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In Defense of Mishima

2,780 words

I have read Andrew Joyce’s article “Against Mishima” at The Occidental Observer with great interest and mixed feelings. I admire Dr. Joyce’s writings on the Jewish question, but to be candid, his critique of Mishima is on the whole tendentious and shallow. It is also overly emphatic on some topics while neglecting or downplaying other equally, if not more, important ones.

Dr. Joyce seems fixated on Mishima’s sexuality, which Joyce attributes to his unhealthy family environment and peculiar upbringing. Mishima’s sexuality is understandably regarded as unsavory by most traditional-minded people. But Dr. Joyce had gone a bit too far with his meticulous attention to this particular issue. Furthermore, I’m afraid that many of his claims about Mishima’s private life are based on taking his novel Confessions of a Mask as a straightforward autobiography, which is not supported by Mishima scholarship.

Mishima is certainly not a paragon of traditional sexual morality. That said, is he still worthy of the respect he receives from white nationalists? I believe the answer is yes, if we focus on the uplifting aspects of his life and work, including many of his writings and speeches that were given short shrift in Dr. Joyce’s article and perhaps are also generally less known to people who do not read Japanese.

The kernel of Dr. Joyce’s argument is that “if key aspects of his biography, including the death, are linked significantly more to his sexuality than his politics, then this is grounds to reconsider the worth of promoting such a figure,” which was later reinforced by his other claim that “a theory thus presents itself that Mishima’s carefully orchestrated death was a piece of homosexual sadomasochist theatre rather than anything political, let alone fascistic or in the tradition of the Samurai.”

To be frank, I found this assertion utterly preposterous. When a man delivers a speech about the importance of the Samurai tradition, then kills himself Samurai-style by cutting open his stomach—literally “spilling his guts”—it seems perverse to wonder if he is being insincere, if he is engaging in “homosexual sadomasochist theatre.” Irony, camp, and theatrics are all fake. There is nothing ironic or campy or fake about actually killing oneself.

Joyce simply ignores the text of Mishima’s final speech, in which he decried the ugly post-war era of Japan, deploring its materialistic and spiritually vacuous society. He lambasted venal and cowardly mainstream politicians. He called for Constitutional reform. He highlighted the authenticity of the Japanese military tradition, contrasting it to the miserable reality of the Japanese Self-defense Force, pointing out the dishonor of the Japanese military forever being a mercenary force of America and capitalists. He rejected the hypocrisy and nihilism of the post-war democracy and its mantra of “respect for human lives.” He reasserted the paramount status of the Tennō (Emperor) and Dentō (tradition), and urged the audience to die as real men and warriors combating the nation-wrecking post-war political regime and value system.

Then he demonstrated that he meant it.

The speech remains every bit as pertinent, powerful, and inspiring when read today as it was back then. The speech alone is enough to guarantee the immortality of Mishima as a nationalist figure of global significance, to say nothing of his numerous politically and culturally themed writings, fiction and non-fiction alike, and his other relevant speeches, which Dr. Joyce was either unaware of or chose to ignore.

A central argument of Dr. Joyce against Mishima is that “he seems hardly political at all. His fiction, denounced by early critics of all political hues as full of ‘evil narcissism’ possessing ‘no reality,’ is almost entirely devoid of ideology.” This could not be further from the truth and seems based on sheer ignorance. I wonder how many works of Mishima Dr. Joyce has actually read or even read about? Did he ever read Mishima’s final speech in full, or his Anti-Revolutionary Manifesto?

Admittedly, Mishima was not a political theorist or a philosopher; he was primarily a novelist and playwright. But being a nationalist writer and activist, his literary world was rich in themes drawn from Japanese history, traditional culture, politics, and current affairs. And, when it comes to political and ideological relevance, it is accurate to understand Mishima more as a Right-wing artist and inspirational activist than a theorist, which certainly has value for the Dissident Right in the West.

Dr. Joyce maintained that “Mishima, of course, never explored the Emperor’s role in World War II in any depth, and his chief fixation appears solely to have been the decision of the Emperor to accede to Allied demands and ‘become human.’” This is a baffling statement which again simply betrays Dr. Joyce’s lack of knowledge. Besides rightfully decrying the Showa Emperor’s self-demotion to “become human” from his traditional status of “Arahitogami” (god in human form or demigod), Mishima also critically examined the Emperor’s role in politics before, during, and after the war, which revealed that what Mishima essentially venerated was not the individual Tennō but the tō (the unique and time-honored Japanese monarchical system).

For example, Mishima criticized the Showa Emperor, expressing strong sympathy with the rebel soldiers of the “2.26 Incident” of 1936, who were genuine patriots with lofty ideals who were mercilessly crushed by the explicit order of the Emperor. His Patriotism and Voice of the Martyrs were written with great feeling in commemoration of them. [1]

Mishima also extolled the spirit and actions, and lamented the defeat of, the Samurai bands (prototypes of the movie The Last Samurai) who held fast to traditional values in defiance of Japan’s westernization in the wake of the Meiji Restoration. This is justifiably perceived as his criticism of the Meiji regime. Interested readers are recommended to take a look at my old review of the book Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima here.

Mishima believed that the Emperor could unify Japanese society as a cultural figure, standing above the political realm. He believed that if the monarchy stood as a national and cultural principle of unity, this would create a free space for political debate and cultural innovation, without endangering the cohesion of society. This view is rooted in Japanese tradition, but seeks to make space for important elements of modernity, including political pluralism and cultural freedom. One may agree or disagree with such views, but contra Joyce, they do exist, and they are not vague or vacuous.

A comprehensive search will discover that Mishima’s many books, essays, dramas, and speeches contain explicit or implicit messages defending Japan’s political, cultural, and military traditions, including but not limited to Bushido, expressed with the beauty and exuberance that are Mishima’s literary hallmarks and showing his profound cultivation in ancient Japanese and Chinese classics. His non-fiction books on cultural and political topics include For the Young Samurais, Introduction to Hagakure, Sun and Steel, and Theory of Cultural Defense. The same themes are discussed in his novel Runaway Horses and numerous essays. The five books cited above are especially popular and widely read in France and Italy.

In Sun and Steel (1968), Mishima writes, “Sword/martial art means to fight and fall like scattering blossoms, and pen/literary art means to cultivate imperishable blossoms.” Mishima has certainly lived up to this ideal himself, fulfilling it with his own sword and pen. According to literary critic Koichiro Tomioka, Sun and Steel is almost Mishima’s “literary suicide note” in which his cultural and philosophic thoughts were condensed. In it, Mishima argues that it is exactly the post-war era, in which all values have been inverted, that necessitates the revival of the ancient ethic code of “Bun-Bu-Ryodo” (cultivating a mastery of both pen and sword), as when “Bu” (sword) is gone, “Bun” (pen) slackens and decays. It is in the healthy tension created by the contrasting “Bun” and “Bu” that Mishima was seeking to reclaim traditional Japanese sensibilities.

Mishima also made some famous political statements in a long and heated debate with Leftist students at Tokyo University in 1969, the peak of a cultural and political maelstrom that had swept across Japan’s campuses at large. Their discussion went beyond different political stances into philosophical realms. While the students advocated transcending time and realizing a conceptual revolution in a new space, Mishima upheld the continuum of time. The topics included the Emperor, arts and aesthetics, ego and flesh, morality of violence, politics and literature, time and space, beauty as concept and reality, etc. While being an avowed and ardent Right-wing nationalist in politics and culture, Mishima actually showed sympathy with the Left-wing students’ opposition to capitalism and big business, telling the students: “If you guys are willing to recognize the sanctity and solemnity of the Emperor [as the head of the Japanese national community], I am willing join your ranks.”

Dr. Joyce also made a few jaundiced remarks that detract from his credibility. For example, he claims “[Mishima] was so poor at articulating his ideas to troops during his coup attempt that he was simply laughed at by gathered soldiers.” This is a surprisingly uninformed and erroneous assertion. It was true that Mishima was jeered and taunted by the gathered troops, who interrupted his speech multiple times by shouting. But their behavior had nothing to do with Mishima’s alleged inability to articulate his ideas. Mishima, after all, made a career of articulating ideas, a talent that did not fail him in his final speech.

The problem, rather, lies with the soldiers themselves, who understandably resented the fact that they were convened to listen to Mishima’s speech under duress because Mishima had taken their commander hostage. Moreover, most post-war Japanese servicemen were mere salarymen in a prosperous and materialistic society. They had little connection with the Japanese warrior tradition and were hardly capable of appreciating the problems of the spiritually vacuous society that had produced them. Mishima was perhaps aware of the possibility that he was “casting pearls before swine,” but he knew that his actions would give his words a far larger audience than the hecklers before him. Interestingly enough, according to a 2015 Mishima memorial in the Japanese nationalist publication Sankei Shimbun, some of the soldiers who mocked Mishima’s words later came around to his way of thinking.

