Confessions of a Mask PDF ñ Confessions of MOBI



10 thoughts on “Confessions of a Mask

  1. Michael Michael says:

    An autobiographical novel about a boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in wartime Japan, Confessions of a Mask reflects on what it means to conceal desire and deviance while coming of age The novel follows Kochan, a queer male, from birth to young adulthood as he realizes and reckons with his sense of difference from most boys Influenced by the work of French modernists, the novel forgoes conventional plot and instead fictionalizes the author s personal history In precise, eleva An autobiographical novel about a boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in wartime Japan, Confessions of a Mask reflects on what it means to conceal desire and deviance while coming of age The novel follows Kochan, a queer male, from birth to young adulthood as he realizes and reckons with his sense of difference from most boys Influenced by the work of French modernists, the novel forgoes conventional plot and instead fictionalizes the author s personal history In precise, elevated prose, Mishima sketches Kochan s interiority with great sensitivity over the course of a few hundred pages The author narrator focuses on his childhood in the novel s first half, his teenage years in the second a failed romance with a friend s sister structures the last third of the story Disturbing sadomasochistic fantasies, art criticism, and philosophical musings recur throughout the book, and the Japanese political climate is periodically referenced but not considered at length Moving and well worth reading


  2. WILLIAM2 WILLIAM2 says:

    Second reading A portrait of the artist as a solipsistic young queen I think the model here is Marcel Proust s In Search of Lost Time with a bit of Andr Gide thrown in I m afraid the narrator has also read far too much Freud It s a wonder then he didn t know somethingabout the concept of projection For the early memories recounted here, those of a child three or four years old, are clearly imbued with the erotic sensibility of an experienced adult This aspect of the novel seemed s Second reading A portrait of the artist as a solipsistic young queen I think the model here is Marcel Proust s In Search of Lost Time with a bit of Andr Gide thrown in I m afraid the narrator has also read far too much Freud It s a wonder then he didn t know somethingabout the concept of projection For the early memories recounted here, those of a child three or four years old, are clearly imbued with the erotic sensibility of an experienced adult This aspect of the novel seemed strange to me I am not sure why the author wanted it Mishima was 24 when he published the book You might argue that the novel is pretentious and, oh God, it is but it s also a work of burning ambition and monumental talent I do long for an alternate translation This may be na ve of me, but I find it hard to believe that a sentence as wooden as The pleasure you experience at this moment is a genuine human feeling could be anything but a failure of translation And the book is rife with such sentences So a problematic but fascinating novel, especially for those interested in the issues homosexuals have historically faced in Japanese society But not a political novel A novel of inner turmoil and a study into the nature of desire


  3. Barry Pierce Barry Pierce says:

    It is crazy to think that next year we will be celebrating Confessions of a Mask s 70th birthday Mishima s queer classic, his second novel written in his early 20s and earliest currently available in English, is a coming of age story of a young boy who struggles with his queerness When Kochan happens upon a reproduction of Reni s Saint Sebastian in a book he is immediately drawn to the overt homoeroticism of the work The perfect male physique pared with the gashes and wounds of the arrows i It is crazy to think that next year we will be celebrating Confessions of a Mask s 70th birthday Mishima s queer classic, his second novel written in his early 20s and earliest currently available in English, is a coming of age story of a young boy who struggles with his queerness When Kochan happens upon a reproduction of Reni s Saint Sebastian in a book he is immediately drawn to the overt homoeroticism of the work The perfect male physique pared with the gashes and wounds of the arrows implanted within his torso act as a mirror for the novel itself For the two main themes of Confessions and quite a lot of Mishima s other works are male queerness and sadomasochism Both are explored beautifully through Mishima s unflinching prose When reading this I was somewhat taken aback by its sheer influence on the world of queer literature, particularly in the works of Edmund White I was not aware of just how much of A Boy s Own Story owns a debt to Confessions In fact nearly all major coming of age queer tales seem to eventually trace their genealogy back to Kochan.An engrossing and influential tale, Confessions of a Mask is still as fresh and shocking in 2018 as it was in 1949 It was the foundations upon which Mishima planted his immense literary legacy An essential book in the queer canon


