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Unformatted text preview: mooth torso was being severely
and tightly imprisoned by each succeeding turn of the soiled cotton bellyband. His bare, sun-tanned shoulders gleamed as though covered with oil.
And black tufts stuck out from the cracks of his armpits, catching the sunlight,
curling and glittering with glints of gold.
At this sight, above all at the sight of the peony tattoood on his hard chest,
I was beset by sexual desire. My fervent gaze was fixed upon that rough and
savage, but incomparably beautiful body. Its owner was laughing there under
the sun. When he threw back his head I could see his thick, muscular neck. A
strange shudder ran through my innermost heart. I could no longer take my
eyes off him.
I had forgotten Sonoko’s existence. I was thinking of but one thing: Of his
going out into the streets of high summer just as he was, half-naked, and getting into a fight with a rival gang. Of a sharp dagger cutting through that
belly-band, piercing that torso. Of that soiled belly-band beautifully dyed with
blood. Of his gory corpse being put on an improvised stretcher, made of a
window shutter, and brought back here.49 Mishima, at about twenty-three, fantasized a death for the young man
in the dance hall that was the one he chose for himself some twentytwo years later. It may well be, as Masao Miyoshi hypothesizes,50 that
Mishima’s adult life was dominated by a longing for the death he felt he
was denied during the war when he failed the physical examination for
induction into the army and when all the American bombs missed him. 340 Culture in the Present Age But it is clear in retrospect that he needed much time to prepare both
mentally and physically for what he envisioned as the aesthetically
perfect form of self-destruction. In the mid-1950s he took up bodybuilding, and during the radicalism of the 1960s, which accompanied
the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, he assumed
an extreme right-wing political stance based on traditional reverence for
the emperor. Mishima transformed himself into a modern-day samurai,
a warrior of pure spirit who would think only of one thing: “a sharp
dagger . . . piercing [his] torso.”
Mishima was a disciplined and prolific writer, producing more than
thirty novels and many plays and essays. His output is striking not...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13