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憂国 ➝ [Epub] ❦ 憂国 By Yukio Mishima ➧ – By now Yukio Mishima’s 1925 1970 dramatic demise through an act of seppuku after an inflammatory public speech has become the stuff of literary legend With Patriotism Mishima was able to give his he By now Yukio Mishima’s dramatic demise through an act of seppuku after an inflammatory public speech has become the stuff of literary legend With Patriotism Mishima was able to give his heartwrenching patriotic idealism an immortal vessel  A lieutenant in the Japanese army comes home to his wife and informs her that his closest friends have become mutineers He and his beautiful loyal wife decide to end their lives together In unwavering detail Mishima describes Shinji and Reiko making love for the last time and the couple’s seppuku that follows.

  • Paperback
  • 60 pages
  • 憂国
  • Yukio Mishima
  • English
  • 04 May 2014
  • 9780811218542

About the Author: Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima 三島 由紀夫 was born in Tokyo in He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Jurisprudence in His first published book The Forest in Full Bloom appeared in and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask From then until his death he continued to publish novels short stories and plays each year His crowning achievement th.

10 thoughts on “憂国

  1. Traveller Traveller says:

    Mishima addressing the troops before withdrawing to commit seppuku On the twenty eighth of February 1936 on the third day that is of the February 26 Incident Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama of the Konoe Transport Battalion—profoundly disturbed by the knowledge that his closest colleagues had been with the mutineers from the beginning and indignant at the imminent prospect of Imperial troops attacking Imperial troops took his officer’s sword and ceremonially disemboweled himself in the eight mat room of his private residence in the sixth block of Aoba cho in Yotsuya Ward His wife Reiko followed him stabbing herself to death The lieutenant’s farewell note consisted of one sentence “Long live the Imperial Forces” His wife’s after apologies for her unfilial conduct in thus preceding her parents to the grave concluded “The day which for a soldier’s wife had to come has come ” The last moments of this heroic and dedicated couple were such as to make the gods themselves weep The lieutenant’s age it should be noted was thirty one his wife’s twenty three; and it was not half a year since the celebration of their marriage Thus the story opensThe February 26 rebellion mentioned in this novella was a true event The Niniroku Jiken Incident or the February 26 Incident was an attempted coup d'état in Japan on 26 February 1936 organized by a group of young Imperial Japanese Army officers with the goal of purging the government and military leadership of their factional rivals and ideological opponentsThe hero of the story of the novella the fictional Lieutenant Takeyama feels that it is honorable to commit ritual suicide than to have to choose between loyalty to his comrades and loyalty to the Emperor by whom he is ordered take action against the rebelsBut the novella is a foreshadowing of yet another event an even stranger one instigated by Yukio Mishima himselfYukio Mishima is an icon of Japanese cultural life Flamboyant romantic eccentric he was also an intensely idealistic and political person It is beyond the scope of an article on this story to deal with his life and politics in detail but the way in which Mishima ended his own life was a strange echo of the way in which the hero of this novella ended his lifeOn November 25 1970 the Japanese author and playwright Yukio Mishima committed seppuku in an attempted military coup Mishima had planned his suicide meticulously for at least a yearPsychologically speaking he was an extremely complex person Politically speaking he was almost in a class of his own He wanted Japan to go back to its old traditional ways and his interpretation of the samurai code or warrior code known as Bushidō or the way of the warrior had special emphasis on the warrior's readiness to die and on how it is honorable to die a hero's death than to live a shameful life Ritual suicide is according to the Samurai code a way to gain back lost honor The code generally stresses dignity obedience to cultural rules and honor You would think that this would place Mishima on the far right of the political spectrum but the Right wing were contemptuous of Mishima’s declaration that Emperor Hirohito should have resigned from the Chrysanthemum Throne Mishima's militaristic patriotism and his romantic idealism are reflected in many of his works including this novellaIf I'd had to rate this directly after first reading it I bought the book in Japan in my mid late teens I would have been impressed enough to have given it 5 stars the novella is a lyrical and riveting depiction of a dual ritual suicide the events that precede it and the cultural milieu it plays out inWhen I first read this I had not known a thing about Mishima I had found the novella very dramatic and romantic and the idealism spoke to me It really gripped me My teenage self felt very impressedbut writing a review on it now with what I do know now about Japan and Mishima I can't help but automatically integrate what I have read and seen of Mishima and his background with how I feel towards this textI have since had time to think about the MishimaSamuraiseppuku debacle of which I see this novella as a romanticization and now I have pretty much mixed feelings Besides general issues that I may have with Mishima's political sentiments the real seppuku undertaken by Mishima and his friends was a much less romantic undertaking and much of a horribly messy affair because the person who had been assigned to decapitate Mishima couldn't complete the duty after many tries slashing Mishima's neck but not actually decapitating him and someone else had to complete the task for him In fact it was horrific in it's garbled execution if you'll excuse the punIn this novella Mishima gives his intended seppuku a much romantic treatment which makes what really happened so much horrible to contemplateSeppuku or harakiri is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment Part of the samurai bushido honor code seppuku was either performed voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses or performed for other reasons that had brought shame to them Dressed ceremonially with his sword placed in front of him the warrior would prepare for death by writing a death poemWith his selected attendant standing by he would open his robe take up his knife or short sword and plunge it into his abdomen making a left to right cut The kaishakunin would then perform kaishaku a cut in which the warrior was decapitatedSee Warrior about to commit seppukuIn reading this work I feel that it is worthwhile keeping in mind that this act of suicide although now outdated was very much a cultural thing with a long tradition closely tied in with the Japanese concepts of honor and shame I think it is something that might be rather strange for most Westerners to contemplate since we actually tend to see suicide as a shameful thing; whereas in the context of this story it is uite the oppositeHard as it must be to commit any suicide I cannot imagine the determination it must reuire to actually disembowel yourself with a dagger or swordAll the context aside this is a novella that is a worthwhile read as a demonstration of Mishima's narrative skill and is probably one of those 1001 novellas you should read before you die It is a work of strangeness and beauty Interesting also are its various themes As is obvious from its opening paragraphs Mishima has a very idealistic interpretation of patriotism an interpretation which is romantic despite its severity The novella is a window that lends some insight especially for Western readers into the Japanese concepts of tradition and honor and specifically into the traditional way of thought of the SamuraiIn any case from various sources it is fairly obvious that Mishima fantasized a lot about his coming suicide In addition a lot of his creative work deals with the subject of death He even made a film of this novella which is definitely worthwhile watching and has a haunting uality What is memorable is Mishima's ability to make what is actually a grisly event come across as something which has a dreamlike surreal beauty Which just makes it feel creepy yet riveting at the same time The film is co directed by Mishima himself and he also acts in it playing the main roleThis work gets 4 stars for its iconic status