  4. Praj Praj says:

    What we call evil is the instability inherent in all mankind which drives man outside and beyond himself toward an unfathomable something, exactly as though nature had bequeathed to our souls an ineradicable portion of instability from her store of ancient chaos Stephan Zweig. The air grew heavier as the blood soared the sensuality insect crawled with an unprecedented ardor blinding the intoxication that arose from a monstrous swell The naked flesh bled to the wraith of arrows and while trWhat we call evil is the instability inherent in all mankind which drives man outside and beyond himself toward an unfathomable something, exactly as though nature had bequeathed to our souls an ineradicable portion of instability from her store of ancient chaos Stephan Zweig. The air grew heavier as the blood soared the sensuality insect crawled with an unprecedented ardor blinding the intoxication that arose from a monstrous swell The naked flesh bled to the wraith of arrows and while tranquility festooned youthful fragrance, the insect stirred a storm that thundered as cloudy white patches filled the empty spaces The musty smell of the ejaculated sperm mingled with the stale cigarette stink that dangled between the tender lips of an eight year old squatting on the broken stairs, smoking the discarded stub wondering if she could touch the voluptuous breasts of the woman who smiled at her A topless Barbie lay besides, the naked breasts of a doll immersed in nicotine fumes Upstairs, a man admired the lacy lingerie beneath his striped shirt and the adored swell of the breasts hid under the layers of a tightly woven bandage far from the reach of the little girl A worn sponge was being a dutiful servant to the slapping fingers white mist covering a bare faceIndeed of all kinds of decay in this world, decadent purity is the most malignant Lust, they say corrupts the purity of love Puberty brings lust maturity bestows love Love is a shapeless sensation that at times normalizes irrationalities Love has always been an anomalous creature sensuality flooding sanity into passionate disorders If so, then why are we adamant to categorize this amorphous divinity with standardize regularities What is normal love Who decides its normality stance We, the so called societal gurus prisoners of our very own sins Confessions of a Mask , is a convoluted m l e of a remorseful conscience between the standardized societal normality and abnormalitiesHow would I feel if I were another boy How would I feel if I were a normal person Kochan keeps referring to himself as an abnormal person For Kochan, the sensuality of a woman is equated to the same emotion that arises from viewing a broom or a pencil He was fascinated with tragic lives a feeling of nothingness that emerged from self renunciation captivated Kochan The night soil man in his dark blue trousers, the smell of sweat that reeks from the marching soldiers, Omi s armpits filled with copious youthful hair, fishermen with their naked torsos seductions that enhanced his puberty Masturbating to the vision of a young male teacher and not to the thought of a naked woman, made Kochan question the legitimate normality of his pubescence Mishima keeps homosexuality afloat in the stormy waters of social s In a homogeneous spiritual Japanese society, the existence of homosexuality was evenunimaginable than an actor s factual face in a Kabuki theatre The protagonist s continuous struggle is heartbreaking to read, particularly, when in search for a normal life he imposes a Spartan like self discipline to evade the indulgence his bad habit masturbation and his alter ego masquerading in a costume gala establishing a pre amble to a counterfeit existence The idea of being a stranger in a crude savage land seemedplausible for an unflustered life The commencing of a platonic love affair with Sonoko further propels Kochan s remorseful conscience in a claustrophobic existence The desire of an impassive kiss from a woman the desperate need for an embryonic feeling of heterosexuality The prose made me furious at times, to glimpse a world ridden with hypocrisies of insecure minds A world where rape, incest is placed on a identical immoral dais as homosexuality is certainly a malignant society A man should not be made to feel guilty if his heart craves the touch of another man A woman should not be ostracized for loving another woman Love is a warm shadow where we find refuge from our own wars So, how dare the heterosexuality elites try to shackle a shadow If, normal love only flourishes through the sole act of a viable reproduction, then what right do we have for pompous declarations of man being the most evolved species Why demean the animals when we bestow the same courtesy to our fellow members Why do we designate homosexuality as a criminal with a death sentence The red lacquer is meticulously spread over a snowy visage amid the cries of a featherless parrot chastised for flying with the robins Death being the only rescueIt was in death that I discovered my real life s aim The gory images of mutilation and blood filled hallucinations had always ravaged Kochan s mind Right from his childhood, Kochan had an affinity to grief with death being the ultimate seducer of his sensualities It was as if fate had made him fond of the sinister dwellings of death a sort of an admonition of his burdensome future Death plays a dual role in Kochan s clandestine existences At times, death becomes the ultimate escapism a respite to his chaotic predicaments and then there are moments when the thought of death compels him Kochan to ponder on the possibilities of an honorable life Similar to the face of a Kabuki actor that metamorphoses with each dab of paint into a supernatural being, the snippets of death from Kochan s empathetic soul transcends death to be the pinnacle of eroticism.The salient features of the ongoing Japanese war further enhance the foundation of death Death becomes a coveted symbol of equality, demolishing societal discrepancies and at the same time a harbinger with a prejudicial maskWith the beginning of the war a wave of hypocritical stoicism swept the entire country The condition they has faced and fought against there that of a life for a life had probably been the most universal and elemental that mankind ever encounters.Life for a life the Hammurabian ethics that rule the entire system of a war, exemplifies the sadistic hypocrisy that thrives in the human society In order to validate the significance of our own lives and its choices, we condemned the lives of others and curse their preferences Mishima compares the absurdities of the war with Kochan s dissolute commotions In a peculiar way, the onset of the war brings a solace to Kochan with the hope of an annihilation of his secret life Whereas, the restitution of a peaceful aftermath evokes a personal conflict that Kochan would have to face in on a daily basis Mishima gives an enlightening inference of how assorted masquerades of life are vanished when humanity dwells at the gates of deathIn the fire, these miserable ones had witnessed the total destruction of every evidence that they existed as human beings Before their eyes they has seen human relationships, love and hatreds,, reason, property, all go up in flame Although war might bring the annihilation of human prejudices with life then becoming the utmost valuable thing, yet, the very origin of war lies in festering prejudices and sadistic verdictsAnd at times it had not been the flames against which they fought, but against human relationships, against love and hatreds, against reason, against property At the time, like the crew of a wrecked ship, they have found themselves in a situation where it was permissible to kill one person in order that another might liveWar had become an identical apologetic entity of auto hypnosis and self deceit that Kochan himself had metamorphosed into In order to save a life it was permissible to kill another In order to keep a fa ade of normality it became permissible to obliterate the true self.It is not surprising to spot the element of death taking the centre stage at many instances Being, Kawabata s prot g , Mishima employs similar philosophies seen in Kawabata s prestigious works Beauty in death and its opulence lost in its own excessiveness War, being the perfect example of fading allure of death The seducer being deceived by it own seduction In Seppuku, a suicide ritual also exercised by the author himself the samurais embellished their faces with subtle make up before succumbing to the self inserted sword The samurais ached that their death would restore the very same honor and beauty that life had stolen from them Given that, this book is also perceived as a semi autobiographical sketch of Mishima , one can notice glimpses of Kabuki a theatrical art that Mishima often viewed as a child along with his grandmother The decorated mask like visage being a significant representation of this ancient Japanese artEveryone says life is a stage The freshly sculpted mask stares ardently into the mirror It viciously smiles in nostalgic moments of twelve year boy masturbating to the standing picture of St Sebastian and the nascent obsession of an eight year old girl It howls as it hypnotizes the soul into a mass of self deceit in a machine of falsehood Similarly, as the ownership of a travel is lost with its commencement, the journey of mask becomes a reckless place for riots and revolutionsWhy is it wrong for me to stay just the way I am now I was fed up with myself and all for my chastity was ruining my body I had thought that with earnestness I was feeling the urge to begin living my true life Even if it was to be pure masquerade and not my life at all, still the time had come when I must make a start , must drag my heavy feet forward. Be Strong At the end of the day, the mask had cursed the face


