Musashi Mix Inq

Confessions of a Mask

Posted on June 24, 2011

Confessions of a Mask, ©MMXI

My Japan Studies advisor at college once told me that, “Reading Yukio Mishima‘s Confessions of a Mask is like covering yourself in vaseline and rolling in sand.” I always took this to be quite a compliment; that Mishima’s prose could illicit such a response by merely mentioning the title of his book in passing.

Confessions of a Mask is thought by many to be an autobiography. The text speaks of the “reluctant masquerade” in which we all take part. Mishima was a man obsessed with Japan’s identity, as well as his own. His personal sin was not his proclivities but shame itself. It tore him up to see Japan broken and tamed by America; a worthy mirror and foil for the creative expression of his secret life.

Mirror Mask

Mishima wore his nationalist pride as a mask while he hid his homosexual life from the world. At the same time, his countless artistic victories served as passing obsessions to blot out the desires of his heart. His convictions unquestioned, Mishima lived life theatrically.

In 1970, after taking hostages at the SDF Headquarters, Yukio Mishima chose the samurai-romantic path; the only choice that he felt could resolve his double-life. To pierce the veil, opening his shameful innards and presenting them to the world.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. ” -Oscar Wilde

Yukio Mishima both lived his life and ended it allegorically: I am my mask.

• • •

The more we can see beyond the mask and to the eyes behind it, the better our lives and world will be.

I’ll see you there, if you’ll join me—

Happy Pride!


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