  2. Florencia Florencia says:

    On ismsIt seems that I had some issues with this novella And the reasons as usual are completely personal and thus irrelevant to your reading experienceBeyond tradition beliefs fear and indignation at the imminent prospect of Imperial troops attacking Imperial troops I can't find a story breathtakingly infused with romanticism I can't relate to the concept of patriotism To a sort of world citizen the attachment to a portion of land is somewhat feeble Why I came here I know not; where I shall go it is useless to inuire says Lord Byron in his Letters and Journals; something about this made me think of that uote My connections abstractions to which I aspire at least are with people not with theories involving nationality and I'm against any kind of generalization that such notion engenders Certain values and beliefs the religion I was raised in – the first origin a matter of geography I still can’t feel pride for the doings of chance or let's say even fate juggling with the concept of a plan designed by someone elseThe degeneration of patriotism is a debate for another time so I will refrain from expanding on nationalism and such a reality that it is being forced on many of us now than ever In any case patriotism might be foreign language I dislike most terms which end in the suffix ism that don't involve my favorite writers On licking blades and finding it remotely eroticAnother issue – the real theme in this novella – which prevented me from greatly enjoying this story was the excessive fascination for the concept of death the morbid enchantment by the blade which was juxtaposed to a sense of beauty and sensuality; elements that when combined I usually fail to identify with The leitmotifs of this story and of its creator’s life I watched a part of a documentary a couple of days ago where the narrator explained how Mishima’s last actions in the form of a coup might have been above all an excuse to achieve the aesthetic death he always dreamed of The last artistic manifestation of will It struck him as incredible that amidst this terrible agony things which could be seen could still be seen and existing things existed still On writingA brief yet tough read Despite the lack of connection between the story and me the beauty of Mishima's prose remained intact I’m and impressed by the care with which he described the remarkable the inconseuential by means of his contemplative and delectable writing The scenes of love between husband and wife were beautifully portrayed Regardless of my thoughts on the subject with the precision of a surgeon the author associated the concepts of patriotism and death with a sense of eroticism until they were one single reality The beauty of skin The brutality of blood The rite of love and deathI failed again Thus so far from seeing any inconsistency or conflict between the urges of his flesh and the sincerity of his patriotism the lieutenant was even able to regard the two as parts of the same thing On mythsThe red string bringing these characters together¹ At one point one is honestly thinking how the sublimity of love actually feels the act of giving oneself fully Unreservedly Sharing perspectives on life Breathing somebody else’s air Thinking about words to express feelings Voicing those words Not knowing what to do at the thought of the absence of such words Following the fate of those words And then the fear He who gives himself up like a prisoner of war must give up his weapons as well² And deprived of any defense not convinced by the fusion of words voices and individuality the fracture of self the fear of loss the constant feeling of being another one’s burden one stops thinking about it until the next day I imagine it might be simpler to make decisions when people return their gaze and silence is no longer a wallOn random thoughtsThis novella became even vivid once I watched Yūkoku a 1966 short film “produced directed acted and written by Yukio Mishima” I watched it at night A sleepless night The night the bell jar broke³With regard to Mishima’s works nothing is ever certain This is the third book I read by him – apart from two short stories Fortunately I don’t know what to expect but I already look forward to the wonders of the second volume of his tetralogy I long for another deep contemplation of my reactions to every one of his words1 Allusion to a review of Anna Karenina2 Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part Three Words Misunderstood3 I wrote this the same night I wrote something about The Bell Jar4 Oh who's going to read this farFeb 02 17 Also on my blog

