Yukio Mishima was Japan's most celebrated author.
On his death, he left a body of work consisting of
35 novels, 25 plays, 200 short stories and 8 volumes of essays.
Both his personal life and artistic works were closely followed by the general public.
On November 25, 1970, Mishima and 4 cadets from his private army entered the Eastern Army Headquarters, forcibly detained the commander and addressed the garrison.
Improved & Timing by cycles FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA AND GEORGE LUCAS P R E S E N T
A FILM BY PAUL SCHRADER
"Mishima" a life in four chapters ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPOSED AND ARRANGED BY PHILIP GLASS
WRITTEN BY PAUL SCHRADER & LEONARD SCHRADER
1- Beauty ... "Temple of the Golden Pavilion" 2- Art ... "Kyoko's House" 3- Action ... "Runaway Horses" 4- Harmony of Pen and Sword
Good morning, Mr. Mishima. Would you like breakfast now?
What about the children?
Your wife's already taken them to school.
Recently I've sensed an accumulation of many things which cannot be expressed by an objective form like the novel. TO SHINCHOSHA PUBLISHING CO. NOVEMBER 25, 1970 Words are insufficient.
So I found another form of expression.
Is everything as planned?
Read these in the car.
I'll be right out.
Did you get my letter?
Don't worry. You'll find our little drama newsworthy.
And bring a photographer.
When I examine my early childhood, I see myself as a boy leaning at the window... forever watching a world I was unable to change, forever hoping it would change by itself.
At seven weeks of age, I was taken from my mother by my grandmother.
Close the curtain!
It's almost time for him to visit his mother.
No! I need him to rub my legs.
Tell her I'm too sick this week.
You would have died in your mother's care.
A delicate plant like you... must not go outdoors.
If you want her so much, just go!
Leave me forever!
Be a good boy and rub my legs.
Only you can make Grandma feel better.
I looked after my grandmother's failing health.
She entertained me with stories and provided playmates.
On special occasions, she arranged trips to the theater.
Watch it! Sorry.
Don't apologize to these commoners.
Can you believe these crowds?
When I was a girl, people still had a modicum of manners.
Eat your lunch.
Look. All this riff-raff.
You're just a fragile plant.
The theater is very stimulating. You're old enough to go now.
It would have been too much for you before.
The stage made everything more beautiful.
It turned men into women.
It transformed the entire world.
Look this way.
Look up, sweet.
When I was 12, my grandmother, then dying, permitted me to return to the care of my mother.
Later that year I entered middle school.
All right, you cowards!
Who is this? The poet?
You'll get killed! Mama's boy!
In my earliest years, I realized life consisted of two contradictory elements.
One was words, which could change the world.
The other was the world itself, which had nothing to do with words.
For the average person, the body precedes language.
In my case, words came first.
Temple of the Golden Pavilion Published 1956 I can't hear a word you're saying.
Your name's Mizoguchi. I know what you want.
To be friends because we're both cripples.
Your stuttering and my frog feet.
That's all right. I do too.
You're still a virgin, right?
Yeah, I thought so.
No success with girls, and not enough guts to go to a whore.
If you're looking for another virgin, you struck out with me.
Stutter! Go ahead and stutter.
Virgins are beautiful, but there's nothing beautiful about you.
Guys like us are just like beautiful girls.
We get sick of always being stared at.
It's like... a m-m-mirror... you can't b-b-break.
You're so self-important.
You make too big a deal about your stuttering.
I suppose you're a damn poet.
G- G-Golden Pavilion.
It's too beautiful.
Face the fact you'll never be loved.
It's the same for everybody.
You can trick girls into loving your deformity instead of hating it.
Come on. I'll show you.
You did that on purpose!
What can I do?
You just going to walk away?
Help me up.
Is there a doctor nearby?
My house is around the corner.
Suddenly I came across a picture whose only purpose had been to lie in wait for centuries and ambush me.
The white matchless beauty of the youth's body hung against the tree trunk, his hands tied by thongs.
I trembled with joy. My loins swelled.
My hand unconsciously began a motion it had never been taught.
My need to transform reality was an urgent necessity, as important as three meals a day or sleep.
Scenic beauty is hell, isn't it?
Take that one up the path and screw her.
She wants it.
B- b-but how?
