1970 recording of Mishima released showing his thoughts on death, Constitution


An unreleased recording of late novelist Yukio Mishima has been found in which he discusses death and the Constitution just nine months before his sensational suicide, it was learned Thursday.

The roughly 80-minute recording of Mishima’s conversation with British translator John Bester in Japanese is believed to have been taped on Feb. 19, 1970, and kept at Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc. It was originally intended not to be made public, TBS said.

“I feel death has entered my body from the outside,” Mishima tells Bester in the session.

He also calls the war-renouncing Constitution “hypocrisy” and says, “The Constitution is telling Japanese people to die.”

As for his literature, Mishima likens his writing to painting.

“I tend to smear my pieces all over with something. It’s like an oil painting. I don’t like typical Japanese paintings with white space,” he says. “I can only express my thoughts through my style of writing.”

Mishima was a Nobel literature prize nominee from 1963 to 1965. Known for “Shiosai” (“The Sound of Waves”) and “Kinkakuji” (“The Temple of the Golden Pavilion”), he committed seppuku at the age of 45 after failing to stage a coup at a Ground Self-Defense Force post in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward in November 1970.

TBS found the tape about three years ago and decided to release it after an investigation into why the tape was banned from being broadcast proved fruitless, it said.

TBS aired the tape Thursday night.

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