  3. Mike Puma Mike Puma says:

    First things first—the book the physical book has some problems what appears to me as occasionally awkward translation and very unfortunate copy editing I wanted to get that off my chest each of those problems bugged me right from the beginning I soldiered on but the experience of reading was tainted ‘Nuff saidIt’s almost impossible to say much about Patriotism without spoilers If you’ve read the title description you know what those are and shouldn’t be surprised by anything that follows Just in case This review contains spoilersPatriotism for me is one of those confused and confusing concepts that many euate simply with ‘love of country’ which would I suppose be fine but often takes the form of an ugly nationalism which in my opinion has never been merited—by any country at any time While it’s one thing to stand misty eyed with hand over heart as the flag passes by remembering or fantasizing about what one regards as the best of one’s country’s finest attributes and history it’s uite another thing to ignore the attributes and history which don’t adhere to one’s mythology I must make the distinction in my mind and explicitly as it seems too few do and the one trait freuently poses as the other Patriotism is that ‘virtue’ we have and those cute foreigners with whom we get along while ‘nationalism’ is the domain of the evil It euates roughly with the notion that only other people’s religions are superstitionsFor the sake of clarity I do not regard Patriotism as a virtue and that had something to do with putting off the reading of this novella as the title created approachavoidance conflict within me Moving onThe novella presents the story of the final two days in the lives of Shinji and Reiko Takeyama Their love for each other and respect for each other and devotion to each other seem absolute honorable moving For me it is within that context the story works best Shinji however is not a character with whom everyone will be able to identify—especially given that his decision to commit suicide is not due to personal disgrace but rather because friends had committed mutiny against his country He knew he wouldn’t be able to fight them they were his friends and he knew he was opposed to their rebellion so the solution to his dilemma issuicide ? I know I know time and place—time place and tradition—still That was for me the least compelling aspect of the novella On the other hand Reiko— Any sensitive sympathetic reading demands a ualified appreciation of Reiko No she’s not a feminist hero Her motivation is honorable—in spite of the superstition accompanying her husband on his next adventure Their love for each other is believable Can’t ask for than thatFour stars—because I can’t do and won’t do fewer Grizzly Probably not best read while depressed

