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Kimitake Hiraoka

Kimitake Hiraoka (January 14, 1925 - November 25, 1970) was a Japanese author and political activist who wrote under the pseudonym Yukio Mishima (三島由紀夫). He wrote novels, plays, essays, poems, and a libretto. Hiraoka is notable for both his nihilist post-war writing and in the circumstances of his suicide.

Life Kimitake Hiraoka was the son of Azusa Hiraoka, deputy director of the Ministry of Fisheries in the Agriculture Ministry, and Shizue Hara. His early childhood was greatly influenced by his grandmother, Natsu. She separated Kimitake from his family, and encouraged his interest in Kabuki theatre and in the idea of an elite past.

Hiraoka did well at the elite Peers School, belonging to a literary society there. He graduated from Tokyo University with a degree in jurisprudence. He was misdiagnosed as having tuberculosis and escaped serving during World War II.

He worked as an official in the government’s Finance Ministry after graduating in 1947. He resigned his position within a year in order to devote his time to writing. He wrote Kamen no kokuhaku (Confessions of a Mask) which is an autobiographical work about a young latent homosexual who must hide behind a mask in order to fit into society.

His most important essay, Bunka beiron (A Defense of Culture), argues that the Emperor was the source of Japanese culture, and to defend the Emperor was to defend the Japanese Culture. He formed his own private army, the Tatenokai[?] (Shield Society) to protect the emperor.

On November 25, 1970 Hiraoka and members of the Tatenokai took over the headquarters of the Japanese Self-Defense Force[?] in Tokyo. He requested that the army listen to his speech, but the soldiers were not interested in his cause. Having failed in his attempt, Mishima committed hara-kiri with one of his followers.

A film of Mishima's life, Mishima[?] was made in 1985 by director Paul Schrader[?], with music by Philip Glass.

Awards

  • Shincho Prize from Shinchosha Publishing, 1954, for The Sound of Waves.
  • Kishida Prize for Drama from Shinchosha Publishing, 1955.
  • Yomiuri Prize from Yomiuri Newspaper Co., for best novel, 1957, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.
  • Yomiuri Prize from Yomiuri Newspaper Co., for best drama, 1961, Toka no Kiku.

Works

  • Kamen no kokuhaku [Japan, 1949] English translation by Meredith Weatherby published as Confessions of a Mask, New Directions, 1958.
  • Ai no Kawaki [Japan, 1950] English translation by Alfred H. Marks published as Thirst for Love, introduction by Donald Keene, Knopf, 1969.
  • Kinjiki (fiction) two volumes, [Japan, 1954] English translation by Marks published as Forbidden Colors Secker and Warburg, 1968, Berkley Publishing, 1974.
  • Shiosai [Japan, 1954], English translation by Weatherby published as The Sound of Waves Knopf, 1956.
  • Kinkakuji [Japan, 1956] English translation by Ivan Morris published as The Temple of the Golden Pavilion Knopf, 1959.
  • Hojo no umi [Japan, 1969-71] The Sea of Fertility Tetralogy
    1. Volume I: Haru no yuki English translation Spring Snow by Michael Gallagher 1972
    2. Volume II: Homba English translation Runaway Horses by Gallagher 1973
    3. Volume III: Akatsuki no tera Engish translation Temple of Dawn by E. Dale Saunders and Cecilia S. Seigle 1973
    4. Volume IV: Tennin gosui English translation The Decay of the Angel by Edward Seidensticker 1974.



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