated in September of 1965. Hope that helps.

Everything's in German!

I have translated this page (with minor changes) into german. Hope this is ok. fp

Mishima and militarism

I don't think Mishima wanted a return to militarism. In fact, if I recall correctly, he wrote that the Japanese army's manipulation of the emperor (who was essentially reduced to a figurehead) during World War II was shameful excess. Rather, Mishima only wanted to use the army to restore the emperor to his rightful place and remove the corrupt democratic government. So, unless you can find a citation stating that militarism was his goal, I will remove that portion in a few days. Crculver 17:52, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, it seems to me (my opinions come almost exclusively from Henry Scott Stokes' book) that there are two difficulties here. First, it's not clear what is meant by militarism, and that doesn't seem like a very meaningful way to describe a form of government. Second, it's not really very clear what Mishima was trying to accomplish. Judging by the speech he gave that day, he apparently wanted to the Self-Defense Forces to stage a coup, at least in that they would declare themselves independent from the democratic government and separate power center. Complicating this is the fact that, whatever he was up to, Mishima apparently didn't expect to succeed. So you could say that his goal was a high-profile suicide. As for the question of militarism, I'm not sure that anyone in Japanese history would describe themselves as militarists -- almost all of the various soldiers to control the government would have said they were doing it in the interest of the emperor, and a lot of them probably believed it. If the pre-war Japanese system is what we mean by militarism, Mishima had expressed his preference for it pretty clearly. The fact that he saw World War II as "excessive" doesn't mean much. For one thing, that's easy to say in hindsight; for another, Mishima retroactively backed a different faction of militarists, the ones that lost in the Ni Ni Roku incident. If we define militarism more broadly as a government where the military has a lot of influence, then anyone who would stage a military coup clearly fits the bill.
Despite the fact that one can make a solid case that Mishima was a militarist, I propose that we hedge by simply saying that he wanted the SDF to stage a coup. - Nat Krause 07:52, 1 May 2004 (UTC)
Done. Crculver 18:58, 1 May 2004 (UTC)


The Henry Scott-Stokes, whoever mentioned him, is totally untrustworthy and it's pretty bad journalism-- and it is journalism. There is a lot in the Scott-Stokes biography which sticks out like a sore thumb to anyone who's read Mishima in Japanese. For example he makes a pretty egregious mistake when he says that Mishima chose the name 'Yukio' so that it would sound like the word snow. Also this is just hearsay from people who were around then and involved in that community but Scott-Stokes seemed to be very keen on spreading the rumor that he had been involved with Mishima himself at one point. None of this can be substantiated but Scott-Stokes is not really taken that seriously. I mean Mishima is not really taken that seriously to begin with, but for English-language biographies the John Nathan is really pretty good.

I don't think a solid case can be made at all that Mishima was a militarist and I think it's valid to remove that portion.

Scott-Stokes is not gay, and while the biography he wrote contains some errors and some naive remarks it has more detail than any other. Xanthoxyl (talk) 22:15, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

His "attempted coup" and suicide seem to be imitating events in his book "Runaway Horses," which were also doomed to failure from the beginning, and when he discusses his ideas about glory and death in "Sun and Steel" it seems like by staging the "coup" he was trying to have a high profile suicide but most importantly to die in a manner he percieved as beautiful or glorious. I don't really think militarism necessarily was a motive for the coup. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.135.208.17 (talk) 08:23, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

While I like RH and the other 3 books, Mishima was for Japanese nationalism (empire, think Malcolm X). Japan wasn't merely an island back then. You'll only understand why Mishima would not go well with the Koreans, the Chinese (ever hear of Manchuria?), the Western outposts (e.g., Hong Kong and Macao) by talking their fear of invasion (which is why it's called a "Self-Defense Force"). Japan arms, it's neighbors get nervous (more so than Germans in Europe).
Get over the gay bar thing. Gay bars in SF are tourist spots which also get straights looky-looing. It's a different thing over there.
The events which led up to Mishima's big event, his men's training, use of Self-Defense Force bases, etc. was cause for the neighbors to be nervous. 198.123.48.30 (talk) 19:15, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Manner of death

The decapitation article claims that Mishima was decapitated. Anyone know? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 20:08, May 24, 2004 (UTC)