  4. Junta Junta says:

    The original Japanese title of this novella is 憂国 yūkoku for which no English word exists as an euivalentThe primary senses of 憂 are the state or action of worrying and being concerned while secondary senses include the state or action of suffering being ill sad reluctant melancholy and cold 国 is the kanji for country or nation 憂国 as a word combines these into the state of being concerned about and having your thoughts with the present and future state of one's countryWhile Patriotism is no doubt a title which does the story justice there is a chasm present between the connotations of 憂国 and Patriotism the latter meaning or less the love of your country and willingness to defend it In Mishima's novella a lieutenant of the Imperial Forces commits seppuku ritual suicide through disembowelment with a sword followed by his wife in an act of defiance honour ethics and patriotism this is all revealed at the very start of the story He believes that death is better than having to choose between Japan and his close comrades whom have committed mutinyWhile the prose is poetic and evokes a sense of beauty and eroticism in death I feel that it isn't the kind of novella that you're supposed to love as with patriotism towards one's country rather a sense of sorrow and melancholy for the characters and their fates as with 憂国After all there is much to be discussed about a novella when the author himself ends his life in a similar vein to the main character ultimately was that an act of patriotism or 憂国? I've only read a few of Mishima's works so far and must continue with his othersI recommend reading the top review for the novella Traveller's comprehensive review including the starting chapter of the novella and a YouTube link to the short movie adaptation which Mishima directed and played the main role inAugust 24 2015PS Matt in Comment #7 pointed out that in GermanPatriotism Vaterlandsliebe the Liebelove for one's Vaterlandfatherlandand a suitable word foryūkoku Vaterlandssorge Sorge could mean concern care and sorrowYuki in Comment #15 pointed out that in Vietnamese憂国 âu uốc but it is an archaic word so愛国 seems to be used these daysSperanza in Comment #17 pointed out that in Bulgarianтатковина tatkovina homeland; composed of татко Dad and вина guiltIf you're aware of another language having a similar word to yūkoku or would like to add to the discussion please leave a comment

  5. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    On the twenty eighth of February 1936 on the third day that is of the February 26 incident Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama of the Konoe Transport Battalion — profoundly disturbed by the knowledge that his closest colleagues had been with the mutineers from the beginning and indignant at the imminent prospect of Imperial troops attacking Imperial troops — took his officer’s sword and ceremonially disemboweled himself in the eight mat room of his private resident in the sixth block of Aoba cho in Yotsuya Ward His wife Reiko followed him stabbing herself to deathThis is the opening to this powerful Mishima short story we know what's going to happen it may lay out all of the facts of the story but only alludes to some of the emotion And the opening paragraph is done in a style similar to that of a news report or an obituary disturbing as it is this feels like it was written with immense pride Seppuku the ritual suicide is where the story ends up but the heart of the narrative is made up of some moving moments between man and wife before the deed is done including passionate love making Somehow Mishima succeeds in exalting sex and death though he spends a great deal of time merely describing the physical details For example The lieutenant’s naked skin glowed like a field of barley and everywhere the muscles sowed in sharp relief converging on the lower abdomen about the small unassuming navel Gazing at the youthful firm stomach modestly covered by a vigorous growth of hair Reiko thought of it as it was soon to be cruelly cut by the sword and she laid her head upon it sobbing in pity and bathed it with kissesPatriotism is beautifully written Mishima writes with grace and control as he leads us through the lieutenant and Reiko’s preparations for death After the opening chapter’s recitation of events and the second chapter’s similarly summary style which gives us the history of the couple’s brief marriage the story proceeds essentially in real time—it doesn’t take much longer to read than its events would take to accomplish It's precise metaphorical and elevated Mishima to legendary status

  6. Nicole~ Nicole~ says:

    The Sino Japanese tradition was very important to Yukio Mishima January 14 1925 – November 25 1970 who held strong ideals of the militaristic glory days of old Japan In Patriotism1960 Mishima uses the love death theme executing the ancient ritual suicide viscerally playing it out through a recently married couple Lieutenant Takeyama returns home following the failed coup d'état of 1936 the Ni NI Roku Incident Rather than follow orders to execute the rebels his friends the young army officer decides to commit suicide his farewell note would read Long Live the Imperial Forces revealing his own true ideology The story unfolds in a timeframe of a few hours in an unsettling and evocative mix of contrasting effects of sexual and gruesomely graphic scenes as Mishima manages skillfully and poetically to balance sensuality with darkness The lieutenant drew his wife close and kissed her vehemently As their tongues explored each other's mouths reaching out into the smooth moist interior they felt as if the still unknown agonies of death had tempered their senses to the keenness of red hot steel The agonies they could not yet feel the distant pains of death had refined their awareness of pleasureAt the touch of his wife's tears on his stomach the lieutenant felt ready to endure with courage the cruelest agonies of his suicide Takeyama considers his final act with the courage of a soldier entering battle to a death of no less degree and uality than death in the front line For Reiko who almost in a dreamlike state would bravely follow him to honor their death pact like the dutiful spouse The day which for a soldier's wife had to come has come The last moments of this heroic and dedicated couple were such to make the gods weep Mishima's obsession with death was bewildering from a young age if not plainly disturbing Death themes freuently appeared even in his earliest works In Patriotism the melding of self annihilation and erotic pleasure is expressed with deep feeling it is absolutely apparent to this reader that the story was a rehearsal for the plan he had in mind as his own final act on November 25th 1970 See Mishima A Biographyand wiki on MishimaIn the movie adaptation Yūkoku the Rite of Life and Death Mishima dramatically overplayed the lead with considered intensity and vigor his emotional investment in the act of the ritual itself seemed so well thought out and so very personalMy copy of Patriotism is from Death in Midsummer and Other Stories an extremely worthy collection showcasing Mishima's mastery of the short story form

