My Friend Hitler: And Other Plays

Overview

Though best known for his novels, Yukio Mishima published more than sixty plays, almost all of which were produced during his lifetime. Among them are kabuki plays and others inspired by No dramas--two types used in classical Japanese theater. Of play-writing Mishima once observed, "I started writing dramas just as water flows toward a lower place. In me, the topography of dramas seems to be situated far below that of novels. It seems to be in a place which is more instinctive, closer to child's play." For ...

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Overview

Though best known for his novels, Yukio Mishima published more than sixty plays, almost all of which were produced during his lifetime. Among them are kabuki plays and others inspired by No dramas--two types used in classical Japanese theater. Of play-writing Mishima once observed, "I started writing dramas just as water flows toward a lower place. In me, the topography of dramas seems to be situated far below that of novels. It seems to be in a place which is more instinctive, closer to child's play." For English readers, these plays have been one of Japan's best-kept secrets--until now.

In this anthology, Hiroaki Sato translates the brilliance and richness of Yukio Mishima's writing into the English language. He has selected five major plays and three essays on dramaturgy, providing informative introductions to guide the reader. Sato's translations offer a broad historical and personal context in which those new to Mishima's work can place his writing. For those more familiar with Mishima, these translations offer another medium in which one can access his ingenious work.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

Mishima is as comfortable with the Western genres of tragic, historical, and naturalistic domestic drama [as he is with] a Kabuki play.

Rafu Shimpo

In this anthology, Hiroaki Sato translates the brilliance and richness of Yukio Mishima's writing into the English language.

Library Journal
Mishima's brilliant plays are unknown outside Japan, something this scholarly yet fluid English-language anthology attempts to change. The five later plays and three dramatic essays include scholarly introductions and footnotes by Sato to help readers decipher the content. Mishima's complex and well-plotted plays are drawn from various sources, but all show his idealism and loyalty to the old Japan, and the common theme of premeditated ritual in four of the five pieces seems to foretell the author's 1970 public suicide. "The Rokumenkan" shows Japan's schizophrenic split between Westernization and nationalism. In "The Decline and Fall of Suzaku," Mishima laments Japan's defeat in World War II. "The Leper King" is based upon the Cambodian legend of Jayavarman VII. "The Wonder Tale: Kabuki" tells the heroics of 12th-century Japanese warrior, Tametomo. Finally, the title piece reveals Mishima's fascination with Hitler's political "genius." In addition, the dramatic essays and a lecture given at the National Theatre demonstrate his theatrical knowledge and passion for kabuki. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Ming-ming Shen Kuo, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231126328
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/20/2002
  • Series: Maps of the Mind Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Yukio Mishima is widely celebrated as one of the most talented Japanese writers of the twentieth century. A proponent of bushido, the samurai code, and an interpreter of Western style, Mishima drew from both modern and ancient literary and dramatic styles to inspire his writing. Three times nominated for the Nobel Prize, Yukio Mishima published numerous poems, essays, short stories, and novels. He is most famous for his tetralogy Sea of Fertility that was completed the day he performed seppuku, a ritualistic samurai suicide, in 1970.Hiroaki Sato has won prizes for Breeze Through Bamboo: Kanshi of Ema Saiko (Columbia, 1997) and, with Burton Watson, for From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry (Columbia, 1986). Among his forthcoming books is White Dew, Dreams, & This World: An Anthology of Japanese Women Poets from Ancient to Modern Times.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
The Rokumeikan 1
Backstage Essays 55
The Decline and Fall of the Suzaku 63
My Friend Hitler 113
The Terrace of the Leper King 161
The Flower of Evil: Kabuki 219
A Wonder Tale: The Moonbow 241
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