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Yukio Mishima
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The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  5,626 ratings  ·  296 reviews
In 1950, to the distress and honor of all art-loving and patriotic Japanese, the ancient Zen Temple of the Golden Pavilion was deliberately burned to the ground. This is the inciden from which Mishima has built his engrossing novel. But... he has employed the factual record merely as a scaffolding on which to erect a disturbing and powerful story of a sick young man's obse ...more
Softcover, 262 pages
Published 1987 by Charles E. Tuttle Company (first published 1956)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Oh yes, you do so want to read this novel. I would mark the following synopsis as a "spoiler," but all is revealed in the introduction, and the events that inspired the book are about as big a mystery for the Japanese as what happened to the Titanic is to Westerners anyway, so don't go getting all sore with me like I'm maliciously ruining all your fun. We are being multicultural and pretending we already knew about this major historical event before hearing of and reading Mishima's novel. Who's ...more
On 1 July 1950, during the Allied Occupation of Japan, a Buddhist monk by the name of Yoken Hayashi set fire to the Kinkaku-ji, or, as it is known in English ‘The Temple of the Golden Pavilion’. Yoken was a man of little consequence; a character in history, who, had he not committed such an acrimonious act, would not have been remembered today. He suffered from a debilitating stutter, and was considered ugly by many of his peers.

It is often conjectured that Yoken was either schizophrenic or suf
Stephen M
This book made me think of a term I learned in a psychology class called eidetic memory; a short look over at wikipedia will give a bit of a misleading definition. Eidetic memory, at least in the form that I learned it, is the short-term, instantaneous memory of visual images that, under certain theories, is stored for a very brief period of time before transferring into long term memory store. The effects of eidetic memory can be shown in a number of ways, but most famous is the optical illusio ...more
To make one Mishima take one dehydrated Dostoevsky; remove all hair and whiskers (go all the way! give old Dos a full Brazilian!) then polish to a steely sheen; carefully remove the heart and brain; take the heart between both hands and squeeze, using occult Buddhist techniques, until the heart’s emotional essence is drop by drop converted into intellectual conceits; collect these drops and add to brain; replace squeezed-out Dostoevsky heart with something pitiless; rehydrate with fanaticism and ...more
How wonderfully freaked out is this book? It's about a young, introverted zen priest who becomes obssessed with a six hundred year old temple to the exclusion of everything else in his life, and then decides it has to be burned down to the ground. And it actually happened! Mishima is just brilliant at sucking you into the world of Mizoguchi's damaged neurosis. And almost every paragraph has at least one mind-fuck brilliant observation about beauty, ugliness, love, obsession, destruction, what ha ...more
Jackson Burnett
Philosophy and art.
Kink, death, and destruction.

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In 1968, Japanese author Yukio Mishima committed ritual suicide to protest the Westernization of his country.

In 1950, Hayashi Yoken, a Buddhist monk, set fire to the ancient Zen temple called Kinkaku for reasons known only to him.

Mishima provides a fictional retelling of Yoken's crime in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The novel is a favorite of mine, but it is not a book one actually likes.

Mizoguchi, the fictional arsonist, tells his story, an
“To be sure, there are times when the reality of the outer world seems to be waiting for me, folding its arms as it were, while I was struggling to free myself. But the reality that is waiting for me is not a fresh reality. When finally I reach the outer world after all my efforts, all that I find is a reality that has instantly changed colour and gone out of focus- a reality that has lost the freshness that I had considered fitting for myself, and that gives off a half-putrid odour."

Mishima is
Yukio Mishima's The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a meditation on the relationship between words and action, beauty and ugliness, and Being and nothingness. In this book, which is one of Mishima's best novels, these themes are treated with considerable patience and depth, giving readers great insight into the philosophical issues that preoccupied Mishima for the entirety of his writing career; all the way up to his own ritual suicide by seppuku in 1970.
The plot of the story concerns a Japan

There are moments of character insight and poetic scenes that are worth quoting and remembering here. Yes, Mishima took the all-too-human arson of the Temple of the Golden Pavilion and made it into a philosophical and lyrical portrayal of a monk tormented by the temple and its beauty. But the upshot is a highly unrealistic exploration of a psyche (or should I say the human condition?) where no deep understanding of the character is achieved—not that you have to understand the character to en
Dramatic and poignant, like Mishima himself. I have a few issues with this translation, which seems a bit wooden sometimes, and several typos in this particular edition.
This book is one of the most singularly moving works that I've ever read in my life.
the best book ever written. at least in Japan. definitely the most beautiful
Sep 09, 2015 Junta rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sociopaths, those visiting the temple in Kyoto
There were some interesting philosophical soliloquies and conversations about beauty, identity, life and death, but the story wasn't very engrossing. The characters were quite unique, although in a collectively depressing and/or contrived manner. Mizoguchi, a stuttering sociopath, brought the protagonists of Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground and The Double to my mind.
...My appearance may be poor, but in this way my inner world was richer than anyone else's. Isn't it natural for a boy with a h
My first venture into the literature of the infamous Yukio Mishima proved, unfortunately, to be a disappointing one. I cannot fault Mishima for his prose – he is, in fact, a very gifted writer, and I have heard that his mastery of the pen is even more apparent when read in the original Japanese. My criticism is one of personal taste, perhaps born of my Western sensibilities. From start to finish Mishima persists in abstract philosophizing that is never quite as profound as the beautiful (albeit, ...more
Emeraldia Ayakashi
Mishima slips into the skin of young Mizoguchi, this Buddhist monk who deliberately set fire to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, considered a national treasure.

Based on real events, Mishima traces the personal journey of the monk, in a narrative device that reflects both a countdown type 24 hours flat as a poetic meditation. Struck with physical disabilities, Mizoguchi is, at first, overwhelmed by the beauty of the temple it is not yet known. The reader is then immersed in the psyche
Isaac Cooper
I can’t tell you how much, dear reader, I loathe abandoning a book. I don’t do it lightly. It’s not something that I do willy-nilly. It’s not a pleasant experience, abandoning a book. It’s kind of like a break-up. Maybe there was something once in the relationship that really made it work, but you know in your heart you have to break up. Just like I know in my heart I have to stop reading a book, for whatever reason.

Hell, sometimes I abandon books that aren’t terrible, like Blood Meridian or …
Mishima is one of the most famous modern Japanese writers and, near as I can tell, a complete nutjob. Or was, anyway. He killed himself by seppuku back in 1970.

Kinkakuji is one of his most famous works, and I chose it as a first entry into Mishima because I love reading books set in Kyoto and, well, I've been to Kinkakuji a few times.

My reaction upon seeing it was a lot like the main character's - disappointment. In the book, a young Mizuguchi is told by his father that the Golden Temple is the
Es indudable que Mishima es un gran autor. Se le nota en cada frase. La manera como hace este retrato psicológico me ha parecido simplemente perfecta. Muy profundo y muy oscuro. Además ha ido generando una sensación de expectación que se incrementaba por momentos culminando en un gran final, a mi gusto. Podría parecer que ha sido un poco brusco pero creo que es justo el final que necesitaba.
Бранимир Събев
Странна книга, особена. Много недоизказани неща, оставящи в теб необичаен привкус. Не знам да съм чел нещо друго подобно. Струва си да се прочете обаче.
Es ist nicht alles Gold, was glänzt
Das Psychogramm eines unterdrückten Menschen - geschlagen mit einem schlimmen Stottern wird ein Student vom Liebhaber alles Schönen zum Hasser alles Schönen, bis zum Unausweichlichen, der schon im Klappentext angekündigten Brandstiftung des Goldenen Tempels, seiner persönlichen Inkarnation alles Schönen, der immer wieder in das Leben des Studenten eindringt.
Between the girl and myself, between life and myself, there invariably appeared the Golden Temple. Whereu
On July 1st, 1950, Kinkakuji was burned down by a young monk named Hayashi Yōken. He was imprisoned, but later released due to mental illness, and then died of tuberculosis before his sentence would have been up. To this day, it's not entirely clear why he did it, other than his own comment on it:
Although I had planned it from the time I made the purchase [of sleeping medicine], even now I do not believe that I have done anything wrong. It is said that a national treasure has been burned, but th
Black Elephants
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is an excellent psychological novel, complex, disturbing, perceptive, with Zen references and metaphors. Sometimes I felt depressed and really bored reading almost repetitive details and paragraphs, but I really enjoyed the Mishima's beautiful writing style (that is the reason why I gave the book 4 instead of 3 stars!). Also, it is a slow read, mainly because I found the main character so distasteful and irritating, so I couldn't sympathize with him. I found abs
Only the Japanese can write books like this, I feel. Lyrically beautiful, aesthetically driven, thoroughly homoerotic, unsettlingly fascist at points, violently modernist, violently anti-modernist, violently violent, operatically melodramatic, sexually repressed, profoundly Buddhist, religious, anti-religious, and set in a landscape of burned temples and told by a misanthropic outsider. Lord I want to go there.
зайвий раз переконалась у злому генii Мiсiми. у зображеннi вивернутоi логiки персонажа криеться цiлком примiтивний I незрозумiлий посил: краса? вона гарнiша коли повинна бути знищеною, I прекраснiша коли зруйнована, бо тодi вона очищуеться вiд важких матерiальних форм. а вiнець краси - то ще й самогубство при всьому цьому вчинити. психоаналiтики нервово курять в сторонi. а чому власне читалось? описи I естетика. а ще маленькi смисли, так наче автор бере дрiбний шматочок реальностi, робить ювелiр ...more
"When you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha." --Zen koan

