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Thread: Yukio Mishima

  1. #1
    Big Sister IS watchIng me Sleep HERO's Avatar
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    Default Yukio Mishima

    Here are the pictures:

    Here are the quotes:

    - from Forbidden Colors by Yukio Mishima (Translated from the Japanese by Alfred H. Marks); pp. 254-256 [(Chapter) 22 – The Seducer]: It would be well to say that Kyoko Hodaka did not love Yuichi in the slightest. Her frivolous heart was exceedingly pliant. In the lightness of her feelings there was an elegance that fell short of any standard of purity. Once in the depth of her heart a fairly sincere yearning for self-deception had suddenly flared up and then gone out, without any awareness on her part. Kyoko had one resolve, one self-imposed, indispensable, easily fulfilled duty: never to keep watch over her own heart. “I haven’t seen him for a month and a half,” she said. “That seems like a day. In that time I haven’t thought of that man once.”
    One and a half months! What in the world did Kyoko do with herself? Countless dances. Countless movies. Tennis. Shopping. All kinds of Foreign Office parties she had to attend with her husband. The beauty parlor. Drives. A fantastic number of useless arguments about various loves and infidelities. Countless notions and whims encountered in the course of keeping house.
    The oil landscape painting, for instance, that graced the wall of the stairway landing had been moved during that time to the wall of the entranceway. Then it was taken to the guest room. Then she changed her mind and hung it again on the landing where it had been originally. She rearranged the kitchen and found fifty-three empty bottles. She sold them to the junkman and with the money, supplemented by some of her pocket money, bought a table lamp made from a curacao bottle. She soon decided she didn't like that and gave it to a friend, receiving in exchange a bottle of Cointreau. Then the shepherd dog she was raising got distemper. He frothed at the mouth, trembled in all four legs, and without making a sound died with what looked like a smile on his face. Kyoko cried for three hours; the next day she had forgotten it.
    Her life was filled with immeasurable amounts of stylish rubbish. It had been like that since her girlhood, when she was infected with a bug for collecting safety pins, and filled lacquer boxes with safety pins large and small. The same kind of fever that is referred to in poor women as being “the fever of their existence” motivated the life of Kyoko. But if hers was an earnest existence, it was marked by an earnestness which did not in the least stand in the way of her frivolousness. An earnest existence that knows no distress is apt to have trouble finding an outlet.
    Like a butterfly that flits into a room and flutters madly about when it can find no open windows, Kyoko, too, lived her restless inner life. Not even the zaniest butterfly, however, is apt to believe that the room into which it has flown is its own. Sometimes, indeed, exhausted butterflies collide with forests on painted landscapes and fall unconscious.
    No one saw clearly the state of stupefaction into which Kyoko, like that butterfly, would sometimes fall—a wide-eyed, confused absence of mind. Her husband would think to himself only: It’s started again. Her friends and her cousins would think nothing more than: She’s in love again—for a half day, no more.

    - pp. 258-260: They went along the side of the stables and entered a dark, shaded path. They locked arms. Before their eyes there was a slight rise, with an earthen bridge built in conformity with the uphill slope. Ramparts surrounded the hill area. Near the summit there was a single cherry tree in the very center of a group of pines.
    A one-horse carriage reserved for court use came down the hill and scuttled past the two pedestrians. The horse’s mane fluttered in the wind; the sixteen-petaled gold chrysanthemum passed resplendently before their eyes. The two climbed the hill. From the plateau of the old third circle they could look for the first time at the panorama of the city on the other side of the stone wall.
    With what freshness did the whole city come together to strike the eye! The slippery comings and goings of the shining autos – what animated life they bore! The businesslike afternoon prosperity of Nishikicho across the moat! The revolutions of the countless anemometers on the meteorological station! With what loving exertion they lent their ears to the many winds passing through the sky, offering them such charms! How indefatigably they spun about!
    The two went out through the Hirakawa gate. They had not walked enough yet; so they strolled along the edge of the moat for a time. As they did so, there in the very middle of this aimless afternoon walk, in the very middle of the auto horns and the earth-shaking rumble of trucks, Kyoko came to savor something close to a real sense of what life is.

    In the Yuichi of that day there was certainly that “real sense,” strange though the phrase is. It was almost as if he were convinced that he was impersonating the man he most wished to be. This consciousness of beauty, this endowment with substance, as it were, was to Kyoko particularly essential. Until now this beautiful youth had seemed to comprise only bits and pieces of sexuality. His sharp brows, his deep set eyes, the marvelous ridge of his nose, his artless lips, had always brought Kyoko joy, but after the simple enumeration of these parts, there had been the feeling that the most important thing was missing.
    “You certainly don’t look like a married man!” Kyoko opened her innocently incredulous eyes as she burst out with this.
    “Yes, somehow I feel like a bachelor.” They looked at each other and laughed at this rejoinder.
    Kyoko never touched upon the subject of Mrs. Kaburagi, and Yuichi too made it a point never to broach the subject of Namiki, who had gone to Yokohama with them. This courtesy helped them to get on well together, and the reflection in Kyoko’s mind that he had been jilted by Mrs. Kaburagi just as she had been thrown over by Namiki served only to make her feel closer to the youth.
    At the risk of being prolix, however, it must be said that Kyoko no longer loved Yuichi in the slightest. There was in this meeting with him only an undiscriminating joy, a delight. She drifted. Her truly light heart drifted like a plant seed carried by the wind, tufted with white thistledown. A seducer doesn’t always go after a woman he loves. A woman like this, weighed down by nothing spiritual, standing on tiptoe within herself, as much a dreamer as she was a realist, was the ripest bait for the seducer.

    - p. 261: The blood-red sloe gin fizz she had imbibed imparted a drunken glide to Kyoko’s dancing. She leaned against Yuichi, her body lighter than a feather, feeling as if her feet barely touched the floor as she danced. The basement dance floor was surrounded by tables on three sides. Facing it in the darkness was an orchestra stand with a scarlet drapery hung behind it.

    - p. 262: In the bottom of her heart she believed that the plight of all men in the world was an unfortunate one. It was a religious prejudice with her. The only thing she had managed to see in Yuichi was his common everyday youthfulness. But since what we call beauty is basically so far removed from originality, surely there was nothing original to be found in this beautiful youth! Trembling in sympathy, Kyoko felt like shedding conventional tears at the loneliness of men, at the animal hungers and thirsts of men, at all the shackles of desire that make man seem so tragic.

    - p. 263: The light of the tall neon signs coming through the window onto her face cradled in his arms flowed into the corners of her eyes. There was in all the rapidity of that flow a current that did not move. The youth realized that it was tears. She realized it, too, at about the same time, when she felt the cold flow on her temple. Yuichi touched it with his lips and with his lips drank a woman’s tears...She stole a look at the stiff nape of the neck turned toward her by the middle-aged driver. Her conventionally virtuous heart saw in the back of that ancient blue suit the symbol of all society turning its back.

    - p. 264: Kyoko kept suggesting they go, and kept on drinking.
    She went on thinking about one thing after another. As she thought about each, she forgot what she was thinking about...
    ...As she looked at him a dark joy burst its bonds inside her and came welling up.
    This heart of hers, still certain that she was not in love with this beautiful youth, was fully aware. However, she realized that she had never felt this same deep sense of surrender with any other man. The compelling beat of the bass drum in the Western music drove her into a state of rapture.
    This feeling of receptiveness—that one must call almost a natural impulse—brought her heart close to a kind of universality. That feeling, like evening coming over the moor, with long shadows thrust out by thick undergrowth, hill and valley bathed each in its own shadows – that feeling of wishing to be wrapped in ecstasy and twilight – transfigured Kyoko.

    - p. 265: The musicians broke into a fast rumba. The lights went off. Lights glowed on the dressing room door. Then the catlike forms of the rumba dancers, a man and a woman, glided out of the half-open door.
    Their silk costumes fluttered in great pleats. Countless tiny, embroidered, round metal scales shimmered, green, gold, and orange. The hips of the man and woman, shining in silk, were like lizards in the grass. They drew together. Then they separated.
    Kyoko rested her elbows on the tablecloth, held her throbbing temples with painted fingernails that seemed as if they would penetrate into her head, and watched. The pain caused by the fingernails was as pleasant as peppermint.

    - p. 266: Kyoko’s eyes were open. She looked at the lights outside the window; she looked at the cloudy night sky. Suddenly she had the strange power to see everything as worthless. Another day was ending without incident. Only capricious, dispirited memories – lackadaisical, intermittent, and perhaps based on nothing other than weakness of imagination – would be left. Only the daily routine of life, assuming some strange, blood-curdling shape, would be left.

    - p. 268: Even now she did not have the courage to touch the real Yuichi. His form was the incarnation of joy. In it were indescribably blended greenness and wisdom, youth and mastery, love and scorn, piety and sacrilege. Even now not the slightest resentment or guilt sufficed to dull Kyoko’s joy; even her slight hangover could not alter it.

    - p. 270: “...The humiliation and the ugliness you’re thinking about are all imaginary. For surely we’ve seen something beautiful. It’s certain that we have, the two of us, seen something of the quality of a rainbow.”

    - p. 271: The whistle of a freight train crossing the nearby iron bridge reverberated in the night. It was an endless, monotonous, stumbling repetition. After a time, from the other side of the bridge it had just crossed, the train flashed a long whistle and then was silent...
    ...The conduct of Shunsuke, who from the beginning had had no hope, was marked by not the slightest mercy, by nothing of what society calls humanity.
    Kyoko was silent. She was sitting straight up, without making a sound. To this flighty female, such a long period of silence was something that had never occurred before. Once she had learned this quietness, perhaps it would become the way she naturally comported herself. Shunsuke, too, kept his mouth closed. They seemed to believe they could go on here until dawn without saying a word. When night came to an end she would take the little tools out of her bag, make herself up, and return to her husband’s house. It would be a long time, though, until the river whitened; the two people suspected this night would go on forever.

    - pp. 48-49 [(Chapter) 4 – Forest Fire in the Distant Twilight]: The outward peace of the Minami household was like an accusation leveled against him. The smiling face of his mother, who, fortunately, was not suffering because of her kidney condition and had not been hospitalized; Yasuko’s misty smile that hovered on her face night and day; this repose . . . Everybody was asleep; he was the only one awake. He felt uneasy that he should be living with a sleeping family. He was tempted to arouse them deliberately out of their sleep. But if he did . . . indeed his mother, Yasuko, even Kiyo would wake up. And from that instant they would hate him. It was a kind of betrayal for one to be awake while the others slept. The night watchman, however, guards by betrayal. By betraying sleep he protects sleep. Ah, this human watch, maintaining truth beside the sleeping! Yuichi felt a hatred toward the night watchman. He hated his human role.
    It was not yet time for exams. All he had to do was look over his notes. Economic history, public finance, statistics – all his notes were arranged there, transcribed meticulously in tiny characters. His friends were amazed at the preciseness of his notes, though it was a mechanical precision. Mornings in the sunlit autumn classroom, amid the rustling agitation of hundreds of pens, the machine-like character was what particularly marked Yuichi’s pen. What made his passionless jottings look almost like shorthand was his habit of treating thought as nothing more than an exercise in mechanical self-discipline.
    Today he had gone to school for the first time since the wedding. School was a refuge.

    - p. 52: Returning from his unhappy thoughts to the present, Yuichi gazed from the window. The tower windows opened on a view of the Tokyo horizon on the other side of the trolley tracks and the shantytowns where the factory chimneys bristled. On clear days, that horizon seemed to ascend just a bit higher thanks to the smoke. Nights – perhaps from the night shift, or perhaps, too, from the faint glow of neon lights – the skirts of the sky in that vicinity were tinged from time to time with red.
    Tonight’s vermilion, however, was somehow different. The edge of the sky was quite clearly intoxicated. Since the moon had not yet risen, that drunkenness stood out in the light of the faint stars. Not only that, the faint vermilion was fluttering. Striped in smoggy apricot, it looked like a mysterious flag fluttering in the wind.
    Yuichi recognized it as a fire.
    At the same time there was a darkening of the white smoke around the flame.

    -pp. 32-33 [(Chapter) 2 - Mirror Contract]: It grieved Yuichi's mother to see her son stick his nose into the household account book as if he enjoyed it; besides, as he said lightly, it was a practical application of his schoolwork in economics. In truth, it appeared to her that his present activity was somehow brought on by her earlier frank discussion with him, and fearing that he was taking her words to mean something she had not wished to suggest, she said to him once, apparently for no good reason, "It seems to me that there's something abnormal about a student's developing an interest in the household account book."
    Yuichi grimaced fiercely. His mother was content that her words of vexation had roused her son and evoked a reaction, but she did not know which of her words had cut him so. Anger, however, had set Yuichi free from his usual sense of decorum. He felt that the time had come to blast some of the idle romantic fancies his mother cherished on his behalf. They were fancies completely without hope, so far as he could see. Her hopes were an affront to his despair.

    - from The Decay of the Angel by Yukio Mishima; pp. 5-6: As the sky clouded over, the sea fell into sulky contemplation, studded with fine nightingale-colored points. It bristled with wave-thorns, like a rose branch. In the thorns themselves was evidence of a smooth becoming. The thorns of the sea were smooth.
    Three ten. There were no ships in sight.
    Very strange. The whole vast space was abandoned.
    There were not even wings of gulls.
    Then a phantom ship arose and disappeared toward the west.
    The Izu Peninsula was shrouded in mist. For a time it ceased to be the Izu Peninsula. It was the ghost of a lost peninsula. Then it disappeared entirely. It had become a fiction on a map. Ships and peninsula alike belonged to “the absurdity of existence.”
    They appeared and disappeared. How did they differ?
    If the visible was the sum of being, then the sea, as long as it was not lost in mist, existed there. It was heartily ready to be.
    A single ship changed it all.
    The whole composition changed. With a rending of the whole pattern of being, a ship was received by the horizon. An abdication was signed. A whole universe was thrown away. A ship came in sight, to throw out the universe that had guarded its absence.
    Multiple changes in the color of the sea, moment by moment. Changes in the clouds. And the appearance of a ship. What was happening? What were happenings?
    Each instant brought them, more momentous than the explosion of Krakatoa. It was only that no one noticed. We are too accustomed to the absurdity of existence. The loss of a universe is not worth taking seriously.
    Happenings are the signals for endless reconstruction, reorganization. Signals from a distant bell. A ship appears and sets the bell to ringing. In an instant the sound makes everything its own. On the sea they are incessant, the bell is forever ringing.
    A being.

    - pp. 32-33: Worn out from looking, Toru, who had no occupation but to look, leaned against the windowsill to the northwest and looked at the Sunday-morning bustle in the new houses beyond the orange grove. Dogs barked. Sparrows flitted among the orange branches. On south verandas men who finally had houses of their own were sprawled on rattan chairs reading newspapers. He caught glimpses of aproned women inside. The newly tiled roofs were a violent blue. The voices of children were like splinters of glass.
    Toru liked to look at people as at animals in a zoo.

    - from The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting by Alice Miller (Translated from the German by Andrew Jenkins); pp. 64-67 [I – SAYING AND CONCEALING (5 – The Imprisoned Child and the Necessity of Denying Pain: Yukio Mishima)]: Like Rimbaud, the famous Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, who committed hara-kiri in 1970 at the age of forty-five, often spoke of himself as a monster because he felt within him an inclination toward things morbid and perverted. His fantasies revolved around death, the dark side of the world, and sexual violence. On the other hand, his poems indicate an unusual sensitivity that caused him immense suffering, suffering that derived from the tragic experiences of his childhood.
    Mishima was his parents’ first child. When he was born, in 1925, they were newly married and living in his grandparents’ house – there was nothing unusual about this in Japan at the time. Almost from the very beginning he was quartered in the room of his fifty-year-old grandmother. His cot stood next to her bed, and he lived there for years, cut off from the outside world and exposed exclusively to her needs. Mishima’s grandmother suffered from severe depression. Occasionally she alarmed the boy with outbreaks of hysteria. She had nothing but contempt for her husband and for her son, Mishima’s father, but in her own way she worshipped her little grandson and wanted him to belong to her and no one else. In his autobiography, Mishima recalls the oppressiveness and the fetid smell of the room he shared with his grandmother. But he tells us nothing of any rage or revulsion that he felt about his situation, because it appeared normal to him. At the age of four, he developed a severe illness, diagnosed as “self-intoxication,” which later proved to be chronic. When he first went to school, at the age of six, it was the very first time he had had any contact with other children, and he felt strange and alien in their midst. Naturally enough, he had difficulty relating to these other children, who were emotionally more uninhibited and spontaneous, since they had experienced entirely different treatment and surroundings in their own families. When he was nine, his parents moved into an apartment of their own, but they did not take their son with them. It was at this time that he started writing poems, actively and enthusiastically encouraged by his grandmother. When he finally moved in with his parents, at the age of twelve, his mother was proud of what he had written, but his father tore up the manuscripts, and Mishima was forced to carry on writing in secret. At home he found neither understanding nor encouragement. His grandmother had tried to make a girl out of him, whereas his father attempted to turn him into a “real man,” which involved severe beatings. As a result he frequently visited his grandmother, who represented a refuge from the cruelty of his father. Around this time, she took him on his first visit to the theater. This opened the door to a whole new world: the world of feelings.
    I understand Mishima’s suicide as the expression of his inability to experience his early feelings of revolt against, anger toward, and indignation at the behavior of his grandmother. This inability was a direct result of the gratitude he felt toward her. In his loneliness, and in comparison to the way his father behaved, his grandmother was bound to appear to him as a savior figure. His true feelings remained pent up in the prison of his attachment to this woman, who exploited the child from the outset for the gratification of her needs, including (presumably) her sexual cravings. But his biographers draw a veil of silence over all this, and right to the very end Mishima himself made no reference to it. He never faced up to his own truth.
    All kinds of reasons have been advanced to explain Mishima’s hara-kiri. But the most convincing reason is hardly ever mentioned. After all, it is quite normal for us to owe a debt of gratitude to our parents and grandparents (or the people standing in for them), even if the treatment we experienced at their hands was sheer unadulterated torture. This is an integral part of morality, as we understand it. But it is a species of morality that consigns our genuine feelings and our own personal truth to an unmarked grave. Severe illnesses, early death, and suicide are the logical consequences of subjection to the laws that we call morality, although in fact they suffocate our true lives. This will continue to be the case, all over the world, as long as we show greater reverence to these laws than to life itself. The body rebels against such treatment, but the only language at its command is the language of illness, a language that is rarely understood as long as the denial of true feelings in childhood remains unrecognized.
    Many of the Ten Commandments can still claim validity today. But the Fourth Commandment is diametrically opposed to the laws of psychology. It is imperative that there be general recognition of the fact that enforced “love” can do a very great deal of harm. People who were loved in childhood will love their parents in return. There is no need of a commandment to tell them to do so. Obeying a commandment can never be the basis for love.

    - from The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima (Translated by Meredith Weatherby); pp. 18-19 [Chapter 2]: Talk of this girl and the image of the girl he had seen on the beach yesterday immediately took fast hold of each other in Shinji’s mind. At the same instant he recalled, with a sinking heart, his own poor condition in life. The recollection made the girl whom he had stared at so closely only the day before seem very, very far away from him now. Because now he knew that her father was Terukichi Miyata, the wealthy owner of two coasting freighters chartered to Yamagawa Transport – the hundred-and-eighty-five-ton Utajima-maru and the ninety-five-ton Harukaze-maru – and a noted crosspatch, whose white hair would wave like lion whiskers in anger.
    Shinji had always been very level-headed. He had realized that he was still only eighteen and that it was too soon to be thinking about women. Unlike the environment of city youths, always exploding with thrills, Utajima had not a single pin-ball parlor, not a single bar, not a single waitress. And this boy’s simple daydream was only to own his own engine-powered boat some day and go into the coastal-shipping business with his younger brother.
    Surrounded though he was by the vast ocean, Shinji did not especially burn with impossible dreams of great adventure across the seas. His fisherman’s conception of the sea was close to that of the farmer for his land. The sea was the place where he earned his living, a rippling field where, instead of waving heads of rice or wheat, the white and formless harvest of waves was forever swaying above the unrelieved blueness of a sensitive and yielding soil.

    Even so, when the day’s fishing was almost done, the sight of a white freighter sailing against the evening clouds on the horizon filled the boy’s heart with strange emotions. From far away the world came pressing in upon him with a hugeness he had never before apprehended. The realization of this unknown world came to him like distant thunder, now pealing from afar, now dying away to nothingness.
    A small starfish had dried to the deck in the prow. The boy sat there in the prow, with a coarse white towel tied round his head. He turned his eyes away from the evening clouds and shook his head slightly.

    - pp. 33-34: Whenever he returned from fishing he always looked all along the beach for her, but on the few occasions when he caught sight of her she was busy working and there was no chance to speak.
    There was no such thing as that time when she had been alone, leaning against the "abacuses" and staring out to sea. Moreover, whenever the boy resolved that he was sick of it all and that he would put Hatsue completely out of his mind, on that very day he was sure to catch sight of her among the bustling crowd that gathered on the beach when the boats came in.
    City youths learn the ways of love early from novels, movies, and the like, but on Uta-jima there were practically no models to follow. Thus, no matter how he wondered about it, Shinji had not the slightest idea what he should have done during those precious minutes between the observation tower and the lighthouse when he had been alone with her. He was left with nothing but a keen sense of regret, a feeling that there was something he had utterly failed to do.

    Here's a link:
    Last edited by HERO; 01-14-2012 at 07:41 AM.

  2. #2
    when you see the booty Galen's Avatar
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    I recall him sounding super Ni and being super Ej. ENFj doesn't seem right, so Ni-ENTj it is.
    "And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." -Roald Dahl
    It's pretty cool

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    I recall him sounding super Ni and being super Ej. ENFj doesn't seem right, so Ni-ENTj it is.
    yeah, super-Ni for sure. I think ILI > LIE though.

  4. #4
    Dance Magic Dance CloudCuckooLander's Avatar
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    I don't know, that whole overdramatic coup d'etat attempt seemed fairly Fe to me. Then again, the reception of his speech would potentially be indicative of a distinct lack of Fe (though that would be an assumption of the speech in a vacuum, in isolation from the political and social currents of the time, Japan in the early 1970s). I could honestly see LIE, ILI, or IEI (EIE, I would agree, does not sound right at all).
    2-subtype system: IEI-Fe
    8-subtype system: D-IEI-Fe
    16-subtype system: IEI-ESE

    IEI-Fe 2w3 > p6w5 > 8w7 sx/so

    "He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living." - Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas père)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CloudCuckooLander View Post
    I don't know, that whole overdramatic coup d'etat attempt seemed fairly Fe to me. Then again, the reception of his speech would potentially be indicative of a distinct lack of Fe (though that would be an assumption of the speech in a vacuum, in isolation from the political and social currents of the time, Japan in the early 1970s). I could honestly see LIE, ILI, or IEI (EIE, I would agree, does not sound right at all).
    But he's so boring, lol...

    I guess LIE could work, hmm.

  6. #6
    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    I feel me when I see him.

    It's a kind of "solid brightness" that makes me feel like I'm looking into a mirror.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  7. #7
    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    That quote is fucking awesome, Ashton.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  8. #8
    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    LIE-Ni works. When he talks I think Ashton mushed with Expat born Asian and E3.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  9. #9
    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    God, samurai were the fucking shit.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    In 1968, he started a private army—the Tatenokai—which he commanded and trained himself alongside the JSDF.
    Wow. He seemed like an all-rounder, considering that he was an author and actor as well.

  11. #11
    Big Sister IS watchIng me Sleep HERO's Avatar
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    - from Forbidden Colors by Yukio Mishima (Translated from the Japanese by Alfred H. Marks); p. 54: In the eyes of the man in the gray jacket, however, desire burned. Standing on tiptoe, he stared intently, searching Yuichi’s face. Complete face; intrepid, young wolf’s face; ideal face . . .
    Yuichi, however, turned the broad back of his navy-blue trench coat and looked at the placard painted in fall colors: “Go to N—Hot Springs in the Fall.” The advertisements were all like that. Hot springs; hotels; rooms by day or week; you can rest here; see our Romance Room; best facilities, lowest prices . . . In one poster there was the silhouette of a naked woman on the wall and an ash tray with a cigarette wafting smoke. “For a souvenir of one night this fall, stay at this hotel,” the caption read.
    These advertisements pained Yuichi. He was coming to the inescapable conclusion that society is governed by the rule of heterosexuality, that endlessly tiresome principle of majority rule.

    - pp. 4-6 (1—The Beginning): This new collection of The Works of Shunsuke Hinoki would be his third. The first one was assembled when he was forty-five.
    At that point in time, I recall, he thought to himself, that in spite of the great accumulation of my works acclaimed by the world as the epitome of stability and unity and, in a sense, having reached the pinnacle, as many predicted, I was quite given over to this foolishness. Foolishness? Nonsense. Foolishness could never be connected with my works, with my soul, with my thinking. My works are certainly not foolishness. (Italics were often a sign that he was speaking ironically.) Not only that, I was above using thought in mitigation of my foolishness. In order to maintain the purity of my thinking, I kept free from my foolish activities enough spirit to allow my thoughts to form. Sex was, however, not the only motivating force. My foolishness had nothing to do with sex or spirit. My foolishness lay in a wild ability to handle abstractions, which threatened to make me misanthropic. It still threatens, even now in my sixty-sixth year.
    With a sad smile on his lips, he studied the picture of himself on the cover of the prospectus he held in his hand.
    It was a picture of an ugly old man. That was the only way to put it. However, it was not difficult to see in it certain dim and delicate traces of the spiritual beauty so acclaimed by the world. The broad forehead; the clipped, narrow cheeks; the broad, hungry lips; the willful chin: in every feature the traces of long, hard work and of spirit lay open to the light. His face, however, was not so much molded by spirit as riddled with it. It was a face in which an excess of soul was laid bare, causing the onlooker to shrink from looking at it directly, as if it talked too openly of private things. In its ugliness his face was a corpse emaciated of spirit, no longer possessing the power to retain its privacy.
    It was their doing. Shunsuke’s features were termed beautiful by that admirable group which, having been poisoned by the intellectual hedonism of the times, having replaced concern for humanity with individualism, having extirpated universality from the sense of beauty, had larcenously and violently torn beauty from the arms of ethics.
    Be that as it may, on the back of the prospectus that boldly bore the features of an ugly old man, rows of testimonials by numerous prominent men presented a strange contrast to what was on the front. These great men of intellect, this flock of bald parrots prepared to sing a loud song wherever and as directed, were singing of the uncanny beauty of the works of Shunsuke.
    One renowned critic, for example, a well-known Hinoki scholar, summarized the entire twenty volumes of the works as follows:

    This great shower of works cascading into our hearts was written in sincerity and finished in mistrust. Mr. Hinoki states that if he didn’t have that instinct of mistrust in his works he would have thrown them away as soon as written. Was ever such a row of corpses laid before the eyes of the public?
    In Shunsuke Hinoki’s works, the unexpected, instability, the unlucky, misfortune, the unseemly, impropriety—all the minus quantities of beauty—are depicted. If a certain historical period is to be used as background, without fail a decadent period is chosen. If a love story is needed for subject matter, without fail the emphasis is placed on the hopelessness and the tedium of it. In his hands the healthy, flourishing form is a passionate loneliness in the human mind exploding with the intensity of an epidemic raging in a tropical city. All the fierce hatreds, the jealousies, the enmities, the passions of humankind, he does not seem to be concerned with. Not only that, he finds much more to write about, much more living, essential value, in a single capillary of warmth in the corpse of the passions than in a living period of human feeling.
    In the midst of coldness comes a clever shudder of feeling. In the midst of immorality appears an almost ferocious morality. In the midst of coldness, a heroic unrest makes itself felt. What masterfully wrought style must this be to intrude into the purlieus of paradox? It is a rococo style, one out of the old Heian times. It is a human style in the real sense of the word. It is a clothed style for the sake of clothing. It is the diametrical opposite of a bare style. It is filled with lovely tucks and pleats, like those in the sculptures of the Fates in the gable of the Parthenon, or those in the clothing of the Nike by Paeonius. Flowing pleats, flying pleats, not simply those that follow the motions of the body and so subordinate themselves to its lines. These are pleats that flow of themselves, that of themselves fly to heaven . . .

    A smile of irritation flickered about Shunsuke’s mouth as he read. Then he muttered, “I don’t get it at all. He missed the boat completely. It’s a fabricated, flowery eulogy; that’s all it is. After twenty years, he turns out tripe like this.”

    - pp. 12-14: All the important elements that his works were deficient in flourished in the pages of this diary, but transferring them verbatim into those works ran counter to the wishes of Shunsuke, who hated the naked truth. He held firmly to the belief that any part of one’s talent, be it what it may, which revealed itself spontaneously was a fraud. Not only that, at the root of the lack of objectivity in his works lay his creative attitude, his excessively stubborn adherence to subjectivity. He hated the naked truth to excess and made his works sculptures of the raw flesh of its naked body.
    As soon as he got back to his study he plunged into his diary, into the painful description of that assignation in the dawn. It was written in the wildest hand, almost as if he intended that he himself would not be able to read it when he came back to it a second time. As with the diaries of decades past piled on his shelf, the pages of this diary too were filled with curses directed against women. If the curses had no effect, it was in the last analysis because the one doing the cursing was not a woman but a man.
    It is easier to quote fragments, such as the following one, from this memorandum filled more with jottings and aphorisms than entries in diary form. Here is the record of one day of his youth:

    Women can bring nothing into the world but children. Men can father all kinds of things besides children. Creation, reproduction, and propagation are all male capabilities. Feminine pregnancy is but a part of child rearing. This is an old truth. [Incidentally Shunsuke had no children. It was half a matter of principle.]
    Woman’s jealousy is simply jealousy of creativity. A woman who bears a son and brings him up tastes the honeyed joy of revenge against creativity. When she stands in the way of creation she feels she has something to live for. The craving for luxury and spending is a destructive craving. Everywhere you look, feminine instincts win out. Originally capitalism was a male theory, a reproductive theory. Then feminine thinking ate away at it. Capitalism changed into a theory of extravagance. Thanks to this Helen, war finally came into being. In the far distant future, communism too will be destroyed by woman.
    Woman survives everywhere and rules like the night. Her nature is on the highest pinnacle of baseness. She drags all values down into the slough of sentiment. She is entirely incapable of comprehending doctrine: “—istic,” she can understand; “—ism,” she cannot fathom. Lacking in originality she can’t even comprehend the atmosphere. All she can figure out is the smell. She smells as a pig does. Perfume is a masculine invention designed to improve woman’s sense of smell. Thanks to it, man escapes being sniffed out by woman.
    Woman’s sexual charm, her coquettish instincts, all the powers of her sexual attraction, prove that woman is a useless creature. Something useful would have no need of coquetries. What a waste it is that man insists on being attracted by woman! What disgrace it brings down upon man’s spiritual powers! Woman has no soul; she can only feel. What is called majestic feeling is the most laughable of paradoxes, a self-made tapeworm. The majesty of motherhood that once in a while develops and shocks people has in truth no relation to spirit. It is no more than a physiological phenomenon, essentially no different from the self-sacrificing mother love seen in animals. In short, spirit must be viewed as the special characteristic that differentiates man from the animals. It is the only essential difference.

    Essential difference (it might be better to call it the peculiarly human capability of fictional creation) . . . it might be discovered upon the features in the picture of the twenty-five-year-old Shunsuke that was inserted in the diary. They were ugly features, yet there was in their aspect a certain man-made ugliness, the ugliness of a man who strove day by day to believe himself ugly.
    In that year’s diary, carefully written in French, might be found various random, outrageous doodles. There were two or three rude sketches of the vagina, roughly scratched over with a canceling X. He was cursing the vagina.
    Shunsuke did not marry a thief and a madwoman because no other brides were available. There were enough “spiritual women” who could find this promising young man interesting. But the creature that was the “spiritual woman” was a monster and not really a woman. The only women who could be unfaithful to Shunsuke were the ones who refused to understand his lone strong point, his one beautiful feature, his soul. These indeed were the original, the true, the genuine women.

    - pp. 20-21: Anger it was that had brought him this far. Living as he did, encompassed by his great reputation, the religious veneration in which he was held, his multifarious business affairs, his miscellaneous friendships, and all the related unendingly venomous essentials, he generally required no escape from life. The most extreme escape for him would be to come closer to it. Within the amazingly broad sphere of his acquaintanceship, Shunsuke Hinoki performed like a great actor, through whose skill thousands of spectators were made to feel that he was close to each of them alone. An adroit skill it was, seemingly in disregard of all the laws of perspective. Neither their praise nor their criticism touched him. That was because he was deaf to everything. He was trembling now in anticipation of being hurt, fiercely desired to be hurt; only in this sense did Shunsuke in his own inimitable way seek an escape. In short, he sought consummation in a climactic reception unto himself of clear, unequivocal injury.
    Now, however, the unusually close, undulating broad sea seemed to soothe Shunsuke. As it craftily and nimbly came in between the rocks again and again, the sea soaked him, it flowed into his being, it instantly painted him with its blueness. Then it fell away from him again.
    Then a ripple appeared out in the middle of the ocean. A delicate, white splashing like an advancing wave developed. The ripple advanced rapidly in the direction of this part of the shore. As it reached the shallows and seemed about to break, suddenly in the middle of the wave a swimmer stood out. Quickly his body seemed to erase the wave. Then he stood up. His sturdy legs kicked the ocean shallows as he walked forward.
    It was an amazingly beautiful young man. His body surpassed the sculptures of ancient Greece. It was like the Apollo molded in bronze by an artist of the Peloponnesus school. It overflowed with gentle beauty and carried such a noble column of a neck, such gently sloping shoulders, such a softly broad chest, such elegantly rounded wrists, such a rapidly tapering tightly filled trunk, such legs, stoutly filled out like a heroic sword. The youth stopped at the water’s edge and twisted his body to inspect his left elbow, which seemed to have struck against the corner of a rock. As he did so, he bent his face and his right arm in the direction of the injury. The reflections on the waves, retreating past his feet, lit up his downturned profile as if an expression of joy had suddenly stolen across it. Quick, narrow eyebrows; deep, sad eyes; rather thick, fresh lips—these made up the design of his extraordinary profile. The wonderful ridge of his nose, furthermore, along with his controlled facial expression, gave to his youthful good looks a certain chaste impression of wildness, as if he had never known anything but noble thoughts and starvation. This, together with the dark, controlled cast of his eyes, his strong white teeth, the languid way in which he unconsciously moved his wrists, the bearing of his quick body, brought out in full relief the inner nature of a young, beautiful wolf. “That’s it! Those looks are the beautiful features of the wolf!”
    At the same time there was in the soft roundness of the shoulders, the innocent nudity of the chest, the charm of the lips . . . in these bodily features there was a mysteriously indefinable sweetness. Walter Pater mentioned, in connection with the lovely thirteenth-century story “Amis and Amile,” a certain “sweetness of the early Renaissance.” Shunsuke saw signs of a later and unimaginably mysterious and vast development of that “early sweetness” in the lines of the body of the youth before him.
    Shunsuke Hinoki hated all the beautiful young men of the world. Yet beauty struck him dumb whether he liked it or not.

