Patriotism yukio mishima essay writer
May 2, 2018
I “got into” the work of Yukio Mishima in the mid 1980’s when Paul Schrader released his film about the author. As is the case with most films about a particular subject, a documentary was released on TV about the same time and was a very fascinating account of the man’s life and work. In the doc they recounted this film he made in the mid 60’s and when I saw that Criterion had released it, it was a no brainer for me. It was the same high standard that Criterion has always packaged, a gate fold case, one disc presentation, a thick booklet and a certain amount of supplements on the disc itself...always never enough it seems. :) The film itself: I am solely commenting on the English version of the film as there is an option of watching the Japanese version. As with 95% of all short films it has its pros and cons. The story is told in the style of Japanese No theater. I know very little of this art form so I cannot comment on whether the film adheres to the parameters of the medium, I will only comment on it as a film experience. CONS: As with most short films it is not emotional engaging but very interesting to watch or rather look at. Meaning you are always aware you are watching the film and not lost in the experience of it. It is too long in parts, especially the title cards which are presented in a hand written scroll-like effect. It is very pretentious, but that is a given with most freshman filmmakers who do not attempt to make a popcorn-esque movie but an art film. But this “may” also be the effect of the No theater influence as well in this case. PROS: It is very well photograped in B&W; with some stunning shots here and there. Very artistic in execution. It stars Mishima himself and he did consider himself an actor of sorts and did do many roles for others which did satisfy that thirst within himself. It is an interesting story that he wrote and a concept that was familiar within his writing and his own personal make-up. Some would say it bordered on obsession, which is the minefield most artists live and work in anyway. What is most interesting is the obsession with hara-kiri that Mishima had for most of his life and which is the main focus of the film. It also foreshadows his own death by this same means in 1970 which he consciously planned out/for in the later part of his life. As is with the artist, he had a very poetic concept of the ritual and presented it in the film as such. He also realized the very real aspect of the act of hara-kiri which is very bloody and watching the film one is shocked at how graphic it really is. This film was made in 1965-6 predating the 69’ R rated WILD BUNCH famous for its blood soaked ending. In reality, the “poetic” side of the act that Mishima planned and which played out on November 25, 1970 did not happen. The military crowd he wanted to rally by his side (with the short inflammatory speech he gave) failed to do so and instead they heckled and shouted back at him. Having failed at that aspect he went inside and embarked on his own act of hara-kiri which also did not pay off with the poetic aspect he had hoped for. After disemboweling himself, not in one swift gesture as is the preferred way, he naturally struggled to complete the painful and bloody act. The second part of the act is a that a man with a samurai sword is standing at the ready to cut off his head to end his suffering. His young male partner was assigned the task and had to hack a couple of times to complete his task leaving a bloody mess on the floor. Mishima had his dramatic ending but not in the fluid fashion he had anticipated. I am not from Asian descent but I fully understand the concept of the Bushido code. I have seen many US sailors interviewed which witnessed kamikaze attacks on their ships and they stated that it totally baffled them, not only at the time, which is understandable since it was a shocking and “new” way of battle, but even now decades later they cannot wrap their minds around willfully killing themselves for their cause. They understood fighting for your country and dying in doing so but not committing outright planned out suicide attacks. This of course was the glaring difference between Japan and the US during the war and which escalated the brutality between them. By the time of this film, that “romantic” militarism that Mishima clung and wished a return to, was a simply a bad memory for most modern Japanese who wanted to put the war behind them. I understand the “falling on your sword” concept, painful though it is, but the kara-kiri method really tests not only ones willpower but also ones physical strength of cutting open your stomach from side to side. What I cannot understand is the gruesome side of it. Japanese art and way of life is basically so clean and methodical, which goes against the very bloody and messy affair that leaves the body in a “closed casket” situation. I loved the film and as a result began to read his novels and learn about his life and dramatic death which is interesting and even now decades after, still a taboo subject in Japan.
Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years. Simone Signoret Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it. Ralph Marston The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. Martin Luther King, Jr.