Make her pity your stutter.
Make her worship it. That's why we're here.
Maybe she'll fall in love with a stutterer.
Do you stutter?
Well, are all the deformities here today?
Let's split up.
We'll meet here again in two hours.
D- d-do you want to go home?
He's gone off and made her feel she's a saint.
That's his usual trick.
H- h-how do you know?
Oh, come on.
How do you think?
What are you doing?
Just as I thought.
It seems you haven't been going to school.
Have you been ill?
That's no way for a Zen acolyte to behave.
Nothing's that unbearable.
You'll get over it.
No. Everything... is p-p-powerless.
What happened? She ran away?
It was as s-s-small as this but grew so big.
It filled the world... like tremendous music.
That's the p-p-power... of beauty's eternity.
It poisons us.
It blocks out... our lives.
Please, enough of your pride!
Beauty is like a rotten tooth.
It rubs against your tongue, hurting, insisting on its own importance.
Finally you go to a dentist and have it pulled.
Then you look at the small bloody tooth in your hand and say, "Is that all it was?"
That's the way it is.
Only knowledge can turn life's unbearableness into a weapon.
Beauty... is now... my enemy.
Life is b-b-bearable only when I imagine... the G-Golden Pavilion... has been destroyed.
The American b-b-bombers will come.
I'll be free.
When I was 18, my class was assigned air-raid duty.
I wrote short stories and poems but dreamed only of joining the war and dying for the emperor.
I wanted to explode like a rocket, light the sky for an instant and disappear.
I took the pen name Yukio Mishima.
What are you doing?
I thought you were at Lit. Club.
You kidding? That mediocre bunch?
You should try to make more friends, sweet.
It's not good to be alone so much.
" This is no precocious genius.
He is not a writer. And never will be. "
That's a " respected" poet.
He's talking about me.
Don't show it to anyone else.
They might agree.
Do you sometimes cough blood?
How long have you had a fever?
About six months, sir.
" Unfit for military service. "
" Incipient tuberculosis. "
Get dressed and go home.
I'd always dreamed of dying on the battlefield.
So why did I lie? Why did I exaggerate my illness?
My words were lies.
I was a coward.
I never really wanted to die.
Did you hear? The war is over!
B- b-but the American bombers? Where are the bombers?
The Golden Pavilion...
who'll set it free?
Did you steal this from the temple?
You acolytes are my girls' best customers.
I wonder why they didn't bomb Kyoto.
That was your first time?
I thought so.
Don't worry. You did fine.
Are you always so serious?
Didn't you enjoy it?
I hope you remember my name.
In a day or two I'm going to be famous.
What's so funny?
You're such a terrible liar!
And you keep such a straight face!
It's no lie!
I'll make headlines.
You're too much.
It's a nice day.
Good morning, sensei.
You've read the letters?
You three must not follow our example.
But we're ready to -
The letters are very clear.
No matter what happens, make sure the general does not commit seppuku.
This is our day... not his.
Sensei, we've talked it over.
We want to die with you.
Why must we be left behind?
This is my final day.
I've said good-bye to my parents, my girlfriend, everyone.
You... must stay alive.
You must defend our actions in court.
We want to be with you to the end.
You refuse to obey orders?
Morita and I are going to do our duty. You must do yours.
We'll meet again.
At the end of the war, I felt left behind.
I thought I was the symbol of my times - a kamikaze for beauty.
But I'd only been a boy who wrote bad poetry.
I quit my job at the Ministry of Finance to become a writer.
I wrote Confessions of a Mask in six months.
Thirst for Love took five months.
Forbidden Colors took nine, Sound of Waves four, Modern Noh Dramas three, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion ten.
The rehearsals look great.
Easy for you to say.
Why worry? You're already the youngest writer... to publish his Collected Works.
What good is it if I'm not translated in the West?
Sound of Waves was translated.
Four, five languages?
It's like a dream come true.
But it feels like being confined to a hospital bed.
A luxurious hospital bed.
Can't I just have the bed?
Every night I return to my desk precisely at midnight.
I thoroughly analyze why I am attracted to a particular theme.
I drag everything into my conscious mind.
I boil it into abstraction.
I am constantly calculating until I sit down to write.
Only then can my unconscious dreams take over.
Kyoko's House Published 1959
Come, night! Come, Romeo! Come, gentle night.
Who were you with last night?
I don't remember. Who'd you sleep with?
What a thing to say to your mother.
Besides... he was too drunk to walk.
Nothing goes right for me anymore.
You should see the loan on this place.
I can't even buy lipstick.
My back gets worse and worse.
I could die and nobody would care.
What's so funny?
I love how you exaggerate your misery, like some cheap movie poster.
You even look the part - like the madam of a French brothel.
How would you know?
You've never left Tokyo.
Besides, I'm not exaggerating.
You're never here when the loan sharks come.
Do me a favor, please.
Go see them. I need six months more.
It's getting so I can't sleep anymore.
Doing what? Daydreaming?
Got a role?
What do you think?
Would they look good in tights?
I guess so.
This nail polish sure chips easy.
These damn legs.
I pay too much attention to my face, but what about my body?
If only I were more muscular... like a matador.
Then my whole body could be my face.
That's not very realistic.
I'm going to take up bodybuilding.
I mean it.
Oh no, you don't.
Then you'll have more girls chasing you.
Who were you with last night?
Come on, tell me who. Someone new?
All right, muscle man. You are a weakling!
Cut it out.
I'll be your mirror.
This is your hair.
This is your face.
This is your breast.
See? Isn't this better than a mirror?
My life is in many ways like that of an actor.
I also wear a mask. I play a role.
When he looks in the mirror, the homosexual, like the actor, sees what he fears most.: the decay of the body.
You're so flabby.
Ah, it's you.
What happened? Suddenly you just...
Don't worry. It's nothing.
Please tell me, or I'll never calm down.
I'm calling from nearby.
I'll see you in 15 minutes.
I must know.
Both you and I have a strong sense of aesthetics.
When you look in the mirror, you see beauty.
I can't even look at myself.
So don't make jokes like that again.
As the ship approached Hawaii, I felt as if I'd emerged from a cave and shook hands with the sun.
I'd always suffered under a monstrous sensitivity.
What I lacked was health - a healthy body, a physical presence.
Words had separated me from my body.
The sun released me.
Greece cured my self-hatred and awoke a will to health.
I saw that beauty and ethics were one and the same.
Creating a beautiful work of art and becoming beautiful oneself are identical.
I obtained physical health after becoming an adult.
Such people are different from those born healthy.
We feel we have the right to be insensitive to trivial concerns.
The loss of self through sex gives us little satisfaction.
Where have you been?
I've become a bodybuilder.
How about you? Still painting?
Still at it.
You mean Natsuo Yamagata? Landscapes?
I've seen some of them.
At least you don't attempt to paint human bodies.
Forgive his bluntness.
Takei and I were just talking about art.
And what did you decide?
I got interested because of the way Michelangelo and Rodin treated the human body.
The human body is the work of art.
It doesn't need artists.
Okay, let's say you're right.
What good does your sweating and grunting do?
Even the most beautiful body is soon destroyed by age.
Where is beauty then?
Only art makes human beauty endure.
You must devise an artist's scheme to preserve it.
You must commit suicide at the height of your beauty.
What have you been doing? You promised we'd go to the theater.
You need money again?
No, that's not it.
Don't you notice anything new?
Just this awful shirt.
You call my taste gaudy. Looks like blood.
No, it's not that.
I've put two inches on my chest.
Somebody even said my ass looked like that of a foreign sailor.
Here, feel my chest.
I can hardly pinch it.
Lady! Get us some lunch!
We only serve snacks.
Then go get some.
Until you pay back your loan, this dump belongs to my boss.
Now move your ass.
I hope you accept my apology. I'm sorry about yesterday.
I fired that punk immediately.
I've put up with your mother long enough.
She's very difficult.
I'll soon take possession of her place.
In such cases, people are often driven to suicide.
What do you mean?
You're like me.
My beautiful shadow.
You're vain and bored.
Full of yourself.
You like to play childish games.
You're an actor, aren't you?
I feel that...
a certain woman wants a certain something.
Don't pretend you love me.
I've had too much of that.
Mm, as for me, I don't love women much.
They make me feel emptied out.
All the better.
What do you want?
This is your mother's loan. It comes to 11/2 million yen.
If you do, I'll cancel the loan.
" I hereby certify that my life and body belong to Kiyomi Akita. "
I want to buy you.
It's just a little cut.
Your skin is so beautiful...
I just had to cut it.
It felt pleasant.
A thought just occurred to me.
" This is the woman I've been looking for.
I've finally found her. "
I don't need a mirror anymore.
I feel clearly that I exist.
In that case... will you stay by me to the end?
Will you die with me?
I'd watch you writhe in a pool of blood...
until you stopped moving.
Then I'd drink poison.
Fine with me, but... no matter what happens, don't kiss me...
until I'm good and dead.
A writer is a voyeur par excellence.
I came to detest this position.
I sought to be not only the seer but also the seen.
THE TOUGH GUY
Men wear masks to make themselves beautiful. THE ASSASSINS But unlike a woman's, a man's determination to become beautiful is always a desire for death.
Have you been to the gym?
I don't need to go.
You are in good shape.
Look, those ladies are jealous.
They don't think we're mother and son.
Let 'em think what they want.
Two hundred yen, please.
It's such a relief not to worry about money anymore.
I'm finally able to sleep again.
Thanks to Akita-san. And to you.
You're not having trouble with her, are you?
Not at all.
In fact, I decided to go all the way with her.
Do you love her?
Of course not.
Isn't that a little extreme?
On the other hand, we've got to be nice to her.
But don't go too far. Just find a way to cancel the loan.
Don't worry about money.
I got a good part.
It's a surprise.
You've got the body of a matador.
I can't even go to the gym.
Those guys at the theater are even worse.
They're still having the same boring discussions...
about the "wounds of art. "
I'd like to show them... your wounds.
They don't even know that art is a shadow...
that stage blood... is not enough.
When duty and sympathy Are on the scales A man always finds Duty heavier O merciful Kannon My childhood friend You can see Right into my heart The lion and the peony Roar on my back
There it is.
We're a little early.
Swing around the loop.
What if something goes wrong?
Just stick to the plan.
Runaway Horses Published 1969
Has anything changed?
You're still going through with it? Why?
Don't you understand?
The emperor's face is not pleased.
Japan is losing her soul.
But why you?
I was lucky enough to be chosen.
Why did you pull out of the tournament?
I lost interest.
Because you win so easily?
I lost interest in wooden swords, sensei.
They have no real power.
You're old enough for a sword of steel?
How about your team and your school?
They can't win without you.
Report to your dorm, Isao.
Contemplate the danger of a man who thinks only of himself.
Excuse me, Lieutenant Hori.
I heard about your kendo exercises.
We expect great things from you.
You wrote this?
How many of you?
How will you do this?
In a single stroke.
We'll assassinate the leaders of capitalism.
Burn the Bank of Japan.
At dawn, law will restore power to the emperor.
What will happen to your group?
At sunrise, on a cliff, paying reverence to the sun, looking down on the sea, we'll commit seppuku.
We'd never ask anyone to join us in death.
Who would you kill?
If we could kill ten, Marquis Nagasaki, Baron Shinkawa -
If only five?
Premier Saito -
Japan will be purified.
What do you want from me?
An airplane to drop leaflets.
Explosives to knock out the power station.
You have firearms?
We'll only use swords.
Our best weapon is purity.
And you schoolboys can use swords?
Words are a deceit.
But action is never deceitful.
" The harmony of pen and sword. "
This samurai motto used to be a way of life.
Now it's forgotten.
Can art and action still be united?
Today this harmony can only occur in a brief flash, a single moment.
The average age for men in the Bronze Age was 18, in the Roman era, 22.
Heaven must have been beautiful then.
Today it must look dreadful.
When a man reaches 40, he has no chance to die beautifully.
No matter how he tries, he will die of decay.
He must compel himself to live.
Call off your plan.
Someone found out?
No, but they will.
I'm being transferred to Manchuria.
Without me, it's too dangerous.
Can you get the airplane?
It won't work. Call it off.
You must not throw away your lives.
" Don't fear the death of the body, only the spirit. "
Your intentions are admirable, but...
Please swear you'll call it off.
And destroy any reference to me.
Do you swear?
There'll be no airplane, no explosives.
The army has deserted us.
The capitalists have bought them out.
This meeting is useless.
Do you understand?
Go home. Go back to your books.
This is my final command.
I want to be alone now. Go.
Didn't you hear me? Go home.
We have no plan.
No hope. Nothing.
Are you still willing to pay the price... for something which may accomplish nothing?
One: We vow to go forth to death to purge our nation of capitalist evils.
Two: We hereby vow to forge eternal friendship among ourselves.
Three: We hereby vow to restore His Imperial Majesty.
"We hereby vow to be the foundation of imperial Japan. "
Now let's sign with our blood.
This paper could be lost in the wind, but these vows will be eternal in our hearts.
It doesn't hurt.
After the signatures, we'll drink a blood toast to our new Shield Society.
No one here has VD, I hope.
You can't use the National Theater for a private political party.
This is a scandal.
What's all this nonsense about a private army?
Up there I create action in the sunshine.
Here I create art in the dark.
Isn't it perfect?
Who'd have thought you could still combine them?
Byron did it. He had 300 men.
Are you serious?
The media can make you look so ridiculous.
You're our best writer.
Haven't I always looked ridiculous?
I walk on stage determined to make the audience cry.
Instead, they burst out laughing.
Some people have called us toy soldiers.
But our goal is to restore the noble tradition of the way of the samurai.
I have always supported the tradition of elegant beauty in Japanese literature.
I cannot stop striving to unite these two great traditions.
Now I would like to address our foreign guests in English.
I hope my poor English is not too hard on your ears.
A month after the radical Left occupied Tokyo University, they challenged me to speak.
For a moment I felt I was entering the realm where art and action converge.
For a moment I was alive.
You're not only wrong, you're not even logical!
Having got this far out of sheer pride...
I'm not going to become logical now.
That doesn't mean you've defeated me with your lack of logic.
I'd gladly join hands with you if you'd only call the emperor by his rightful name.
We all want to improve Japan.
Are we so far apart?
We're playing a serious game.
We've both played the same cards.
You're speaking nonsense!
Think about it.
But I have the joker.
I have the emperor.
Sitting alone at my desk at midnight, as I had every night for 20 years, I felt empty.
Then again came the words.
Again the rehearsal began.
We strike Friday night.
This date can change anytime, so always be ready.
Are there any objections?
Is it inconvenient for anyone?
If we're going to die, how can it be inconvenient?
Okay, Friday night.
Where are the maps to Kurahara's house?
Is that you?
Are you hungry?
I can have something brought. That's okay.
Did your group plan anything else? No.
You're third degree in kendo, I hear.
Too bad you got involved in this business.
Otherwise we might be having a pleasant match.
Are they having a match now?
You're still too young and pure.
You will learn to tone down your feelings.
If purity is toned down, it's no longer purity.
Total purity is not possible in this world.
Yes, it is... if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.
Dying isn't everything, you know.
I admire your loyalty, but the emperor also treasures our lives.
I'm not attacking your beliefs.
I'm just saying... take it easy.
You don't think I'm serious.
If my ideas aren't dangerous, let me do my duty.
If not, torture me like the others.
Ah, such a debater.
There's no need to torture you.
We torture those who won't talk.
You want to talk.
Who are you?
The punishment you deserve!
Is something wrong?
How does it look?
It's hard enough directing and acting.
It looks great. Honest.
We need more shadow.
This premieres in Paris - you know how the French love shadows.
Why did you make your film without dialogue?
That's a surprise.
You always say I use too much dialogue. I was doing you a favor.
Does your film have any political message?
No, none at all.
Your favorite writer?
- Thomas Mann. Your most unique habit?
Laughing for no reason.
Who would you like to be?
Your favorite food?
Does this mean you'll stop writing novels?
I can't help you out on that.
I couldn't survive if I didn't continue writing one more line, one more line, one more line... one more line.
And one more line.
4- Harmony of Pen and Sword
Just follow the plan.
But what if we can't?
If something goes wrong, I'll give you a signal.
Now is the time to be calm.
We're here to see General Mashita.
You have an...?
11:00 a. m.
Just a moment.
Running in the early mist with the members of the Shield Society, I felt something emerging as slowly as my sweat.: the ultimate verification of my existence.
Our members were allowed to train in the facilities of the regular army.
I flew in a combat fighter.
These privileges were granted us because of the symbolic significance of our society.
Even in its present weakened condition, the army represented the ancient code of the samurai.
It was here, on the stage of Japanese tradition, that I would conduct my action.
Look at that!
At least he can eat faster than this old man.
All right: Eat!
Can't see Fuji at all.
Morita, what do you think?
Their hearts are pure.
Yes. Are they " strong" enough?
Having come to my solution, I never wavered.
Who knows what others will make of this?
There would be no more rehearsals.
General Mashita is waiting for you.
General, Mishima-sensei is here.
Yes, come right in.
General, good to see you again.
May I invite some members of the Shield Society to join us?
You don't mind?
Please sit down.
We've just finished a maneuver.
These four distinguished themselves.
I wanted them to have the honor of meeting you.
That's why we're in uniform.
Please sit down.
Your new uniforms are very handsome.
Who designed them? You?
Yes - with some help from De Gaulle's tailor.
Is that real?
Is it all right to carry it around like that?
I have a permit.
It's a certified antique, made in 1620 by Seki-no-Magoroku.
Would you like to see it? By all means.
As I expected, it has the wave pattern.
You must be an expert.
It's hard to see through the oil.
There's a cloth over here.
A true museum piece.
Stop joking around!
Be quiet and you won't be injured.
Barricade the doors. Quick!
Put your hachimaki on.
Remove the gag.
If this is a demonstration of commando tactics, it's gone far enough.
Tell the garrison to assemble out front to hear a speech.
Are you serious?
Are you crazy?
If you do, we will surrender our weapons after the speech.
I can't approve a speech until I've read it.
If you try to stop us, I will kill you and commit seppuku.
This is madness.
What will you gain?
Order your officers to obey.
These are our demands.
" One: The men of the 32nd garrison will be assembled at 11:30 a. m.
Two: Commander Mishima will address the garrison. "
Release the general!
Who's in charge?
Who's in command?
I am the colonel. Let me see the general.
Listen to our demands.
I guarantee the general's safety.
Let's talk this over.
There's nothing to talk about!
One: The men of the 32nd garrison will be assembled in front of headquarters at 11:30 a. m.
Two: Commander Mishima will address the garrison.
Three: The garrison will attend the speech in silence.
But it's already past 11:30.
When shall they assemble?
Assemble the garrison.
Come out here!
The police are everywhere.
Our little drama has attracted quite an audience.
Time for the last act.
It's a terrible affair to have to speak to army men in circumstances like these.
I thought that the army was the last hope of Japan, the last stronghold of the Japanese soul.
But the Japanese people today think only of money.
Where is our national spirit?
We thought the army was the soul of national honor!
The nation has no spiritual foundation.
What will you do when you are just a big soulless arsenal?
The politicians care nothing for Japan.
They are greedy for power.
The army must be the soul of Japan!
Never in physical action had I discovered the chilling satisfaction of words.
Never in words had I experienced the hot darkness of action.
Somewhere there must be a higher principle which reconciles art and action.
That principle, it occurred to me, was death.
The vast upper atmosphere, where there is no oxygen, is surrounded with death.
To survive in this atmosphere, man, like an actor, must wear a mask.
Flying at 45,000 feet, the silver phallus of the fuselage floated in sunlight.
My mind was at ease, my thought process lively.
No movement, no sound, no memories.
The closed cockpit and outer space were like the spirit and body of the same being.
Here I saw the outcome of my final action.
In this stillness was a beauty beyond words.
No more body or spirit, pen or sword, male or female.
Then I saw a giant circle coiled around the earth, a ring that resolved all contradictions, a ring vaster than death, more fragrant than any scent I have ever known.
Here was the moment I had always been seeking.
Are you men?
Are you bushi?
Are you bushi?
I appeal to you!
Listen to me!
Will no one join with me?
I see you will not rise up. You will do nothing.
I have lost my dream for you.
I will now salute the emperor.
Long live the emperor!
Long live the emperor!
Long live the emperor!
I don't even think they heard me.
There's no reason to do it!
I am bound to do this, General.
You must not take responsibility for this.
Stop! Please stop!
" The instant the blade tore open his flesh, the bright disk of the sun soared up behind his eyelids and exploded, lighting the sky for an instant. "
Improved & Timing by cycles