Dr. Joyce states that “[Mishima] lied during his own army medical exam during the war in an effort to avoid military service.” This was simply not true. According to a number of Japanese books and essays on Mishima written by his supporters and critics alike, a large amount of evidence on this particular issue pointed to Mishima’s father Azusa Hiraoka using his government connections to help his son evade military conscription, about which Mishima was unaware. Another version of the story is that, although Mishima passed the initial exam, he was diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and was judged physically unqualified and excluded from military service, which was unsurprising due to his chronically weak physical conditions from early childhood.

Rather than chasing after such pointless shadows, it is far more worthwhile to take notice of the fact that Mishima had long felt pangs of conscience and an acute sense of survivor’s guilt for his inability to fight as a result of his physical condition in his youth, which partly explained why he took up body building after the war, striving to become a better man in both physical and spiritual senses, and entered the cultural and spiritual world of Bushido and the Samurai.

Another baseless and snide remark from Dr. Joyce is “One could add speculations that Mishima’s military fantasies were an extension of his sexual fixations, including a possible attempt to simply gain power over a large number of athletic young men. But this would be laboring an all-too-obvious point.” There is simply no evidence that Mishima harbored such baleful intent toward the young men who joined his Tatenokai (Shield Society). There has not been a single allegation of sexual impropriety, either before or after Mishima’s death, either from the young men themselves or from the media at large, including many hostile tabloid papers eager to pounce on the first possible chance to sling mud at Mishima. Surely one could expect that Mishima’s young followers, however juvenile and starry-eyed they might have been back then, would have said something in the last half-century if they had really become targets of Mishima’s “sexual fixations.”

Dr. Joyce moves from disparaging Mishima to demeaning Japanese culture in general in his misguided dismissal of Seppuku. Joyce’s major source, namely Toyomasa Fuse, is a Leftist who hates his ancestral cultural roots, like many Japanese and other East Asians who have either grown up in post-war American society or have been educated in toxic American institutions of higher learning. A simple search online reveals that Fuse was one of a select few Japanese groomed by the American occupation regime as a new intellectual elite. Fuse went to the US in 1950, sponsored by the US government, and later received both his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley, where he became a full-fledged Leftist and anti-traditionalist scholar. He was an active member of the anti-Vietnam War movement and moved from the US to Canada in 1968 with some other anti-war college professors. As the founder of the hilariously named Canada Suicide Studies Society, he specialized in and taught “Suicide Studies” at York University from 1972 until his retirement in 1997. Consulting Fuse on Japanese militarism is like consulting the Frankfurt School about Prussian militarism. Joyce, of all people, should know better.

The last sweeping and sloppy charge against Japanese culture by Dr. Joyce that I would like to counter is this: “Again, we must question, at a time when we are trying to break free from high levels of social concern and shaming in Europe, whether it is healthy or helpful to praise practices originating in pathologically shame-centered cultures.”

Surely Dr. Joyce realizes that social shaming in today’s Western countries is fundamentally different from social shaming in traditional Japanese society.

The shaming of whites in Western societies was imposed by an alien hostile elite on the native white populace for the purpose of undermining their traditional culture and values. But the shame culture of Japan is imposed by the Japanese community on its own members to encourage them to live up to communal standards and serve the common good. To put it simply, shaming in the West is an alien contrivance to undermine white society by pinning whites down with false guilt, while shaming in Japan is an indigenous and organic way that the Japanese maintain social norms and enhance social cohesion. The gradual decline of Japanese shaming culture in recent years due to Western influence is another trend that has alarmed traditionalists and nationalists in Japan.

If white societies had greater social cohesion and responsibility, reinforced by shaming, they probably would have resisted the takeover of hostile alien elites. Perhaps, then, white nationalists should study and adopt Japanese shaming mechanisms instead of bashing and trashing them. By calling traditional Japanese shame-centered culture embodied by Mishima “pathological,” Dr. Joyce might as well be quoting from the Frankfurt School, which sought to pathologize healthy white family and social norms, which are not so different from healthy Japanese norms.


