LETTER : Why Mishima was eccentric

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The Independent Online
I MUST take issue with your contributor Richard Lloyd Parry ("Pace of change sets off tremors of insecurity", 26 March). There is no argument about Japan being in a state of crisis, but the point of this letter is to demonstrate the difference between Shoko Asabara, the guru of Aum Shin Rikyo (Ohm Ultimate Truth) and Yukio Mishima, the celebrated Japanese writer. In Mishima's case, it was a personal crisis that dictated his eccentric behaviour. He nearly died as a baby and was taken over by a possessive, overprotective grandmother who kept him from his mother until he was 12. He had a disapproving and probably jealous father who deplored his writings when, even as a boy, he demonstrated his remarkable gifts. All this resulted in an almost Oedipal relationship with his mother when they were finally reunited.

He was a homosexual who haunted the gay clubs of Tokyo yet married a girl who had to be someone who would "be a credit" to him. Paul Shrader had such trouble with his film because Mishima's widow would not approve the revelations in the original script.

He brilliantly demonstrated the concept the Japanese regard as tatema/honne, or omote/ura, appearance and reality, or outside and inside of a human personality. Mishima never came to terms with Koki (self-realisation). He craved love but never learnt to give or receive it.

James Stevens

London NW7

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