The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima

SHORT REVIEWS

by Henry Scott-Stokes. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $10.00. Mr. Scott-Stokes, an English journalist posted to Tokyo, knew Mishima and enjoyed both his company and his work. Like the rest of Mishima’s circle, he viewed the author’s preoccupation with blood, violence, suicide, and military charades as harmless eccentricity, about on par with Mishima’s regrettable taste in domestic architecture. The actual suicide—reconstructed in pathetic, sickening detail—shook him badly but led him to run down the facts of Mishima’s upbringing and early manhood, most of which proved to be quietly appalling. One is surprised, in the end, not that Mishima killed himself, but that he lasted as long as he did. Illustrations.