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11/25 The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate


Status: Completed

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Short synopsis

On 11/25/70, one of Japan’smost celebrated novelists committed ritual suicide. What was he trying to express? What did he witness in his final moments?

Long synopsis

“If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death No death may be called futile.” – Yukio Mishima

From legendary Japanese underground provocateur and radical filmmaker Koji Wakamatsu…

On November 25th 1970, a man committed ritual suicide inside the Tokyo headquarters of the Japanese Ministry of Defence. The man was Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’sgreatest and most celebrated novelists.With four members of his own private army – the Tatenokai – Mishima had taken the commandant hostage and called upon the assembled military outside the Ministry to overthrow their society and restore the powers of the Emperor. When the soldiers mocked and jeered Mishima, he cut short his speech and withdrew to the commandant’soffice where he committed seppuku – the samurai warrior’s death – tearing open his belly with a ceremonial knife before being beheaded by one of his colleagues.

What was Mishima truly trying to express through his actions? What did he witness during his final moments? The 1960s saw an international surge of protest against the 1951 Japan-US Security Treaty. Student activism in Japan was also gaining momentum towards social change, with widespread support from farmers and laborers. Conservative students also mobilized themselves to oppose their left-wing counterparts. It was from the ranks of these latter activists that Mishima formed his Tatenokai. Who were the Tatenokai fighting? Who was the real enemy? And what was the meaning of Mishima™s extraordinary final gesture?