Friday, November 26, 2010

三島 由紀夫

I missed this yesterday, but 40 years ago on November 25, 1970, Mishima Yukio committed seppuku at the Tokyo headquarters of the Eastern Command of Japan's Self-Defense Forces.

I can't honestly say I know much about Mishima beyond a couple of short stories I read in university and some things my driving instructor here in Miyazaki told me one night while we were drinking. (Yeah, my driving instructor! He was an admirer of Mishima. He was also very interested in the philosophy of Foucault. In fact, my driving instructor was maybe the most interesting person I've met in Japan. We had some lively conversations, even though we were, philosophically speaking, pretty much at odds.)

I'm basically with Camus with regard to the taking of human life: if it's wrong to commit murder, then it must be wrong to murder oneself.  Still, though, if actions speak louder than words, then we know this much about Mishima: he was no bullshitter. And that says a lot about a man, whether you agree with him or not.

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