Confessions of a Mask

by Yukio Mishima

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Write about Kochan's "love" for Omi, as described in Confessions of a Mask. Include in your analysis the scene where Omi touches Kochan's cheek.

Quick answer:

From the moment when Omi touches Kochan's cheek with his leather gloves, Kochan is in love with him. He is not only emotionally infatuated with Omi, but fascinated by his strong, athletic body, which he describes in great detail. This experience of first love makes it impossible for Kochan to deny his homosexuality, despite his later attempts to persuade himself that he is falling in love with a woman.

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In Confessions of a Mask, Kochan is a frustrated and isolated figure, constantly at war with his attraction to other men but also believing that everyone else is hiding their true feelings. When he first encounters Omi, he is impressed by the boy's impressive physique, in contrast to Kochan's own weakness, and intimidated by his manner. Omi seems several years older than the other boys and is a rebel, openly contemptuous of authority and also of the other students. It is rumored that he has "already had lots of girls," and Kochan finds this rumor easy to believe.

At the same time, Kochan senses a loneliness in Omi, which reveals him as a kindred spirit despite his haughty demeanor. He falls in love quite suddenly, and without even touching Omi's hand, merely his gloves, which Omi thrusts in Kochan's face so that he can feel the texture of the leather:

"Poor thing, I bet you don't even know how leather gloves feel. Here—"

Abruptly he thrust his snow-drenched leather gloves against my cheeks. I dodged. A raw carnal feeling blazed up within me, branding my cheeks. I felt myself staring at him with crystal-clear eyes.

From that time on I was in love with Omi.

It is clear in retrospect that Kochan's continual fascination with Omi has been leading up to this moment. Kochan says that this is his first love, and it is thoroughly carnal: he is obsessed with Omi's body, which he describes in great detail. This combination of the rapture of first love with strong sexual desire makes it impossible for Kochan to fall in love with a woman, as he later attempts to do. No woman can come close to rekindling what he feels for Omi, emotionally or physically.

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