Mishima: sliced from the shackles of time


Review of Yokio Mishima by Damian Flanagan: Japan Times

MishimaPart of the originality of Damian Flanagan’s latest work rests in its approach to time, the author contending that a unique approach to the temporal was a key factor in Mishima’s life and death. Flanagan points out that in Japan, the age of 20 — which Mishima reached in 1945, the year World War II ended — marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. After a further 20 years had transpired, Mishima felt a strong sense of “being cut off from the natural flow of historical time.”

Flanagan describes how the youthful Mishima was awarded the prize of a timepiece by the Emperor, the “ultimate symbol of time transcendence,” after being nominated top of his class at the Peers School in Tokyo. Before committing ritual suicide on Nov. 25, 1970, he took off his watch, signaling his departure from life — the extinction of earthly time.

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