  5. B0nnie B0nnie says:

    A book can be a doorway into another human heartthat is the power of reading The price of entry however is sometimes high what we find can be so disturbing that we question if we really want to go there, even for a visitConfessions of a Masktakes us to some dark places We all have masks, of course Living without any form of protection would be living with an open skin But our masks are usually light, easily taken off or exchanged as need be This mask is made of stone.The title s A book can be a doorway into another human heartthat is the power of reading The price of entry however is sometimes high what we find can be so disturbing that we question if we really want to go there, even for a visitConfessions of a Masktakes us to some dark places We all have masks, of course Living without any form of protection would be living with an open skin But our masks are usually light, easily taken off or exchanged as need be This mask is made of stone.The title seems to imply a promise all will be revealed because after all, it is the mask who is confessing Well, this expos isapparent than real Written under a pseudonym, Yukio Mishima, we are given what seems to be a story about a youth named Kochan But surely it is the secret memories, feelings, and pain of one sad little Kimitake Hiraoka Yes, it is told in a disarmingly simple style that can be easily breezed through, however you ll want to pause, reflect, study it a careful reading is very enlightening And yes, there is violent homo eroticism in Confessions That, I think, is a mask within masks Obsession with death the painful knowledge of the impermanence of life, and the need to control it, is the true face underneath the mask This is a person with a very strong death drive i.e., a desire to take power from death The one way to do that is to exit life on one s own terms And also there s the desire to control beauty and the strongest power over beauty, like life, is to destroy itFor many years I claimed I could remember things seen at the time of my own birthThis is an opening sentence packed with meaning There is some ambiguity in the word claimed There is the very stubbornness of the claim And as it turns out, there is the imagination, that, like the Little Prince, or David Copperfield, is larger than the grownups around him can handle Kochan was an unchildlike child.His childhood was largely spent in his grandmother s sickroom She was from a Samurai family, and she implants pride and purpose in him He obsesses over books, pictures and on one in particular, of a beautiful knight When he found out that it was Jeanne D Arc not a man, why did that knock him flatthe sweet fantasies I had cherished concerning his deathwere now gone When he was about 12 years old, and a certain toy made its wishes known to him It raised its head toward death and pools of blood and muscular flesh There s another image he obsesses over, St Sebastian and he develops a strong attraction to a boy named Omi His fantasies go beyond mere sexual attraction In his mind he invents a murder theatre in one scenario, a student is violently murdered, put on a table at a banquet, and then I thrust the fork upright into the heart A fountain of blood struck me full in the face Holding the knife in my right hand, I began carving the flesh of the breast, gently, thinly at firstHe becomes disgusted with my true self and feeling the urge to begin living But how To begin living my true life even if it was to be pure masquerade and not my life The price of that decision, at least in part, is paid by the author himself in 1970, at the age of 45, the real flesh and blood Mishima took a knife, sliced open his stomach, and, as required by the rite of seppuku, was decapitated.His ideal was bunbu ryodo , the way of the pen and the sword He believed they could join only at the moment of death We know what he did with the sword here is what he could do with the pen at a train station after an air raid As we went along the passageway we did not receive even so much as a reproachful glance We were ignored Our very existence was obliterated by the fact that we had not shared in their misery for them, we were nothingthan shadows.In spite of this scene something caught fire within me I was emboldened and strengthened by the parade of misery passing before my eyes I was experiencing the same excitement that a revolution causes In the fire these miserable ones had witnessed the total destruction of every evidence that they existed as human beings Before their eyes they had seen human relationships, loves and hatreds, reason, property, all go up in flame And at the time it had not been the flames against which they fought, but against human relationships, against loves and hatreds, against reason, against property At the time, like the crew of a wrecked ship, they had found themselves in a situation where it was permissible to kill one person in order that another might live A man who died trying to rescue his sweetheart was killed, not by the flames, but by his sweetheart and it was none other than the child who murdered its own mother when she was trying to save it The condition they had faced and fought against there that of a life for a life had probably been the most universal and elemental that mankind ever encountersConfessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima


  6. Tristan Tristan says:

    Saint Sebastian, Guido ReniThe black and slightly oblique trunk of the tree of execution was seen against a Titian like background of gloomy forest and evening sky, sombre and distant A remarkably handsome youth was bound naked to the trunk of the tree His crossed hands were raised high, and the thongs binding his wrists were tied to the tree No other bonds were visible, and the only covering for the youth s nakedness was a coarse white cloth knotted loosely about his loins The arrowsSaint Sebastian, Guido ReniThe black and slightly oblique trunk of the tree of execution was seen against a Titian like background of gloomy forest and evening sky, sombre and distant A remarkably handsome youth was bound naked to the trunk of the tree His crossed hands were raised high, and the thongs binding his wrists were tied to the tree No other bonds were visible, and the only covering for the youth s nakedness was a coarse white cloth knotted loosely about his loins The arrows have eaten into the tense, fragrant, youthful flesh and are about to consume his body from within with flames of supreme agony and ecstasy But there is no flowing blood, nor yet the host of arrows seen in other pictures of Sebastian s martyrdom Instead, two lone arrows cast their tranquil and graceful shadows upon the smoothness of his skin, like the shadows of a bough falling upon a marble stairwayThat day, the instant I looked upon the picture, my entire being trembled with some pagan joy My blood soared up my loins swelled as though in wrath The monstrous part of me that was on the point of bursting awaited my use of it with unprecedented ardour, upbraiding me for my ignorance, panting indignantly My hands, completely unconsciously, began a motion they had never been taught I felt a secret, radiant something rise swift footed to the attack from inside me Suddenly it burst forth, bringing with it a blinding intoxicationIt can be argued that human identity is composed of a plethora of masks, each and every one carefully crafted and subsequently picked out for any occasion that might arise Some are most comfortable to wear, fitting smoothly on that most expressive part of our bodies, the human face Others might bring about some slight initial discomfort, but on the whole are quite innocuous, even lending a thrill here and there Yet there exists another,treacherous, type of mask The one that has spikes protruding from the back of it, poised to mutilate the owner s face, contorting it, piercing its flesh, causing infected wounds, and ultimately coming very near to destroying it Those, the user will come to realize sooner or later, can be worn for a limited period of time They quickly become menacing existential threats, and have to be dispensed with, ere the abyss opens up before him and swallows him whole Being the nigh agonizingly frank reveal of self that it is, Yukio Mishima s Confessions of a Mask published in 1949 while its author was still in his early twenties has ever since garnered a reputation for being the quintessential coming out novel, serving as an inspiration to homosexuals brought up in socially conservative societies everywhere Of course, writings portraying males freely exercising their homosexuality saw a great surge in the post war years Gore Vidal s The City and the Pillar and Truman Capote s Other Voices Other Rooms being some of the most notable examples, at least in the US Yet, I think a great disservice is done to Mishima s second work to classify it as merely a gay albeit semi autobiographical novel does anyone else beside me detest the term There are multiple layers of his psyche explored here, themes touched upon, which all would play out in his later work and, most tragically, life as well.His apparent awe of the soldier s calling and military glory in general even though he feigned illness to avoid the draft , the appeal he found in suicide, which he considered to be one of the noblest actions one could perform, are featured prominently These passages provide a clear hint for what was to follow Also disturbing is the supreme titillation Mishima found in the convergence of male youths, torture and death by all manner of gruesome ways So while I am vaguely curious how his Japanese readership reacted to knowing which gender he turned his affections to, I m evenso when it comes to what in essence amounts to his sadomasochism and worship of death One imagines detailing these grotesque erotic fantasies could either make or break a budding author from the moment he admits to them.Fortunately for Mishima, it made him an international phenomenon And for good reason Confessions of a Mask is a brave and powerful piece of detailed, rather Freudian, self examination Throw the clear influence of Huysmans s decadent hero Des Esseintes in there, and you end up with an intriguing recipe for a novel.Alas, this is not the fully formed, masterful Mishima I first encountered in his stupendous Spring Snow The book is slightly muddled both structurally and prose wise perhaps the translation is at fault here , and at times was unable to grab me as much as I wanted or expected it to All the elements of his future masterpieces are patently present, but he hadn t arrived at a controlled, fruitful synthesis of those yet As a full length novel, it falls short a tad He was just too young.Yet, contained within are some truly gorgeous, descriptive passages to immerse yourself in, which prefigure that older Mishima I cherish so much His soaring ambition and talent must be obvious to anyone who reads him It is quite impossible to deny, even by his most ardent detractors As for me, I can t wait to continue my roughly chronological exploration of both the man in all his glorious complexity and the writer Forbidden Coloursis next on the list