    - pp. 23-25: This time, being defeated won’t bother me a bit, he thought to himself. He is the possessor of all the beauty of youth; he dwells in the sunshine of human existence. Never will he be polluted by the poisons of art or things of that sort. He is a man born to love and be loved by woman. For him, I shall gladly retire from the field. Not only that, I welcome it. So much of my life has been spent fighting against beauty; but the time is approaching that beauty and I should shake hands in reconciliation. For all I can tell, Heaven has sent these two people for me to see.
    The two lovers approached single file down the narrow path. Yasuko was the first to see Shunsuke. She and the old man confronted each other. Her eyes showed pain, but his mouth was smiling. Yasuko grew white and dropped her glance. Still looking at the ground, she asked, “Have you come here to work?”
    “Yes. I just got here.”
    The youth looked at Shunsuke inquiringly. Yasuko introduced them—“This is my friend Yuichi.”
    “Minami,” he said, supplying his surname.
    When he heard Shunsuke’s name, the youth did not seem at all surprised. Shunsuke thought to himself: He’s probably heard about me from Yasuko. That’s why he is not surprised. I would be delighted if he had never so much as looked at my complete works in three editions and had never heard my name.
    The three climbed the stone park staircase in the dead calm, chatting idly about how deserted the resort seemed. Shunsuke felt expansive. He wasn’t one easily given to joking like a man of the world, but he was cheerful enough. The three got into his hired car and went back to the hotel.
    They ate supper a trois. It was Yuichi’s idea. After the meal they separated and went to their rooms. Later, Yuichi, tall in his hotel robe, appeared at the door of Shunsuke’s room.
    “May I come in? Are you working?” he called through the door.
    “Come in.”
    “Yasuko was taking a long time in the bath and I got bored,” he said, by way of excuse. His dark eyes, however, had grown more sad since the daytime. Shunsuke’s artistic instincts told him that some kind of confession was forthcoming.
    For a time they talked about insignificant matters. Then it became apparent that the youth was impatient to get something off his mind. At last he said: “Are you going to stay here for a while?”
    “I expect so.”
    “I, if I can, would like to leave by the ten o’clock boat this evening, or by tomorrow morning’s bus. In fact, I want to get away from here tonight sometime.”
    Surprised, Shunsuke asked, “What about Yasuko?”
    “That’s what I’ve come to talk to you about. Can I leave her with you? I’ve thought perhaps you would like to marry her.”
    “I hope you are not being held back by something that is not true.”
    “Not at all. I can’t stay here another night.”
    The youth answered in sincere, rather frozen tones: “Do you understand? I can’t love a woman. Do you know what I mean? My body can love them, but my interest in them is purely intellectual. I have never wanted a woman since the day I was born. I have never seen a woman and wanted her. Just the same I have deluded myself about it, and now I have deceived an innocent girl in the bargain.”
    A strange light came into Shunsuke’s eyes. By nature he was not sensitive to this problem. His inclinations were quite normal.
    He replied, “Then what can you love?”
    “I?” The youth’s face reddened. “I only love boys.”
    “Have you told Yasuko about this?” Shunsuke asked.
    “Then don’t tell her. It won’t work. There are some things that are good to tell a woman, and some things not. I don’t know much about your particular problem, but it seems to be something women wouldn’t understand. When a girl appears who loves you as much as Yasuko seems to, it would seem best to marry her, since you have to get married sometime. Don’t take marriage as being anything more than a triviality. It’s trivial—that’s why they call it sacred.”
    Shunsuke began to take a fiendish delight in the encounter. Then he caught the young man’s gaze and, out of deference to the world, decorously whispered: “And these three nights . . . didn’t anything happen?”
    “That’s fine. That’s how women should be taught.” Shunsuke’s laugh was loud and clear. None of his friends had ever heard him laugh like this.
    “I can tell you from long experience that it never pays to teach a woman pleasure. Pleasure is a tragic masculine invention. Don’t take it as anything more than that.”
    An ecstatic, parental affection floated in Shunsuke’s eyes. “You two will have an ideal married life, I am sure.” He didn’t say “happy.” As far as Shunsuke was concerned it was splendid that this marriage seemed to hold in store such complete unhappiness for the woman. With Yuichi’s help he felt he could send a hundred still-virgin women off to nunneries. In this way Shunsuke for the first time in his life knew real passion.

    - pp. 27-29: When he thought of death, in that instant everything seemed possible. He was drunk with possibility, filled with cheer. He pretended a yawn and said aloud, “My, I’m sleepy.” He turned his back to Yasuko, curled up, and feigned sleep. After a time, he heard Yasuko emit a slight, delicate cough and knew she was not asleep.
    Then he got up courage to inquire, “Can’t you sleep?”
    “Yes, I can,” she answered, with a low voice like the sound of flowing water. With that, the two set about feigning sleep, hoping to fool one another; doing so, they fooled themselves into falling asleep. He dreamed that God had turned over to the angels his plea that he be killed. It was such a happy dream that he burst out crying. Of course, the tears and sobs were not real. Then Yuichi realized that he was still ruled by vanity and he felt better.
    For the eight years or so since puberty Yuichi had set himself against sexual desire, which he detested. He kept his body pure. He involved himself in mathematics and sports—geometry and calculus, high jumping and swimming. He did not realize particularly that this option of his was a Greek option; mathematics somehow kept his head clear, and athletic competition kept his energies in tune.
    Nevertheless, once when he was in the locker room and a lowerclassman came in and took off his sweaty shirt, the odor of young body distressed him. He ran outside and threw himself down on the darkening field and pressed his face into the firm summer grass. Then he waited for desire to pass. The dry sound of bat on ball where baseball practice was still going on echoed off the colorless evening sky and came to him from the ground. Yuichi felt something strike his bare shoulder. It was a towel. The white, rough, thorny threads bit into his flesh.
    “What are you doing? You’ll catch cold.”
    Yuichi lifted his head. It was the same lowerclassman, now in his school clothes, standing there smiling out from under the visor of his cap.
    Yuichi stood up, snapping out a “Thank you.” With the towel flung over his shoulder, he returned to the locker room, conscious of the eyes of the lowerclassman following him. He did not, however, turn around. He had recognized that the boy loved him; consequently, by all the logic of purity, he had decided that he could not love the boy.
    If I, who, though I cannot love women wish only to love women, loved the boy—after all a man—would he not become transformed into some unspeakably ugly, woman-like creature? Love brings about all kinds of unwished for changes in the one who is loved, does it not?
    In these confessions of Yuichi a desire that was not yet real came out of his phrases to nibble away at what was real. Would he and reality someday meet? In the place where he and reality might come together, not only would these harbingers of his desire already in existence eat away at reality, reality itself would eternally bring forth fictional forms dictated by his desire. He would never find what he wanted. Everywhere he went he would meet only his desire. Even in this abortive confession of those three nights of pain, Shunsuke could, as it were, hear the gears of this youth’s desire turning.
    Was not this, however, the epitome of art, the very model of the reality of artistic creation? In order for Yuichi’s desire to come into reality, either his desire or his concept of what was real must perish. In this world it is believed art and reality live quietly side by side; but art must dare to break the laws of reality. Why? In order that it alone may exist.
    It is a shame, but the Complete Works of Shunsuke Hinoki, from their first lines, renounced war against reality. As a result his works were not real. His passions simply brushed against reality and, repelled by its ugliness, shut themselves up in his works. Thus his incessant foolishness moved to and fro between his passions and reality like a dishonest courier. His style, peerlessly ornate in its decorativeness, was, after all, no more than a design for reality; it was no more than a curious, worm-eaten figure of speech in which reality had consumed passion. With all frankness one may say in conclusion that his art, his thrice-published complete works, did not exist. Why? Because not once did they break the laws of reality.
    This old writer had already lost all the muscles necessary for creation; he had tired of the labors of careful craftsmanship. Now, left only with the task of interpreting esthetically his past productions, what an irony it was that a youth like Yuichi should appear before him at this time!
    Yuichi had all the gifts of youth the old writer lacked, but at the same time he had that supreme good fortune the artist had always hypothesized as the object of his heart’s desire. In short, he had never loved a woman. This prefiguration of a paradoxical ideal: in the life of Shunsuke the desirable qualifications of youth without the awful chain of tragedies caused by love and woman; an existence somehow merged in the mind of Shunsuke with the inescapable conviction that he had been unlucky; an existence in which the blood of the dreams of his youth mixed with the disappointment of his old age. This was Yuichi! If Shunsuke had been like Yuichi in his youth, what joy there would have been in his love of women. And if like Yuichi he had not loved a woman—suppose, better yet, he had come to live without women—what a happy life his would have been! In this way Yuichi became transformed into Shunsuke’s idea, his work of art.
    All style, it is said, ages beginning with the adjectives. In short, adjectives are flesh. They are youth. Yuichi is an adjective; that’s what, Shunsuke went so far as to think.
    With a thin smile playing on his lips as if he were a detective in the middle of an investigation, he propped his elbows on the table, raised one knee under his bathrobe, and listened to Yuichi’s confession. When it was over he insensitively said again: “Fine. Get married!”
    “But how can someone get married if he doesn’t want to?”
    “I’m not joking. Men marry logs; they can even marry ice boxes. Marriage is man’s own invention. It is something he can do; desire isn’t necessary. At least in the past one hundred years, mankind has forgotten how to act with passion . . .”

    - pp. 34-36: Shunsuke strung his words together impatiently.
    “As you know, I am not a rich man who can afford to throw four or five hundred thousand yen to every fellow that passes, as if in drunken spree. I want to give it to you for a very simple reason. In fact, for two reasons—“
    He hesitated, as if embarrassed.
    “First, you are the most beautiful youth in the world. When I was young, I always wanted to be what you are. Second, you do not love women. I still wish I could be that way, but that’s beyond remedy. You have been a revelation to me. Please. Live my youth again in another way. In short, be my son and avenge me. You’re an only son and you cannot take my name, but I would like you to become my son in spirit. (Ah! That was a forbidden word!)
    “For countless foolish actions—my lost children—mourn for me. For this I will spend any amount of money. I didn’t save it up so that I might be happy in my old age, by any stretch of the imagination. In return for it, please don’t tell anyone else your secret. When I ask you to make the acquaintance of some woman, do it. If ever there breathes a woman who won’t fall in love with you at first sight, I’d like to see her. You can’t feel desire for a woman. I will teach you, point by point, how a man who has felt desire behaves. I will teach you the coldness of a man who, while he desires a woman, lets her die yearning for him.
    “At any rate, let’s proceed according to orders. Will somebody see that you can’t love women? Leave it to me. I will use all kinds of tricks to prevent anyone from finding you out. And lest by some mischance you settle down in a peaceful married existence, I wish you would look into the practice of masculine love. In that I shall provide opportunities for you to the very best of my small ability.
    “Don’t, however, give it away in the world of women. Don’t confuse the stage with the dressingroom. I shall introduce you to the world of women. I shall bring you before the sets freshly made up with cosmetics and eau de cologne, sets before which I have always performed my mimicries. You will play the part of a Don Juan who never touches a woman. From time immemorial even the worst Don Juans don’t get into bed on stage. Don’t worry. I have served an apprenticeship in backstage machinations.”
    The old man had just come to his real intention. He was outlining the plot of a novel he had not yet written. At the same time he was hiding the embarrassment he felt in his heart’s core. This mad charity performance costing 500,000 yen was a memorial service held on behalf of what was perhaps his last love; the love that had propelled this home-loving old man down to the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula at the height of summer; the love which again out of sad foolishness had ended in pitiful disappointment; his tenth stupid lyric of a love affair.
    He had loved Yasuko without intending to. In return for leading him into this blunder, for causing him to taste this affront, Yasuko must somehow become the loving wife of an unloving husband. Her marrying Yuichi sprang from a kind of ferocious logic that trapped Shunsuke’s will. They had to marry.
    Now this unhappy writer, past sixty and still unable to find within himself the power to stand guard over his own will, was using money to eradicate the foolishness that could still cause him trouble under the delusion that he was spending it on beauty. Is there any intoxication more false? Was it not true that Shunsuke had anticipated this indirect betrayal he held against Yasuko now, this crime whose pain tore his heart so exquisitely? Poor Shunsuke, always unhappy, never once the party to blame.
    All the while Yuichi was taken with the face of the beautiful youth that stared at him out of the mirror in the lamplight. The deep, mournful eyes under the intelligent brows stared fixedly in his direction.
    Yuichi Minami tasted the mystery of that beauty. The face he had always known, filled with the energy of youth, carved with the depth of masculinity, bearing the unhappy bronze substance of youth—it was his own. Until now Yuichi had felt only loathing in his consciousness of his own beauty. The beauty of the boys he loved, on the other hand, filled him with longing. As men in general do, Yuichi forbade himself ever to believe that he was beautiful. But the fervent praise of this old man before him now rang in his ears; and that artistic poison, the powerful poison of his words, loosened those inhibitions that had persisted so long.

    - pp. 40-41 (3—The Marriage of a Dutiful Son): It was five o’clock, rather an early hour to dine. The place was quiet; the waiters moved about sleepily.
    His glance fell on the street, bustling in the lingering afternoon heat. Half of the street was extremely bright. Across the way, under the awnings of the stores selling Western goods, he could see the rays of the sun extending into the back of the show windows. Like a shoplifter’s hand, the sun’s rays slowly approached the shelf on which jade seemed to be resting. While Yuichi waited for his food to arrive, that one point on the shelf shimmering in the silence struck his eye from time to time. The lone youth felt thirsty and sipped at his water continually. He was quite uncomfortable.
    Yuichi did not know the common truth that a multitude of men who love only men marry and become fathers. He did not know the truth that, though at some cost, they use their peculiar qualities in the interest of their marital welfare. Fed to satiety with the overflowing bounty of woman in a single wife, they don’t so much as lay a hand on another woman. Among the world’s devoted husbands men of this kind are not few. If they have children, they become more mother than father to them. Women who have known the pain of being married to philanderers find it wise, should they marry again, to seek out such men. Their married lives are a kind of happy, peaceful, unstimulating, in short, essentially frightful self-desecration. Husbands of this sort find their ultimate justification in the fact that in all the human details of life they rule with a sneer that proclaims their complete self-reliance. To their women, crueler husbands do not exist, even in their dreams.
    It takes age and experience to figure out these subtleties. In order to endure such a life, some breaking-in is necessary. Yuichi was twenty-two. Not only that, his utterly crazy patron was consumed by notions that were unworthy of his years. Yuichi had at least lost the tragic conviction that had lent intrepidity to his appearance. He didn’t much care what happened.
    His food seemed to be a long time coming, and he began to look idly around the walls. As he did so he became conscious of a gaze fixed upon his profile. When he turned to intercept that gaze, which had come to rest like a moth upon his cheek, it fluttered away. In the corner stood a fair, slim young waiter of nineteen or twenty.
    On his breast were two curving rows of buttons in the latest style. His hands were turned backward as if his fingers might have been tapping lightly on the wall. There was something abashed about the way he stood at attention, evidence that he had not been a waiter for long. His jet-black hair gleamed. The languid grace of his limbs went well with the innocence of his small features; his lips were like a doll’s. The line of his hips showed that his legs had the streamlined purity of a boy’s. Yuichi felt unmistakably the stirrings of desire.

    - pp. 43-45: There was, however, something indefinably revolting in the looks of Kaburagi. Something like a stain in a garment that will not come out no matter how often cleaned, a mixture of discomfiting weakness and audacity, along with a weird, tightly constrained voice—giving one the impression of a carefully planned naturalness. . . .
    Shunsuke was suddenly filled with anger. He remembered the Kaburagis’ blackmail scheme. He certainly had no reason to be obligated to Kaburagi because of the polite greeting.
    The old man barely acknowledged the greeting. Then he thought that response childish and decided to amend it. He got up from the sofa. Kaburagi was wearing spats over his patent-leather shoes. When he saw Shunsuke stand up he retreated two paces on the polished floor as if he were dancing. Then he remembered that he had not seen one of the ladies here for a long time and greeted her as if sensible of having neglected her. Shunsuke had arisen but now had no place to go. Mrs. Kaburagi immediately came over and led him to a window.
    She was usually not given to long-winded greetings. She moved briskly, her kimono moving in correct folds about her ankles. As she stood before the window in which the lamps of the room were reflected clearly against the twilight, Shunsuke was amazed that not a wrinkle marred the beauty of her skin. She was, however, ingenious at selecting just the right angle and just the right lighting at a moment’s notice.
    She did not touch on the past. She and her husband worked according to the psychology that if you show no embarrassment the other party will.
    “You’re looking well. In this place, my husband looks much older than you.”
    “I’d like to age quickly, too,” said the sixty-five-year old writer. “I’m still committing a lot of youthful indiscretions.”
    “You naughty old man. You’re still romantic, aren’t you?”
    “And you?”
    “How dare you! I still have a long time to live. As for today’s groom, before you marry him off to play house with that mere child of a bride, I wish you would send him around to me for two or three months of instruction.”
    “What do you think of Minami as a bridegroom?” As he nonchalantly threw out this question, Shunsuke’s eyes, muddy with yellow blood vessels, observed the woman’s expression attentively. He was absolutely sure that if her cheek quivered ever so slightly, if she displayed the faintest glint in her eye, he would not fail to catch it, enlarge it, dilate it, set it flaming, develop it into the highest state of irresistible passion. In general a novelist does just that: he is a genius at stirring up someone else’s passion.
    “I never set eyes on him before today. I’ve heard rumors about him, though. He’s a much more beautiful young man than I thought. But when a young man like this at twenty-two takes an uninteresting bride who knows so little about the world, I foresee a pretty stale romance, and when I do, I get more and more upset.”
    “What do the guests he has invited say about him?”
    “He’s all they talk about. Yasuko’s classmates, though, are green with envy and finding fault. All they can say is ‘I don’t like his type!’ I can’t say enough about the groom’s smile. It’s a smile filled with the fragrance of youth.”
    “How about bringing all this up in your congratulatory speech? Who knows, it may do some good. This marriage is, after all, not the kind of love match that’s so fashionable nowadays.”
    “Just the same, that’s what they’re giving it out as.”
    “It’s a lie. It’s a wedding of the noblest kind. It is the marriage of a dutiful son.”
    Shunsuke’s eyes flicked to the overstuffed chairs in a corner of the lounge. Yuichi’s mother was sitting there. The powder that lay thick on her rather swollen face made it difficult to determine the age of this cheerful middle-aged woman. She was making every effort to smile, but her swollen face prevented it. Heavy, twitching grimaces were continually appearing on her cheeks.
    This was the last happy moment of her life. Happiness is so ugly, thought Shunsuke. At that moment the mother made a gesture as if to run her hand, on which an old-fashioned diamond ring gleamed, over her hip. Perhaps she was saying that she wished to urinate. A middle-aged woman nearby, in a wisteria-colored dress, bent her head toward her and whispered something, then gave her hand to Yuichi’s mother and helped her up. They made their way through the crowd, throwing greetings to the guests, and proceeded to the hall toward the rest rooms.
    When he saw that swollen face so close by, Shunsuke was reminded of the dead face of his third wife, and he shuddered.
    “It’s not something we see often nowadays,” said Mrs. Kaburagi coldly.
    “Shall I arrange for you and Yuichi to meet sometime?”
    “It’s rather difficult right after the wedding, isn’t it?”
    “How about when he gets back from the honeymoon?”
    “Promise? I’d like to have one long talk with that bridegroom.”
    “You don’t have any preconceived notions about marriage, do you?”
    “Other people’s marriages. Even mine isn’t my marriage but someone else’s. I don’t have anything to do with it,” said this coolly poised lady.

    - p. 48 (4—Forest Fire in the Distant Twilight): One evening early in October, Yuichi ate supper and went to his study. He looked around him. It was a student’s quarters, simply furnished. The concentration of its only occupant loitered there chastely, like an unseen sculpture. This was the only place in the house not yet wedded to woman. Only here could the unhappy youth breathe freely.
    Ink bottle, scissors, pencil vase, knife, dictionary—he loved to see them glitter brilliantly in the lamplight. Things are solitude. When in their happy circle he hazily conjectured that surely this was what the world meant by “family circle.” The ink bottle looked at the scissors and said nothing about whether it had yet taken certain steps regarding their mutually independent reasons for being. The clear, inaudible laughter of that circle. The circle’s only qualification for mutual security . . .
    When that word “qualification” entered his mind, it gave him pain.

