[ Picture ]


Yukio Mishima, pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka


In his early life, Mishima was pretty much weak and scrawny. Shortly after age 25, he became interested in, and soon obsessed with, physical prowess -- body builder, weight lifter, martial artist. So if he finds himself in his 25-year-old body, he'll be most dissatisfied. Anyway. I'm not sure about height; he was small for a Japanese of his time -- I'd guess about 5'4". Lanky. Complexion would be of a Japanese, but (at age 25) terribly pale. An acquaintance described him at age 25 as "pale as death, so pale his skin had a purplish tint. And his body seemed to float in his clothes." Fairly long face; heavy brow.


Born: 1/14/1925, Tokyo, to a middle-class common family.

Died: 11/25/1970, ritual suicide.
Mishima and four young men who were members of his private militia (one was probably his lover, as well) went to a Tokyo army base, kidnapped the commanding general and seized his office, demanding that Mishima be allowed to address the troops. Mishima started to speak on the need for Japan to again become a state reflecting its history and (warrior) tradition, and particularly calling on the troops to march on the government to demand a revision of the postwar constitution that forbade a meaningful standing army. After being shouted down, he cheered the emperor, went back to the general's office and committed seppuku with the assistance of one of his students.

Education: 14 years at a school for nobles, top in his class. Law degree.

Languages: Japanese (native), English (well - enough to write in), Greek (passable)


Bizarre. His grandmother Natsu (who was of noble family) kept him in her sickroom from the age of 7 weeks to 12 years, allowing him to see very little of his family. She wanted to establish in him the virtues of the noble class and Bushido (she died when he was 14). His father Azusa thought writing was dishonorable and tried to prevent it; he was also generally tyrannical. Mishima and his mother Shizue loved each other. Both parents survived him. Two younger siblings with whom he was not close -- his sister Mitsuko died young; his brother Chiyuki survived him.

Married for 12 years (until his death) to Yoko; a happy marriage, with a daughter Noriko (11 at Y.M.'s death) and a son Iichiro (8 at Y.M.'s death).

Relationships outside the family were not life-long; he tended to conclude that even friends of many years were not worthy. Until that point, he was rather a gadabout -- liked to go out dancing with his friends, or talking literature (most were writers).

Often had a homosexual lover (Morita at the time of his death); tended to end up like other friendships.


Wrote compulsively all his life, usually from dusk to dawn -- poems, novels, plays, short stories, essays, anything (257 books, incl. 15 novels and 33 full-length plays). Beyond that, I'd identify his fascination with heroic death. This was a major theme in writing and almost everything else. His physical fitness regimen started when he realized that his weak body was unfit for meeting death in any meaningful way.

Life Events

After being allowed to live away from his grandmother, he started writing in school and came to the attention of professional literary circles, and began writing novels before graduation. After school he entered law school, which was interrupted by WWII. Between his actual illnesses and some deception he avoided active military service and later finished law school. During WWII (age ~18), he came to realize that his primary goal in life was a heroic death. He started a career in the bureaucracy but could not do both that and write all night, so shifted back to writing. At 25, wrote an autobiographical novel through which he realized he was homosexual.

Shortly afterward, began his fascination with body-building. Traveled widely, including eventually producing a Broadway play. Strong candidate for the Nobel prize. Focused on political thinking later in life (after ~35). His primary theme was the restoration of the Japanese way (meaning Samurai, more or less), and became a vocal right-wing activist. Attracted a following of young men who shared his ideas of heroism and formed basically a private army of about 100, called the Shield Society. Set the goal of allowing a warrior tradition to return to Japan, which effectively needed a change of constitution. Culminated in the death scene, which he arranged to occur the day after he finished the last installment of his magnum opus, a four-novel series.


strong need for achievement; fairly narcissistic; obsessed with death; homosexual; compulsive; highly self-disciplined; strong fantasy life. Good, if morbid, sense of humor, except about writing, which calls for seriousness.


Writing, of course. The law degree. Language skills (Japanese, English, a smattering of French). Unarmed (karate, a little boxing), firearms, and sword combat, highly skilled (though the weak body may confuse things). Able swimmer and rider. Acted in, directed and produced plays. Bad but enthusiastic dancer.

Personality Questions

Would your character prefer a game of chess or a game of football?
Football. Action is necessary for meaningful life.
If your character found a wallet in the street, would they return it?
Definitely. Strong sense of honor.
Would your character be more likely to be the life of the party or to quietly observe the goings-on?
Life of the party. See about football.
Would your character be found on the top of a pyramid of people or on the bottom?
Bottom. The person on top is accomplishing nothing.
Pretending to be your character, rank the following statements in order of truth. Leave out statements that are false about your character.
f. I always tell the truth b. I am physically above-average d. I notice my surroundings a. Other people listen to what I say c. I am clever with my hands e. I love to read