Also from Counter-Currents, Riki Rei’s  translation of Romano Vulpitta‘s ”Yukio Mishima, Yojuro Yasuda, & Fascism.”

I would like to talk about my thinking on this topic. Mishima is popular among Italian Nationalists. How has Mishima become a hero of the Nationalists? Italy is the No.1 foreign country where Mishima’s literary works are translated and published. New or revised editions continue being published even to this day. Speeches, lectures, and films on Mishima and his works, operas based on his works, as well as numerous other commemorative events have been staged continuously in Italy.

“Yukio Mishima, Yojuro Yasuda, & Fascism,” Part I

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From Counter-Currents, translated by Emi Mann Kawaguchi.

Ever since his death in 1970, countless contemporary Japanese, for whom his literary works and political and philosophic thoughts resonate deeply, have commemorated this day by holding an annual gathering. The name “Yukoku-Ki” literally means the “death day of the patriot” in Japanese.

Yukio Mishima & Richard Wagner: Art & Politics, or Love & Death

 

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Mishima belongs to the uniqueness of culture which can be found in the rich diversity of indigenous thought patterns. This richness can fuse with various concepts in order to counteract against the flows of modernity and a liberal monoculture which seeks to crush conservatism and self-identity. Murakami belongs to this “self-crushing world” along with the majority of authors. Therefore, while the crushing modernity of Murakami will keep on churning out similar types of writers, all with their own identities but trapped within modern convention; the Mishima’s of this world are hard to find and getting rarer.

More from Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times:

Yukio Mishima and Haruki Murakami: Iranian Revolution, Nationalism and Liberal Monoculture

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I punish people by fighting dreams with dreams. What else is there to live for?

- Detective Kogorō Akechi in The Black Lizard. Imago Theater production, translated by Laurence Kominz & Mark Oshima

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In this world, there will never be another miracle.

- Black Lizard in The Black Lizard. Imago Theater production, translated by Laurence Kominz & Mark Oshima

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So Ugly

You were so beautiful when you wanted to die. When you wanted to live, you became so ugly.

- Black Lizard in The Black Lizard. Imago Theater production, translated by Laurence Kominz & Mark Oshima

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Imago Theatre’s ‘The Black Lizard’

 One highlight in particular is a noir-style city chase scene, which happens entirely on a screen with projections of the city (by Catherine Egan and Kyle Delmarter) and the artfully directed manipulations of silhouettes by the characters. Also of note is the equally complex mashup of sound effects and music by Kyle Delamarter and John Berendzen, which further flirts with the camp over stylizations of the production by, respectively, punctuating points of dialogue and action with lo-fi sound effects and also underlying the existential, kabuki “chamber” style soliloquies of the characters with fuzzy, Orientalized music. (Read more here.)

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Yukio Mishima’s The Black Lizard

Imago Theater
Portland, Oregon.
May 11 through June 2, 2012 (Thurs-Sun)

 

In 1968, Kinji Fukasaku turned Yukio Mishima’s bizarre play The Black Lizard into a campy film starring the drag queen Akihiro Miwa. It’s only available on VHS, but you can watch a blurry version of it on YouTube.

The Imago Theater in Portland is currently performing the play in English for the first time ever, thanks to a new translation by  Laurence Kominz and Mark Oshima. I’m not much of a theater-goer, but I’m obviously a huge fan of Mishima’s work, so I didn’t want to pass up this rare opportunity to see one of his plays staged for a live audience. Most movies put me to sleep, so I was a little worried about the two-and-a-half hour run time, but it was so well directed and performed that I was completely engaged the whole time.

The translators made some smart choices and the dialog felt natural, even though the play is highly stylized and peppered with psycho asides and dreamy philosophical musings. It’s essentially a detective story, with private investigator Kogorō Akechi tracking the Black Lizard, a manic lady crime boss who is obsessed with youth and beauty. Watching it was like watching a really good B-movie from the 60s or 70s. It wasn’t gory, but for some reason snippets of Dario Argento flicks came to mind. There actors played it over-the-top for laughs, and I think I overheard someone mention the old Batman TV series.

The obsession with youth and beauty is the Mishima connection. In the filmed version, he played a one of her taxidermized “dolls” with “muscles of steel,” preserved forever after losing a knife fight. In the Imago staging, Black Lizard tells one character:

You were so beautiful when you wanted to die. When you wanted to live, you became so ugly.

Mishima aspired to the samurai ideal, the cherry blossom that blooms beautifully and falls quickly, fearlessly making poetry with a splash of blood. Two years after the film’s release, Mishima cut his stomach open in a gesture of protest against the coming technocracy and a world without magic or beauty. Black Lizard revels in decadence and decline, but Mishima dreamed of a better world—a world where the Emperor was a god on Earth protected by Mishima’s own spiritual army, the Tatenokai.

In Kominz and Oshima’s translation, the detective explains that “every crime has a dream in it.” When the Black Lizard is foiled, she murmurs, “In this world, there will never be another miracle.”

Originally posted on my blog at Jack-Donovan.com.
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Really quite beautiful. I haven’t been able to find a place to download this yet.

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Greg Johnson, editor of Counter-Currents, posted a brief remembrance of Yukio Mishima earlier this year.

Remembering Yukio Mishima:
January 14, 1925–November 25, 1970

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