Confessions of a Mask

Confessions of a Mask

4.5 6
by Yukio Mishima
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The story of a man coming to terms with his homosexuality in traditional Japanese society has become a modern classic.Confessions of a Mask tells the story of Kochan, an adolescent boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: he wants to be “normal.” Kochan is meek-bodied, and unable to participate in the more athletic activities of his

Overview

The story of a man coming to terms with his homosexuality in traditional Japanese society has become a modern classic.Confessions of a Mask tells the story of Kochan, an adolescent boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: he wants to be “normal.” Kochan is meek-bodied, and unable to participate in the more athletic activities of his classmates. He begins to notice his growing attraction to some of the boys in his class, particularly the pubescent body of his friend Omi. To hide his homosexuality, he courts a woman, Sonoko, but this exacerbates his feelings for men. As news of the War reaches Tokyo, Kochan considers the fate of Japan and his place within its deeply rooted propriety.Confessions of a Mask reflects Mishima’s own coming of age in post-war Japan. Its publication in English—praised by Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, and Christopher Isherwood— propelled the young Yukio Mishima to international fame.

Editorial Reviews

Out Magazine
“Mishima's Mask continues to speak to the terrors that come when sexualities are pressed underground.”— Emily Drabinski
Emily Drabinski - Out Magazine
“Mishima's Mask continues to speak to the terrors that come when sexualities are pressed underground.”
Judith Thurman - New Yorker
““Yukio Mishima was one of the greatest avant-garde Japanese writers of the twentieth century.””
Gore Vidal - The New York Review of Books
““We read the bloody details with wonder…such is the power of his writing.””
Wired
““Confessions of a Mask follows in the spirit of Oscar Wilde’s dictum that ‘man is least himself when he talks in his own person. ‘Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.’””

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811201186
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/28/1958
Pages:
1
Sales rank:
267,581
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
1130L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was many people. The best known in Japan of the writers to emerge there after World War II, he was by far the most published abroad. Mishima completed his first novel the year he entered the University of Tokyo. More followed (some twenty-three, the last completed the day of his death in November, 1970), along with more than forty play, over ninety short stories, several poetry and travel volumes and hundreds of essays. Influenced by European literature, in which he was exceptionally well read, he was an interpreter to his own people of Japan's ancient virtues, to which he urged a return. He had sung on the stage, starred in and directed movies and was a noted practitioner of Japan's traditional martial arts. He seemed at the height of his career and vitality at the age of forty-five, when after a demonstration in the public interest he committed suicide by ceremonial seppuku.

Meredith Weatherby was an American publisher of Japanese texts.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Confessions of a Mask 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
HaydenDerk More than 1 year ago
With a directness of words that seems simultaneously pure and elegant, Mishima here writes an (allegedly) autobiographical novel of the most scandalous and enviably talented sort. In it he traces the development of the narrator (the book is told in first-person, following the Japanese style of Shishosetsu or "I-novel" form) from early youth to late teens, chronicling his development as a homosexual in post-war Japanese society. On the platform of subject matter, this novel may still raise a few eyebrows and turn stomachs. There are some graphic depictions of death and, at one point, a dream of cannibalism accompanied by obvious fetishisms that might disuade the more squeamish of readers. However, the value of the book should not be taken as merely an accomplishment of "shock-writing", that is to say acting as if one is Chuck Palahniuk and merely trying to sell books by adding more and more shocking things to the plot, but rather as a masterpiece of narrative fiction. Though perhaps more a testament to the skill of the translator than the original author, Mishima's style in this novel comes across and clear and simple (as in the case of a Japanese Hemingway) while still giving the narrator an air of sophistication that the reader comes to expect from someone of his upbringing. Much of the text spends time describing personal thoughts (think Notes from the Underground by F. Dos.) and the physical traits of the other boys, relying less on dailog and more on description to further along the plot elements. This is done flawlessly and transports the reader into a realm where he/she feels they are no longer reading the sequences of an event but rather witnessing them in motion. Overall a masterpiece of a novel, a piercing, if not chilling, work of introspective fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Different cultures deal with homosexuality in different ways. Mishima's sadomasochistic homosexuality asserted itself early. While still a tiny child, he responded instantly to certain kinds of masculine beauty and found a mysterious fascination in images and narratives of heroic men being tortured and, ideally, killed. The supreme example was a picture of the martyred St. Sebastian, bound and riddled with arrows, which the child Mishima experienced as the world's heaviest turn-on. Naive as he was, the young author still knew somehow that his interests were unusual and disgraceful, so he kept them secret--thus he created the metaphorical 'mask' to hide his true feelings. The story of his early inner life, with its crushes and fantasies, takes up the first half or so of the book and is fascinating. But then, during young manhood, Mishima tries to become 'normal' and fall in love with a girl. Though he likes her very much, he isn't attracted to her physically. The story of this doomed relationship takes up the second half of the book. Being more or less devoid of incident, and (obviously) lacking in erotic passion, it's tedious and difficult to read. Confessions of a Mask ends disappointingly but the earlier section of the book gives a candid, moving, and memorable account of a child's confused and troubled emerging sexuality as it deals with the cultural norms of a repressive country. If you are interested in Japanese culture and homosexuality I would strongly recommend Covering by Kemji Yoshimo. |
Guest More than 1 year ago
In reading this book, one understands why Mishima was propelled into the spotlight of the modern Japanese literary community following its publishing. The bond Mishima forms with the reader is so strong that it cannot be broken by the darkest and most disturbing of the main character's fantasies. Mishima has bravely written a profoundly human account of what it is to be a soul tormented by society's ideals and restrictions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago