[E–book] 奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima

  • Paperback
  • 421
  • 奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima
  • Yukio Mishima
  • English
  • 03 July 2019
  • 9780679722403

Yukio Mishima ✓ 4 review

Summary ✓ 奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima 104 Ome a judge in Osaka  Convinced that a young rightist revolutionary Isao is the reincarnation of his friend Kiyoaki Honda commits himself to saving the youth from an untimely death Isao driven to patriotic fanaticism by a father who instilled in him the ethos of the ancient samurai organize. In the decadent West people often get together and have all kinds of pointless speculative conversations The current political climate being what it is one subject that freuently comes up at least amongst my friends is whether you would be prepared to die for a cause or an ideal During these debates my position is uneuivocal my answer is a firm no No Never Not under any circumstances My vehemence can in part be explained by my cowardice I am I freely admit a rum coward I m not dying before my time for anything or anyone Yet I do also have philosophical objections The problem for me with any ideal truth honour justice whatever is that they don t concretely exist or they don t exist as some kind of Platonic form outside of man Someone who dies for an ideal is to me just a dead idiot because their ideal which is necessarily subjective in character dies with them So when a suicide bomber blows himself or herself up or if a monk sets himself on fire I m not concerned with which side of the political fence that person sits I m struck by their illogical flawed thinkingOrdinarily my stance does not cause me any problems I speculate I argue then I go home and I dunno have a wank and watch TV this is a joke I don t have a TV However as I came to read Runaway Horses the second volume of Yukio Mishima s The Sea of Fertility tetralogy I realised that my rationalist frame of mind prevented me from being able to fully engage with large parts of the book Of course it is not necessary to be able to identity with Iaso Iinuma the young would be militant terrorist at the centre of the novel and in any case even I am able to understand even to some extent appreciate the uixotic nature of living a life of purity and heroism but a lot of Runaway Horses philosophically and spiritually left me cold For example the pamphlet of The League of the Divine Wind which deals with a samurai rebellioninsurrection and which appears in its entirety 60 pages ffs was unfathomably dry I didn t think it possible to make reading about the samurai so boring but Mishima managed it perhaps this was intentional and alien in its glorification of violence and ritual suicide This kind of thing isn t limited to the pamphlet either there s a lot of stuff in the book voiced mainly by Iaso and his followers of course about the beauty of death or sublime death which at times took on almost an erotic flavour I just cannot no matter how hard I try get my head around all that nor do I really want to because if there s one thing I don t think is attractive that I will never be able to accept it is thatIt is Honda s presence that was crucial in terms of me being able to navigate the novel without him I think I may not have persevered beyond the opening stages If you have read Spring Snow you will know Honda as the studious and serious friend of Kiyoaki Matsugae In that book I felt as though his role was somewhat confused he was a rationalist and yet unuestioningly helped his friend in his irrational endeavours Yet even if you wanted to see him as the voice of reason which is I think how Mishima saw him he was too much of a peripheral figure What I mean by this is that one could have cut his character entirely and the book would have had largely the same impact In Runaway Horses he is a thirty eight year old judge He is then mature and confident of course and much is made by the author of his reserved and logical approach therefore he is the perfect foil for Isao Importantly although he is largely absent from the middle section of the book this time around he is much central to the plot and actually raises objections when confronted with the boy s fanaticism For example when Iaso loans Honda a copy of The League of the Divine Wind pamphlet the judge returns it with a letter explaining his concerns about the impact such a text could have on a young man Every excitement that could send one pitching headlong is dangerous The League of the Divine Wind is a drama of tragic perfection This was a political event that was so remarkable throughout that it almost seems to be a work of art it was a crucible in which a purity of resolve was put to the test in a manner rarely encountered in history But one should by no means confuse this tale of dreamlike beauty of another time with the circumstances of present day reality Moreover not only does Honda give voice to some of your own ueries and bemusement or my bemusement anyway but he allows one to read the book as an investigation into extremism rather than simply as propaganda This is hugely important I ve written before about how I am not at all interested in judging the private lives of authors and that holds true here too However that does not mean that if the author s private life or dubious politics filtered through into the work that one cannot comment or criticise it simply means that I would not reject a work solely on the basis of any controversy surrounding the author s behaviour Mishima it is always worth reiterating was a fanatic Nationalist himself at least towards the end of his life and these things as subjects are dealt with in Runaway Horses So far so what It becomes an issue only because there are parts of this book where violent extremism is written about in glowing terms where Iaso and his followers are glorified Izutsu showed his lovely recklessness He spoke out gallantly his face flushed and glowing Lovely recklessness Really At times the language in the novel made me shift uncomfortably in my seat although if you were being as fair as possible you could say it is like with Spring Snow merely a case of the style being in tune with the subject Yet I don t buy that I m afraid So Honda is vital or was vital for me because he shows that Mishima was prepared to uestion at least in his work Iaso s beliefs Without that uestioning even though Honda isn t entirely out of sympathy for the extremists one could have put Runaway Horses in the same category as The Birth of a NationAs you can tell the book caused me uite some consternation and my thoughts about it as the structure of this review will no doubt attest are far from clear Would I recommend it No or certainly not to the casual reader because it isn t actually a very good novel In certain circumstances however one might consider it worth reading First of all Mishima once said in an interview that Japanese culture or mentality is defined by both elegance and brutality while I am not in a position to say whether that is entirely true I would say that certainly Mishima s own personality was centred around that dichotomy and so the rugged Runaway Horses especially when paired with the graceful Spring Snow is useful if one wants to know about the man himself and about how he saw the worldSecondly there are probably very few books that are as relevant almost terrifyingly so as this one is right now Alien baffling and glorifying it might be but this is a genuine glimpse into the workings of extremistterrorist groups and the mindset of the individuals involved from someone who knew what he was talking about this is not irony it is not satire it is the real deal So we see the young boy who is seduced by uixotic right wing literature a boy whose family home life is a source of unhappiness or embarrassment in what was the only time Mishima attempted to look for an excuse or explanation of Iaso s frame of mind he mentions that he would have been aware and shamed by his mother s less than chaste past his interest in manly endeavours could in this regard be thrown into a new light We also see how levelling fanaticism can be Iaso and his followers all lack personality they are full of rhetoric and psychobabble but very few individual characteristics If you have come across any true accounts of young men becoming enamoured with fanaticism this will be a familiar taleFinally while Runaway Horses is at times fascinating if you view the book dispassionately and adjust your expectations accordingly it is only really enjoyable in the conventional sense in relation to the previous volume Spring Snow When one reads a multi volume work half of the fun is in the development of certain characters as they age and have children get married and so on In Runaway Horses Honda appears again as previously mentioned as does Iinuma Prince Toin and Maruis Matsugae the father of the central character from Spring Snow Kiyoaki However Iaso Iinuma is not only the son of Kiyoaki s former tutor he is as far as Honda is concerned the reincarnation of Kiyoaki himself For a western reader this seems like a bold potentially ridiculous move and yet Mishima manages to pull it off In fact that Iaso was once Kiyoaki gives his character a depth he would otherwise lack for one is able to see his passion in terms of Kiyoaki s passion one is for an ideal and the other was for a girl but both are irrational immature and destructive Further the nature of reincarnation is that one is reborn because of mistakes or sins in a past life Kiyoaki was effete and ineffectual Iaso is the opposite so it is almost as though the soul or essence of Kiyoaki has gone from one extreme to another The two characters are on the surface completely different yet ultimately very similar and I thought that was very clever and satisfying THE SEA OF FERTILITYVolume 1 Spring Snow

