Confessions Of A Mask / Yukio Mishima

Published in 1949, Confessions of a Mask helped to launch the career of Yukio Mishima. The book’s narrator is Kochan, and the story deals with his struggles from a young age to fit into Japanese society. In the first half of the novel, he describes his early childhood memories in pre-World World II Japan. This is a time when right-wing militarism stressed the need for physical fitness and conformity to the social norm. But throughout his youth, Kochan is frail and weak, and he has an even darker secret, he is sexually attracted to other men. In great detail, he describes how his fantasies of death, violence and sex first took root, and how shame made him keep that side of his personality well-hidden. Over time, the mask he wears in public becomes a false personality that he not only tries to get others to believe in, but himself as well. Coming to adulthood in the final days of World War II, he attempts to fall in love with a girl named Sonoko. Although he eagerly participates in the masquerade of being a suitor, in the end his latent homosexual urges lead him to understand he can never truly love a woman. This novel provides an illuminating look into Kochan’s thought process as he comes to accept his homosexuality without the help of role models to guide him. It is a sad story since not only is he cut off from society, he is cut off from his inner self as well. Scholars have suspected that Yukio Mishima was a homosexual, and this book certainly has an autobiographical feel to it. His later books continued to focus on violence, death, and sexuality. At the height of his career, at age forty-five, Mishima committed suicide by ceremonial seppuku. Confession of a Mask was a daring book to write back in 1949, and even today it would make a good many people uncomfortable when reading it. While not exactly an entertaining story, for anyone interested in the topic, this book provides a fascinating look into the mind of someone struggling to understand and accept homosexuality as a sexual identity.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: