6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Mishima's pencil case,
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This review is from: Mishima's Sword: Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend (Paperback)
This book could have been about the search for Mishima's pencil case given the pointlessness of the whole work. This inoffensive book simply did not have anything worthwhile to say. It is flawed by two errors a travel writer can make. Firstly, he makes himself the hero of the piece and as a consequence we discover little about Mishima that has not already been told. How much can somebody write about a nose bleed they suffered?Secondly, in order to create some sort of plot to add an element of excitement to the story there is a suspicion that the whole yakuza episode is made up. The author makes commonplace observations such as our regret over the loss of craftsmanship in the modern age appear as if he had discovered this thought for the first time. Or how about 'life is worth living afterall.' Ho hum...So much for great philosophical insights. Reading this book I felt like the author was one of those people who sit down next to you on a long haul flight and persist in telling you their boring life story when all you want is a bit of a kip. If you want to learn more about Mishima stick to one of the formal biographies. If you are after a good travel book than seek out the works of writers like Dalrymple and Thubron. No doubt some people who are obsessed with the whole Bushido thing will take offense at my review. I am greatly interested in the Samurai culture but there is so much more to Japan that it is an injustice to focus soley on one aspect of their past culture and to make it appear representative of the whole.