[1] Two of the leaders of the uprising, senior captain Asaichi Isobe and senior captain Hisashi Kōno, evoked the greatest empathetic feelings from Mishima, and their patriotism, sincerity, and Samurai mettle became sources of his literary creations. Mishima wrote Patriotism and Voice of the Martyrs based on the Prison Note of Isobe, which featured the revengeful ghosts of the 2.26 uprising soldiers and Kamikaze pilots.

In a conversation with Tsukasa Kōno, elder brother of senior captain Hisashi Kōno, who was a key member of the uprising and committed suicide after the coup failed, Mishima remarks on the Showa Emperor’s dismissive words on the officers who decided to commit suicide: “Go ahead and kill themselves if they want. I’m not going to honor those despicable men with any official envoy.” Mishima commented: “It was not the rightful conduct for a Japanese Emperor. This is so sad.” Tsukasa asked Mishima: “Had those young officers known what the Emperor had said, would they have still shouted ‘Tennō Heika Banzai!’ (Long Live His Majesty the Emperor) before the firing squad?”

Mishima answered: “Even when the Emperor didn’t behave like an emperor, subjects ought to behave like subjects. They knew they must fulfill their part as subjects and chanted ‘Long Live the Emperor,’ believing in the judgment of the heaven. But what a tragedy for Japan!” When uttering his, he looked teary and his voice choked. After publishing Voice of the Martyrs, Mishima wrote in a letter to Tsukasa: “I wrote it with an intention to present it before the memorial tablets of your younger brother and other deceased officers of the 2.26 Uprising.”

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  1. rhondda
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this. I found the Joyce article disturbing and it had a false ring for me as if he had just come from a Freudian analysis session and needed to purge on someone.
    While homosexuality is a sin in Christian discourse, so is fornication and prostitution and envy and gluttony etc, etc. So many sins, so little time.
    I admire Misima because he made something of himself despite his horrendous childhood and society’s surrender to false ideals.

  2. Corday
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Mishima was deeply ashamed of his struggles with homosexuality, and attempted not to act on it. That’s obvious in “Confessions of a Mask.” Over the past year, I’ve started to see more people on the Dissident Right who are placing anti-gay and anti-trans sentiment at the very center of the movement. This has coincided with a rise in the number of very misguided people who paradoxically place Christianity at the center of a Right wing, nationalist political agenda. These issues once were and still should be tangential to more pressing matters.

    The fact that personalities like Nick Fuentes (significant evidence that he is a closeted homosexual himself) and E. Michael Jones are not deplatformed shows that the elite do not feel particularly threatened by those who predicate their identity and politics on ancient semitic religious particularism. Unfortunately, the influence of this tripe has seeped over into many places and personalities that previously focused on race, the JQ, and nationalism.

    • Baron Nishi
      Posted January 28, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      But you are confusing the issue. Being wary of homosexuals has nothing to do with Christianity.

      Matters of sexual morality are not simply social conventions imposed by the predominant religious tradition. They form in part, the foundation of the social organism, as such they are ideals and standards which men of our caliber fervently uphold and desire to see realized. No ancient culture, Pagan or Christian, tolerated aberrant sexual behavior. In most Aryan societies, the punishment for homosexuality was death or at least expulsion from the community. The so called Greco-Roman tolerance only became prominent in an era of political and spiritual decline of these two civilizations. The rejection of “semitic desert religion” or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t liberate you from the moral strictures that it imposes, as these are in one form or another, universal to healthy humanity.

      I would like to say that I find locker room bigotry against gays to be stupid and disgusting. I know that the founder of this site is a homosexual. This does not belittle his achievements and his intellectual standing. His sexual identity is not the issue. We all have our troughs to wallow in. But when one begins to rationalize personal moral and mental aberrations as being equal with healthy behavior that’s when such an individual needs to be called out.

      Where can we find Yukio Mishima trying to claim that there was anything normal or healthy about his personal behavior? He saw matters of his personal life as a goal of existential struggle, a pathology that could only be repudiated through violent self-sacrifice. A noble sentiment that is quite different from the mainstream of gay subculture. This is why he was despised by the majority of Western leftist establishment critics, who spared no opportunity to decry his body of work. It is regrettable that Andrew Joyce seems to uncritically reproduce their criticisms almost word for word without apparently recognizing their origin. All in all I believe that unfortunate article has been thoroughly demolished to such an extent that the scant few good points that it raised have largely gone unnoticed.

      • Corday
        Posted January 28, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        I agree on all points, and fear that I have misrepresented my position.

        I have perceived a rising sentiment within dissident circles that seems to make aversion to homosexuality the main pillar of the movement, and that this has coincided with the rise to prominence of people like the aforementioned Jones. I agree that the evidence suggests that ancient pagans were hostile to homosexuality in their own right. I would say, though, that in modernity Right Wing pagans are more likely to be primarily concerned with romantic or racial nationalism, whereas Right Wing Christians often find their way into dissident circles as a result of their disgust with the embrace of “LGBT” rhetoric by most mainline Christian denominations. My anecdotal observation is that devout Christians/Integralists on the Dissident Right tend to make anti-gay positions a more crucial part of their platform than do other groups in our milieu.

  3. Esoteric Du30ist
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I find it very interesting that a correlation exists between our American (and broadly traditionally European) ideals of the right to free speech and the right to bear arms and what you describe in the article as the samurai ideal of bun-bu-ryodo.

    This should not be overly surprising, I suppose, given the aristocratic or at least patrician aspirations of America’s founding fathers and the aristocratic reality of Japan’s medeival warrior ethos.

    The difference, of course, is that Japan’s daimyo ruled over peasants of their own kind (perhaps – I have listened to a few somewhat convincing podcasts about the suppressed historicity of a Turanic/basically huhwyte-dominated racial caste system existing in ancient Japan not unlike the one that existed in ancient India, Iran and probably in Europe too). Then again, the British plantation system was historically much harsher on its Irish and German slaves than its African ones in the beginning of America’s colonial period, so maybe there are more than a few connections between East and West in this regard.

  4. Happy Larry
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I liked The Temple of Golden Palivion when I read it a few years back. Gave it to me former English teacher as a birthday present, meaning some recommendation at least. Beyond that, my opinion of Mishima only stems from the film which, whilst I found it Schrader’s most realised work, I still think its dated rather poorly compared to works like Affliction, Auto-Focus, and even American Gigolo (which aged in a nostalgic way). As for the painting of the novelist, he came across as a flawed man, like everyone really, of which he was neither worth too much praise or too much derision. Mind you, I’m not a white nationalist and my tastes are for Philip Roth and James Joyce, so my stake for holding up Mishima as a figure of worship is minimal and not worth consideration for the Dissentant Right. I’m just a fellow traveller.

  5. Kuboa
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s very nice to see Riki Rei on Counter-Currents again, and with an incisive, informative article.

    I have only read Mishima’s “My Friend Hitler” and “The Sound of Waves”. The latter I read as an innocent and aesthetically beautiful novel espousing the virtue of hard work over slyness, physical endurance, respect toward the Gods, the family, and proximity to nature. (And the former a statement about the necessity of government to be ruthlessly pragmatic and travel the middle road; regardless, not anti-fascist.) I therefore found Joyce’s claim that Mishima was a “decadent urbanite” to be dubious, and not a very generous argument given what Mishima promotes in his writing.

    For one thing, creative and mentally gifted people are drawn toward the cities because that is where all the other intellectuals are. It’s where everything is “happening”. But this also gives one a vantage point to see the virtues of living outside of these human hives teeming with neurosis.

    Genius often comes with traits that puts one at odds with polite society (conservatives in particular) and Mishima was no exception. We all know that Dr. Joyce is a little fanatical in his hatred for homosexuality and this is interfering with his ability to give a balanced view of Mishima.

  6. Martin Venator
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful defense of one of my favourite writers! I must have read well over dozen books by him in my early 20s…

    I do think that his homosexual tendencies underlie his artistic sensitivity, but this does not make him a phoney Japanese patriot. If anything, Mishima’s leanings reflect a homosexual tradition that is undeniably present in many ancient warrior traditions, most notably the samurai one and (in the West) the Greek – to dismiss these as a mere sign of decline is preposterous. Whether we like it or not, in many ancient societies there was a place for active homosexuality among kshatriyas, which is not to say that all forms of homosexuality were acceptable. Mishima himself may have been gay to a significant degree, but he was married and he certainly wasn’t a limp-wristed fairy.

    His example shows, I think, that we shouldn’t attack homosexual tendencies in themselves (insofar as they remain a largely private matter), but only the LGBT attempt to erode normative heterosexual values and the traditional family.

  7. nineofclubs
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    A great article with many well researched and argued points.

    I’m very pleased to see you back Riki.


  8. Sutter
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    On shame: I would go one step further and say that the entire guilt-shame dichotomy (of Ruth Benedict) is false. Guilt is a *status* of having broken a law. Guilt only is an independent reality outside of human law if you posit some kind of God that will judge people individually according to some greater Law.