I believe that he first stabbed himself in the gut, and then one of his associates cut off his head. - Nat Krause 06:44, 25 May 2004 (UTC)~
I was the one who added him to the decapitation article. I do know that he was beheaded by his associate (rather clumsily by the sounds of it), and I have (involuntarily) seen pictures of his severed head in a book on him in Japan. Read the seppuku article for more:
The last known people to commit seppuku were famed author Yukio Mishima and one of his followers, who committed public seppuku at the Japan Self-Defence Forces headquarters after an abortive coup attempt in 1970. Mishima committed suicide in the office of General Kanetoshi Mashita. His second, a 25 year-old named Morita, tried three times to ritually behead Mishima but failed; his head was finally severed by Hiroyasu Koga. Morita tried to follow Mishima in committing seppuku; although his own cuts were too shallow to be fatal, he gave the signal and he too was beheaded by Koga.
-- Tlotoxl 09:40, 25 May 2004 (UTC)
I have to imagine that, even with a very sharp blade, it takes a certain degree of upper body strength to sever a human head with a katana. I'm not terribly surprised that it took more than one go at it. In any event, thanks for the confirmation. While I'm at it, anyone want to help add more decapitees to the decapitation article? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 15:36, May 25, 2004 (UTC)
Quick question. Are there special laws in Japan that would protect Koga from a murder charge? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 15:36, May 25, 2004 (UTC)
I don't know, but Koga was convicted of something and sent to prison. They committed several crimes that day. - Nat Krause 03:55, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
In Japan, there is a crime named Jisatsu-Houjozai(自殺幇助罪), namely aiding and abetting suicide. Morita and Hiroyasu Koga killed Mishima of Mishima's own will - So the prosecution thought they were mere agents of his suicide. --07:13, 4 August 2005 (UTC)1523
For anyone who is interested, and if your library carries back issues of Life magazine you can see the pictures from Nov the 25th at the army headquarters, including one (in black and white) with Mishima's and Morita's heads set upright on the floor. You need the issue from the second or third week (I forget which but they are usually bound together anyway) of December 1970.MarnetteD | Talk 16:41, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

The Photo

Can anyone vouch for the legality of including this photo? Unless someone can say something about its copyright status, I'll take it down one week from time. Curtsurly, you've been warned before about not respecting the copyright of photographs, so please don't add photos to articles without making some sort of statement about them on the Talk page. Crculver 14:41, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The status is "unknown". I should not have assumed fair use. Curtsurly 19:34, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I was wondering since you guys are talking about photograph(s), I have had this one [1] of him for a while I can not remember were it came from nor can I find any website that uses it on it or any information on it. So if someone could please help me out I would really appreciate it. Alus 1:07, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Links

That link sounded very promising:

I was intrigued to know what the similarities were besides having an opinion far from the majority and using violence. "Another advocate of futility and practitioner of violence" That was all of the comparing part. "Short piece" is an understatement. Furthermore, I didn't find information about Mishima that isn't in the article. So I removed it. 217.81.76.124 09:45, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)

His name

John Nathan's biography suggests that Mishima never changed his official name, being Kimitake Hiraoka up until his death. Mishima was the name used for public activities, but Kimitake Hiraoka was used for everything in his personal life. Therefore, there needs to be an indication that both names were used throughout Mishima's adult life. Crculver 17:03, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sure, but "pseudonym" isn't the right word. Exploding Boy 17:06, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

Well, while he is buried in Tokyo in the Hiraoka family grave and as Kimitake his descendants are known as Mishima. His wife is Mrs. Mishima. I don't think the division is quite so clear between personal and private life; particularly with a writer like Mishima, who in fact self-consciously blurred those distinctions. One problem I am having with a lot of this account of Mishima is that it fails to take a more critical stance that much of the way that Mishima has been mythologized (more by Scott-Stokes, less by Nathan) has been a combination of his own doing and the way people have been kind of blown away by said myths.

"his descendants are known as Mishima" - this is not true. His son is known as Iichiro Hiraoka, Iichiro has never called himself Mishima, nor has his daughter. --1523 10:05, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm confused by the term public name used in the introduction in this article. What is it supposed to mean? --Himasaram 09:29, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

In Japan, many people in the arts use a "public name" or "professional name" to signify that their persona as an artist is distinct from their everyday personality -- on a higher plane. It's not the same thing as a pen name; it is not intended to hide the artist's real name. For example, the painter Katsushika Tokitaro took the public name Hokusai, which means "North Star Studio" (he belonged to a Buddhist sect associated with the north star, and "studio" refers to the room where he did his painting.) The karate teacher Gichin Funakoshi used the public name Shoto ("wind in the pines"). The Sumo champion Chad Rowan used the public name Akebono ("rising sun".) And so on. Fumblebruschi (talk) 07:42, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Hist political views: rightist?

The first sentence describes him as a "rightist political activist". Later in the article, in the afterword, it says "he was neither 'rightist' nor 'leftist'". Was he rightist? If not, the first sentence should be changed. --203.217.46.130 10:11, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

There are various opinions about his political stance - but he died crying "Tenno Heika Banzai", so it is quite natural to view him as a rightest.--1523 09:56, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

No, I don't think so-- there is nothing 'natural' about Mishima to be totally frank. I don't want to essentialize him but his views fit neither the views of the rightists or the leftists; both sides absolutely loathed him by the time of his death. If you want to talk about his politics you are going to have to talk about the fact that he was a huge aesthete, not this rightist/leftist junk. Mike

Seicho-No-Ie, which greatly influenced Mishima, Furu-Koga and Chibi-Koga, is very rightist, anyway. --1523 14:34, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong in being rightist. If Mishima is rightist then lets indicate it. Not all writers are left wing.

I always thought of him as a romantic more than anything else, although I realize that is not saying a lot about any particular political ideology he might have subscribed to. I agree that it's not entirely correct to call him a rightist. He probably would have made the point that the Emperor is beyond politics anyhow. Also, his militarism definitely had a religious/ascetic aspect to it that is completely lost on typical rightists. The article should be expanded to include more on his political views. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.70.35.199 (talk) 21:55, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Copy of his final speech

Is there a webpage that has one?

It's in Scott-Stokes's biography, I believe. CRCulver 06:58, 29 April 2006 (UTC)


Aftermath

In Japanese and Anglo-American academies today, Mishima is virtually unspoken of, although he is undergoing something of reappraisal amongst critics interested in the critique of Japanese capitalism.

What is the source for this somewhat ambiguous statement? What are these "academies" and what does it mean that Mishima is "virtually unspoken of"? I fail to see how one could have a discussion of post-war Japanese literature and not speak of Mishima (and I say this as someone who is not particularly a fan of his). CES 01:16, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Not that Google searches are the best measure of popularity, but other than Murakami Haruki, no one of the dozen or so leading/popular Japanese authors I did a Google search on had any where near that number of hits Mishima did (~800,000). If this article is going to portray him as some fringe or "cult" figure in Japanese literature, we need some credible citations or else I will remove it as POV. CES 16:18, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
The quotes that the academy has forgotten about Mishima are, I believe, from the second edition of Scott-Stokes' biography and from Starr's book Deadly Dialectics. I regrettably don't have access to the Japanese-literature portion of my university library this week, but someone should be able to find these two books and do a proper reference tag. Also, no one disputes that Mishima is popular among laymen in a sense, for his books sell well (although apparently not well enough to justify translations of more material than is already available in English). The Google search reflects that. However, there is very little publishing on Mishima in the academy. CRCulver 18:12, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the citations ... still, the wording needs to reflect that he still remains popular outside of academia. The current wording makes him sound like he's just a cult figure for gay men. CES 20:19, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
I also removed the reference to that music group, unless someone can argue relevance. CES 20:23, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Bisexual?

Did Mishima really visit gay bars or are those just rumors? Obviously if that is the case he would then be bisexual since he married and had affairs with women. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 85.3.106.29 (talk) 14:10, 15 January 2007 (UTC).

This is an unusual case for me in that I thought he was just homosexual. (Marriage, especially among traditionalist Japanese, is often not about love or sex) Although several things indicate he was sexually ambiguous and hinted things about his sexuality that may or may not have been accurate or sincere. Bisexual sounds like the best guess. Still it's mostly agreed that he had a strong taste for masculinity, which came across as blatantly homoerotic at times.--T. Anthony 10:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I think to anyone familiar with Mishima its fairly obvious the man was bi-sexual. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.101.236.146 (talk) 14:00, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Aside from the gay bars rumors there isn't anything in his work that would suggest he was bisexual, (Confessions of a Mask might but its possible to write about homosexuality without being a homosexual). Most of his ideas focus around physical discipline and beauty and masculine ideas of glory and heroism. Which does at times come across as homoerotic but I don't think we can say it was obvious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.135.208.17 (talk) 08:33, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

There isn't anything in his work that would suggest he was bisexual!? What a crock! Forbidden Colors is gay, Confessions of a Mask is very gay and anyone who's read the Sea of Fertility can sense a heavy air of homoeroticism. --HaydenDerk —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.211.169.110 (talk) 15:02, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Bisexuality seems most likely, according to one of his female lovers as well. --pashtun ismailiyya 04:28, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
That he had male lovers is fairly well documented, Miwa Akihiro being the best-known. But he was also married to a woman. Exploding Boy (talk) 06:28, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Being married to a woman means little or nothing when it comes to determining a man's sexuality. William S. Burroughs was married to Vollmer and, despite having sex with her, was totally gay. Mishima's marriage, as is known by anyone who has read him or biographies of him, was an arranged marriage orchestrated entirely for social reasons and to have his mother, whom he thought was dying at the time, granted the chance to see her son taken care of and passed from her hands into the caring hands of another woman, namely his wife. Having children with his wife doesn't make him any more bisexual than throwing an orange seed on the ground makes you a gardener. HaydenDerk —Preceding undated comment added 02:40, 30 April 2009 (UTC).

I agree, but people around him claimed he was bisexual and not a homosexual. Forbidden Colors deals with a male homosexual marrying a woman, that would have been an obvious sign to those around him; yet nonetheless he was considered bisexual by them. Anyway, it's up to scholarly debate, but bisexuality is a strong possibility and it has nothing to do with his marriage. --pashtun ismailiyya 03:37, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's up to scholarly debate so much as never solvable speculation. The fact that he was married to, and had children with, a woman and had male lovers suggests that he was bisexual, although his culture and era may be mitigating factors. What others say about him is largely irrelevant. The only one who knew for certain (if he did know) is dead, and in the absence of any documented self-labelling there's nothing more we can do. Exploding Boy (talk) 07:03, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

This article explains very little about what Mishima wrote/believed

As a general reader I happened across this page. I still don't know anything important about this man. What were his writings about? What did he believe? Why did he desire a coup? Were his political beliefs reflected in his writings? etc.... I get the feeling that this fellow believed something a bit out of the mainstream, and that he believed it very strongly. He did, after all, commit suicide for his beliefs it seems. At best, based mostly on the first sentence of the final paragraph, I can determine that he was some sort of ultra-nationalist/militarist, but at the same time he was homosexual-introvert (at least in childhood). There's a lot of information missing here, and it sounds very interesting. Imagine if someone wrote an entry for Ayn Rand without ever mentioning objectivism or any other aspect of her personal philosophy; and instead just recounted the factual details of her life, the publication dates of her books, and who she married - that is what this article reads like.208.194.97.9 21:24, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

I think the problem with describing Mishima's writings is that he was so prolific and varied with subject matter and themes that the summary itself would span an essay so long you could liken it to something by the late David Foster Wallace. His beliefs are a matter that little or no scholars agree upon and his bibliography contains work from multiple vantage points and themes. Also, in many cases, his short stories and smaller works were written in such a style that even to express the basic premise of a piece would ruin the work for future readers. HaydenDerk —Preceding undated comment added 02:50, 30 April 2009 (UTC).

Nonetheless, I think we can sum it up much better than it is summed up now. Also, the perception of his writings, is not so broad as the writings themselves. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters presents the way he is generally viewed by many of his readers in the West, focusing on his sexuality, ultra-nationalism, and his view of himself as an artist. I guess we should keep in mind WP:UNDUE. --pashtun ismailiyya 03:41, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Upbringing

Was he or was he not brought up as a girl by his grandmother? re:[2] --maxrspct ping me 19:00, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Brought up in a feminine way, not necessarily as a girl. Think of it as brought up as if groomed to be a sensitive and fragile intellectual. HaydenDerk —Preceding undated comment added 02:46, 30 April 2009 (UTC).

His First Novel

On the page of Yukio Mishima it states that his first novel was Tōzoku (Thieves.) I went onto the link for his other novel "Confessions of a Mask" and it states that THIS was his first novel. If anyone can clear this up, It would be appreciated. Thank You. Jordon Vandyke 03:05, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

"Confessions" was his first major novel. Xanthoxyl (talk) 22:15, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Grandfather's name

Mishima's grandfather was 平岡定太郎, former governor of Fukushima and governor-general of Karafuto. But what is his first name (定太郎)? This article and several English biographies of Mishima give it as Jōtarō, the Japanese article on the man himself as Sadatarō, and an info page on his grave (that the Japanese article links to) as Teitarō. All of these are possible readings, of course, but surely there should be one over the others? Akmoilan (talk) 17:03, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Speech length before suicide

I don't think "He finished his planned speech after a few minutes" as written in the article. From what I read elsewhere, he planned a speech of half an hour to two hours (depending on what you read), but he couldn't continue it past a few minutes because the people below were simply just being an annoyance and thinking he was nuts. 115.128.19.184 (talk) 07:49, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Boyfriend?

The Akihiro Miwa page says Mishima considered Miwa his "life long love." However, the Miwa article doesn't really have many sources. If this is true, I also find it strange that whoever has worked on the Miwa article hasn't bothered to include a link to it from the Mishima page.

The only thing that is certain, is that they both played roles in the Black Lizard (film) movie. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.234.37.172 (talk) 04:11, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Same question LGBT in Japan also mentions this relationship any source?

Movies are listed incorrectly

The two movies in 1985 are not movies by him, but are movies about him and should be moved below. ----DA 2008-12-17

"Yukio Mishima Incident"

I propose that the section that was titled "Yukio Mishima Incident" be called something else. It's a bad title and gives readers no idea what the "incident" in question is supposed to be (the "incident" didn't consist of Yukio Mishima but in the fact that he did something). Since the article says that, "His speech was intended to inspire a coup d'etat restoring the powers of the emperor", I honestly can't see why the section shouldn't be called "Coup attempt", and the revert by MarnetteD was not informative. UserVOBO (talk) 23:14, 28 March 2010 (UTC)