How identity is constructed and used to convey ideas about gender, class, race and age in Patriotism by Yukio Mishima?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For Mishima, in both life and his work, identity is strongly connected to national identity.  The mere title, Patriotism, helps to bring this out.  Mishima constructs identity as something as something that is strongly linked to the notion of one's national affiliation.  The fact that the soldier has to take his own life in deference to national honor and not undermine the natural order of national rule helps to make his decision.  His wife, being the good wife of a national soldier, decides to take her own life in the same notion of honor.  In both of their settings, honor is defined by national affiliation.  The soldier could certainly define himself in elements that distance himself from national identity, yet this would be seen as dishonorable.  His decision to take his own life and knowing that his wife will follow is made in the light of national honor or prestige.  Even when they are making love, both of them understand that one of them is a soldier and the other one is a soldier's wife.  National honor has defined them both to a great extent.  In this light, nationalism helps to define one's identity.

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