Thursday, March 18, 2010
Who's That Queer [Yukio Mishima]
Yukio Mishima was the public name of Kimitake Hiraoka, a Japanese author and playwright, famous for both his highly notable nihilistic post-war writings and the circumstances of his ritual suicide by seppuku.
Mishima's early childhood was dominated by the shadow of his grandmother, Natsu, who took the boy and separated him from his immediate family for several years. Natsu was of a minor retainer family which had been related to the samurai of the Tokugawa era; she maintained considerable aristocratic pretensions even after marrying Mishima's grandfather, a commoner but nevertheless a bureaucrat who had made his fortunes in the newly-opened colonial frontier. She was stubborn, and also prone to violent, even morbid outbursts bordering on madness, which are occasionally alluded to in Mishima's works. It is to Natsu that some biographers have traced Mishima's fascination with death, and to the exorbitant; she read French and German, and had an aristocrat's taste for the Kabuki. Natsu famously did not allow Mishima to venture into the sunlight, to engage in any kind of sport, or to play with boys; he spent much of his time alone, or with female cousins and their dolls.
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