    Otherwise it is a feeling, and as a feeling, it is probably a result of anxiety/depression over being shamed or the possibility of it. The fact that guilt functions entirely differently in different cultures and in different contexts is most easily explained by this idea that it is a feeling that supervenes shame.

    The popular insistence in the West (from both secular liberals and right-wingers) that we do not shame others, and that white people’s feelings of shame are actually guilt, is reality-denial. There is plenty of shame in Western societies. The East is more honest about reality.

    This long history of shame-denialism has left whites without a language to talk about the most pernicious force afflicting whites: White Shame. It is *not* white guilt, as every sane person knows that no living white person can be held guilty for things that happened in the past.

    Asians who talk about shame are not regressive. They are both more honest about their lived experiences and cognizant of the importance of shame in human societies.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted January 30, 2020 at 3:38 am | Permalink

      When people use the word “cringe” today, they are talking about feeling ashamed of being associated with certain people.

      I cringe when people mention Richard Spencer, Matt Forney, Matt Parrott, Matt Heimbach, and people on their level, because they bring shame upon us all.

  9. Anon
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the article, it was very informative. I had to read it twice to make sure I understand.

    I wonder what makes Joyce obsess about the homosexuality angle? Who are his sources? Are his ideas from a pro-homosexuality publication trying to claim Mishima as /their guy/? Or is this whole thing in Joyce’s head? It is not impossible, since Joyce is homophobic, and has denounced Greg Johnson for homosexuality.

    But I wonder about the central thesis of Joyce: Mishima is not much of a nationalist philosopher. Riki Rei seems to not disagree.

    But I think the middle ground here is that the ethnostate of Japan *itself* was not at stake in Mishima’s lifetime; instead, the culture and traditions were. The Japanese were not being displaced, and they were not having to argue for their ethnic sovereignty in their ethnic homeland, as whites are today. So of course Mishima was not writing directly about Nationalism.

    But it looks to me like he was still a Reactionary, which seems to go hand-in-hand with Nationalism. Still useful.

  10. Riki
    Posted January 31, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Hello friends and readers of Counter Currents, thank you very much for your kindest and most encouraging words to me and my humble article. I want to take this opportunity to first thank Greg for his generous and expertly editing effort that has made my writing more streamlined, cogent and readable as it appears in its current shape. I would also like to add some additional information including new relevant facts and anecdotes and extended arguments about Mishima, his thoughts and actions, as well as those closely related to him including his families and followers, which I believe would be instrumental to corroborate some of the arguments in my article and help satisfy the potential curiosity of those who want to know more about Mishima, possible formative factors on his characters in his early life, his ideological and mental evolution on Japanese nationalism and traditionalism, and his lasting impact on the Japanese nationalists in the aftermath of his suicide etc.

    1. On Mishima’s traditionalist sensibilities as demonstrated by his sincere, strong, and well-grounded sympathies with the “2.26” uprising soldiers and the rebellious Samurais of the early Meiji period:
    Mishima held deep sympathies with the young officers and soldiers, resonated with their rustic and rugged agrarianism and anti-modernity, and considered them not disloyal rebels but noble-minded warriors willing to sacrifice themselves in defense of justice, righteous traditions, and the communal interest of the Japanese nation. He was deeply disappointed, saddened, and embittered by Showa Emperor’s refusal to listen to their sincere voices, instead callously ordering their swift execution after a cursory trial by a kangaroo court. In his Patriotism and Voice of the Martyrs, Mishima gave voice to the countless soldiers who felt wronged, abandoned, and consigned to oblivion by the Emperor to whom they swore allegiance, which became a major source of his profound aestheticism and literary creations.

    2. On the essence of his belief in the Japanese Monarchy system:
    For Mishima, a Japanese Emperor should and could unify the Japanese society as a figure of historical continuity, cultural uniformity and national identity, standing above the political realm. He believed that as long as the monarchy stood as a national and cultural symbol of unity, the essences of the nation’s history and traditions would remain well preserved and intact.

