The Way of the Samurai

by Yukio Mishima. Basic Books, $10.00. Three years before his suicide, Mishima wrote at length on his interpretation of Haga-kure, a seventeenth-century treatise on the ethics of the samurai trade, and the influence the book had had on his career. Readers seriously interested in Mishima’s work will certainly find this an important statement. It will interest, if not altogether enlighten, even readers merely curious about what Kathryn Sparling, the translator, sums up as “Mishima’s death for the sake of an emperor who had no interest in him, for a cause to which he knew he would contribute nothing—and by his own hand.”