‘Confessions of a Mask’ by Yukio Mishima: reviewed.

I was able to read this translated work in part because of the Arts Council, which seems to have backed my copy of the publication. It would have been a shame to miss out on an odd book which contained several passages of fine writing. It was no surprise, having read work by Mishima before, that the author revealed an unusual personality.

However, it was a surprise how much history found its way into the pages of the book. It was of compelling interest to read about World War Two from a Japanese perspective. And it was intriguing to perceive the strong influence of Proust.

Mishima seems to have made his situation less pleasant by being a harsh critic of himself. His internal contradictions were sharper because he was not generous towards what he could not change. It would appear that society was ultimately responsible for this attitude. He even disliked his curiosity, calling it “the most immoral desire.” If authors had lacked this quality, where would readers have been left? This was a fascinating text, which made this reader quite sympathetic to an unsympathetic character.

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