characters 奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima

Summary ✓ 奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima 104 S a violent plot against the new industrialists who he believes are usurping the Emperor’s rightful power and threatening the very integrity of the nation Runaway Horses is the chronicle of a conspiracy a novel about the roots and nature of Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to wa. I m going be honest and say that going in I had expected that this would be the volume I would enjoy least in the Sea of Fertility tetralogy I don t believe I had heard anything overtly negative about this book in particular but being privy to controversies surrounding Mishima s unbent fervor for the Old Way I thought that it might be overcast with these dark entries in the author s life I do having read Spring Snow think that Runaway Horses didn t uite affect me with the same disuietude as the former that succession of thoughts and only ever so slight moments after finishing a book that incurs only ponderous sorrow That isn t to say I didn t think it was very good I think that the desperate and contradictory behaviors of Isao than go to demonstrate thoughtfulness and metatextual self awareness on behalf of Mishima a rather uncomfortable idea that there was not an absence of doubt perhaps shame in his final hours It doesn t wound me with the same grace as the countless other stories about beauty in young and shallow minds it just seems as if there is something much less timeless about Runaway Horses contra Spring Snow Once I ve finished the tetralogy I ll make a note to edit this with some reflections with regard to the whole narrative

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Summary ✓ 奔馬 AUTHOR Yukio Mishima 104 Yukio Mishima’s Runaway Horses is the second novel in his masterful tetralogy The Sea of Fertility Again we encounter Shigekuni Honda who narrates this epic tale of what he believes are the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae   In 1932 Shigeuki Honda has bec. 3 This novel and The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea are my two favorite Mishima books of the seven I ve read so far Runaway Horses is set in 1932 33 a time of economic hardship in Japan not long after the start of the great global Depression Farmers especially are suffering Rice imports have been allowed into Japan This has allowed for the population to be fed but at the cost of depressing domestic rice prices for farmers many of whom are now starving Factory workers too no longer needed in a depressed economy return to the family farms which they once left with great aspirations compounding the general misery Meanwhile 21st century style Trumpian capitalists are playing the economy for every last yen David Bergamini in his book Japan s Imperial Conspiracy describes the currency speculation on the part of government and aristocracy at this time which he calls the dollar swindle Let s just say the episode was not good for the yen nor the Japanese economy as a wholeThis is the setting in which eighteen year old Isao raised and radicalized by a dipsomaniacal right wing father banzai sets about making the terrible state of Japan better His plan and he has many followers all about eighteen years old as well is to kill ten major capitalists blow up the Bank of Japan and take out eight electrical substations as a means of forcing a state of marshal law and thus the restoration of imperial rule One fat cat in particular Busuk Kurahara is much hated The man on the street including Isao believes the Emperor has been hoodwinked by those close to him It s a variation on the If Hitler only knew rationalization so rife in Nazi Germany in those yearsMishima adored writing about boys Mishima adored boys The lad in this case Isao has a passion for purity and loyalty and death that only roughly translates for the Western reader I had a very hard time trying to understand why a lad of eighteen would be interested in killing capitalists and then cutting open his own stomach It s something abstruse having to do with honor Maybe there s a rough euivalent for it in Western chivalry though it should be noted that most European knights were little than banditti I don t know But to me even perhaps to some Japanese alive today the whole mindset is irrational and thus incomprehensible like gassing JewsFor most of the book Isao seems to operate in a virtual intellectual vacuum It s hard to know how or why he s motivated to act as he does All that secrecy all that time with his fellow boys Is he operating on secret knowledge or is he completely insane Mishima badly muddles Isao At the end of the novel Isao stands up in court and gives an overly detailed speech on his motivations which strikes the reader as completely out of character Suddenly the boy s using adverbs This taciturn and lonely kid is now giving lessons in Japanese history and current affairs When just before in prison there was a passage in which he thought of himself as too intellectually dim in other words without the very mellifluousness he later displays in court IMHO it s a tremendous gaffeInterestingly enough Isao is locked up in Ishigaya Prison which turns out to be the very spot where Mishima would make his final stand on November 25 1970 Though by then the building was called the Self Defense Force Headuarters You may remember photos of Mishima in full military dress without insignia hortatorily espousing samurai virtues from atop a carport outside the building which led to cat calls and public derision before committing seppuku literally stomach cutting He was 45 The day before we are told he completed the very last page of the last novel of the present tetralogy The Decay of the Angel That said we must also remember that this second volume the first volume is Spring Snow see my review continues the story of the reincarnated Kiyoaki Matsugae when his close friend Honda comes to believe that he has found the soul of his old friend reborn in the person of the young Isai Iinuma who to complicate matters further is also the son of Kiyoaki s old tutor I have to admit on finishing the novel that the reincarnation kerfuffle seems unnecessary It s simply a device to ensure Honda s ongoing participation in the complete four novel cycle Honda now 38 is an esteemed Osaka judge early in his career As such he is a firm believer in cold rational discourse which takes a severe blow once he becomes convinced utterly convinced that he has come upon the reincarnated Kiyoaki MatsugaeI m committed to reading the next two novels in the cycle but my expectations I must admit are rather middling Mishima is always problematic for me Then again there are times especially when he s moving through a landscape or describing the action of a scene when his precision takes the breath away So recommended with reservations If you re like me someone who s read widely in Japanese history and literature particularly of the last two centuries the cycle may be essential