A critical biography of a modern Japanese literary giant, whose brilliant career ended in a spectacular ritual suicide.
Price : US$39.95
ISBN: 978-1-61172-008-2 864 pp, hardcover, 6" x 9"
"An essential addition to all collections with a strong emphasis on world literature
and Japanese history." —Library Journal
"Naoki Inose's biography is immensely detailed and punctilious and not easy reading for a foreigner not versed in Japanese culture and history . . . but does show him to have been an extraordinary man, in many respects a sympathetic one, and a writer of extraordinary range . . . I hope that this biography revives interest in the best of his novels, especially in the tetralogy." —Wall Street Journal
"Persona . . . is a book about Japan itself, as filtered through the life of one of its perhaps most important creations. . . . If Japan truly represents the Occident and the Orient as so many would have us believe, it’s because of icons like the talented, tragic Mishima."
—Will Eells, Three Percent
"Mishima's life and his many interests . . . make for fascinating reading, and Persona is a riveting account."
—M.A. Orthofer, Complete Review
Yukio Mishima (b. 1925) was a brilliant writer and
intellectual whose relentless obsession with beauty, purity, and patriotism
ended in his astonishing self-disembowelment and decapitation in downtown Tokyo
in 1970. Nominated for the Nobel Prize, Mishima was the best-known novelist of
his time (works like Confessions of a
Mask and The Temple of the Golden
Pavilion are still in print in English), and his legacy—his persona—is still honored and puzzled
Who was Yukio Mishima really? This, the first full biography
to appear in English in almost 40 years, traces Mishima’s trajectory from a
sickly boy named Kimitake Hiraoka to a hard-bodied student of martial arts. In
detail it examines his family life, the wartime years, and his emergence then
fame as a writer and advocate for traditional values. Revealed here are all the
personalities and conflicts and sometimes petty backbiting that shaped the
culture of postwar literary Japan.
Working entirely from primary sources and material
unavailable to other biographers, author Inose and translator Sato together
have produced a monumental work that covers much new ground in unprecedented
depth. Using interviews, social and psychological analysis, and close reading
of novels and essays, Persona removes
the mask that Mishima so artfully created to disguise his true self.
Naoki Inose, currently governor of Tokyo, has also written biographies of writers
Kikuchi Kan and Osamu Dazai. New York–based Hiroaki Sato is an award-winning translator of classical and modern
Japanese poetry, and also translated Mishima’s novel Silk and Insight.