A Brief History
On November 25, 1970, Japanese author, Yukio Mishima (a nom de plume), a man with multiple nominations for the Nobel Prize for literature, attempted a coup d’etat in Japan!
Digging deeper, we find an incredibly accomplished man, writer of novels, plays and poems, as well as directing plays and movies, acting and modeling, fascinated by politics of the right wing and veneration of the emperor. Mishima created his own emperor protecting/venerating militia he called Tatenokai, some sort of martial arts private mini-army like something a warlord would have in a Bruce Lee film! In an attempt to restore absolute rule by the emperor, Mishima and a small cadre of followers seized a military headquarters, tied up the commanders, and addressed the soldiers, announcing the coup. Alas! Mishima’s exhortations were for naught, and the soldiers jeered and booed. Facing this not totally unexpected result, Mishima then committed ritual suicide, seppuku, slicing open his own belly and having an attendant behead him with a sword. After several unsuccessful attempts, the attendant deferred to a second attendant who cut of the stubborn head and then did the same for the first attendant, who meanwhile had also disemboweled himself! Anticipating the strong possibility of failure, Mishima had already prepared his pre-seppuku traditional poems, causing some speculation that the coup was just an excuse for the suicide. Actually named Kimitake Hiraoka, Mishima wrote under his pen name, and beyond the accomplishments listed above, also was known as a body builder in Japan.
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This remarkable man is remembered today by multiple books about his life, as well as a BBC documentary and a play.
Stokes, Henry Scott. The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima. Cooper Square Press, 2000.