Yukio Mishima
Yukio Mishima

Sacred Visons of Splendor

Yukio Mishima always had a rather unusual life. As a boy growing up in Japan, Mishima was different than others his age. He seemed to be not like a child, rather, he carried an expression of self-determination and stoicism. Once, as a child, the romantic Mishima flipped through a book of paintings, stopping to study one: "St. Sebastian", which depicted the saint with arrows hanging from his torso and his hands tied to a limb. Mishima was so excited over this picture that he had his first encounter with masturbation as he viewed it (Mishima would later pose for a St. Sebastain-like picture).

Mishima studied Karate and became a devout beleiver in the power of Japan and its emperor, so he joined an extreme group called the Tatenokai. Within this group Mishima started his own group of rebels. On November 25, 1970 Mishima's band of rebels (four students), dressed in full uniform, visited the office of General Mashita. The General happily greeted Mishima and his men, but Mishima's demeanor suddenly changed to seriousness as he and the students began to gag and tie up the General and baricade the office. Guards could see through a peephole in the door what Mishima was doing and broke down the door, but Mishima, armed with his sword, attacked the soldiers, almost severing a sergeant's hand off. Mishima's men took the General hostage and threatened to kill him if there were anymore intrusions, meanwhile Mishima demanded that the Jietai Soldiers be assembled in the front of the building.

Mishima, with blood stains on his white gloves and wearing a white headband with the Japanese sun on it, stood above the soldiers in the square on the General's balcony. Mishima had agreed to hand over his sword if he was allowed to address the soldiers in silence. Helicopters swarmed over the square making it hard for the soldiers to hear the famous novelist's speech. Most of the soldiers were perplexed why Mishima was there in the first place. As he spoke about the direction of Japan away from traditions of the sword, many soldiers began yelling and shouting at him. Mishima began to chant "Long live the Emperor!" when soldiers began to yell "Shoot him!" Mishima jumped from the balcony, disappearing back into the General's office.

Mishima, in the office, removed his jacket and shoes, and knelt on the red carpet. He loosened his pants, slipping them down to his thighs. Morita, his comrade, stood behind him with Mishima's sword. Mishima took a dagger in his hand, yelling a final salute to the emperor, and plunged it into his stomach. He then preceded to pull the dagger horizontally across his belly as the blood flooded around him on the floor. With his neck exposed, Morita lifted the sword and brought it down on Mishima. He missed, severely cutting Mishima's back. Mishima lay groaning on the General's floor. Furu-Koga, another student, came forward and took the sword from Morita and, with one chop, seperated Mishima's head from his body cleanly. His students said a prayer for him as they knealt in the stench of the room because Mishima's entrails had spilled onto the floor. Morita then committed Hara-kiri (seppuku). Mishima had told the students not to kill themselves, so they picked up the two severed heads and balanced them on their necks on the carpet, headbands still in place. They then positioned the bodies feet-first toward the door and gave a final parayer. Finally, the students grabbed the General and paraded him out of the office, carrying Mishima's bloody sword in their hands.