  7. Seemita Seemita says:

    Confession , as a word, has a strong connotation prelude to its utterance is a hesitation, and that hesitation alone, is sufficient to engulf the confession maker with an odour that reeks of both delay and guilt.But Mishima s protagonist can take the liberty, because he is behind a mask His frail body that fails him in school, denigrating his boyish flavour to a handful of jokes, holds up its masculine remnants at nights, because he is behind a mask His impressionable juvenile mind that r Confession , as a word, has a strong connotation prelude to its utterance is a hesitation, and that hesitation alone, is sufficient to engulf the confession maker with an odour that reeks of both delay and guilt.But Mishima s protagonist can take the liberty, because he is behind a mask His frail body that fails him in school, denigrating his boyish flavour to a handful of jokes, holds up its masculine remnants at nights, because he is behind a mask His impressionable juvenile mind that refuses to be grinded between familial ties bordering on love and authority, surrenders to erotic one upmanship of images on discarded and hidden magazines, because he is behind a mask His hasty, dubious shot at making a girlfriend and heaping her with a partner s touch despite wriggling out of it mentally and physically , continues to go unreprimanded because he is behind a mask His unexpected but secretly nurtured corporeal attraction towards his senior, Omi, survives the onslaught of conservatives, because he is behind a maskIt is not pain that hovers about his straining chest, his tense abdomen, his slightly contorted hips, but some flicker of melancholy pleasure like music Were it not for the arrows with their shafts deeply sunk into his left armpit and right side, he would seema Roman athlete resting from fatigue, leaning against a dusky tree in a garden I had a presentiment then that there is in this world a kind of desire like stinging pain Looking up at that dirty youth, I was choked by desire, thinking, I want to change into him, thinking, I want to be him. But masks fall, and with them, fall something that cannot be defined in lumps of clay or words Mishima s tale is an exploration undertaken by a young man into the lanes of his sexuality This journey turns daunting because during it, he encounters, not just his homosexuality, but his homosexuality hanging as an ugly prop over the backdrop of a war ravaged land in WWII Part autobiographical, part allegoric, Mishima rips open his heart to bare his innermost battles and jumps in its midst as the lone wager from both sides Even in his salacious exploits, one can notice his disdain towards the outcomes of war I was the only one who did not have genuine lung trouble I was pretending instead that I had a bad heart In those days, one had to have either medals or illness. His initiation of the reader into the Tokyo of 1940s is authentic, and unenthused, and thus, not without merit The beauty captured in his language dances to its master s intent, which is, yet again, expectedly tainted with hues of melancholy and unfulfillmentAnd later, as I looked down at the city from a window of the elevated train, the snow scene, not yet having caught the rays of the rising sun, lookedgloomy than beautiful The snow seemed like a dirty bandage hiding the open wounds of the city, hiding those irregular gashes of haphazard streets and tortuous alleys, courtyards and occasional plots of bare ground, that form the only beauty to be found in the panorama of our cities. In his account of beauty and love, affection and bravery, friendship and isolation, lies a seething pain that is not hungry for an antidote instead, it breathes on its charred body, heavily and without restraint The narrative turns, in time, raucously masochistic, and this is precisely where I leave his company for my errands His obsessive relationship with the nature of his confessions, which emerge dyed in dark, dingy varnishes, run like a treasured vinyl but repeated runs rob it of its haunting melody and its crushing palpability But one doesn t discard such souvenirs because The moment for parting stood waiting eagerly A vulgar blues was being kneaded into time.