  7. Meike Meike says:

    This novella is unratable The beautiful writing easily deserves ten stars Mishima is just a brilliant brilliant poet; but the content foreshadows the author's own death by seppuku suicide by ritual disembowlement and reflects his right wing nationalism as well as his obsession with death The main and only characters are Shinji a 31 year old lieutenant in the Imperial Army and his 23 year old wife Reiko who have been married for less than half a year As the other soldiers stage a mutiny Shinji is torn between his loyalty to the Emperor and his friends so he declares to his wife that he will kill himself rather than joining the rebellion Reiko obediently asks permission to join him They spent one last evening together and commit ritual suicide The whole text is superbly written lyrical and elegant and just a joy to read which means that the author describes an act of extreme political allegiance to the old Japan as heroic and beautiful Mishima himself recruited a private army the Tatenokai to restore power to the Emperor In 1970 he and four of the Tatenokai entered a military base in Tokyo took the commandant hostage and tried to incite the soldiers to overturn the democratic constitution Minutes after the coup failed Mishima committed seppuku in a way he turned himself into a version of the protagonist of Patriotism and that after playing the role of Shinji in the movie version of his novella you can watch it here There is also actual footage of his attempted military coup you can watch it hereAnother important aspect of the novella is Mishima's preoccupation with youth beauty and death Shinji and Reiko are both young and beautiful and their strong sexual passion for each other is compared to the passion of patriotism Freely choosing death is presented as an act of freedom and the protagonists are both determined to look as good as possible as corpses This combination of sex and death is a recurring theme in Mishima's work and one can only speculate in how far his obsession was influenced by the fact that the writer was homosexual but married to a woman and a father just consider the suffering of his alter ego in his roman à clef Confessions of a Mask But this is kitchen psychology Mishima was a highly complex and yes also problematic character but one with undeniable and overwhelming artistic abilities Mishima takes many pages to convey the tenderness and passion between Shinji and Reiko and even pages to describe the double suicide with all of its gruesome details hint It's pretty difficult to cut your stomach open until the intestines spill out this book is not for the faint of heart but still so beautifully rendered that it's baffling considering the subject manner This author is a must read and not only for lovers of Japanese literature he needs to be read critically but his books are utterly fascinating

  8. SheAintGotNoShoes SheAintGotNoShoes says:

    EEK 😲 😲 😲 😲This was an extremely short book I read it in little over an hour but it felt like being kicked in the teeth it was that graphicBasically a story of a married couple who commit suicide in Japan basically an honor thing The description made the hair stand up on the back of my neck and I could not even conceive of doing that even if I wanted to commit suicide or watching my husband do it while waiting my turnNot for the sueamish 😮 😮 😮 😮

  9. Steven Steven says:

    This story about lieutenant Shinji Takeyama and his young wife Reiko who commit suicide together after a mutiny against the Imperial Army is one of the most harrowing tales I have read The description of seppuku ritual suicide by disembowelment is graphic and visceral yet lyrical and beautiful; knowing that Mishima himself performed the act in 1970 to end his life adds an eerie layer of significance to the story

  10. Daniela Daniela says:

    This book has only 30 pages which are better written than most 300 hundred page novels I've read It is beautiful evocative and astonishingly terrible There's barely any plot to this Mishima describes the ritual suicide the Japanese call seppuku A lieutenant of the Imperial army torn between an impossible choice follows the only possible way out the only choice that would save his honour Please don't get me wrong there's a nearly unbearable darkness to this tale An exaltation of suicide which the narrative compares to the act of loving Mishima's fascination with seppuku the method he chose to end his own life is strange and disturbing But it creates a little masterpiece

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