Other Literary Forms
Yukio Mishima was a critic, an essayist, and a poet (though largely unpublished in the latter genre) as well as a dramatist. His aesthetic is carefully set forth in Taiy to tetsu (1968; Sun and Steel, 1970) and Hagakure nyumon (1967; On Hagakure, 1977). No doubt, however, he is best known as one of Japan’s most accomplished and prolific novelists of the immediate post-World War II period, and it is as a novelist that he will be known to future generations. His major novels include Kamen no kokuhaku (1949; Confessions of a Mask, 1958), Kinkakuji (1956; The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, 1959), Gogo no eik (1963; The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, 1965), and his tetralogy, Hj no umi, published between 1969 and 1971, and translated into English between 1972 and 1974 as The Sea of Fertility: A Cycle of Four Novels, comprising Haru no yuki (1969; Spring Snow, 1972), Homba (1969; Runaway Horses, 1973), Akatsuki no tera (1970; The Temple of Dawn, 1973), and Tennin gosui (1971; The Decay of the Angel, 1974). In addition to the above-named works and several other significant novels, Mishima published some fine short fiction and a large quantity of other writings, ranging from literary criticism to slick formula fiction produced strictly to maintain his expensive lifestyle.