Yukio Mishima

Excerpt from Confessions of a Mask By Yukio Mishima

In the woodblock prints of the Genroku period one often finds the features of a pair of lovers to be surprisingly similar, with little to distinguish the man from the woman.  The universal ideal of beauty in Greek sculpture likewise approaches a close resemblance between the male and female.  Might this not be one of the secrets of love?  Might it not be that through the inner most recesses of love there courses an unattainable longing in which both the man and the woman desire to become the exact image of the other?  Might not this longing drive them on, leading at last to a tragic reaction in which they seek to attain the impossible by going to the opposite extreme?  In short  since their mutual love cannot achieve a perfection of mutual identity, is there not a mental process whereby each of them tries instead to emphasise their point of dissimilarity – the man his manliness and the woman her  womanliness – and uses this very revolt as a form of coquetry toward the other?  Or if they do achieve a similarity, it unfortunately lasts for only a fleeting moment of illusion.  Because, as the girl becomes more bold and the boy more shy, there comes an instant at which they pass each other in opposite directions, over shooting their mark and passing on beyond to some point where the mark no longer exists.

Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫, Mishima Yukio?) was the public name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威, Hiraoka Kimitake?, January 14, 1925—November 25, 1970), a Japanese author and playwright, famous for both his nihilistic post-war writing and the circumstances of his suicide.

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