by Damian Flanagan
Reaktion Books. 256 pages, $16.95
YUKIO MISHIMA lived—and died—with high drama. He was a prodigiously talented, prolific, and versatile writer, publishing his first story at age sixteen and writing almost continuously up to the day of his death (a very public suicide) in 1970. When he was only 28 he had already written enough for one Japanese publisher to bring out his Collected Works in six volumes, making him the youngest author ever to achieve that landmark. He would go on to write much more, of course, and in the process he’d become Japan’s first internationally famous author. He was also a celebrity playboy, cultivating romances with many prominent and well-to-do young women, throwing lavish society parties, traveling the world, championing outlandish military schemes—all the while avidly, and for the most part furtively, pursuing gay sex.It is no wonder that Mishima’s life has inspired numerous books and films.
Jim Nawrocki is a writer based in San Francisco.