  8. Rowena Rowena says:

    What a great book Mishima did a great job of depicting the story of a Japanese adolescent in Japanese society realizing that he is gay and thus having to wear a mask to hide his true self There is so much mental confusion going through the protagonist s head, a great psychological account not only of teen angst but also of realizing you re different in a society that doesn t understand you I ve read quite a bit on Yukio Mishima and he seems to have been an interesting,intelligent and complex What a great book Mishima did a great job of depicting the story of a Japanese adolescent in Japanese society realizing that he is gay and thus having to wear a mask to hide his true self There is so much mental confusion going through the protagonist s head, a great psychological account not only of teen angst but also of realizing you re different in a society that doesn t understand you I ve read quite a bit on Yukio Mishima and he seems to have been an interesting,intelligent and complex character I look forward to readingof his works


  9. Nicole~ Nicole~ says:

    Confessions of a Mask 1949 rocketed Yukio Mishima to the literary prominence he so desperately sought as a struggling modern writer The novel explores the obsessions of a young man suffering inwardly with erotic fantasies of men, beauty and violence He strains to conform to a heterosexual life while secretly idolizing depictions of St Sebastian, martyred, with his hands bound and his naked torso pierced by arrows, or becoming aroused by the sight of the muscular nightsoil man walking throug Confessions of a Mask 1949 rocketed Yukio Mishima to the literary prominence he so desperately sought as a struggling modern writer The novel explores the obsessions of a young man suffering inwardly with erotic fantasies of men, beauty and violence He strains to conform to a heterosexual life while secretly idolizing depictions of St Sebastian, martyred, with his hands bound and his naked torso pierced by arrows, or becoming aroused by the sight of the muscular nightsoil man walking through the neighborhood Confusion of his sexuality takes shape at a very early age when he falls in love for the first time with Omi, a schoolmate There were, however, numberless impressions that I got from Omi, of infinite variety, all filled with delicate nuances In a phrase, what I did derive from him was a precise definition of the perfection of life and manhood Because of him I cannot love an intellectual person Because of him I am not attracted to a person who wears glasses Because of him I began to love strength, an impression of overflowing blood, ignorance, rough gestures, careless speech, and the savage melancholy inherent in the flesh, not tainted in anyway with intellect 64The protagonist s psychological examination of his thoughts and feelings is logically sound and vividly clear he possesses an unfaltering understanding of himself He is able to pinpoint details, causes, subconscious symbols with the accuracy of a professional psycho analyst Actually, the thought that I might reach the height of an adult filled me with a foreboding of some fearful danger On the one hand, my indefinable feeling of unrest increased my capacity for dreams divorced from all reality and, on the other, drove me toward the bad habit that caused me to take refuge in those dreams The restlessness was my excuse. It was undoubtedly the sight of the hair under Omi s arms that day which made the armpit a fetish for me 82 83 Confessions of a Mask is widely considered as an autobiographically inspired novel If the sadomasochistic fantasies are truly Mishima s admission of his own feelings, he is evenstrongly connected with his protagonist by the latter s unyielding struggle to prove himself as special, destined for martyrdom like St.Sebastian a fate proud, tragic, transcendent Mishima s confessional pose in the guise of the protagonist is dramatic, theatrical, even feels staged as an I narrator agonizing over his perceived abnormality, he is neither apologetic nor interested in suppressing his homosexual desires By composing his supposed confessions, Mishima was completely the producer, playwright, director and actor of his own social norms , free to judge himself, and perform to the beat of his own damask drum The true essence of confession is its impossibility. Mishima himself stated that his intent was to write a perfect fictional work of confession Certainly, the novel is dramatically written a sense of Mishima teasing his reader s attention with a performance much like the masked Kabuki plays his grandmother introduced him to as a youngster, enabling him to exist, not only as a man in an easily alienating social sect, but as the brilliantly talented, ingeniously creative writer he knew he was William Shakespeare s words from As You Like It came to mind that All the world s a stage Mishima s own words sum up my perception of him that life is after all a masked play.


