On the Turbulent Life and Dramatic Death of Yukio Mishima
This Week on the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
In November of 1970, the most famous novelist in Japan dropped off the final pages of his masterpiece with his publisher, then went to a military office in Tokyo, where he and a small band of supporters took the commander hostage. The novelist—whose name was Yukio Mishima—then appeared on the balcony before a crowd of a thousand soldiers and supporters. After exhorting them to overthrow the Japanese government and return Japan to its proud imperial past, he stepped away from the balcony and committed seppuku, the ritualized suicide made famous by samurai warriors from Japan’s legendary shogunate period. Who was Mishima? What brought him to this point in his life? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the turbulent life and dramatic death of Yukio Mishima (1925-1970).