Mishima's Sword

Mishima's Sword

Travels in Search of A Samurai Legend

Book - 2006
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Perseus Publishing
In 1970, the world-famous Japanese writer Yukio Mishima plunged a knife into his belly and was decapitated using his own antique sword. In the decades since, people have asked endless far-ranging questions about this spectacular suicide. Christopher Ross wondered, What on earth happened to Mishima's sword? And so Ross sets off for Tokyo on a journey into the heart of the Mishima legend---the very heart of Japan. It was a country Ross knew well after nearly five years of living there--but nothing could have prepared him for this. While searching for the fabled sword, Ross encounters the rather startling range of those who knew Mishima...a world, or perhaps more accurately a demimonde, of craftsmen and critics, soldiers and swordsmen, boyfriends and biographers (even the man who taught Mishima hara-kiri). The trail Ross follows inspires a travelogue of the most eye-opening--and occasionally bizarre--sort, a window into the real Japan that is never seen by tourists and the occasion for digressions on, among other things, socks and the code of the samurai, nosebleeds and metallurgy... even how to dress for suicide. Mishima's Sword is a dazzling read--the perfect book for all those intrigued by things Japanese, from gangsters to Genji, from manga to Mishima.

In the tradition of Pico Iyer, a witty and revealing insider's journey through a modern Japan that outsiders seldom glimpse


Blackwell North Amer
On 25th November 1970, after a failed coup d'etat, Japanese writer Yukio Mishima plunged a knife into his tightly muscled belly, and was decapitated using his own antique sword. Mishima's spectacular suicide has been called many things: a hankering for heroism; a beautiful, perverse drama; a political protest against Japan's emasculated post-War constitution; the last act in a theatre of death; the epitaph of a mad genius. But which, if any, is correct? And what happened to Mishima's sword?
Thirty years later Christopher Ross sets off for Tokyo on a journey into the heart of the Mishima Incident. While searching for Mishima's sword and re-assessing the life and anachronistic death of this uniquely complex man, he encounters those who knew Mishima, craftsmen and critics, soldiers and swordsmen, boyfriends and biographers - even the man who taught him hara-kiri. The cold trail he follows inspires digressions on, amongst other things, bushido and socks, mutineers and Noh ghosts, nosebleeds and metallurgy - and how to dress for suicide.
Like Tunnel Visions, Christopher Ross has written another unclassifiable blend of travel writing, autobiography and philosophical quest, an insider's mesmeric account of modern Japan and a death that still haunts the nation.

Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Da Capo, 2006
ISBN: 9780306815133
0306815133
Characteristics: 262 p. ; 23 cm

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