Yukio Mishima’s diary on display

A diary kept by Yukio Mishima in the 1940’s, now on display at a museum in Japan, suggests that the Japanese writer based his most famous work partly on his own experiences:

Mishima described in detail his efforts to become a novelist, his relations with another famous novelist, Osamu Dazai, and his reunion with a woman believed to be the model of Sonoko, a woman in his masterpiece, “Kamen-no-Kokuhaku (Confession[s] of a Mask).”….

“The diary notes details of his life during a certain period of his youth. Mishima’s works were believed to have been completely fictional, but the diary suggests that he drew material from what he actually experienced,” [an expert] said.

(Via The Literary Saloon.)

In Confessions of a Mask, the protagonist realizes that he must mask his sexual desires for other men if he wants to be accepted in Japanese society.

Mishima committed ritual suicide in 1970, after writing many works associating death “with sexual ecstasy of both homosexual and heterosexual variety.” Earlier that year, he told a New York Times reporter, “that he worked so hard on body building because he intended to die before he was 50 and wanted to have a good looking corpse. He laughed, but then added, ‘I am half-serious, you know.'”

A British friend and confidante who knew of the writer’s suicide plans but didn’t intervene has written a screenplay that could star Jude Law. “For the last 2 1/2 years of his life I knew he was on the edge,” the friend told the U.K. Times:

I knew that, because he wrote to me saying that suicide — he was advised by a friend, whom he named — would be the solution to his career failure. It was an open secret that he had crashed out as a novelist.


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