  10. kaelan kaelan says:

    Yukio Mishima s Confessions of a Mask is of a particular species of literature, one that, despite encompassing such venerable works as Dostoyevsky s Notes From the Underground and Andr Breton s Nadja, is no longer in vogue For the sake of a name, we might dub this species the subjective novel, insofar as it tends to neglect the furtherance of story or plot in favour of charting out an intricate and scrupulously characterized first person subjectivity In the case of Confessions, the subjecti Yukio Mishima s Confessions of a Mask is of a particular species of literature, one that, despite encompassing such venerable works as Dostoyevsky s Notes From the Underground and Andr Breton s Nadja, is no longer in vogue For the sake of a name, we might dub this species the subjective novel, insofar as it tends to neglect the furtherance of story or plot in favour of charting out an intricate and scrupulously characterized first person subjectivity In the case of Confessions, the subjectivity we gain access to belongs to a unnamed Japanese youth, living in Tokyo during the former half of the 20th century And the novel crammed into a nutshell chronicles his struggles in the domains of both love he suffers from a tragic disjunction between his homosexualr s and his heterosexual phil a and war Mishima sets the novel against the horrific and oppressive backdrop of World War II.If Confessions were written from a third person objective vantage point, with no insight into its protagonist s thoughts and emotions, it would be far easier for me to produce a pithy synopsis Yet such a text would also be extraordinarily and unbearably dull This is because Confessions is a book in which nothing much happens, at least insofar as story is concerned Take, for instance, one pivotal scene in which our nameless youth catches a glimpse of a classmate s armpit hair during gym class Plot wise, nothingtranspires a quick glance, a tumble of black fur and that s it Like Notes and Nadja, however, the real action occurs in the subjective reflection that follows And indeed, we are soon treated to a lengthy exposition on the topics of desire, culture and identity.All this might seem to suggest that Confessions is a fairly dry read, but that s only because I haven t yet had a chance duly praise Mishima s writing style For if the book is one part philosophical reflection, it s also an equal part poetical expression Of this, a good enough example as any may be found in the following passage, which I will be so bold as to quote in full, and which is as exquisite as any prose poem I ve ever read From the surface offing the waves began and came sliding in over the surface of the sea in the form of restless green swells Groups of low rocks extended out into the sea, where their resistance to the waves sent splashes high into the air, like white hands begging for help The rocks were dipping themselves in the sea s sensation of deep abundance and seemed to be dreaming of buoys broken loose from their moorings But in a flash the swell had passed them by and come sliding toward the beach with unabated speed As it drew near the beach something awakened and rose up within its green hood The wave grew tall and, as far as the eye could reach, revealed the razor keen blade of the sea s enormous ax, poised and ready to strike Suddenly the dark blue guillotine fell, sending up a white blood splash The body of the wave, seething and falling, pursued its severed head, and for a moment it reflected the pure blue of the sky, that same unearthly blue which is mirrored in the eyes of a person on the verge of death Such writing has a palpable hallucinatory and disorienting effect on the reader, which makes the journey into another s subjectivity as wild and perplexing as one might expect Truly an impressive work of literature


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