    - from My Friend H****r and other plays of Yukio Mishima (translated by Hikoaki Sato); pp. 120-121 (My Friend H****r)—ROEHM: . . . From my childhood I thought of only one thing, I wanted to be only one thing and that was to be a soldier. So I—just think about it, how I felt mutilated when I quit the army ten years ago. But now I know very well that we are sure to be defeated in the next war if we leave it to the Reichswehr, which has no revolutionary spirit, and to those army men, who are still manipulated by the Prussian generals.
    KRUPP: Don’t get so cross—after all, you’ve made your own dream army, the great family of 3 million men called the Storm Detachment.
    ROEHM: And those same 3 million are treated as parasites.
    KRUPP: Calm down. You’ll soon have better luck.
    ROEHM: Herr Krupp, you’ve been brought up in silk shirts since childhood and don’t know how refreshing and beautiful an army is.
    KRUPP: True, I don’t, but my iron does. Iron, melting in the flames of a blast furnace, dreams of cold nights in the barracks.
    ROEHM: The army is paradise for men. The brass-colored morning sun that filters through the trees is itself the brilliance of the bugle that tells of the wake-up time. It’s only in the army that men’s faces become beautiful. The blond heads of the young men who line up for morning roll call stand out in the morning sun, and the glint of their steely blue eyes is charged with the destructive power accumulated through the night. Young animal pride and holiness fill their thick chests thrust out against the morning wind. Their polished guns and boots tell of the fresh thirst of awakened steel and blood. Every single young man knows that the heroic pledge of death alone entitles him to demand beauty and opulence, willful destruction and pleasure.
    During the day soldiers metamorphose into nature through camouflage, and they become trees that spout fire, become bushes that kill. And at night, how violently, with what brusque gentleness, the barracks welcome each one, covered in sweat and mud! The young men whose cheeks still radiate, like the evening glow, the destruction they wreaked during the day, reaffirm in the smell of grease and leather, as they clean their equipment, the barbarous lyricism that has seeped into their flesh, the sensations of the dark blue hordes of minerals and beasts that hold this world together at its base. As they pull the coarse army blankets up to their chins and close their eyes, the gentle taps—those smooth metal fingers—caress them quietly, wistfully, over the eyelids lined with long eyelashes, and put them to sleep.
    The army life, where all the special male qualities reveal themselves and all manliness comes forward, is, precisely because of it, laden with a gentleness like that of sweet, lustrous oysters within their shells. These sweet souls, the souls that have pledged to live and die together, are the festoons that link the warriors, despite their outward sternness. I’m sure you know that stag beetles can live on honey alone.

    pp. 121-122—H****R: And so, my fellow Germans, the great struggle of the German people has entered a new stage. The threat of the Reds has already been eradicated, and our tractors have begun rolling into flat, open fields. Our immediate task in this new stage is education. Education to nurture German people fit for a new, great Germany. We no longer need any of the anemic, eternally pettifogging professors. We no longer need any of the intellectuals too powerless to lift a gun but who love themselves dearly and raise hysterical pacifist screams, who can’t remember where they left their balls. We no longer need any of the unpatriotic teachers who impart defeatist ideas to our boys, who deny and distort the history of our fatherland. The teacher who educates Germany’s young men to enable them to fly through the sky on white horses as gallantly, as beautifully, as Wotan, is the German teacher. Is that not the case, my fellow Germans? Each one of you who have awakened has the mission to become a teacher and educate those several million people who have not yet truly become members of our party. Only when this is achieved will our National Socialist revolution have a monolithic foundation.

    - pp. 126-127—H****R: Don’t make fun of me. When I was a student in Vienna, I once even tried to compose a musical drama.
    ROEHM: You mean “Wieland the Smith.” What did you do with the score?
    H****R: In the spring I often went alone to the Vienna Woods for a walk. Once I went as far as the Semmering Pass in the Alps. I let the score fly in the wind from the pass. It scattered and descended slowly into the Alpine valleys where patches of snow remained. The sheets that fell on the snow became indistinguishable from it, and those that fell on the green of spring grass looked like edelweisses. . . . Ernst, the more I think about it, the more it seems I should have become an artist.
    ROEHM: That would make our story more plausible, Adolf. Ernst the soldier, Adolf the artist—that way we should be able to go hand in hand.
    H****R: Do you think we could still do it now?
    ROEHM: We can still do it.
    H****R: I wonder. . . . In any case, I should have become an artist. I should have, like the great Wagner, firmly gripped this caldron called the world by the handles of nothingness and death, and like a good chef, put all the representative men of the world and their emotions on a skillet, and roasted them over the eternal flames of the giant Solt. I would have had a much easier time that way and gotten a much more comfortable reputation. I’ve become chancellor all right, but they whisper about my lowly birth, my lack of education, and so forth behind my back. . . .
    Last edited by HERO; 01-14-2014 at 09:41 PM.

    Kristen Pfaff and Kurt Donald Cobain didn't like the scene anyhow

  12. #12
    Snomunegot munenori2's Avatar
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    You know you're an LIE when you cut yourself open with a sword and have someone unsuccessfully try to hack your head off. Heerree's your sign!
    Moonlight will fall
    Winter will end
    Harvest will come
    Your heart will mend

  13. #13
    Big Sister IS watchIng me Sleep HERO's Avatar
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    I’m inclined to agree with the LIE typing of him.

    Yukio Mishima: LIE-Ni (Normalizing subtype) [LIE-Fi] (LIE-EII)

    Forbidden Colors by Yukio Mishima; pp. 98-102: One day Yuichi’s early morning lecture had

    ended, and in the interval before the next one began, he strolled around the fountain in the

    university garden. Paths stretched out in a grid pattern enclosing patches of lawn. The fountain

    stood out against a background of trees eloquent with the loneliness of autumn; as the wind

    changed, it drooped to leeward and wet the grass. Its fan, fluttering in the sky, at times seemed to

    have lost its pivot. Outside the gate, the superannuated intra-city trolleys sent the sound of their

    passing echoing off the mosaic walls of the lecture halls under the cloudy sky.

    He did not choose one friend above another, and as far as the world was concerned he had no

    need of anyone to relieve his constant loneliness other than a few incorruptible souls with whom

    he could exchange notes. Among these steadfast friends, Yuichi was envied for his lovely wife,

    and the question as to whether marriage would cure his philandering was seriously argued. It was

    an argument that seemed to know what it was driving at, and it arrived at the conclusion that

    Yuichi was a woman chaser.

    As a result, when he suddenly heard himself called by the name “Yuchan,” his pulse

    quickened like that of a fugitive.

    It was a student sitting on a stone bench caught up in ivy beside one of the paths where

    the sun now gently slanted. Bent over a large electrical engineering textbook open on his knees,

    the student had not been in Yuichi’s field of vision until he called.

    Yuichi stopped and regretted that he had done so. It would have been better to act as if it

    were not his name. Again the student called, “Yuchan,” and stood up. He slapped the dust from

    his trousers carefully. He had a cheerful, round face, an animated face. His pants looked as if

    they got their crease by being placed under his mattress nightly. They stood straight and stiff as if

    they had been cut and hung up. He pulled up his trousers at the waist, and as he adjusted his belt,

    he exposed the broad pleats of his bright, immaculate white shirt.

    “Are you speaking to me?” said Yuichi, pausing.

    “Yes. I met you at Rudon’s. My name is Suzuki.”

    Yuichi looked at the face again. He didn’t recall it.

    “I guess you’ve forgotten. There are a lot of kids that wink at Yuchan. Even kids who

    have come there with their gentlemen wink at him. I haven’t winked yet, though.”

    “What do you want?”

    “What do I want? Yuchan, of all people! Don’t be uncouth. How’d you like to play

    around now?”

    “Play around?”

    “You don’t understand, eh?”

    The two youths slowly drew closer.

    “But it’s still broad daylight.”

    “Even in the daylight there are loads of places to go.”

    “Yes, for a man and a woman.”

    “No, not that. I’ll show you.”

    “But . . . I don’t have anything on me.”

    “I do. And if Yuchan will come play around with me, it’s my pleasure.”

    Yuichi cut that afternoon’s lecture.

    With what he got from working somewhere or other, the younger student treated to cab

    fare. The cab went through a dreary, burned-out mansion district of Takagicho, in Aoyama.

    Inside a gate of which only the stone wall had not burned down, before a house bearing the name

    “Kusaka” and a barely visible new temporary roof, Suzuki ordered the cab to stop. There was a

    wicket gate in the entrance and an old-fashioned door that was shut tight. Suzuki rang the bell,

    and for no apparent reason unhooked the neckband of his student uniform. He turned to Yuichi

    and smiled.

    In a short time the sound of garden geta moving with short, quick steps approached the

    entrance. A voice that was either a man’s or a woman’s—one could not tell which—asked who

    was there.

    “It’s Suzuki; open up,” the student said. The door opened. A middle-aged man in a bright

    red jacket greeted the two youths. The garden was strange to look at. It was possible to go to the

    outbuildings, connected with the main house by a covered way, on a path of steppingstones. The

    garden trees, however, were practically all gone. The spring had dried up. As if part of a

    wilderness in microcosm, fall plants were flourishing luxuriously everywhere and anywhere.

    Among the plants, foundation stones—remnants of a fire—gleamed whitely. The two students

    stepped up into a new four-and-a-half-mat outbuilding that still smelled of lumber.

    “Shall I heat your bath?”

    “No, thank you,” Suzuki said.

    “Would you like a drink?”

    “No, thank you.”

    “Well,” the man said, grinning sagely, “I’ll lay out the bed. Young people are always in a

    hurry to get in bed.”

    The two waited in the adjoining two-mat room until the futon was laid out. They said

    nothing. Suzuki offered Yuichi a cigarette. He accepted. With that, Suzuki put two cigarettes in

    his mouth, lit them, and gave Yuichi one with a smile. In the exaggerated composure of this

    student, Yuichi could not help but think there were traces of a childish innocence.

    There was a sound as of distant thunder—the storm doors in the other room were being

    closed even though it was daytime.

    They were called into the bedroom. A light was burning in the lamp by the bed. From the

    other side of the sliding doors, the man said, “Rest well.” His retreating footsteps sounded from

    the covered passageway. It was a daytime sound—the creaking of the boards in the

    passageway—yet they made one think a feeble sun was shining.

    Suzuki undid a breast button and lay down on the quilts. Propped on one elbow, he

    smoked his cigarette. As the sound of footsteps faded, he jumped up like a young hunting dog.

    He was somewhat shorter than Yuichi. He sprang to embrace Yuichi around the neck and kiss

    him. The two students kissed for something like four or five minutes. Yuichi slipped his hand

    inside the other boy’s tunic, under the button that was loose. The heartbeat he felt was violent.

    The two separated, turned from each other and hastily tore off their clothing.

    As the two naked youths embraced each other, the sound of the trolley cars and the crow

    of roosters, inappropriate at this time, came to them as if it were the middle of the night.

    Through a gap in the storm doors, however, a ray of the westering sun made the dust

    dance. Spots of coagulated resin in the center of the knots in the wood were turned by the sun’s

    rays into the color of blood. A thin ray of light glinted off the muddy water that filled the vase in

    the alcove. Yuichi sank his face into Suzuki’s hair. His hair was slicked down by lotion instead

    of oil and the smell was agreeable. Suzuki buried his face in Yuichi’s breast. In the outer corners

    of his closed eyes, traces of tears glistened faintly.

    The sound of a fire siren came dreamily into Yuichi’s ears. As it faded in the distance it

    was followed by a second. Finally he heard a third, somewhere in the distance.

    Another fire . . . He pursued the slippery train of thought. Like the first day I went to the

    park. In a big city, there are always fires somewhere. And there are always crimes somewhere,

    too. God, despairing of burning away crime with fire, perhaps distributed crime and fire in equal

    quantities. Thus crime is never consumed by fire, while innocence can be burnt up. That’s why

    insurance companies prosper. My guilt, however—in order that it might become a pure thing

    immune to fire, must not my innocence first pass through the fire? My complete innocence

    where Yasuko is concerned. . . . Didn’t I once ask to be born again for Yasuko’s sake? And now?

    At four o’clock in the afternoon the two students shook hands in front of Shibuya Station

    and separated. Neither had the feeling he had conquered the other.

    pp. 94-98: “I know how you feel, Yuchan,” he said. “You’re tired of me already, aren’t you?”

    Yuichi denied it vehemently, but Eichan, as if speaking from experience of a different

    level from that of his older friend, went on maturely and decisively: “Yes. I knew it from the

    moment you came in. That’s the way it must be. That’s the way we are, one-step men. I’m used

    to it and can take it. But I hoped that you above all would continue to be my big brother for the

    rest of our lives. Now I’ll be satisfied forever that I was your first lover. You won’t forget me,

    will you?”

    Yuichi was greatly moved by this tender entreaty. In his eyes, too, tears welled. He

    sought the boy’s hand under the table and gently squeezed it.

    At this moment the door opened and three foreigners entered. Yuichi remembered having

    seen the face of one of them. It was the slender foreigner who had come out of the building

    across the street at the time of his wedding reception. His suit was different, but he wore the

    same polka-dot bow tie. His hawk’s eye roved the room. He seemed to be drunk. He clapped his

    hands smartly and called: “Eichan! Eichan!”

    His pleasant, sweet voice reverberated from the walls.

    The boy looked down so that his face could not be seen. Then he clicked his tongue

    maturely and professionally: “Oh my, I told him I wasn’t coming here tonight.”

    Rudon flapped the hem of his sky-blue jacket and leaned over the table. Then he said in a

    peremptory voice: “Eichan. Get over there. It’s your gentleman, you know.”

    The atmosphere of the place was filled with sadness.

    Rudy’s insistent plea added to it. Yuichi was ashamed of the tears he had just shed. The

    boy glanced at Rudy and stood up motioning as if he were going to throw something at him.

    Moments of decision sometimes provide balm for the soul’s hurts. Yuichi now felt pride

    in the composure with which he could watch Eichan. His gaze collided with the boy’s

    uncertainly. Then as if to try again and mend all, their eyes met again, but to no avail. The boy

    walked away. Yuichi looked in another direction, where he noticed the beautiful eye of a youth

    winking at him. His heart moved without hindrance, as easily as a butterfly, to meet that look.

    The youth was leaning against the wall opposite. He was dressed in dungarees and a

    navy-blue corduroy jacket. He wore a dark-red necktie of coarse netting. He seemed to be a year

    or two younger than Yuichi. The flowing line of his brows and the wavy richness of his hair

    imparted a legendary cast to his face. Sad as a one-eyed jack, he winked in Yuichi’s direction.

    “Who is he?”

    “Oh, that’s Shigechan. He’s the son of a grocer over by Nakano. He’s rather pretty. Shall

    I call him over?” said Rudy. He signaled, and that prince of the working classes rose nimbly

    from his chair. He alertly saw that Yuichi had just taken out a cigarette, and he struck a match

    with practiced grace and held it within his palm. Translucent in the light of the match, his hand

    glowed like agate. It was a big, honest hand, however—legacy of his father’s toil, one might


    The dislocation in the thinking of the men who visited this place was subtle indeed. From

    his second day there, Yuichi was called “Yuchan.” Rudy treated him more like a close friend

    than a customer. The patronage of Rudon’s had increased suddenly, after all, the day after he

    showed up there, as if word of this new face had been deliberately broadcast. On the third day,

    something happened to swell Yuichi’s reputation even more—Shigechan appeared at the place

    shaved bald as a monk. Since Yuichi had shared his bed with him the night before, he had, with

    no regret, cut off his beautiful, abundant hair as a token of his love.

    Numerous fantastic stories of this kind circulated rapidly in the world of this persuasion.

    By the code of the secret society, stories were not carried one step outside, but once a miraculous

    story got started on the inside it replaced all earlier secrets of the boudoir. For, after all, nine

    tenths of the daily conversation was taken up with erotic reports of one’s own and others’

    experiences in the bedroom.

    As Yuichi’s knowledge broadened, he came to be amazed at the unexpected scope of that


    Muffled in a straw poncho, this world idled through the daylight hours. There was

    friendship, the love of comrades, philanthropy, the love of master and protégé; there were

    partners, assistants, managers, houseboys, leaders and followers, brothers, cousins, uncle and

    nephew, secretaries, amanuenses, drivers—there were numbers of other capacities and stations of

    diverse kinds: executives, actors, singers, authors, artists, musicians, high and mighty college

    professors, white-collar workers, students. In the world of men they idled, muffled in all kinds of

    ponchos made of straw.

    They asked for themselves the advent of a world of supreme benison; bound by the spell

    of their common fate, they dreamed a dream of a simple truth. That dream was that the truth that

    man loves man would overthrow the old truth that man loves woman. Only the Jews were a

    match for them when it came to fortitude. In the abnormal degree to which they held fast to a

    single, humiliating point of view they were like the Jews. The emotion proper to this tribe gave

    birth to a fanatical heroism during the war. After the war it embraced a pride at being in the van

    of decadence. It thrived on confusion. In that riven ground it grew clumps of tiny, dark violets.

    Across this world of men only, however, a tremendous female shadow lay. All tossed in

    nightmare under this unseen feminine umbra. Some defied it; some resigned themselves to it;

    some resisted and in the end were defeated; some worshiped it from the beginning. Yuichi

    believed he was an exception. Then he prayed that he was an exception. Then he strove that he

    might be an exception. He worked that he might at least limit the influence of that awful shadow

    to trivial matters—such as looking in the mirror frequently, or the little habit of turning to look at

    his form reflected in windows at street corners, or, when he went to the theater, the insignificant,

    functionless habit of walking affectedly in the hall during intermission. These are, of course,

    habits common among normal young people.

    One day in the hall of the theater Yuichi saw a singer who, though famous in that world,

    was married. He had a manly face and figure. He led a busy professional life and, as an

    avocation, boxed assiduously in a ring he had installed in his home. He had a sweet voice and

    possessed everything that girls clamored for. Now he was busily surrounded by four or five

    ladylike young creatures. It happened, however, that a gentleman of about his own age called to

    him from nearby. He might have been a schoolmate. The singer roughly grabbed his hand and

    shook it. (They looked for all the world as if they were getting ready to fight.) He shook the

    friend’s right hand in great swings and pounded the friend’s shoulder vigorously. His thin,

    serious friend staggered slightly. The young ladies looked at each other and laughed decorously.

    This scene pierced Yuichi’s heart. It was the exact opposite of what Yuichi had seen in

    the park—those fellows in all their coquettishness, hips swinging, shoulders drawn together,

    something so directly opposed that the hidden similar numbers came floating up like invisible

    ink, touching something disgusting that had been brought to light within him. Were he a

    spiritualist, surely he would have called it fate. The singer’s empty, artificial coquetries directed

    at women; his entire life concentrated, his entire peripheral nervous system bent, intent, taut,

    totally engaged—that strenuous “virile” performance capable of evoking tears was unbearably

    bitter to watch.

    Afterward “Yuchan” was wooed incessantly. In short, intimacy was forced upon him.

    In a few days a romantic middle-aged merchant came to Tokyo all the way from Aomori

    because he had already heard of Yuichi and longed for him. One foreigner offered, through

    Rudy, a suit of clothes, an overcoat, shoes, and a watch—a generous offer for one night’s favors.

    Yuichi was not interested. One man moved into the chair next to Yuichi when it happened to be

    vacant and, feigning drunkenness, pulled his hat brim down over his eyes. Then he pushed his

    elbow far over the armrest and poked Yuichi meaningfully in the ribs several times.

    From time to time Yuichi had to take a roundabout route home to avoid people covertly

    following him.

    All that was known about him, however, was that he was still a student. His station, his

    history—above all the fact that he was already married, his lineage, his home, his house

    number—not a person knew. The being of this beautiful youth, therefore, was soon charged with

    the fragrance of divine miracle.

    One day a palm reader who dealt primarily with homosexuals came into Rudon’s. He was

    an old man, wearing a threadbare overcoat of the old Japanese style. He scanned Yuichi’s palm

    and said, “You have two choices, see. Like the two swords of Musashi Miyamoto, see.

    Somewhere away from here you have left a woman in tears, and you are here acting as if you

    don’t know about it, right?”

    Yuichi shuddered slightly. Revealed before his eyes was a certain pettiness, cheapness, in

    his exotic charm. It lacked a frame in real life.

    That was true enough. The world that gathered at Rudon’s supported no more life than

    the torrid zone, a life like that of practically exiled colonial administrative employees. In short,

    there was nothing more than the bare essentials of sentiment, the violent discipline of sentiment

    in that world. And if this was the political fate of the tribe, who could resist it? There, plants of

    extraordinary tenacity grew; it was the jungle of sentiment.

    The man who lost his way in that jungle became affected by noxious exhalations and eventually

    turned into a kind of unsightly monster. No one has a right to laugh. The difference is only a

    matter of degree. In the world of homosexuality, no man has the power to resist the mysterious

    force that drags people down willy-nilly into the wallow of sentiment. A man might, for instance,

    resist by turning to a busy occupation, or intellectual pursuit, or art, and cling to the higher

    intellectual levels of the masculine world. No man, however, can withstand the flood of emotion

    that cascades into his life; no man has been able to forget the connection that somehow exists

    between his body and this morass. No man has been able to cut his hand away summarily from

    the damp familiarity he has with the creatures of his kind. There have been countless attempts.

    The outcome of each, however, has been only this damp handshake again, only this sticky

    winking come round once more. Men like this, who essentially are incapable of maintaining a

    home, can find something like a household fire only in the gloomy eyes that say:

    “You, too, are one of our kind.”

    pp. 213-215: . . . a bulky letter from Mrs. Kaburagi, bearing the return address of that nunnery,

    was delivered to Yuichi. He hefted the letter in his hand. It seemed to whisper in its weight:

    “Here I am.”

    The letter said that the plain view of such a frightful scene had weakened her hold on life.

    That scene, so disgusting to look at, not only made her tremble with fear and humiliation, it also

    made her feel that she had absolutely no power to intervene in human affairs. She was already

    accustomed to an unconventional way of life. She had lightly skipped across its chasms, but this

    time she had finally looked into one. Her legs were numb; she could not walk. Mrs. Kaburagi

    was contemplating suicide.

    She started off toward the suburbs of Kyoto, where it was still early for cherry blossoms,

    and took a long walk alone. She enjoyed seeing the great bamboo groves rustling in the wind of

    the early spring.

    How vain, how vexatious, these bamboos in their greatness! she thought. And then, what


    The greatest manifestation of her unhappiness lay in her conviction that if she was going

    to die, she should not think too much about being dead. When people do this, they escape death.

    For suicide, whether a lofty thing or lowly, is rather a suicide of thought itself; in general a

    suicide in which the subject does not think too much does not exist.

    If it happened that she couldn’t die—her thoughts took the opposite tack—it would be

    because the very thing that once drove her to death was now coming to look like the only thing

    that would keep her alive. What charmed her now much more fiercely than Yuichi’s beauty was

    the ugliness of his action. As a result she had calmly reached the view that there was no greater

    meeting of minds than in the absolute, incontrovertible humiliation that lay in the identity of their

    feelings when she saw him and he was seen by her.

    Was the ugliness of that action his weak point? No. One must not think that a woman like

    Mrs. Kaburagi loved weakness. It was nothing more than the most extreme challenge to her

    sensibilities that his power could exert upon her. Thus she did not realize that what at first

    seemed a matter for her sentiments was, after various stern ordeals, becoming a problem of her

    will. There is not so much as a scintilla of gentleness in my love, she reflected, incongruously.

    As her steeled sensibilities saw him, the more monstrous Yuichi seemed, the more reason she

    had to love him.

    When he read the next passage, Yuichi smiled a bitter smile. How naive! While making

    me out to be beautiful, and she with her heart pure, now she tries to compete with me at being

    dirty, he thought to himself.

    Nowhere so much as in this interminable, whorish confession had Mrs. Kaburagi’s

    passion ever come so close to being maternal. In trying to equal Yuichi’s sins, Mrs. Kaburagi

    laid bare all of her own sins. In order to mount to the height of Yuichi’s immorality, she

    laboriously piled up her own immorality. She produced evidence to show that she and he were

    blood relatives. She was like a mother gladly taking guilt on herself in order to protect her son.

    She laid her own misconduct bare. In her disregard of the effect her confession would have on

    the youth, moreover, she practically attained the egoism of maternity. Did she divine that this

    resolute baring of her soul, by rendering her completely unlovable, would provide the only

    means by which she could be loved?

    pp. 221-225: “Since I met thee, however,” Mrs. Kaburagi wrote, “my world has changed

    completely. I thought my muscles were entirely voluntary, but I seem to have the involuntary

    ones everyone else does. Thou wert a wall—to barbarian armies a fortress thousands of miles

    long. Thou wert a lover who would never love me. For that reason, I adored thee; I still adore

    thee as then.

    “When I say this, I should say that besides thee I had another Great Wall—Kaburagi.

    When I saw that, I understood for the first time. That is certainly why I have not been able

    to leave him until now. But Kaburagi is different from thee. He is not beautiful.

    “Since I met thee, I have given up all my mock harlotries. That Nozaki and Kaburagi

    have coaxed and wheedled, striving to get me to alter my decision, thou canst well imagine. Just

    the same, until the other day, I got by without listening to them. Since Kaburagi’s value

    depended on me, Nozaki held up his monthly salary. Kaburagi pleaded with me. At last I gave

    in, vowing that this would be the last time, and I played the harlot again. If I say that I was a

    prophet, thou wilt laugh, I suppose. When I came back with the document I had garnered on that

    day, I happened to see that.

    “I got together just a few jewels and left for Kyoto. I will sell those jewels in order to live

    for the present, and will find myself a respectable job. Fortunately, my great-aunt has told me I

    can stay here as long as I like.

    “Without me, perhaps Kaburagi will lose his job. No man can live on the pittance he gets

    from that sewing school.

    “For several nights in a row I have dreamed of thee. I would really like to see thee. For

    the time being, though, I had better not.

    “I don’t mean to say do this please or that please when thou readest this letter. I won’t say

    now go on loving Kaburagi, and won’t say throw Kaburagi over and love me. I want thee to be

    free; thou must be free. How could I wish to make thee mine? It would be like wishing to own

    the blue sky. The only thing I can say is that I adore thee. If ever thou shouldst come to Kyoto,

    be sure to come to Shishigatani. The temple is just north of the tomb of the Emperor Reizei.”

    Yuichi finished reading the letter. The mocking smile was gone from the corner of his

    mouth. Quite unexpectedly, he was moved.

    He had received the letter when he came home at three in the afternoon. After he read it,

    he reread the important passages. The blood rose to his face. His hand shook involuntarily from

    time to time.

    First and foremost—and most unfortunately—he was moved by his own sensitivity. He

    was moved by the realization of how little volition there was in his feelings. His heart had

    jumped like that of a sick man who was recovered from a serious illness: “I am sensitive!”

    He pressed his beautiful, burning face against the letter. In this mad paroxysm, he found

    ecstasy. Drunker than if he had drunk sake, he was drunk on intoxication. At the same time he

    began to feel that within him an emotion that he had not yet discovered was forming. He was like

    a philosopher who, before writing a treatise, happily smokes a cigarette; he took pleasure in

    deliberately putting off the discovery of this emotion.

    On his desk sat the clock left by his father, clutched by its bronze lion. He strained to hear

    the interplay of his heartbeats and the sound of the clockwork. He had an unfortunate habit of

    looking at the clock whenever he encountered a new feeling. He would wonder how long it

    would last, and no matter how joyful a sensation it was, when it passed before five minutes

    had gone by, he would feel strangely relieved.

    His eyes closed in terror. Mrs. Kaburagi’s face hovered before him. It was a truly clear

    vision, every line etched: the eyes, the nose, the lips—every feature was distinct. Was he not still

    the same Yuichi who, in the train with Yasuko on the way to their honeymoon, had been so

    reluctant to sketch her face in his mind as she sat by him? The clarity of his recollection was

    mostly caused by the desire awakening within him. Mrs. Kaburagi’s face as he recalled it was

    truly beautiful. He felt as if he had never in his life seen such a beautiful woman.

    His eyes opened wide. The later afternoon sun was shining on the camellia tree in full

    bloom in the garden. The blossoms of the eightfold camellia gleamed. To that emotion that he

    had deliberately discovered so late, Yuichi, in full control of his senses, gave a name. As if

    thinking it was not enough, he whispered it: “I love her. That at least is sure.”

    Certain emotions turn false as soon as one articulates them, Yuichi had learned from

    bitter experience. He was subjecting his new emotion to the acid test.

    “I love her. I can’t believe that is not true. With all my power, I cannot deny this emotion.

    I am in love with a woman.”

    He did not try to analyze his emotions. He was raptly confusing imagination with desire,

    memory with hope. His joy had gone mad. He was going to take his “penchant for analysis,” his

    “consciousness,” his “fixed idea,” his “destiny,” his “innate understanding of truth,” put them all

    together, curse them and bury them. Of course, these are what we commonly refer to as the

    symptoms of the disease of modernity.

    Was it an accident that in the midst of this tempest of emotions Yuichi should have remembered

    the name of Shunsuke?

    “That’s it; I must see Mr. Hinoki right away. That old man is just the person for me to

    confess the joy of my love to. Why? Because if I make this confession to him so abruptly he will

    sympathize with my joy, and at the same time the old fellow will have the terrible revenge he has

    been plotting so diabolically.”

    He hurried into the hall to the telephone. On the way he met Yasuko, coming from the


    “What’s the hurry? You certainly look happy,” she said.

    “How can you tell?” said Yuichi in the best of spirits, with a cruel magnanimity he had

    never displayed till now. He loved Mrs. Kaburagi and did not love Yasuko! His emotions could

    not possibly be more natural or more honest.

    Shunsuke was at home. They agreed to meet at Rudon’s.

    He waited for the streetcar, hands in his coat pockets like a cutpurse watching, awaiting

    his chance, kicking the stones, stamping his feet. He whistled shrilly but cheerfully at a bicycle

    rider who whizzed by.

    The slow pace and the sideward motion of the old-fashioned trolley was well suited to

    this visionary passenger. Yuichi leaned by a window; thus he could look out at the rows of

    houses darkening in early spring and dream.

    He felt his imagination spinning swiftly, like a top. If a top does not keep spinning,

    though, it will fall. And can one reach out one’s hand and whip up its flagging revolutions as it

    spins? When the power that propelled it spent itself, that was the end, was it not? Thus he had

    misgivings about having only one reason for his joy.

    Now that I think about it, I have loved Mrs. Kaburagi from the beginning, surely, he

    thought. If so, why did I avoid her there in the Rakuyo Hotel? That reflection was enough to send

    cold shivers down his spine. Of course, fear, cowardice itself, was to blame, Yuichi rationalized.

    He had fled from Mrs. Kaburagi in the Rakuyo Hotel all because of cowardice.

    Shunsuke had not yet arrived at Rudon’s.

    Yuichi had never waited for Shunsuke with such impatience. Again and again he felt for

    the letter in his inside pocket. When he touched it, it had the effect of a charm; he felt that when

    Shunsuke arrived his passion would not have abated at all.

    There was something majestic in the way in which Shunsuke pushed open the door of

    Rudon’s this evening; perhaps Yuichi’s impatience had something to do with it. He was wearing

    an Inverness, over a kimono. Even that was a variation from the flashiness he had been affecting

    recently. Yuichi was surprised to see him exchange bows with boys at the table here and there

    before he took the chair beside him. There was not a boy among those present this evening who

    had not been entertained by Shunsuke.

    “Well, it has been a long time.” Shunsuke thrust out his hand with youthful vigor. Yuichi

    kept himself in check, and Shunsuke calmly started the conversation: “I hear Mrs. Kaburagi has

    left home.”

    “Then you know?”

    “Kaburagi’s been foaming at the mouth; he came over, and we had a heart-to-heart talk.

    He seems to consider me a mystic finder of lost persons.”

    “Did Mr. Kaburagi—“ Yuichi began, and then smiled a dissimulating smile. It was a

    smile of pure craft, like that of a boy playing a practical joke; it ran counter to his chief concern.

    “Did he tell you the reason?”

    “He was keeping mum; he didn’t say. But it must have been because his wife saw you

    and him in a love scene.”

    “Exactly!” said Yuichi, dumbfounded.

    “As I look at things, that had to happen.” In his self-satisfaction, Shunsuke broke into a

    fit of coughing. Yuichi rubbed his back and did what he could to help him.

    When the coughing stopped, Shunsuke turned his ruddy face and brimming eyes toward

    Yuichi again and asked: “Well—what’s up?”

    Without a word, Yuichi handed him the letter.

    Shunsuke put on his glasses and swiftly counted the sheets. “Fifteen pages,” he said,

    almost angrily. Then he settled himself noisily in his chair as the Inverness and the kimono

    beneath it rubbed against each other, and began to read.

    Although it was not his own letter, Yuichi felt as if he sat before a professor during the

    examination of his paper. He had lost his confidence; doubt gnawed at him. The sooner this

    period of penance was over the better he would like it. Yuichi observed that the passages that he

    had read with so much emotion brought no change of expression in Shunsuke’s face. Yuichi felt

    more and more uneasy about the correctness of his feeling.

    “A nice letter.” Shunsuke took off his glasses and idly toyed with them. “It is certainly

    true that women don’t have any brains, yet this is good evidence that at certain times and in

    certain circumstances they have something that will serve in place of brains. In short, spite.”

    “I didn’t bring you here, sir, to hear your criticisms.”

    “I didn’t criticize it! I couldn’t criticize anything so marvellously contrived. Do you

    criticize a marvelous bald head? A marvelous case of appendicitis? A marvelous Nerima


    “But I was moved,” the youth said, pleading.

    “You were moved? That surprises me. When you write a New Year’s card you try to

    move the other fellow somewhat. If, however, by some error something has moved you, and that

    something was in a letter, that is in the worst form possible.”

    “You’re wrong. I understood. I understood that I love Mrs. Kaburagi.”

    Shunsuke began to laugh—a long sticky laugh from which he didn’t seem able to

    extricate himself. The men at the nearby tables turned to watch as he struggled. He drank water,

    choked, and went on laughing. The peals of laughter, it seemed, would never stop coming.

    pp. 226-232: In Shunsuke’s idiotic laughter, there was no ridicule, not even good humor, not the

    slightest hint of feeling. It was an outright guffaw. It might be called the only act of which the

    old novelist was now capable. It was different from a coughing spasm or neuralgia; this

    explosive laughter was not forced.

    Perhaps Yuichi, listening, considered him mad; but Shunsuke Hinoki felt that, thanks to

    this laughter, he now had within him a sense of kinship with the world.

    Laugh it off! Laugh and pass it by! Thus, for the first time, the world stood before him.

    Jealousy and hatred, his traditional responses, even with the aid of Yuichi’s vicarious anguish,

    had only served to spur him on to create works of art. Such was the power of this laugh that it

    held within it a kind of connection between his existence and the world, an ability through which

    he could see with his own eyes the blue sky on the other side of the globe.

    Long ago he had taken a trip to Kutsukaka and encountered an eruption of the Asama

    volcano. Late at night, the glass in the windows rattled thinly and woke him from a light slumber

    into which he had fallen, frazzled by work. A series of explosions was occurring at thirty-second

    intervals. He got up and looked toward the crater. There was no sound there to speak of. A faint

    rumble came from the mountaintop, and after it a scarlet burst of flame. It was like the ocean

    surf, Shunsuke thought. The dancing spray of flame collapsed softly; but then half of it revivified

    into a circle of fire, half of it played about in the sky in the form of dark red smoke. It was like

    watching the last rays of sunset.

    This volcanic laughter in Rudon’s had in it a faint, distant rumbling. Shunsuke, however,

    felt that an emotion that came to him only rarely was hidden symbolically within his volcanic


    This emotional link, which had kept him going several times during his humiliating

    youth, was a feeling of sympathy for the world. It visited him only at rare instances late at night,

    as now, or when he was about to descend from a high peak, alone in the dawn. At such times he

    felt himself to be an artist. His soul regarded the feeling as one of the extra emoluments of his

    office, a comic respite that gave him faith in the immeasurable height of his soul’s station. It

    was an emotion as delicious as the taste of fresh air. As mountain climbers are shocked by their

    own gigantic shadows, so he was shocked by this gigantic emotion granted him by his soul.

    What could he have called this emotion? Shunsuke didn’t call it anything; he merely

    laughed. Certainly, respect was missing from that laugh—even respect for himself.

    So in those moments when his laughter tied him to the world, that connecting bond of

    sympathy brought his heart close to the supreme love, that superlatively perfidious thing we call

    love of man.

