On Unearthed Tape, Mishima Talked Death Nine Months before Suicide (News)


Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)—In an audiotape recently unearthed in a Tokyo television station, Japanese author Mishima Yukio (1925–1970), made an ominous remark about death nine months before committing seppuku ritual suicide, it was learned Thursday.

Mishima Yukio gives a speech from the second-floor balcony of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Eastern Corps Headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo, shortly before committing suicide on November 25, 1970. (© Jiji)

The 80-minute tape contains conversation between Mishima and British translator John Bester on or around February 19, 1970, said Tokyo Broadcasting System, which discovered the tape.

Mishima killed himself by cutting his belly with a Japanese sword after a failed coup attempt in the Ground Self-Defense Force's Camp Ichigaya in Tokyo on November 25 that year.

"I feel death has come into my body," Mishima said on the tape. “I’m obsessed with the idea that in Japan today, the only thing to do is to correct the language,” he also commented.

Criticizing his own writing, he said, “The flaw in my works is that the structures are too dramatic. I smear on my sentences like oil paintings. I hate Japanese-style pictures, which leave empty space.” He also said the Constitution was hypocritical.

The tape was titled, “Thoughts Before His Suicide,” and marked “Not for Broadcast.” Most people at the broadcaster did not know of its existence.

Yamanaka Takeshi, a research fellow at the Mishima Yukio Literary Museum, said, “The recording shows he was clearly planning the actions that led to his suicide. I didn’t know that he had compared the defects in his books to oil paintings.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd. Content edited by the Nippon.com editorial team.]

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