    3. On Mishima’s grandmother and the shadows of her treating of Mishima on the latter’s future literary creations:
    Dr. Joyce also dwelled heavily on the damaging mental influence on Mishima’s childhood of his fastidious and overbearing grandmother Natsuko, which is of course not without reasons or merits. But neither is it entirely fair. A more conscientious and impartial scholar should have said more about Mishima’s complex and tragic family history. Natsuko’s worldview and temperament had been heavily and inevitably shaped by her pride in her noble family background and her high levels of cultural cultivation, mixed with a searing sense of ruefulness as a member of the woefully eclipsed Tokugawa Clan, the former rulers of Japan who had lost their power and prestige after the Meiji Restoration. Hence at the bottom of the serene beauty and noble resignation often perceived in Mishima’s writing, there is the latent influence of the pride and sadness of his Noh and Kabuki-loving grandmother.

    While it is known that Mishima’s paternal side had humble and obscure peasant origins, including his grandfather Sadataro Hiraoka, who became a high-ranking imperial official through his own arduous effort, serving as the governor of Karafuto (the southern half of the Sakhalin Island, ceded to Japan by treaty after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of WWII) before his downfall, the family background of his grandmother Natsuko was truly eminent and amazing. Natsuko’s paternal grandfather Naoyuki Nagai was born a princeling of the Mikawa-han daimyo who later became a very capable official for the Tokugawa Shogunate and was a key member in negotiating treaties with Western powers and building up Japan’s first modern steel plant and naval fleet, and her maternal grandfather Yoritaka Matsudaira was the last daimyo of Shishido-han who became a renowned Shinto priest in his late life, both sides having blood lineage to the Tokugawa Clan. The reason Mishima was able to attend Gakushuin (the pre-war Japanese version of Eton College) was because of the Kazoku (nobility) status of his grandmother’s side.

    4. On the fundamental differences of the shaming inherent to and embedded with the Japanese traditional culture and the inorganic and artificially imposed shaming in the modern Western societies and the beneficial referential value of the former for the White Western people:
    Had the White people possessed or internalized the Japanese sense of shaming, they would be rightfully ashamed of their woes, languor, and general lack of resistance at present and be galvanized to fight back against their ruling elites of the alien-traitor alliance who have pressed them down by shaming them for being strong, assertive, successful, and racialist in the past. Thus, Whites would be in a stronger position for collective self-defense and mount a more conscious and effective counterstrike against the iniquitous forces seeking their displacement and dispossession.

    (To be continued)

  11. Riki
    Posted January 31, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    5. On Mishima’s lasting impact on his followers and average people in Japan and their perceptions of Mishima and his legacy:
    Yukokuki (Death Anniversary of A Patriot), an annual commemorative event of Mishima held since 1971 and drawing hundreds of Japanese nationalist of all ages from every corner of Japan and words of former servicemen who didn’t care about Mishima’s final message then but spoke to disclose their illuminated and transformed minds decades later all attest to Mishima’s lasting legacy and redeeming value. (By the way, Yukokuki has been held twice abroad so far, once in Paris and once in Rome, arranged respectively by the Japanese nationalist writer and artist Tadao Takemoto and the Italian conservative scholar and a professor at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan Mr. Romano Vulpitta whose two-part article on Mishima, Yasuda and Italian Fascism I had translated before and were also posted on Counter Currents.)
    Part I:
    Part II:

    One of the most telling examples was Major Katsumi Terao who broke into the room where Mishima and his men kept the general captive in an attempt to rescue the general and was cut four times by Mishima’s sword. Terao received severe wounds on his back and described “I felt my blood squirting out from my back like a whale shooting out water from its blowhole.” Decades later, he has inherited Mishima’s will and endeavored to advance his unfulfilled ideals. He spoke to Sankei Shimbun, a major conservative national newspaper in an interview: “For the Japanese nation, the most important thing is to wake up from the pacifist mindset and make a new Constitution as a sovereign country. This is Mishima’s cry of the soul. Mr. Mishima averred that the Post-War Constitution had caused the Japanese to lose their national spirit, get dumbed down by peace, and become a foolish economic power, and he predicted that Japan would self-destroy if that went on. Twenty years after his death, the bubble economy collapsed, and the spirit decline of the Japanese has continued to this day. As one who was there on that fateful day (of Mishima’s suicide), I want to pass on his voice to others, voice he had conveyed to us heart and soul at the expense of his own life.” Terao went on: “When the Constitutional reform is realized, Mishima will finally see his regrets and pains cleared and become a buddha. Until then his soul endures in a restless state. Now attention to Constitutional reform is on the rise in the general society, I wish more Japanese citizens take to read his final speech.”

    Sankei Shimbun published a special memorial collection of the 45 years anniversary of Mishima’s suicide in 2015, which includes valuable historical documents such as the script of Mishima’s final speech, his suicide note, his final order to his troop members, court testimonies of the several followers who attempted the coup together with Mishima, as well as current interviews of his former troop members and a retired army officer who had tried to stop Mishima and was grievously wounded by Mishima’s sword. Major Katsumi Terao and a few others tried to break into the door to rescue the kidnapped general Masuda. When wrestling with Mishima and his men, Terao received three cuts in the back and one in the arm from Mishima wielding his beloved and famous katana Sekino-magoroku and sustained grisly, life-threatening wounds. Terao thought he had done his duty then as a soldier but did not hate Mishima the person despite being inflicted severe injuries by the latter. He was impressed by Mishima’s selfless and idealistic devotion to his cause and later became persuaded by his ideas. After retirement from the military as a brigadier general, Terao has made speeches around Japan centered on Mishima’s behest i.e., wake up from the pacifist lethargy and make a new Constitution that fits a truly independent and sovereign Japan.

    It is also worth noting that a book titled Times Yukio Mishima lived published in 2015 by Haruki Murata, the youngest former member of Mishima’s Tatenokai, reveals that in the wake of the Mishima’s Incident, a survey was conducted for one thousand servicemen who were sampled in random, and over 70% of respondents said that the content of Mishima’s final speech resonated with them. To this day, a stone tablet on which a tanka poem composed by Mishima was engraved, which was erected by army officers and soldiers who had instructed or trained together with Mishima during his voluntary military trainings, still stands in the Takigahara army base where Mishima had undergone the military trainings.

    There are also young men who were inspired by Mishima’s action and chose to join the military service, according to the reports of Sankei Shimbun. Sato talked to the reporter of Sankei Shimbun and recalled his feelings back then and the impact of Mishima’s death on his life and career: “I was 24 years old and working in a company on the second year after graduating from college. I was astounded by the news as if someone knocked my head with a hammer. Until then I had viewed Tatenokai, described as ‘toy soldiers’, with an aloof indifference. When I finally saw the way of Bushido and Samurai Mishima and his followers had practiced, I was awakened and told myself I had to do something. I also completely identified with the words in his final speech.” Sato left the company he worked for the next Spring and joined the Self-Defense Force. He remembered to see a few other young guys like him who were galvanized by the final action of Mishima and decided to join the military service. Sato eventually rose to the rank of colonel and retried from military in his late 30s, and he told the reporter that he hadn’t encountered a single serviceman who talked negatively about Mishima during his entire tenure in military service.

    On Mishima’s militia organization Tatenokai, in fact, not only had none of the former members of Mishima’s Tatenokai, now around the age of 70, ever said anything that could bear any remote resemblance to Dr. Joyce’s invidious implication of Mishima’s “sexual fixatation”, many of them wrote books or spoke to interviews to express their nostalgia for their regretless youthful days under Mishima’s guidance and instruction and their strong trust and admiration for Mishima the man and his pure patriotism and idealism.

    According to the 2015 Mishima Memorial, former Tatenokai members who had received interviews included Hiroyasu Koga (68 in 2015, who cut off the heads of both Mishima and Masakatsu Morita who died together with Mishima), Masayoshi Koga (67), Masahiro Ogawa (67), Yoshio Ito (69), Tengo Horita (70), Yutaka Shinohara (68), Taketoshi Katsumata (68), Kiyoshi Kuramochi (68), Tsukasa Tamura (65), and Haruki Murata (64). Besides, former followers and acquainted former army officers who wrote books to commemorate Mishima were Shigeki Nishimura (Young Officers Who Last Met Yukio Mishima, 2019), Kiyokatsu Yamamoto (The Shadow Troop of the Army: Confession of the Truths about Mishima’s Death, 2001), Yusuke Sugihara (Yukio Mishima and the Japan Self-Defense Force, 1997), Aemi Suzuki and Tsukasa Tamura (The Trace of Fire: Testimonies of 30 Former Members of Tatenokai, 2005), Kiyoshi Honda (Constitutional Reform Dedicated to the Emperor, 2013), Toyoo Inoue (The Unfulfilled Promise, 2006), Masahiro Miyazaki (In the Aftermath of Yukio Mishima, 1999), Yutaka Shinohara (So Did Yukio Mishima Say, 2017), Haruki Murata (Times Yukio Mishima lived, 2015).

    (The end)

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