Yukio Mishima Additional Biography

Biography

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Yukio Mishima was born Kimitake Hiraoka, the son of a government bureaucrat. Mishima’s life was unusual from the outset. His physically ill grandmother, Natsuko, virtually kidnapped the firstborn of her son Azusa and his wife, Shizue, sequestering the child in her quarters. The young Mishima lived with her, enduring that strained situation. When he was ready for the seventh grade, however, she allowed him to move back to his parents’ section of the house. Mishima said that as early as the age of five, he learned to prefer an imaginary world, often of violence, to the real world. As early as the age of four he was to begin a pattern of falling in love with pictures in books. A favorite picture was of Joan of Arc, whom he assumed to be a male. Mishima candidly reported that his first erotic arousal occurred when he was looking at a photograph of Guido Reni’s portrait of Saint Sebastian pierced by arrows.

Mishima attended the exclusive Peer’s School in Tokyo. He was too young for the draft in early World War II but was called up later, only to fail the physical, and so returned to work in the aircraft factory where he had been employed. Fame was to come to him following the publication of the novel Confessions of a Mask. He complemented his writing of plays and novels by creating his own persona, pursuing bodybuilding and mastering English. Mishima visited the United States on a world tour, which included Latin America and Greece, in 1951...

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Biography

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Kimitake Hiraoka, who began using the pseudonym Yukio Mishima in 1941, was the son of a middle-class government official who worked in Tokyo. When Mishima was less than two months old, his paternal grandmother, Natsu, took the boy to her living quarters; his mother, Shizue, felt helpless to protest, and his father, Azusa, appeared to be totally subjected to his mother’s will.

In 1931, Mishima was enrolled in the Gakushin (the Peer’s School), a school attended largely by young aristocrats. In due time, he was graduated at the head of his class and received a silver watch from the emperor personally at the imperial palace. By this time, his literary gifts had already become evident, and “Hanazakari no mori” (“The Forest in Full Bloom”) was published in 1941.

In 1946, Mishima entered the Tokyo Imperial University to study law. After being employed for a time at the Ministry of Finance, he resigned in 1948 to devote full time to writing. The publication of Kamen no kokuhaku (1949; Confessions of a Mask, 1958) established him as a literary figure.

The 1950’s were eventful years in Mishima’s life. During this decade, he produced several novels, two of them major successes. He also traveled to the United States, Brazil, and Europe, and his visit to Greece in particular was a highlight because of its classical associations. During these years, Shiosai (1954; The Sound of Waves, 1956), a...

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Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Born Kimitake Hiraoka in 1925, the eldest son of a government bureaucrat, Mishima (who took the pen name of Yukio Mishima in 1941) was reared largely by his grandmother Natsuko, a woman of artistic tastes and neurotic temperament. During his childhood and early adolescence, Mishima, by his own admission, spent much of his time in a kind of fantasy world. He pursued his studies at the Gakushuin (Peers School), where he began to write, in a highly precocious manner, for the school literary magazine. Mishima’s interest in European, particularly French, literature began during this period. Graduated from the Peers School in 1944, he was not drafted and was able to begin his studies at Tokyo University. In 1947, he began working at the Ministry of Finance but soon resigned on the strength of his early literary successes to devote his full energies to writing. As his novels became more and more successful, he turned as well to writing for the stage, where he met with both critical and popular success.

Mishima made his first trip abroad during 1951 and 1952, visiting the United States, Europe, and Brazil. These visits gave him both another sense of the world and an increasing understanding of the appeal that his works had in translation for readers outside Japan.

Mishima married in 1958 and remained close to his wife and two children until his death twelve years later. At the same time, his strenuous cult of bodybuilding and his growing association with what came to be his own private army, the Tatenokai, suggest a homoerotic side of his nature first revealed in his early writings.

Mishima embarked on the composition of his tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility, while engaging in military maneuvers with his private army. To many critics and readers in Japan, Mishima seemed to have become something of a right-wing extremist, and by 1970, he had made the decision to kill himself upon completion of the manuscript of the fourth and final novel of the series. On November 25, 1970, after making a speech to the Self-Defense forces, he committed ritual suicide in the traditional Japanese manner.

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Yukio Mishima (mee-she-mah), whose name at birth was Kimitake Hiraoka, was born in Tokyo, Japan, on January 14, 1925, to a family descended from samurai nobility. His father was Azusa Hiraoka; his mother, Shizue Hashi Hiraoka. Kimitake, who took the name Yukio Mishima when he began to write in 1941, was a frail child who, perhaps because of his lack of physical prowess, became enamored at an early age with the warriors of feudal Japan who followed bushido as a code of conduct. Bushido, which means “way of the warrior,” stressed self-sacrifice, indifference to pain, control of both mind and body, and loyalty to the Japanese emperor. Mishima came to live and die by this code. Reared largely by his grandparents...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Yukio Mishima has been compared to the American author Ernest Hemingway in his masculine code of violence and death, to the British author D. H. Lawrence in his mystical sense of primitive impulses, to the French author André Gide in his candid treatment of homosexuality, and to the great Japanese writers of the past.

Yet Mishima is always uniquely himself. His way of combining beauty and death, his peculiar eroticism, and his conservative political and social views make him unlike any other author, and while he often repels his readers, he just as often fascinates them. While every age produces very good writers, it produces very few geniuses. Mishima was such a rarity—a writer of genius.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Yukio Mishima (mee-shee-mah) was a writer of great power—widely regarded in his last years as a leading candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature—whose life became a performance, ultimately a tragic performance. He was born Kimitake Hiraoka in Tokyo, Japan, the son of Azusa and Shizue (Hashi) Hiraoka. His father was a senior official in the Ministry of Agriculture. The boy was an outstanding scholar at Gakushuin (the Peers’ School), where he was cited for excellence by the emperor himself. He was a gentle, bookish child, with a delicate constitution, who was drawn, nevertheless, to books that portrayed the valiant death and ritual suicides of the warrior. He began to write at an early age and was publishing short stories in...

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Biography

(Short Stories for Students)

Born Kimitake Hiraoka, Yukio Mishima was born into an upper-class family and raised primarily by his possessive grandmother who was a...

(The entire section is 994 words.)

Biography

(Short Stories for Students)

Yukio Mishima was born as Hiroka Kimitake in Tokyo, Japan, in 1925. His ancestors were of the upper samurai class, and his grandmother...

(The entire section is 509 words.)