    At last Shunsuke stopped laughing. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped

    away his tears. His aged lower lids folded in tear-soaked wrinkles.

    “You felt! You love!” he said, exaggerating. “That’s outright nonsense! This thing called

    feeling, like a beautiful wife, is something that goes wrong easily. For that reason it can only

    excite men who don’t amount to very much.

    “Don’t be angry, Yuchan. I didn’t say you were a man who didn’t amount to much. It’s

    just that, unfortunately, you have been yearning for emotion. Into the utter purity of your heart

    the thirst for emotion has happened to enter. It’s simply a case of illness. Just as boys who arrive

    at adolescence fall in love with love, you were moved by being moved; that’s all. When you’re

    recovered from this fixed idea, your emotion will vanish like the mist, surely. You, too, must

    already know that—that outside of sexual feeling there is no feeling. No matter what the notion

    or the conception, if it has nothing of sex in it, it cannot make man feel. Men, moved by the

    secret elements of thought, like coxcombs spread the word that they have been moved by thought

    itself. It would be better if we stopped using vague words like ‘emotion.’

    “I know I’m being picky, but I’ll try to analyze your testimony. First, you testified, ‘I

    felt.’ Then you testified, ‘I love Mrs. Kaburagi.’ What do these two things have to do with each

    other? Briefly, you know very well that there is no such thing as emotion that is unconnected

    with sexual attraction. So you immediately added the word ‘love’ as a postscript. In doing so,

    you used the word ‘love’ as a synonym for animal desire. Perhaps you have no objection to that

    point. Mrs. Kaburagi’s gone off to Kyoto. As far as animal passion is concerned you can be

    completely at ease. And so for the first time you have allowed yourself to love a woman. Isn’t

    that right?”

    Yuichi did not submit to this claptrap the way he had formerly. His deep, sad eyes

    watched closely Shunsuke’s excited movements. He had learned to strip each word bare, seeking

    out ways to test them.

    “Just the same, how?” the youth said. “When you speak of animal desire, you are talking

    about something much colder than what people mean when they speak of reason. The emotion I

    felt when I read that letter was much warmer than the animal desire you refer to. Is it true that all

    feeling in this world other than sexual desire is a lie? If so, is not sexual desire also a lie? If only

    the deficient state in which one desires another is the real thing, all the states of momentary

    fulfillment are illusions. I certainly can’t see that. It is an existence like that of a beggar who, in

    order that people will later throw more alms into his receptacle, always hides his alms before the

    receptacle is full. It seems awfully mean to me.

    “I sometimes think I would like to involve myself wholeheartedly in something. If it is

    done on behalf of some lie, that’s all right. If it has no object, fine. In high school, I did a great

    deal of high jumping and diving. It was great to throw my body into the air. ‘Now, now, now, I

    have stopped dead in the air!’ I told myself. The green of the field, the green of the pool water—

    they were always around me. Now, I have nothing green around me. If what I want to do is being

    done on behalf of a lie, good. For instance, is the action of a man who enlists in the service and

    distinguishes himself less distinguished because he did it out of self-deception?”

    “My goodness, you’re getting highfalutin, aren’t you? You used to be in agony because you

    found it hard to believe in the existence of your own emotions; there wasn’t a thing I could do

    with you. So I showed you the joy of being without feeling. Now you want to be unhappy again,

    eh? As your beauty is perfect so must your unhappiness be. I have never said it outright before,

    but the power that you have to make women and men unhappy one after the other is not derived

    only from the power of your beauty; it also comes from your gift of being more unhappy than


    “You’re right. At last you’ve said it, sir. With that, sir, your instruction has become quite

    ordinary. All you’ve taught me is that I must see my own unhappiness and live with it, and that

    there is no way by which I can escape it. Tell me truly, sir, has there never been one time when

    you have felt something?”

    “Other than sexual desire, no.”

    The youth went on with a half-bantering smile: “Well, what about the first time I saw

    you, on the shore last summer?”

    Shunsuke marveled. He recalled the fierce sunlight of summer: the deep blue of that sea,

    a single eddy of water, the sea breeze striking his ears. Then he recalled the Greek vision that

    moved him so keenly, the vision of a bronze sculpture of the Peloponnesus school.

    Was there no sexual desire in that? If not, then a presentiment of sex? At that time

    Shunsuke, who had passed his life far away from thought, for the first time came to embrace

    thought. Was that thinking really filled with sexual desire? Until today his undying misgivings

    had revolved around that question. Yuichi’s words had caught Shunsuke off guard.

    The music from Rudon’s record player stopped just then. The place was quiet; the

    proprietor had gone off somewhere. Only the horns of passing automobiles echoed noisily in the

    room. Neon signs were coming on in town; an ordinary night was commencing.

    For no reason at all Shunsuke thought of a scene from a novel he had written long ago:

    He loitered a while and looked at the cryptomeria tree. It was a tall tree; its age, too, was very

    great. There was a rift in one corner of the cloudy heavens, and through it one shaft of sunlight

    came down like a waterfall and lit up the tree. It lit it up, but it could not by any means penetrate

    inside the cryptomeria. In vain it reached the periphery of the tree, falling on the moss-covered

    earth. He was oddly conscious of the will of the tree he was raising, its will to rise to heaven all

    the while stubbornly holding off the penetrating light. It was as if he had been given the mission

    of communicating to heaven the exact image of that life’s dark will.

    He was reminded of a passage from Mrs. Kaburagi’s letter that he had just read: “Thou

    wert a wall—to barbarian armies a fortress ten thousand miles long. Thou wert a lover who

    would never love me. Therefore I adored thee. I still adore thee, even now.”

    Shunsuke looked at the rows of white teeth, like that long fortress, between Yuichi’s

    slightly parted lips.

    Do I not feel sexual desire for this beautiful youth? he thought to himself with a cold

    shiver. If not, there would be no reason for my feeling this heart-rending emotion. It is as if

    before I was aware I started feeling desire. It’s impossible! I love the flesh of this young man.

    The old man shook his head slightly. Without doubt his thinking had become filled with

    sexual desire. His thinking gained power for the first time. Shunsuke had forgotten that he was

    dead—he loved!

    Shunsuke’s heart suddenly became humble. In his eyes the arrogant flame flickered out.

    He shrugged his Inverness-clad shoulders as if he were folding his wings. Once again he stared

    longingly at Yuichi’s streamlined brows. Youth pervaded the air around him.

    If I love this youth sexually, he thought, and if this impossible discovery is possible at my

    age, I cannot say that Yuichi cannot love Mrs. Kaburagi sexually. How do you like that?

    “Perhaps you do love Mrs. Kaburagi, for all I know. When I listen to your voice, I

    somehow get that impression.” Shunsuke did not realize how bitter was the feeling in his words.

    The thoughts he was expressing affected him as if he were stripping the skin off his body. He

    was jealous!

    As a teacher, Shunsuke was a little too honest. Thus he said what he did. Those who teach young

    men are completely aware of their youth and know that what the teacher says will be taken as if

    he had the opposite end in mind. Sure enough, Yuichi, having been spoken to thus directly, took

    the opposite tack. Without help from anyone, he somehow had the courage to look directly

    within himself.

    No, that isn’t so, he thought. I can’t love Mrs. Kaburagi, that’s sure. For all I know I was in love

    with a second me, a beautiful young man with a beauty beyond possibility in this world, whom

    Mrs. Kaburagi loves so much. That letter certainly had power enough. Anybody receiving a

    letter like that would have difficulty in thinking of himself as the subject of it. I am not

    Narcissus, he rationalized proudly. If I were in love with myself I might without difficulty see

    myself and the subject of that letter as the same thing. But I am not in love with myself. That is

    why I fell in love with Yuchan.

    Because of these reflections, Yuichi felt a somewhat confused affection for Shunsuke. The

    reason was that, in this moment, both Yuichi and Shunsuke loved the same person. You like me;

    I like me; let’s be friends—this is the axiom of egoistic affection. At the same time it is the one

    and only manifestation of mutual love.

    “No, that cannot be. I understand now. I do not love Mrs. Kaburagi,” Yuchan said.

    Shunsuke’s countenance overflowed with joy.

    That thing called love is very much like a fever, even with the long period of incubation. During

    the incubation period the various sensations of malaise await the onset of the illness, when for

    the first time the symptoms are plain. As a result, the person coming down with a disease

    believes that the underlying causes of all the problems of the world are explicable in terms of

    fever. War occurs: “That’s the fever,” he says with a gasp. A philosopher suffers to resolve the

    pains of the world: “That’s the fever,” he says, suffering under his high temperature.

    When Shunsuke Hinoki recognized that he desired Yuichi, he knew the cause of his

    sentimental pining, of the jealousy that pierced him from time to time, of the life which came to

    be worth living when there was the possibility that Yuichi would phone, of the mysterious pain

    of frustration, of the pain of Yuichi’s long silence that led him to plan the trip to Kyoto, of the

    joy of that trip to Kyoto. This was, however, an ominous discovery. If it was love, he thought, in

    the light of his past experience failure was inevitable. There was no hope. He must wait for his

    opportunity; he must hide his feelings as much as he could. These were the things this old man,

    so very deficient in confidence, told himself.

    pp. 326-328: One could not compare young Yuichi’s body with that of Fukujiro, who was nearly

    forty. Not only that, Yuichi was to Minoru a vision of the hero out of so many action movies and

    the daring youth of adventure stories. Everything that Minoru wished to be he saw embodied in

    Yuichi. Shunsuke had used Yuichi as the material of a work he dreamed of; but Minoru used

    countless old tales as the material of a dream of Yuichi.

    Yuichi would turn his head sharply—in the boy’s eyes he had turned his head in order to

    defend himself against the terrible onslaughts of young villains. Minoru fancied himself to be the

    boy companion sure to be accompanying such a hero. He was confident in the very depths of him

    in the courage of his master. He was a pure servant who felt that when he died it would be with

    his master. As a result, it was not love he manifested so much as sexual loyalty, the joy of

    imaginary renunciation and self-sacrifice. What he exhibited was a perfectly natural boyish

    propensity to dream. In his dreams one night, Minoru saw Yuichi and himself on the battlefield.

    Yuichi was the beautiful young officer; Minoru was his beautiful boy orderly. The two were

    simultaneously struck in the chest by rifle bullets and died embracing, their lips locked in a kiss.

    Another time Yuichi was a young seaman; Minoru was a boy sailor. The two landed on

    an island in the torrid zone, and while they were there the ship, at the order of the crafty captain,

    set sail. There on the island the two castaways were attacked by savages. They warded off

    countless poison arrows fired from the bushes, using a great scallop shell for a shield.

    Thus a night the two spend together was a fabulous night. Around them swirled the night

    of a gigantic, hostile world. Villains and bitter enemies and savages and assassins prayed for

    their misfortune. The eyes of adversaries who would shout for joy if they died were outside,

    peering through the dark window panes. Minoru was sad that he could not sleep with a pistol

    under his pillow. What would he do if some scoundrel had hidden himself in the wardrobe and

    was opening the door a crack and taking dead aim at the sleeping forms of the two with a

    revolver? He could not help feeling that Yuichi, sleeping undisturbed by these fancies, had

    courage beyond that of other men.

    The unreasoning fear from which Minoru had longed to escape suddenly was transformed

    into a sweet, fabulous fear that made him feel only the joy of living under its influence. When he

    came upon articles in newspapers about opium smuggling and secret societies, he would read

    them avidly, thinking that each was an incident involving themselves.

    Yuichi had been slightly infected by these proclivities in the boy. The stubborn bias

    against society that Yuichi once held—and still held—was in this dreamer something to

    encourage fantasies, romantic enmities, romanesque perils, plebeian defenses against justice and

    nobility, the unyielding, reasonless prejudice of the rabble. When he saw this, Yuichi felt better.

    When he realized, moreover, the source of these inspirations—that it was he, Yuichi, nothing

    else—he was amazed at his own intangible power.

    pp. 298-299: Yuichi knew all the developments. If he smiled in assent to the youth, they would

    go on until late at night calmly drinking together. When the bar closed up, they would go out.

    Feigning drunkenness, they would stand in front of a hotel entrance. In Japan, as a rule, there is

    nothing strange about men friends spending the night in the same hotel room. They would turn

    the key of a room on the second floor within earshot of the whistle of the midnight freight train

    close by. A kiss instead of a salutation, disrobing, the neon signs nullifying the effect of the

    extinguished lamp, the double bed with its superannuated spring squealing piteously, impatient

    hugs and kisses, the first cold contact of the skin of their naked bodies after the sweat had dried,

    the smell of flesh and pomade, endless groping for satisfaction filled with impatience for the

    same bodies, little screams belying masculine vanity, hands wet with hair oil . . . Then the

    pitiable facsimile of physical satisfaction, the evaporation of all that perspiration, the groping

    under pillows for cigarettes and matches, the faintly shining whites of eyes. Then the endless

    conversation surging as over a broken dam, and the descent to the childish play of nothing more

    than two men friends with their desire for a time satisfied, tests of strength in the dark night,

    stabs at wrestling, various other inanities. . . .

    Suppose I go out with this youth, Yuichi thought, looking at his sake cup. It will be nothing new;

    I know that the demands of originality will be no more satisfied than before. Why is the love of

    men so irresolute as this? And yet is not the very stuff of homosexuality that simple state of pure

    friendship that comes after the act? That lonely state of returning, lust appeased, mutually to the

    state of being simply members of the same sex—had not their lust been granted for the very

    purpose of building to such a state? Those of this ilk love each other because they are men, they

    like to think, but is it not the cruel truth that by loving they recognize for the first time that they

    are men? Before loving, something extremely subtle inhabits the consciousness of these people.

    Their desire is closer to metaphysics than to sexuality. And what is that?

    Nevertheless, everywhere he looked he found only the wish to get away. Saikaku’s

    homosexual lovers had found no way out save the priesthood or love suicide.

    p. 89: Someone once said that homosexuals have on their faces a certain loneliness that will not

    come off. Besides, in their glances flirtatiousness and the cold stare of appraisal are combined.

    Although the coquettish looks that women direct at the opposite sex and the appraising glances

    they direct at their own sex have quite separate functions, with the homosexual both are directed

    at one and the same person.

    pp. 379-381: The twofold jealousy that makes the love of the aging homosexual unbearable came

    between Kawada and his bachelor’s sleep. Take the jealousy of a man whose woman is

    unfaithful and combine with it the jealousy that a woman past her prime feels toward a young,

    beautiful woman, and combine with that doubly intricate product the peculiar consciousness that

    the person one loves is of the same sex, and you have an exaggerated, absolutely unforgivable

    humiliation in love. If a prominent man experienced something as enormous as this at the hands

    of a woman, he would be able to endure it. But nothing could do more harm to the self-respect of

    someone like Kawada than to have the humiliations of love for a man thrown into his face.

    Kawada recalled how one day when he was young he was seduced by a rich merchant in

    New York’s Hotel Waldorf-Astoria. Then he remembered the night of a party in Berlin, when he

    and a gentleman he knew got into the man’s Hispano Suiza and headed for his villa in the

    suburbs. The two men in swallow-tail coats embraced in the car oblivious to the headlights of the

    other cars. Their perfumed hardboiled shirt fronts rubbed against each other.

    It was the last flourish of Europe before world panic. It was the time when an aristocratic

    lady and a Negro, an ambassador and a villain, a king and an actor in American action films slept

    together. Kawada recalled the boy sailors of Marseilles and their shiny, white, prominent chests,

    like waterfowl. Then he thought of the beautiful boy he had picked up in a cafe on the Via

    Veneto in Rome, and of the Arab boy in Algiers—Alfredo Jemir Musa Zarzal.

    And Yuichi surpassed all these! Once Kawada found time to meet Yuichi. “Do you want

    to see a movie?” he said.

    “No, I don’t want to see a movie,” Yuichi said.

    They passed a billiard parlor, and Yuichi, who didn’t play much, suddenly went in, for no

    good reason. Kawada didn’t play. For all of three hours, Yuichi idled around the pool table while

    the busy captain of industry sat in a chair under a faded pink curtain waiting disgustedly for the

    one he loved to end his fit of bad temper. The blue veins in Kawada’s head pounded; his cheeks

    quivered; his heart shouted out loud: “Here he keeps me waiting in a poolroom in a chair with

    the straw coming out of it! I, who am never kept waiting by anybody! I who don’t mind keeping

    callers waiting for a week!”

    The wrecks of this world are of various kinds. A bystander might have looked at the

    destruction Kawada predicted for himself as a quite luxurious one, after all. It alone, however,

    was to Kawada at this moment the most frightening destruction possible, and with good reason

    he concentrated on avoiding it.

    Kawada was fifty years old, and the good fortune he hoped for was to look with contempt

    at life. This was at first glance a very cheap good fortune, one that society’s men of fifty come to

    entirely unconsciously. The resistance to life of the homosexual who refuses to be subordinate in

    his work, however, audaciously floods the world with this sensitivity wherever there is space,

    awaiting the chance to permeate the world of men’s work. He knew that Wilde’s famous

    pronouncement was nothing more than sour grapes: “I have put all my genius into my life; I have

    put only my talent into my works.”

    Wilde was forced to say that, of course. The homosexual of promise, whoever he is, is

    one who recognizes that certain manliness within himself, and loves it, and holds fast to it, and

    the masculine virtue that Kawada recognized in himself was his ever-ready nineteenth-century

    predilection for diligence. A strange trap for one to be in! As in that long-ago warlike time,

    loving a woman was an effeminate act; to Kawada any emotion that ran counter to his own

    masculine virtue seemed effeminate. To samurai and homosexual the ugliest vice is femininity.

    Even though their reasons for it differ, the samurai and the homosexual do not see manliness as

    instinctive but rather as something gained only from moral effort. The ruin Kawada feared was

    moral ruin. The reason that he was an adherent of the Conservative party lay in its policy of

    protecting the things that should have been his enemies: the established order and the family

    system based on heterosexual love.

    Yuichi’s shadow flickered over every part of his social life. Like a man who makes the

    mistake of looking at the sun and wherever he looks thereafter sees an afterimage of the sun,

    Kawada saw Yuichi’s image in the sound of the door of the president’s office where Yuichi had

    no right to be, in the sound of the phone, even in the profiles of young people in the street outside

    the car window. That afterimage was no more than a ghost. Since the idea that he should part

    with Yuichi first entered his mind, that empty wraith had gradually become monstrous.

    In truth Kawada had half-confused the emptiness of his fatalism with the emptiness of his

    heart. In the decision to part company, he showed he preferred the alternative of quickly and

    cruelly killing his passion to living with the fear that he would someday find the passion

    withered inside him. Thus, at parties with nobles and famous geisha, the pressure of the rule of

    the majority that young Yuichi too had felt, crushed the haughty heart of Kawada, which should

    have been abundantly equipped to resist it.

    pp. 368-370: Yuichi was struck with admiration at his first view of Mrs. Kaburagi’s bare body.

    Her flesh combined elegance with ripeness. All was sheathed in fine curves; the beauty of her

    legs was that of a woman who had sat on chairs since childhood. Particularly beautiful was the

    line from her shoulder to her forearm. As if she meant to reflect the sun’s rays, Mrs. Kaburagi

    did nothing to protect her slightly tanned skin, which showed not the least sign of aging.

    The roundness from her shoulder to her wrist—in the shifting shadow of her hair flying in the

    sea breeze—was like the bare arms of noble ladies of ancient Rome revealed by their gowns.

    Having been set free of the fixed idea that one must desire this body, from the sense of duty that

    one must entrap oneself in it, Yuichi understood its beauty well. Mrs. Kaburagi had taken off her

    shirt, and her white bathing suit concealed only her trunk. She watched the islands shining in the

    sun—so numerous they gave one no time to respond. The islands flowed up to her, then receded.

    Yuichi imagined the multitudes of pearls beginning to ripen in the baskets suspended into the

    deep sea from the countless pearl rafts under this late summer sun.

    The inlet of Ago Bay branched off into many other inlets, and from one of these the boat

    emerged and slipped along the surface of the sea, seemingly closed in as before by land. In the

    green of the surrounding islands, one could see the roofs of the houses of the pearl-industry

    workers. They combined to form the walls of a labyrinth.

    “There’s Hamayu!” shouted one of the guests.

    On one island, clumps of white flowers were visible here and there. Mrs. Kaburagi looked across

    the shoulder of the youth at the fabled flowers of Hamayu, now past their prime.

    Until now she had not loved nature. Only body heat, pulse, flesh and blood, and the smell of

    human beings had charmed her. But the panorama before her eyes now captured her fierce heart.

    Why? Because nature seemed to reject her advances.

    After they had returned from their swim before supper, the two went to the hotel bar for

    cocktails. Yuichi ordered a martini. The countess told the bartender to mix and shake absinthe,

    French vermouth, and Italian vermouth and provide her with a Duchess cocktail.

    The two were surprised at the uncanny colors burning everywhere in inlet after inlet in

    the evening glow. Their drinks glowed orange and light brown, shot through with these rays,

    then turned crimson.

    Although the windows were open everywhere, there was not a sigh of wind. It was the famous

    evening calm of the Ise-Shima coast. The burning atmosphere, suspended like heavy wool fabric,

    did not disturb the healthy repose of the youth, exhilarated in mind and body. The joy in his body

    after the swim and bath, the consciousness of renewal, the beautiful woman beside him knowing

    everything and forgiving everything, just the right degree of inebriation: these divine favors were

    flawless; they made it easy for the one beside him to feel unlucky.

    All in all, this man must have had something of an experience, Mrs. Kaburagi could not help

    thinking, as she gazed at the youth’s now serene eyes, storing up not one atom of ugliness that

    might have existed in his memory. This man continually lives in this moment, in this spot, with

    his innocence intact.

    Mrs. Kaburagi now understood well the grace that constantly and happily surrounded Yuichi.

    The way he was snared by grace was like the way a man is snared in a trap. You have to be

    cheerful, she thought. If not it would be as before, nothing more than repetitions of unhappy

    encounters heavy as stone.

    In this trip to Tokyo and the succeeding excursion to Shima, her firm self-sacrifice was valiant. It

    was not simply restraint. It was not self-control. It was living in the consciousness in which

    Yuichi lived, believing only in the world that Yuichi beheld, guarding against allowing her own

    wishes to twist anything in the slightest. Thus a long hard apprenticeship was necessary before

    she could impart about the same meaning to the vilification of hope and to the vilification of


    Nevertheless, these two people who had not seen each other for a long time had a thousand and

    one things to talk about. She told a story about the recent Gion Festival; Yuichi told the story of

    Shunsuke’s uneasy trip in Kawada’s yacht.

    “Does Mr. Hinoki know about this recent letter?”

    “No, why should he?”

    “Well, you seem to consult Mr. Hinoki about everything.”

    “I wouldn’t tell him about something like that.” Yuichi thought regretfully of his few remaining

    secrets and went on: “Mr. Hinoki doesn’t know anything about that.”

    “I wouldn’t think so. In the old days that old man was an incorrigible woman-chaser. But the

    strange thing was the women did nothing but run away from him.”

    Sunset was over. The wind began to spring up faintly. Even though the sun was down, there was

    still a clear glow off the water. The sheen of the water still reached all the way to the mountains,

    betraying the presence of the sea. The shadows were deep on the surface of the sea close to the

    shores of the islands. The olive-green shadows on the water contrasted with the sea that still

    gorgeously reflected the light. The two got up and went to supper.

    pp. 130-131: Even without desire a child is born. In the illegitimate child, born only from

    desire, there appears a paradoxical beauty; but in the child born from lack of desire, how unlucky

    must the features be! In artificial insemination, the sperm is that of a heterosexual man.

    Eugenics, the idea of social improvement that disregards desire—Yuichi hated the chairman of

    the gynecology department’s beautiful white hair showered with experience. The humble,

    healthy attitude Yuichi had toward society was based on the fact that his special society had no

    sense of reality.

    p. 309: As Yuichi saw it, economics was an extremely human subject. To the extent that it was

    connected directly and deeply with human desires, the activity of its organization was

    strengthened. At one time, in the developing years of free enterprise economics, it exhibited

    autonomous faculties, thanks to a close connection with the desires—the self-interest—of the

    rapidly rising bourgeoisie. Today, however, it was in a period of decline, owing to the fact that

    its organization had been separated from desire and mechanized, thus bringing about the

    attenuation of desire. A new system of economics had to find new desire.

    The greatest evil, certainly, lies only in reasonless desire, objectless desire. Why? Love

    with the object of propagating children, selfishness with the object of distributing profits, passion

    for a revolution of the working class with the object of attaining Communism are virtues in the

    various ruling societies.

    Yuichi did not love a woman, and the woman bore Yuichi a child. At that time he saw the

    ugliness, not of Yasuko’s will, but of objectless desire in life. The proletariat also, without

    realizing it, are probably born from desire of this kind. Yuichi’s economic studies had thus

    brought him to a new concept of desire. He conceived the ambition to make himself over into

    that desire.

    Yuichi’s outlook on life was not, as one would expect in a young man, marked by impatience to

    resolve matters. When he looked at the contradictions and the uglinesses of society, he had the

    strange urge to take their place. Confusing his instincts with the objectless desire of life, he

    wished for the various gifts of the industrialist. If Shunsuke had heard his wishes, he would have

    averted his eyes at the thought that Yuichi had become captive to common ambition. Ages ago,

    the beautiful Alcibiades, also accustomed to being loved, had become in the same way a hero of

    vanity. Yuichi began to think he would take advantage of Kawada’s good offices.

    pp. 237-238: . . . . what Pope had fallen in love with was his spiritual cruelty. To the extent he

    showed that, he would stimulate Pope’s imagination agreeably and deepen his illusions even


    When they left the restaurant, Pope gently linked his arm in Yuichi’s. Yuichi let him do it—out

    of disdain. The young lovers passing by were also walking arm-in-arm. He heard a youth who

    looked like a student murmur in a girl’s ear: “Look, there; they must be homosexuals.”

    “Oh, how awful!”

    Yuichi’s face reddened in humiliation and anger. He pulled his arm away and put his

    hands in his pockets. Nobutaka suspected nothing. He was accustomed to treatment like this.

    “Them! Them!” Yuichi ground his teeth. “They who pay three hundred and fifty yen for a lunch

    hour together in a hotel bed, and have their great love affair in the sight of heaven. They who, if

    all goes well, build their rat’s-nest love nests. They who, sleepy-eyed, diligently multiply. They

    who go out on Sundays with all their children to clearance sales at the department stores. They

    who scheme out one or two stingy infidelities in their lifetimes. They who always show off their

    healthy homes, their healthy morality, their common sense, their self-satisfaction.”

    Victory, however, is always on the side of the commonplace. Yuichi knew that all the scorn he

    could muster could not combat their natural scorn.

    pp. 397-400: Who is this old man talking to? To me? Yuichi wondered. If I didn’t know better

    I’d be breaking my head trying to figure out Hinoki’s crazy theories. Does he think he’s talking

    to me, when I’m not the least excited about these artificial things that get him all wrought up?

    Unconsciously, Yuichi’s eyes moved to a dark corner of the room. The old author seemed

    to be talking to another person behind Yuichi.

    It was a quiet night. Other than the voices of insects there was no sound. The gurgle of wine

    being poured from the bottle rang clear, with the smooth weight of jewels. The cut-glass goblet


    “There. Have a drink,” Shunsuke said. “It’s an autumn evening. You are there, the wine is here,

    there’s not a thing more this world requires. Socrates listened to the cicada’s voice and in the

    morning by the little stream lectured to the beautiful boy Phaedrus. Socrates asked questions and

    answered them himself. He discovered the roundabout method of arriving at truth through

    questioning. But you’ll never get a question from absolute beauty in a natural body. Questions

    and answers can only be exchanged between things in the same category. Spirit and body can

    never engage in dialogue.

    “Spirit can only inquire. It can never get a reply—outside of an echo.

    “I did not choose to be in the position of questioning and then answering. Asking is my fate.

    There you are, beautiful nature. Here I am, ugly spirit. This is the eternal schema. No algebra can

    bring about a mutual exchange of those terms. I don’t have any intention of deliberately belittling

    my own spirit. Spirit has many quite wonderful things about it.

    “But, Yuichi, my boy, love—at least my love—doesn’t have even the hope of Socrates’ love.

    Love is born from nothing less than hopelessness. Spirit against nature—the demonstration of

    spirit in the face of such an incomprehensible thing as love.

    “Then why do I inquire? To spirit, there is no way of proving oneself save in inquiring of

    something else. Spirit that does not inquire leads a precarious existence . . .”

    Shunsuke paused. He turned about and opened the bay window, looking through the

    screen and down into the garden. There was a faint rustle of wind.

    “The wind seems to be rising. Autumn is getting on. Is it hot in here? Since it’s hot, leaving it

    open won’t . . .”

    Yuichi shook his head. Shunsuke closed the window again and then, looking the youth in the

    face, resumed his lecture.

    “There we are. Spirit constantly formulates questions. It must store up inquiries. The creative

    power of spirit lies in its ability to create questions. Thus the supreme objective of spirit is in the

    creation of the question itself—in short, the creation of nature. But that is impossible. Yet the

    march toward impossibility is the method of spirit.

    “Spirit is—well, it is the drive to pile zero on zero endlessly in order to arrive at one.

    “Let’s say I ask you: ‘Why are you so beautiful?’ Can you answer? Spirit from the beginning

    anticipates no reply.”

    His eyes stared fixedly. Yuichi tried to return the stare. Yuichi’s power as one who sees,

    however, had been lost, as if he had been put under a spell.

    The beautiful youth was looked at—willy-nilly. What towering impoliteness there was in that

    look! It turned its object to stone, it robbed him of his will, it reduced him to nature.

    Of course, that look wasn’t directed at me, Yuichi thought, in terror. Mr. Hinoki’s look was

    undoubtedly directed at me, but the thing Mr. Hinoki was looking at was not me. Another Yuichi

    who is not me is in this room.

    That was nature itself, the Yuichi who yielded nothing to the ancient statues in their perfection—

    Yuichi saw clearly the sculptures of the beautiful youths beyond his powers of seeing. Another

    beautiful youth clearly existed in that study—a youth who never shrinks no matter how much he

    is stared at.

    The sound of wine being poured into a glass brought Yuichi to his senses. He had been dreaming

    with his eyes open.

    “Drink,” said Shunsuke, bringing his glass to his mouth and going on with his talk.

    “So, beauty, do you see, is on this side, yet unreachable. Isn’t that right? Religion always

    puts the other side, the future world, over there in the distance. Distance, however, in man’s

    concept, in the long run is something that can be traversed. Science and religion only differ in

    respect to the distance. The great nebula six hundred and eighty thousand light-years away,

    similarly, can be reached. Religion is the vision of reaching; science is the technique of it.

    “Beauty, on the other hand, is always on this side. It is in this world, in the present, firm;

    it can be touched with the hand. That our sexual appetites can taste it is beauty’s precondition.

    Sensuality is, therefore, essential. It confirms beauty. However, beauty can never be reached,

    because the susceptibilities of sense, more than anything else, block attainment of it. The method

    by which the Greeks expressed beauty through sculpture was a wise one. I am a novelist. Of all

    the rubbish that has been invented in modern times, the profession I have chosen is the worst.

    Don’t you think that for the expression of beauty it is the most bungling and low-class of


    “Right here, a thing that cannot be touched. When I say this, you must know what I mean.

    Beauty is the nature under man’s nature, under man’s condition. Among men, it controls men

    most deeply. It is beauty that defies mankind. Thanks to beauty, spirit cannot get a moment of

    decent rest.”

    Yuichi listened. He felt as if, close by, the sculpture of the beautiful youth was listening intently

    in the same way. In the room the miracle had already occurred. After the miracle had occurred,

    however, only a commonplace quiet occupied the place.

    “Yuichi, my boy, in this world there are times known as the supreme moments,” Shunsuke said.

    “They are moments of the reconciliation of spirit and nature, the conjunction of spirit and nature

    in this world.

    “Their expression is nothing if not impossible for human beings while they are alive. Living men

    can taste those moments, perhaps, but they cannot express them. That goes beyond human

    powers. Do you ask: ‘Then human beings cannot express superhuman things?’ That would be a

    mistake. Human beings in truth cannot express the ultimate in human conditions. Human beings

    cannot express the highest moments that occur to human beings.

    “The artist is not capable of everything, nor is expression capable of all. Expression is always

    being pressured to make alternative judgments. Expression or action? The action of love, now—

    without action man cannot love. So he expresses it afterward.

    “The truly important problem, however, is the thing in which expression and action might be

    possible simultaneously. Of these, man knows only one. That is death.

    “Death is action, but there is no action so supremely unitary as this—oh, yes, I made a mistake.”

    Shunsuke smiled.

    “Death does not go beyond truth. Suicide might be called death through action. A man

    cannot be born of his own will, but he can will to die. This was the basic proposition of all the

    ancient suicide philosophies. However, there can be no doubt that in death, the action known as

    suicide and the expression of all that is life can come simultaneously. The supreme moment must

    wait for death. This can be proved in reverse, it seems.

    “The highest expression of the living—occupying at best the second highest position—is the

    total form of life minus alpha. To this expression add the alpha of life, and life is complete.

    Why? Even while expressing it men go on living—undeniably their lives are excluded from

    expression, but they are only simulating a temporary death.

    “This alpha, how men have dreamed about it! Artists’ dreams are always connected with it. The

    fact that life dilutes expression, robs the real preciseness from expression, everybody is aware of.

    The preciseness that the living conceive of is only one form of preciseness. To the dead, for all I

    know, the sky we think blue may glimmer green.

    “It’s a strange thing. When living men are driven to hopelessness in trying to express this, again

    and again it is beauty that comes rushing in to save them. It is beauty that teaches that one must

    stand one’s ground firmly among the impressions of life.

    “And now we see that beauty is bound by life and sensuality. It teaches men to have faith only in

    the validity of sensuality. In that respect, indeed, we may understand how beauty is logical to


    Confessions of a Mask; pp. 227-233: “I just can’t get along without it any more—I simply can’t

    control myself,” T said, looking closely at me. “If any of my friends were impotent I’d really

    envy them. More than that, I’d bow down to them.”

    My friend saw that my face had changed color, and he turned the conversation to a new subject,

    addressing T:

    “You promised to lend me a book by Marcel Proust, remember? Is it interesting?”

    “I’ll say it’s interesting. Proust was a sodomite”—he used the foreign word. “He had affairs with


    “What’s a sodomite?” I asked. I realized that by feigning ignorance I was desperately pawing the

    air, clutching at this little question for support and trying to find some clue to their thoughts,

    some indication that they did not suspect my disgrace.

    “A sodomite’s a sodomite. Didn’t you know? It’s a danshokuka.”

    “Oh . . . but I never heard Proust was that way.”

    I could tell that my voice was quivering. To have looked offended would have been the same as

    giving my companions proof positive. I was ashamed of being able to maintain such a

    disgraceful outward show of equanimity. It was obvious that my friend had smelled out my

    secret. Somehow it seemed to me that he was doing all he could to avoid looking at my face.

    My cursed visitors finally left at eleven o’clock, and I shut myself up for a sleepless night in my

    room. I cried sobbingly until at last those visions reeking with blood came to comfort me. And

    then I surrendered myself to them, to those deplorably brutal visions, my most intimate friends.

    Some diversion was essential. I began dropping in frequently at the gatherings that took place at

    the house of an old friend, knowing that they would leave nothing in my mind but the memory of

    idle conversation and a blank aftertaste. I went there because the people of smart society who

    came to those parties, unlike my classmates, seemed surprisingly friendly and easy to know.

    They included several stylishly affected young ladies, a famous soprano, a budding lady pianist,

    and various young wives who had only recently married. There would be dancing, a little

    drinking, and the playing of silly games, including a slightly erotic form of tag. Sometimes the

    parties would last until dawn.

    In the early hours of the morning we would often find ourselves falling asleep as we danced.

    Then to keep awake we would play a game, scattering cushions about the floor and dancing

    around them in a circle until the phonograph was suddenly stopped. At this signal we would sit

    down on the pillows two by two, and whoever failed to find a seat would have to do a stunt.

    Great excitement was created by the dancers’ throwing themselves down in heaps upon the

    cushions. As the game progressed, being repeated many times, even the women seemed to

    become careless of their appearance.

    Perhaps it was because she was a little intoxicated, but I remember how I once saw the prettiest

    of the girls laughing excitedly, not noticing that in the confusion of falling to a cushion her skirt

    had been pulled up far above her thighs. The flesh of her thighs gleamed whitely. If this had

    happened a short time before, I probably would have imitated the way other young men shy

    away from their own desire in such a situation, and using all my skill at playing a part that was

    never forgotten a single moment, would have instantly averted my eyes. But since that certain

    day I had changed. Without the slightest feeling of shame—that is, without the slightest shame at

    my innate shamelessness—I stared at those white thighs as calmly as though I were examining

    some piece of inanimate matter.

    Suddenly I was struck by the astringent pain that comes from staring too long at something. The

    pain proclaimed: You’re not human. You’re a being who is incapable of social intercourse.

    You’re nothing but a creature, non-human and somehow strangely pathetic.

    Fortunately, the time for preparing for the civil-service examinations was at hand and I had to

    devote all my energies to dry-as-dust studying for them. This automatically enabled me, both

    physically and mentally, to keep more tormenting matters at a distance. But even this distraction

    was effective for only a short time at the beginning.

    The sense of failure which that night had aroused in me gradually returned, spreading into every

    corner of my life. I became depressed. For days on end I would be unable to turn my hand to

    anything. The need to prove to myself that I had some sort of potency seemed to become more

    urgent each day. It seemed that I could not go on living without some such proof. And yet

    nowhere could I discover a clue to the realization of my inherent perversity. There was no

    opportunity here for satisfying my abnormal desires, not even in their mildest form.

    Spring came, and a frantic nervousness was built up behind my façade of tranquillity. It

    seemed as though the season itself bore me a grudge, expressing its hostility in its dust-laden

    winds. If an automobile almost grazed me, I would mentally berate it in a loud voice, saying:

    “Well, why don’t you go on and run over me!”

    I delighted in the strenuous study and Spartan existence I had imposed upon myself. At odd

    moments in my studying I would go out for a walk, and often I became aware that people were

    looking questioningly at my bloodshot eyes. Even when an observer might have thought I was

    heaping very diligent day on diligent day, actually I was only learning the gnawing fatigue of

    sloppiness, dissipation, utterly rotten laziness, and a way of life that knew no tomorrow. But then

    one afternoon toward the end of spring I was on a streetcar and suddenly felt a pure throbbing of

    the heart that seemed to take my breath.

    It was because looking between the standing passengers, I had caught a glimpse of Sonoko

    sitting on the opposite side of the car. There beneath her childlike eyebrows I could see her eyes,

    sincere and modest, with their indescribably profound gentleness. I was on the point of getting to

    my feet when one of the passengers let go his strap and began moving toward the exit. Then the

    girl’s face became entirely visible. It was not Sonoko.

    My heart was still clamoring. It was easy to explain to myself that those heart throbs were due

    simply to surprise or else to a guilty conscience, but even such an explanation could not destroy

    the purity of the feeling I had momentarily experienced. I was instantly reminded of the emotions

    I had felt upon catching sight of Sonoko that morning of March the ninth. It was exactly the

    same now; it was the same thing. It was the same even to the feeling of sorrow that seemed to

    have pierced me to the heart.

    This little incident became an unforgettable thing, giving rise during the next few days to a vivid

    tumult of excitement within me. Surely it can’t be true that I’m still in love with Sonoko, surely

    I’m incapable of loving a woman—until the day before these beliefs had been my only trusty and

    obedient followers, of whose loyalty I had felt absolutely assured, and yet now even they were in

    mutiny against me.

    In this way my memories suddenly regained their power over me; it was a coup d’état that took

    the form of pure agony. “Trivial” memories which I should have cleaned up tidily and thrown

    away two years before had now grown strangely large and been restored to life before my very

    eyes—just like a bastard child who has been forgotten and then suddenly turns up, full grown.

    These memories were tinged neither with that air of “sweet sentiment” which I had invented on

    those several occasions, nor with that businesslike air which I had later used for disposing of

    them: instead, they were permeated throughout with a single, palpable air of torment. If my

    feeling had been one of remorse, I could have found a way of enduring it, simply by following

    the path already well blazed by countless forerunners. But my pain was a strangely clear-cut

    agony, not fuzzy remorse; it was like being forced to look down from a window at a reflection of

    fierce summer sunlight that is dividing the street into a glaring contrast of sun and shadow.

    p. ii: . . . Beauty is a terrible and awful thing! It is terrible because it

    never has and never can be fathomed, for God sets us nothing but riddles. Within beauty both

    shores meet and all contradictions exist side by side. I’m not a cultivated man, brother, but

    I’ve thought a lot about this. Truly there are mysteries without end! Too many riddles weigh

    man down on earth. We guess them as we can, and come out of the water dry. Beauty! I

    cannot bear the thought that a man of noble heart and lofty mind sets out with the ideal of the

    Madonna and ends with the ideal of Sodom. What’s still more awful is that the man with the

    ideal of Sodom in his soul does not renounce the ideal of the Madonna, and in the bottom of

    his heart he may still be on fire, sincerely on fire, with longing for the beautiful ideal, just as

    in the days of his youthful innocence. Yes, man’s heart is wide, too wide indeed. I’d have it

    narrower. The devil only knows what to make of it! but what the intellect regards as shameful

    often appears splendidly beautiful to the heart. Is there beauty in Sodom? Believe me, most

    men find their beauty in Sodom. Did you know this secret? The dreadful thing is that beauty is

    not only terrifying but also mysterious. God and the Devil are fighting there, and their

    battlefield is the heart of man. But a man’s heart wants to speak only of its own ache. Listen,

    now I’ll tell you what it says. . . .


    pp. 42-45: Out of a schoolroom window once I spied a tree of middling height, swaying in the

    wind. As I looked, my heart began to thunder. It was a tree of startling beauty. Upon the lawn it

    erected an upright triangle tinged with roundness; the heavy feeling of its verdure was supported

    on its many branches, thrusting upward and outward with the balanced symmetry of a

    candelabrum; and beneath the greenery there showed a sturdy trunk, like an ebony pedestal.

    There it stood, that tree, perfect, exquisitely wrought, but not losing any of Nature's grace and

    artlessness, keeping serene silence as though it itself were its own creator. And yet at the same

    time it assuredly was a created thing. Maybe a musical composition. A piece of chamber music

    by a German master. Music giving such religious, tranquil pleasure that it could only be called

    sacred, filled with the solemnity and longing found in the patterns of stately wall tapestries. . . .

    And so the affinity between the shape of the tree and the sounds of music had some meaning for

    me. Little wonder then that when I was attacked by the two of them together, all the stronger in

    alliance, my indescribable, mysterious emotion should have been akin, not to lyricism, but to that

    sinister intoxication found in the conjunction of religion and music.

    Suddenly I asked in my heart: "Was this not the very tree--the tree to which the young saint was

    bound with his hands behind him, over the trunk of which his sacred blood trickled like driblets

    after a rain? that Roman tree on which he writhed, ablaze in a final agony of death, with the

    harsh scraping of his young flesh against the bark as his final evidence of all earthly pleasure

    and pain?”

    In the traditional annals of martyrdom it is said that, during the time following his enthronement

    when Diocletian was dreaming of power as limitless as the unobstructed soaring of a bird, there

    was a young captain of the Praetorian Guard who was seized and charged with the crime of

    serving a forbidden god. He was a young captain endowed both with a lithe body reminding one

    of the famous Oriental slave beloved by the Emperor Hadrian and with the eyes of a conspirator,

    as emotionless as the sea. He was charmingly arrogant. On his helmet he wore a white lily,

    presented to him each morning by maidens of the town. Drooping downward gracefully along

    the flow of his manly hair as he rested from fierce tourneying, the lily looked exactly like the

    nape of a swan's neck.

    There was none who knew his place of birth, nor whence he came. But all who saw him felt this

    youth, with the physique of a slave and the features of a prince, to be a wayfarer who would soon

    be gone. To them it seemed that this Endymion was a nomad, leading his flocks; that this was the

    very person chosen to find a pasture darker green than other pastures.

    Again, there were maidens who cherished the firm belief that he had come from the sea. Because

    within his breast could be heard the roaring of the sea. Because in the pupils of his eyes there

    lingered the mysterious and eternal horizon that the sea leaves as a keepsake deep in the eyes of

    all who are born at the seaside and forced to depart from it. Because his sighs were sultry like

    the tidal breezes of full summer, fragrant with a smell of seaweed cast up upon the shore.

    p. 81: . . . some instinct within me demanded that I seek solitude, that I remain apart as

    something different. This compulsion was manifested as a mysterious and strange malaise. I

    have already described how during my childhood I was weighed down by a sense of uneasiness

    at the thought of becoming an adult, and my feeling of growing up continued to be accompanied

    by a strange, piercing unrest.

    pp. 113-115: I often encountered an anemic young lady on the buses I took to school. Her cold

    attitude caught my interest. She always stared disinterestedly out the window as though very

    bored with everything, and as she did so, the willfulness of her slightly pouting lips was striking.

    When she was not on the bus, something seemed to be missing, and before I realized it I was

    breathlessly hoping to see her every time I got on the bus.

    I wondered if this could be what was called love. I simply did not know. I had not the faintest

    idea that there was any connection between love and sexual desire. Needless to say, during the

    time of my infatuation with Omi I had made no effort to apply the word love to that diabolical

    fascination he exercised over me. And now again, even while I was wondering if the vague

    emotion I was feeling toward the girl on the bus could be love, at the same instant I could feel

    attracted to the rough young bus-driver, his hair gleaming with heavy pomade.

    My ignorance was so profound that I did not perceive the contradiction involved here. I did not

    see that in my way of looking at the profile of the young bus-driver there was something

    inevitable, suffocating, painful, oppressive, whereas it was with rather studied, artificial, and

    easily tired eyes that I regarded the anemic young lady. So long as I remained unaware of the

    difference in these two viewpoints, both of them lived together within me without bothering each

    other, without any conflict.

    For a boy of my age I seem to have been singularly uninterested in what is called “moral

    cleanliness” or, to use another phrase, to have been lacking the talent for “self-control.” Even if I

    could explain this fact by saying that my excessively intense curiosity did not naturally dispose

    me toward an interest in morality, there would still remain the fact that this curiosity of mine

    both resembled the hopeless yearnings of a bedridden invalid for the outside world and was also

    somehow inextricably tangled up with a belief in the possibility of the impossible. It was this

    combination—one part unconscious belief, one part unconscious despair—that so quickened my

    desires that they appeared to be desperate ambitions.

  14. #14
    Whoobie77's Avatar
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    Going off what I learned about him from Paul Schrader (by which I mean to suggest my view should be taken with a handful of salt):

    He was sickly as a boy, and didn't get to join in all the other reindeer games. Not Se Ego. His bodybuilding, and his private army were attempts to transcend his natural weakness and become powerful. Se-HA.

    That leaves us with ENTj and ENFj.

    Here are descriptions of the Beta Ni + Fe and Gamma Ni + Te:

    extraverted ethics blocked with introverted intuition:
    This quadra encourages dramatic self-expression with elements of theatricism and melodrama. They enjoy finding artistic means to express romantic, abstract ideals and feelings.

    They believe that apathy is a significant cause of societal problems, and work to fight against it.

    extraverted logic blocked with introverted intuition:
    This quadra believes that ideas and fortuitous events should be turned into something profitable and marketable — something that does some kind of work for people.

    Gamma types tend to give more value to ideas and concepts that are firmly connected to factual information.

    I'm not trying to suggest that LIEs can't be authors, and that EIEs can't be CEOs, the same breath, the path to fame is usually being a strong embodiment of your archetype. I mean, think about it, is Mishima more a humanitarian, with "literary" interests, or a researcher, with an "apparent 'lack of interest in people'"?

    EIE. Or, coincidentally, by its other name, the Actor.

    (Plus, can you think of anything more aristocratic than the samurai?)

  15. #15
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    My typing of him is ILI 4.

  16. #16
    Big Sister IS watchIng me Sleep HERO's Avatar
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    He was definitely no Kevin O'Leary or Jack London (so probably not Te-ENTj), but I still think Yukio Mishima could definitely be either Ni-ENTj or Ni-ENFj -- otherwise, maybe INTp, although he seems to have quite a rational/judging face, and he seemed to be more of a Choleric/Exploitative/Leader Ej temperament as opposed to a Phlegmatic/Receptive/Observer Ip temperament. He was quite active and prolific. I have no strong reason to believe he wasn't extraverted and rational.

    Forbidden Colors is one of my favorite novels after The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    Here are some paragraphs that may help shed light on his personality:

    - from Forbidden Colors; p. 49: It was not yet time for exams. All he had to do was look over his notes. Economic history, public finance, statistics – all his notes were arranged there, transcribed meticulously in tiny characters. His friends were amazed at the preciseness of his notes, though it was a mechanical precision. Mornings in the sunlit autumn classroom, amid the rustling agitation of hundreds of pens, the machine-like character was what particularly marked Yuichi’s pen. What made his passionless jottings look almost like shorthand was his habit of treating thought as nothing more than an exercise in mechanical self-discipline.

    Today he had gone to school for the first time since the wedding. School was a refuge.

    pp. 32-33: It grieved Yuichi's mother to see her son stick his nose into the household account book as if he enjoyed it; besides, as he said lightly, it was a practical application of his schoolwork in economics. In truth, it appeared to her that his present activity was somehow brought on by her earlier frank discussion with him, and fearing that he was taking her words to mean something she had not wished to suggest, she said to him once, apparently for no good reason, "It seems to me that there's something abnormal about a student's developing an interest in the household account book."

    - p. 309: As Yuichi saw it, economics was an extremely human subject. To the extent that it was connected directly and deeply with human desires, the activity of its organization was strengthened. At one time, in the developing years of free enterprise economics, it exhibited autonomous faculties, thanks to a close connection with the desires—the self-interest—of the rapidly rising bourgeoisie. Today, however, it was in a period of decline, owing to the fact that its organization had been separated from desire and mechanized, thus bringing about the attenuation of desire. A new system of economics had to find new desire.

    The greatest evil, certainly, lies only in reasonless desire, objectless desire. Why? Love with the object of propagating children, selfishness with the object of distributing profits, passion for a revolution of the working class with the object of attaining Communism are virtues in the various ruling societies.

    Yuichi did not love a woman, and the woman bore Yuichi a child. At that time he saw the ugliness, not of Yasuko’s will, but of objectless desire in life. The proletariat also, without realizing it, are probably born from desire of this kind. Yuichi’s economic studies had thus brought him to a new concept of desire. He conceived the ambition to make himself over into that desire.

    Yuichi’s outlook on life was not, as one would expect in a young man, marked by impatience to resolve matters. When he looked at the contradictions and the uglinesses of society, he had the strange urge to take their place. Confusing his instincts with the objectless desire of life, he wished for the various gifts of the industrialist. If Shunsuke had heard his wishes, he would have averted his eyes at the thought that Yuichi had become captive to common ambition. Ages ago, the beautiful Alcibiades, also accustomed to being loved, had become in the same way a hero of vanity. Yuichi began to think he would take advantage of Kawada’s good offices.

    - from Confessions of a Mask: pp. 216-218: That night I wrote a letter of indirect refusal, which sounded artificial even to me. I wrote that it was a very sudden thing and that as yet my feelings had not gone quite that far.

    On my way back to the arsenal next morning, I stopped by the post office to mail the letter. The woman at the special-delivery window looked suspiciously at my trembling hands. I stared at my letter as she took it up in her rough, dirty hands and stamped it swiftly. I found comfort in seeing my unhappiness handled in such an efficient, businesslike manner.

    'My grief resembled that of a fainthearted student who has failed an examination: I made a mistake! I made a mistake! Simply because I didn’t solve that X, everything was wrong. If only I’d solved that X at the beginning, everything would have been all right. If only I had used deductive methods like everyone else to solve the mathematics of life. To be half-clever was the worst thing I could have done. I alone depended upon the inductive method, and for that simple reason I failed.'

    - from Confessions of a Mask; pp. 202-208: “You will come again, without fail, won’t you?”

    She spoke easily, in a tone of complete confidence. It somehow sounded as though she had confidence not so much in me as in something deeper, something beyond me. Her shoulders were not shaking. The lace on her blouse was rising and falling as though proudly.

    “H’m, perhaps so, if I’m still alive.”

    I was disgusted with myself as I spoke the words. Intellectually, I would have preferred by far to be saying: “Of course I’ll come! Nothing could keep me from coming to you. Never doubt it. Aren’t you the girl who’s going to be my wife?”

    At every turn this sort of curious contradiction cropped up between my intellectual views and my emotions. I knew that what made me adopt such lukewarm attitudes—like that “H’m, perhaps so”—was not some fault in my character that I could change, but was the work of something that had existed even before I had had any hand in the matter. In short, I knew clearly that it was not my fault.

    But for this very reason I had formed the habit of treating those parts of my character that were in any way my responsibility to exhortations so wholesome and sensible as to be comical. As a part of my system of self-discipline, dating from childhood, I constantly told myself it would be better to die than become a lukewarm person, an unmanly person, a person who does not clearly know his likes and dislikes, a person who wants only to be loved without knowing how to love. This exhortation of course had a possible applicability to the parts of my character for which I was to blame, but so far as the other parts were concerned, the parts for which I was not to blame, it was an impossible requirement from the beginning.

    So perhaps Yukio Mishima was an irrational/perceiving type. According to Sergei Ganin, irrational/perceiving types “Often feel the need but find it rather difficult to maintain a steady balance between the emotional and intellectual self.”

    Here's another excerpt that may illustrate this conflict or attempt to balance the emotional and intellectual self (or the dynamic or interplay between the two):

    "The world that gathered at Rudon’s supported no more life than the torrid zone, a life like that of practically exiled colonial administrative employees. In short, there was nothing more than the bare essentials of sentiment, the violent discipline of sentiment in that world. And if this was the political fate of the tribe, who could resist it? There, plants of extraordinary tenacity grew; it was the jungle of sentiment.

    The man who lost his way in that jungle became affected by noxious exhalations and eventually turned into a kind of unsightly monster. No one has a right to laugh. The difference is only a matter of degree. In the world of homosexuality, no man has the power to resist the mysterious force that drags people down willy-nilly into the wallow of sentiment. A man might, for instance, resist by turning to a busy occupation, or intellectual pursuit, or art, and cling to the higher intellectual levels of the masculine world. No man, however, can withstand the flood of emotion that cascades into his life . . . ." (Yukio Mishima, Forbidden Colors)

    For now I think he might have been Ni-ENFj (EIE-ILI), although I wouldn't rule out some irrational type like INTp, or even ENTj-INFj (if he really was an LIE).
    Last edited by HERO; 01-15-2014 at 09:38 PM.

  17. #17
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    I was obsessed with Mishima when I was 19. I'd say Ej through and through and agree with LIE-Ni. I've always thought about the coup as Mishima first and foremost looking for an honourable way to die alongside the hope that his suicide would affect the world around him in a non-immediate way. I don't find the idea that he genuinely thought his speech would inspire a coup right then and there believable.

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