Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yukio Mishima made his life into a poem.

Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫 Mishima Yukio) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威 Hiraoka Kimitake, January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970)

Yukio Mishima chose to write in every form, prose fiction, poetry, plays, and essays.  He was gifted in his chosen profession.  And, he perceived what he did as being an act of creation.  That is, he wrote but he also made himself into a muscular male, to become a perfect male specimen.  He used his appearance to work as a model as well, to address the desire to be beautiful/handsome.  He created a private organization called the Shield Society, within which he encouraged them to restore Japan to the form of government that existed prior to the Meiji restoration and modernization.  The Emperor was to be kept and worshiped, but not the governance system would not be a secular European based system. 

So, with every act of writing, spare time, and public appearance, Mishima endeavored to be a living poem.  His life came to an end shortly after he completed the final book of The Sea of Fertility tetralogy.  But this was not an accident.  He completed his final work, gathered his closest "samurai" followers from the Shield Society, and he set out for the nearby JSDF training center.  He and his small crew took a high ranking officer hostage, demanded an audience with an assembled unit of troops, and Mishima spoke to them.  He harangued them about the past, about the need to return to greatness, and honor, and how he alone understood that.  The assembled ranks mocked him, laughed, called him bakayaro.   Disgusted Mishima went back into the room with the officer being held hostage, disemboweled himself, and after some attempts, was beheaded.

People called him crazy.  But what he was, was someone who understood the cost of being who he was, and someone who had given his life to become a poem.

Crazy is a relative thing.  Many westerners called the Kamikaze crazy to do what they did.  But when it was over, the US Navy had lost 57 ships sunk by kamikazes, damaged 368 others, killed 4,900 sailors, and wounded over 4,800. 14 percent of Kamikazes survived anti aircraft measures to score a hit on a ship; nearly 8.5 percent of all ships hit by Kamikazes sank.  Crazy perhaps to one way of thinking, but, in a fight to defend the homeland, perhaps reason and rational concepts are to be ignored.

Mishima will always be seen as crazy to those who do not understand.  But his work was magnificent, and he chose to make it resound, by proving to others his sincerity by taking his own life.

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