Student Question

What does the writer convey about human nature and the world in the context of patriotism?

Expert Answers

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Yukio Mishima's retelling of Takeyama's suicide gives the reader a glimpse into the lengths that people will go to for the sake of preserving traditional values. In Mishima's eyes, Japan's growing materialism was a cause for concern. It seemed like Japan was focusing more on economic success instead of maintaining the values of the past. Takeyama's desire for transcendence outweighs any temporal reward he would gain if he complied with Japan's interest for profit during the 1960s.

Takeyama's decision to commit suicide calls back to a feudal tradition in which the losing hero would kill himself as an act of bravery. Once all other options are exhausted and he is put in a predicament where he can't win, Takeyama chooses to hold on to his honor. While most readers may be put off by Mishima's inclusion of the preparation prior to the suicide, it shows a level of admiration for a culture that he grew up in.

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