Mishima was a radical right public intellectual. He adhered to the samurai code (bushido) and believed in the sanctity of the Japanese emperor. When Emperor Hirohito announced in 1945 that he was mortal as part of the surrender terms America dictated, Mishima felt betrayed. In his view, Hirohito should have abdicated and taken responsibility for the loss of Japanese life in WWII. Subsequently in 1970, Mishima attempted to stage a coup against
Among the plays slated for later this year at the Lincoln Center Festival will be the American premiere of "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" by Japan's Kanagawa Arts Theatre, a dramatization of Yukio Mishima's most well-known novel. Anyone who saw Paul Schrader's "Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters" will remember that one of those chapters was taken up with this spell-binding story, replete with Mishima's customary violence and obsession with obsessions.

“The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” tells
Mikael Kuoppala
Yukio Mishima's odd examination on beauty and the way aesthetics play a role in all of human existence and interaction. The book has an air to it that reminded me of the French existentialists- a common trait in many classic Japanese works of literature I have read.

Through a first person narrative Mishima builds a personal history of Mizoguchi, a man obsessed with beauty in all its forms, enchanting and destructive alike. The culmination of all those forms of beauty is the Temple of the Golden P
Veronika KaoruSaionji
This is my (till today - I dont read all his works) least favorite book of Mishima. I like him and his work. And this is good book. But, Mishima was gay. I love his books from viewpoint of gay hero, or confused possibly gay boy :o) or female heroine, he is great in it! But there is main hero heterosexual boy/young man, who loves only women. And he is psychopat. This plot was about real person, young monk Hayashi who was in love/hate relationship with beautiful building of Golden Pavillon in Kyot ...more
Spoilers ahead, but hey its only history, and the author presumes you know what happens in the book anyway.

The concept of beauty expressed in this novel is pretty disturbing. Beauty in this conception first of all, consists not just of aesthetic beauty, but includes of "character," love, sex, friendship, etc. Anyway moving on. Beauty is presented as something oppressive which needs to be captured if possible, or destroyed if necessary. This is the problem with relatively permanent objects of bea
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Japanese Literature: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (金閣寺) 7 42 Nov 15, 2011 01:25PM  
  • Some Prefer Nettles
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  • Masks
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  • The Silent Cry
  • Rashomon and Other Stories
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  • The Face of Another
Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威) who was a Japanese author, poet and playwright, famous for both his highly notable post-war writings and the circumstances of his ritual suicide by seppuku.

Mishima wrote 40 novels, 18 plays, 20 books of short stories, and at least 20 books of essays, one libretto, as well as one film. A large portion of this oeuvre comprises books
More about Yukio Mishima...
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“What transforms this world is — knowledge. Do you see what I mean? Nothing else can change anything in this world. Knowledge alone is capable of transforming the world, while at the same time leaving it exactly as it is. When you look at the world with knowledge, you realize that things are unchangeable and at the same time are constantly being transformed.” 229 likes
“Anything can become excusable when seen from the standpoint of the result” 46 likes
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