The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

by Yukio Mishima

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima is about Ryuji Tsukazaki, a sailor who is in search of glory. Ryuji happens to meet Noboru Kuroda, whom adores him. The two meet through Noboru’s mother, Fuskao, who is in a romantic relationship with the sailor. Ryuji and Noboru have similar views on how life should be lived. Noboru, who is 13 years old, like his peers, has a negative view of the adult world. They consider it phony, sentimental, and misleading. Therefore, they strive to be more objective than adults and behave in a callous—and very violent—manner.

Ryuji believes in glory and constantly travels the seas in pursuit of it. He has never seen himself settling on land. However, when he meets Fusako, he has a change of heart. Noboru continues to admire Ryuji as the sailor’s relationship with his mother intensifies. However, one day, the boys realize that Ryuji is no different from the rest of the adults. Out of anger, Noboru takes part in a violent ritual that results in Ryuji's death.

The story looks at Noboru’s and Ryuji’s fascination with beauty and honor, which they attain through different means.

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