"Beautifully translated ... skillfully wrought." -- Washington Post Book World
"Each reveals his total control, his gift for striking imagery and psychological insight." -- Publishers Weekly
"Most of the elements in Mishima's novels--homoeroticism, worship of the body, death games...." -- International Herald Tribune
"Startling originality." -- Boston Globe
"Valuable glimpses of Mishima himself." -- Kirkus Review
About the Author
Yukio Mishima, one of the most spectacularly gifted writers in modern Japan, was born into a samurai family in 1925. He attended the Peers' School and Tokyo Imperial University, and for a time worked at the Ministry of Finance. His first full length novel, Confessions of a Mask, appeared in 1949, and since then he published over a dozen novels, almost all of which were translated into English and other languages during his.lifetime. They include: Thirst for Love; Forbidden Colors; Death in Midsummer; The Sound of Waves; The Temple of the Golden Pavilion; After the Banquet; The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; and Spring Snow.
Mishima's reverence for the Japanese martial arts led him to take up Kendo (a type of fencing, with wooden swords) and Karate, as well as body-building, and by 1968 he had become a Kendo master of the fifth dan. He also organized a "private army" called the Shield Society, and in November 1970 he and his group forced their way into a Self-Defense Force headquarters in Tokyo, where Mishima, after reading out a proclamation, committed ritual suicide with a young follower in the commanding officer's room. On the morning of his death, the last volume of Mishima's tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility ( The Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn, The Decay of the Angel) was delivered to his publisher.
The Translator: John Bester, born and educated in England, is one of the foremost translators of Japanese fiction. Among his translations are Masuji Ibuse's Black Rain, Kenzaburo Oe's The Silent Cry, Fumiko Enchi's The Waiting Years, Junnosuke Yoshiyuki's The Dark Room, and Mishima's autobiographical Sun and Steel. He received the 1990 Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature (for Acts of Worship).