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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic book.
Before reading this book I was told it was 'seriously screwed up, but good.' Not a desciption too far wrong, but nonetheless could be elaborated on.
Confessions of a Mask is an autobiographical novel recounting Mishima's childhood upto about the age of twenty-five. He was born in 1925, so there is ample insight into Japanese life before and during the Second World...
Published on 17 Nov 2003 by deadbeat

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an amazing edition.
BEWARE! THIS REVIEW DOES NOT CONCERN THE STORY, THE WRITING OR THE AUTHOR. IT IS ABOUT THE EDITION AND ITS QUALITY AS A PHYSICAL OBJECT.

Now that we got that out of the way, this very edition has persuaded me that I do not want to buy such books again. From now on, it is only hardcover editions for me, even if they cost more and are, quite often, rare to...
Published 17 months ago by Chris A


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic book., 17 Nov 2003
By 
deadbeat (Tiptoe) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Before reading this book I was told it was 'seriously screwed up, but good.' Not a desciption too far wrong, but nonetheless could be elaborated on.
Confessions of a Mask is an autobiographical novel recounting Mishima's childhood upto about the age of twenty-five. He was born in 1925, so there is ample insight into Japanese life before and during the Second World War. Though Mishima was apathetic in regard to the war, he cared much about it from an individual point of view: for him the war represented the perfect chance to end his life, both heroically and alone.
His private fascinations with death, blood and gore pervade the book, and are inseparable from his suppressed homosexuality. Sexuality is the crux of this work; the book starts with Mishima's sexual awakening, and his surprise at its nature. From then on there is a divide between his private life, and his life in public, at school, with family. On his own he dreams of Saint Sebastian, his heroism and his martydom, yet with his friends he wears a mask, pretending an obsession for women. He takes this facade very seriously, and even engages in a catastrophic affair with one of his friends' sister.
The ending is indefinite. That is, one can't tell if he still maintains a barrier between privacy and publicity. However, throughout the book Mishima always claimed that facade would become reality; it is with the rejection of this theory, and the acceptance of his own sexuality, that the book ends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest 'confession' novels ever., 27 Sep 2005
By 
Stephen Wilkinson (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
A truly stunning, semi-autobiographical novel. The story follows a young man torn between, on the one hand, his desire to fit into a heavily conformist society and on the other, his 'unconventional' base passions. This is a dark novel filled with sexual tension that gives a clear insight into the emotional conflict that characterises Mishima's own life, yet it is delivered, in stark contrast, in a beautifully delicate style of prose (hats off to the translator!). The contrast only adds to the slightly disturbing quality of the novel. The style is slightly self absorbed (as is most Japanese fiction of the same period), but this is a book that any lover of literature will almost certainly enjoy. After this one, you will want to read Forbidden Colours by the same author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The passive past tense of uncertainty, 13 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Confessions of a Mask (Paperback)
Kamen no kokuhaku is a claustrophobic account of the experiences of a man unable to come to terms with his own desires and identity. It is a powerful work on the stranglehold that conventionality has on personal growth. Kochan, the novel's protagonist reflects Mishima's own troubled personality in this work but this is much more than an autobiographical novel. Kochan's struggle with his homosexual impulses comes about because of his desire to conform to 'social norms.' His failure to accept his own nature has unfortunate consequences not only for his own happiness but that of others, in particular, a friend's sister. Kochan may present an extreme case, being obsessed with bondage and suicide as he is, but we all wear a mask to some extent in our daily lives. This becomes apparent to us when we are unexpectedly confronted with 'contradictions' in our behaviour which varies in different social settings. 'You are who you pretend to be', at least to others. One message from this novel is that if you sacrifice your own nature to social conformity the result is self-destructive behaviour and regret. Kochan is an extreme example, but the suppression of personal feelings for social acceptability is a universal theme which this novel evokes in a compelling fashion. This book is nothing short of a masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of a Mask, 31 Dec 2010
This review is from: Confessions of a Mask (Paperback)
A really great book, I had no idea what to expect when I first started reading it; it was like nothing I'd read in English literature before. I'm hoping to study Japanese at University next year, so bought this as some 'background reading' for the course. Really different, painfully honest book. The only reason I haven't rated it 5* is because, like somebody else has mentioned, the print is strange...It doesn't detract much from the book, but it is a funny size and I know it's stupid but it could put some people off..It does look like somebody has photocopied the original text (in quite bad quality) and printed it out for this book..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wince with Care, 19 Aug 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Confessions of a Mask (Paperback)
Mishima; icy, soulless, a frame without a picture?- naturlich

Why decry a strength?

Correspondingly he dissects his early life with the aplomb of a 19th Century scientist unfurling the world around him. A Charles Darwin of the deep unthawed permafrost of internal emotions is the Mishima dry barren terrain. It is wince perfect. Beyond scientist he is an artist and penetrates far far deeper than any amateur pot holer of inside worlds. Shining his torch onto frozen emotional caverns.

Coated in bleakness, an observer gazing into himself as the cold psychic winds howl, he sees someone else inside himself, clawing to get out. This is a fascinating car crash expose of someone trying to find their own internal contours. For someone so fastidious in detail, Mishima grounded himself in the mire of dirt; the European heroes, the formation of sexuality, his transvestite experiments, the evocation of his desires all bring back moments in time. A return back to the not so closeted world of childhood fantasy, ironic because he spent his childhood literally closeted with his perenially ill grandmother. Stifled to the extreme. The fascination is the transcultural themes stirred by the return back to childhood. Whilst different currents run through the lives, Mishima searched for his adult self in the history of his childhood, a remarkable journey.

As with Celine, Mishima exposes himself to full public glare and his existential crisis, his dark shadows, alchemise into paydirt gold. Mishima's courage is in his revelation to the world he wore a mask. Underneath the outward assurance a loneliness protruded and beneath this was desolation. Omi the Mishima projection is the man he transpired to be through his body building regime, the inverse of the puny boy.

Rejected by the army after hoodwinking them, he was deemed unfit for service. He revealed he played upon his illness to ensure survivial, he later became ther archetypal leader of the right revolution. Sneering at the factory of death that produced Zero suicide coffins he later slit his belly for he Emperor. Married with two children he had a series of illcit affairs and trysts with men. Rooted in Japanese theatre he lived in a western style house. Journeying back to No and Kabuki plays he wrote about De Sade and Hitler for the theatre. The Hawaiian shirted rockabilly donned the pre war uniform of the military to enact his death. He is an enigma of the polarities of opposites.

In between these poles he offered something else; the jewels, his emotional feelings for Sinoko, his delicate hesitancy in expression, his innate shyness/awkwardness and the incipient feelings of terror described in minute wincing squirming detail. R D Laing recounted the same game playing in his book Knots, Mishima showed his hesitant sexuality as a bind in purer forms of literature.

Mishima's personal challenge is the expose he could never be enough for himself. Whatever he did he never found himself. Forever second best in discovering himself; whilst the real Kimitake left the building through the back door, the investigator, Mishima walked through in through the front.

This book is an expose of psychology immersed in the history of a time. Re reading it provides those embarrassing moments to rise once again showing and gleaming red. It transcends its historical moment, reaching out beyond the grave to instruct the living in recollecting memories.

The sadness is his attempted recovery of himself never allowed him to transcend his inner pain. Mishima's death marks a tragedy for humanity in general; having everything is never seemingly enough. The journey of discovery never led to redemption only to an increasing alienation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly good, 24 Nov 2009
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confessions of a Mask (Paperback)
Like probably many readers, I first came to read Mishima's work through watching Paul Schrader's movie about him. The Schrader movie is a complex and beautiful work of art in itself, but my attempts to read Mishima were mostly focused on his enormous tetralogy 'The Sea of Fertility', which I gather is not usually regarded as his greatest single work. I put off reading 'Confessions of a Mask' because it sounded a bit pretentious, but much to my surprise it turns out to be very good; what some readers take to be Mishima's 'coldness' I regard as his lucidity, and despite his obvious involvement and sympathy with his hero, Mishima (unlike Salinger, another writer on a mission) manages not to give in to the temptation of trying to make the reader worship his main character. There is an unexpected level of dry irony and wit, which is probably one of the reasons why Mishima was so popular in the West in the first place. Come to think of it, this level of irony is present in nearly everything Mishima ever did. Even his suicide was self-consciously farcical; did he really think he could get a suburban Japanese army garrison in 1970 to revolt and seize power in the name of the emperor?

I was surprised that I liked the book because I normally like to read modern fiction in the original, and having no Japanese I was wary of how much of Mishima's actual or supposed genius would come across in a target language very, very different from the original. But 'Confessions of a Mask' is a damn good book in translation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Mishima is the Japanese Hemingway'., 2 July 2008
By 
Miss S. Bonnick "alternatives4women" (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Confessions of a Mask
-----------------------------------

Long regarded as one of the most important novels to appear in post-war Japan, Confessions of a Mask, is an allegory of a lonely boy's yearning quest for belonging and his gradual acceptance of his homosexuality.

With its overlay of intense sado-masochistic fantasy, the author draws deeply from the well of his own emotion and perhaps subconsciously hints at his own demise.

The boy's quest for a place in the sun mirrors the monumental and sometimes futile efforts of Japan to find equal footing with the great nations of the world, while attempting to remain true to its unique spirit.

Translated from Japanese.

-----------------------------------
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4.0 out of 5 stars Academic, 30 April 2014
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This is a well book at a really good price. I am very happy with this purchase. Very happy !
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not an amazing edition., 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Confessions of a Mask (Paperback)
BEWARE! THIS REVIEW DOES NOT CONCERN THE STORY, THE WRITING OR THE AUTHOR. IT IS ABOUT THE EDITION AND ITS QUALITY AS A PHYSICAL OBJECT.

Now that we got that out of the way, this very edition has persuaded me that I do not want to buy such books again. From now on, it is only hardcover editions for me, even if they cost more and are, quite often, rare to find.

To the specifics now:

The book's physical dimensions are minimal, it can easily fit in a bag. Its quality, though, is worse than mediocre. The pages are too thin and the material used is obviously the cheapest available. The font is printed without any care whatsoever and in general the book, as a physical object, seems to fit better on a stand at a train station rather than in an extensive library.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity, 14 July 2010
By 
Amazon Customer "MjD" (Edinburgh, Scotland. { Kobe, Japan. Saipan. Alabama.}) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The semi-autobiographical story of an outsider; who fits into society by hiding behind a mask of conformity while struggling with his identity. On a matter of principle Mishima, after a failed nationalist uprising, committed Seppuku some weeks after I was born - I've always then felt somewhat of an affinity for his writing..his spirit
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Confessions of a Mask
Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima (Paperback - 4 Jan 2007)
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