Yukio Mishima

Yukio
Mishima
1925
1970

Japanese Writer, Committed Ritual Suicide on this day after failing to inspire an insurrection against the Japanese government

Author Quotes

The afternoon sun beat relentlessly the surface of the sea, and the whole bay er in a single, dramatic sweep of brilliance. Some clouds on the horizon stood out summer, still in silence, partially submerging in water forms sumptuous funeral, prophetic. The muscles of the clouds were as pale as alabaster.

The passage of time, never fails to make his victims, always turns what was sublime in the field for comedy. What after all is corroded? If the exterior is corroded, is it true, then, that the sublime belongs by nature just an exterior that hides a comic heart? Or does the sublime belongs in fact to the whole, but just covered with dust ridiculous ?

They had laid the tender, down-ruffled little bird on a platter and appeared now to be pondering a way to eat out its heart without causing it distress.

We human beings sometimes steer off in a direction in which we hope to find something a little bit better.

Within those confining walls, teachers ? a bunch of men all armed with the same information ? gave the same lectures every year from the same notebooks and every year at the same point in the textbooks made the same jokes.

The average age for a man in the Bronze Age was eighteen, in the Roman era, twenty-two. Heaven must have been beautiful then. Today it must look dreadful. When a man reaches forty, he has no chance to die beautifully. No matter how he tries, he will die of decay. He must compel himself to live.

The past does not only draw us back to the past. There are certain memories of the past that have strong steel springs and, when we who live in the present touch them, they are suddenly stretched taut and then they propel us into the future.

They were simply looking at the sky. In their eyes there was no vision: only the reflection of the blue and the absolute skies of early autumn. Those blue skies though, were unusual skies that I might never see again in my life.

We live in an age in which there is no heroic death.

Words are a medium that reduces reality to abstraction for transmission to our reason, and in their power to corrode reality inevitably lurks the danger that the words will be corroded too. It might be more appropriate, in fact, to liken their action to excessive stomach fluids that digest and gradually eat away the stomach itself.

The blossoms seem unusually lovely this year. There were none of the scarlet-and-white-striped curtains that are set up among the blossoming trees so invariably that one has to come to think of them as the attire of cherry blossoms; there were no bustling tea-stalls, no holiday crowds of flower-viewers, no one hawking balloons and toy windmills; instead there were only the cherry trees blossoming undisturbed among the evergreens, making one feel as though he were seeing the naked bodies of the blossoms. Nature's free bounty and useless extravagance had never appeared so fantastically beautiful as it did this spring. I had an uncomfortable suspicion that Nature had come to reconquer the earth for herself.

The path we're taking is not a road, Kiyo, it's a pier, and it ends someplace where the sea begins. It can't be helped.

This time, Fusako was able to express herself with fluency and candor. The bold letters she had been writing week after week had granted her an unexpected new freedom.

We tend to suffer from the illusion that we are capable of dying for a belief or theory. What Hagakure is insisting is that even in merciless death, a futile death that knows neither flower nor fruit has dignity as the death of a human being. If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death? No death may be called futile.

Yet how strange a thing is the beauty of music! The brief beauty that the player brings into being transforms a given period of time into pure continuance; it is certain never to be repeated; like the existence of dayflies and other such short-lived creatures, beauty is a perfect abstraction and creation of life itself. Nothing is so similar to life as music.

The cynicism that regards hero worship as comical is always shadowed by a sense of physical inferiority.

The philosophy that prepares a revolution and the sentiment that underpins the philosophy have, in every case the two pillars of nihilism and mysticism.

Those words of my friend were like fertilizer poured over the poisonous weed of an idea deeply planted in me.

What I wanted was to die among strangers, untroubled, beneath a cloudless sky. And yet my desire differed from the sentiments of that ancient Greek who wanted to die under the brilliant sun. What I wanted was some natural, spontaneous suicide. I wanted a death like that of a fox, not yet well versed in cunning, that walks carelessly along a mountain path and is shot by a hunter because of its own stupidity?

Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they're just repeating what others before them have done.

The ghosts of the sea, ship and ocean voyages existed only in this bright green drop. But for each day that passed, the more abominable smells of life on earth clung to the sailor: Family smell, the smell of the neighbors, the smell of peace, fried fish, the jokes and always real furniture, the smell of household bills books and tours of end-of-week ... all the putrid smells that land men lie, the stench of death.

The purest evil that human efforts could attain, in other words, was probably achieved by those men who made their wills the same and who made their eyes see the world in the same way, men who went against the pattern of life's diversity, men whose spirits shattered the natural wall of the individual body, making nothing of this barrier, set up to guard against mutual corrosion, men whose spirit accomplished what flesh could never accomplish.

Though small, the shrine has a long history. In 1333?the Third Year of the Genko era?Lord Takeshig‚ Kikuchi ascended to it in order to implore the divine favor before going into battle. Victory was his, and in gratitude he had the shrine rebuilt. According to tradition, he himself carved the Worship Image, reciting a triple prayer after each stroke. This represented the god as standing on the mountain peak with one hand raised, gazing at the armed host he had blessed. It was an image of victory. Now, however, the morning after the rising, early on the auspicious Ninth Day of the Ninth Month, the time of the Chrysanthemum Festival, there were gathered around the shrine forty-six hunted survivors of a defeated force. Some standing, some sitting, they stared blankly about them, though the penetrating autumn chill made their wounds sting. The clear light of the rising sun cast a striped pattern as it shone down through the branches of the few old cedars that surrounded the shrine. Birds were singing. The air was fresh and clear. As for signs of last night?s sanguinary combat, these were visible in the soiled and bloodstained garments, the haggard visages, and the eyes that burned like live embers. Among the forty-six were Unshiro Ishihara, Kageki Ab‚, Kisou Onimaru, Juro Furuta, Tsunetaro Kobayashi, the brothers Gitaro and Gigoro Tashiro, Tateki Ura, Mitsuo Noguchi, Mikao Kashima, and Kango Hayami. Every man was silent, sunk deep in thought, looking off at the sea, or at the mountains, or at the smoke still rising from Kumamoto. Such were the men of the League at rest on the slope of Kimpo, some with fingers yellowed from brushing the petals of wild chrysanthemums that they had plucked while staring across the water at Shimabara Peninsula.

What transforms this world is ? knowledge. Do you see what I mean? Nothing else can change anything in this world. Knowledge alone is capable of transforming the world, while at the same time leaving it exactly as it is. When you look at the world with knowledge, you realize that things are unchangeable and at the same time are constantly being transformed. You may ask what good it does us. Let's put it this way ? human beings possess the weapon of knowledge in order to make life bearable. For animals such things aren't necessary. Animals don't need knowledge or anything of the sort to make life bearable. But human beings do need something, and with knowledge they can make the very intolerableness of life a weapon, though at the same time that intolerableness is not reduced in the slightest. That's all there is to it.

The highest point at which human life and art meet is in the ordinary. To look down on the ordinary is to despise what you can't have. Show me a man who fears being ordinary, and I'll show you a man who is not yet a man.

Author Picture
First Name
Yukio
Last Name
Mishima
Birth Date
1925
Death Date
1970
Bio

Japanese Writer, Committed Ritual Suicide on this day after failing to inspire an insurrection against the Japanese government