Persona by Naoki Inose
A Biography of Yukio Mishima

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Naoki Inose's biography is immensely detailed...The author scrupulously refrains from speculation and interpretation, content to let the narrative, with its many quotations, speak for itself.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Yukio Mishima (b. 1925) was a brilliant writer and intellectual whose relentless obsession with beauty, purity, and patriotism ended in his astonishing self-disembowelment and decapitation in downtown Tokyo in 1970. Nominated for the Nobel Prize, Mishima was the best-known novelist of his time (works like Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion are still in print in English), and his legacy—his persona—is still honored and puzzled over.

Who was Yukio Mishima really? This, the first full biography to appear in English in almost forty years, traces Mishima's trajectory from a sickly boy named Kimitake Hiraoka to a hard-bodied student of martial arts. In detail it examines his family life, the wartime years, and his emergence, then fame, as a writer and advocate for traditional values. Revealed here are all the personalities and conflicts and sometimes petty backbiting that shaped the culture of postwar literary Japan.

Working entirely from primary sources and material unavailable to other biographers, author Naoki Inose and translator Hiroaki Sato together have produced a monumental work that covers much new ground in unprecedented depth. Using interviews, social and psychological analysis, and close reading of novels and essays, Persona removes the mask that Mishima so artfully created to disguise his true self.

Naoki Inose, currently vice governor of Tokyo, has also written biographies of writers Kikuchi Kan and Osamu Dazai.

New York–based Hiroaki Sato is an award-winning translator of classical and modern Japanese poetry, and also translated Mishima's novel Silk and Insight.


 

About Naoki Inose

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Naoki Inose: Naoki Inose is a prize-winning Japanese author and vice governor of Tokyo. Hiroaki Sato: Hiroaki Sato is a prize-winning translator of classical and modern Japanese poetry into English. He has also translated Mishima’s novel,Silk and Insight, and his dramas,My Friend Hitler and Other Plays. Since 2000 Sato has written a monthlyJapan Timescolumn, “The View from New York.”
 
Published December 7, 2012 by Stone Bridge Press. 866 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

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Reviewed by Allan Massie on Dec 07 2012

Naoki Inose's biography is immensely detailed...The author scrupulously refrains from speculation and interpretation, content to let the narrative, with its many quotations, speak for itself.

Read Full Review of Persona: A Biography of Yukio... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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