Parallels Between the Works and the Life of Yukio Mishima
Throughout Yukio Mishima’s career as a writer he wrote in a variety of different styles and genres including poetry, waka poems and death poems as well as short stories, essays, magazine articles and novels (“Man of Words, Man of Actions”). Kimitake Hiraoka was born January 14, 1925 and later became known with the pen name of Yukio Mishima. Mishima created a career for himself as a successful author, poet, playwright, actor, director and model through his successful roots in writing. This earned him the title of being one of the most important Japanese writers of the 1900s. Mishima’s writing was influenced by a variety of factors including culture, family life, personal life and romantic affairs as well as death. Although most readers believe he writes about modern cultural influences, he actually focuses on the influences of his past in all phases and experiences of his life and works.
Mishima developed a love for writing at the young age of twelve when he wrote his first stories. While growing up he was forced to overcome adversity such as secluded lifestyles and abuse all in order to continue his ventures in writing. He lived with both his immediate family as well his grandmother Natsu (“Who is Yukio Mishima?”). Mishima lived with Natsu, his grandmother, for several years and lived a secluded life where his time with others was restricted as well as his participation in games, sports and play however he was introduced to the magic of literature. Natsu’s introduction of literature was a source of inspiration for him to create stories of different lives that he could live vicariously through when he later returned home to live with his abusive father. When he moved back with his father who was a military and government official, Mishima was again treated poorly. While growing up with his father he was disciplined by being held up against the side of a speeding train, as well as sporadic searches of his bedroom for any contents of literature. These extreme forms of parenting and discipline were not heavily questioned by the society that Mishima was raised in, for his father and grandmother were raised under similar beliefs. The beliefs that allowed them to discipline their young in any way they saw fit. His father once found manuscripts of Mishima’s and later destroyed any remnants of them. He was punished for his interest in literature and was forced to continue his writing during the late hours of the night under the protection and support of his mother. Mishima’s fascination with death acquired from a life spent living with his father and grandmother was attributed to the treatment he received from them is visible in his first novel called Thieves. The novel is an accurate example of Mishima’s interest in life after death and the various ways to experience and create death in one’s life and one’s writings. After many years of education and writing short stories and essays Mishima began writing Thieves in 1946 and completed the novel in 1948. The novel is about two members of the Japanese government that were so drawn to and fascinated by suicide and death that they committed suicide in the novel (“Man of Words, Man of Actions”). While this novel gained Mishima some local fame, it was his second novel that earned him the world renowned recognition that established his fame.
Mishima’s second novel, Confessions of a Mask, was an elaborate story about a young homosexual teenage boy growing up in the post-World War II era in Japan (“Confessions of a Mask”). In the 1930s when Mishima was a child and growing up towards his teenage years of sexual complication, confusion and question; Mishima was discovering his own sexual orientation that was to later be questioned by the media that pursued him with questions of his personal life as well his current works. Mishima and his character the boy where both homosexual. Mishima however was never confirmed the idea even...
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