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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,244 ratings  ·  95 reviews
One of the most powerful short stories ever written: Yukio Mishima’s masterpiece about the erotics of patriotism and honor, love and suicide.

By now, Yukio Mishima’s (1925-1970) dramatic demise through an act of seppuku after an inflammatory public speech has become the stuff of literary legend. With Patriotism, Mishima was able to give his heartwrenching patriotic idealism...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published April 10th 1941)
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Mishima addressing the troops before withdrawing to commit seppuku.

On the twenty-eighth of February, 1936 (on the third day, that is, of the February 26 Incident), Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama of the Konoe Transport Battalion—profoundly disturbed by the knowledge that his closest colleagues had been with the mutineers from the beginning, and indignant at the imminent prospect of Imperial troops attacking Imperial troops- took his officer’s sword and ceremonially disemboweled himself in the eig...more
Mike Puma

First things first—the book, the physical book, has some problems: what appears, to me, as occasionally awkward translation and very unfortunate copy-editing. I wanted to get that off my chest each of those problems bugged me right from the beginning. I soldiered on, but the experience of reading was tainted. ‘Nuff said.

It’s almost impossible to say much about Patriotism without spoilers. If you’ve read the title description you know what those are and shouldn’t be surprised by anything that fol

The Sino-Japanese tradition was very important to Yukio Mishima (January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970), who held strong ideals of the militaristic glory days of old Japan.

In Patriotism(1960), Mishima uses the love-death theme executing the ancient ritual suicide, viscerally playing it out through a recently married couple. Lieutenant Takeyama returns home following the failed coup d'état of 1936, the Ni NI Roku Incident. Rather than follow orders to execute the rebels- his friends, the young a...more
Reading this book is sort of what I’d imagine watching a snuff film would be like. The story is a simple one: a young soldier in ’30s Japan comes home and informs his wife that in order to preserve his honor, he must commit seppuku before the night is through. The wife proves her love and devotion by agreeing to go with him, so they calmly organize their affairs, make love one last time, and then kill themselves. All of this is beautifully, and in fact, lovingly described. Parts of it, especiall...more
What an interesting novelette. Striking images all placed on a symbolic backdrop of white and red like the book cover. It was amazing how Mishima takes the reader through a horrible ritual but makes it feel like an art. Disturbing. It's a very quick read. So quick that I read it twice. I kept noticing things everywhere in the text. Review on the blog is up at Check it out!
Gertrude & Victoria
Patriotism is said to be Mishima's favorite story; there is little doubt it is one of his greatest - sublime in all its nuances, and compelling in its vision of finality. It is a fascinating look into the world of death and eroticism - a rare work of beauty, seduction, and sensuality. How does Mishima create a scene that overwhelms the soul, enslaves the imagination, and draws out - almost beguiles - the perverse desire for the death act?

He writes with sweeping power in a style so subtle, yet so...more
how to fairly review a book that one finds well written yet marked by a dubious morality? yukio mishima's patriotism, though seemingly beloved by nearly all others, did not agree with me entirely. other reviews praise this famous tale as the epitome of devotion and romance, though i found it to be rather misogynistic, the very antipathy of love and allegiance (however not lacking in passion). i have never considered misguided adventures into the realms of martyrdom worthy of celebration (especia...more
Tanuj Solanki
Mishima O Mishima!

How is your writing to survive our world increasingly devoid of the notion of honor? Does your soul seethe, or does it merely regret your doings? How are we to give any value to this double suicide? It is better that we don't talk about you.
Not a book your girlfirend should read, unless they like seppiku..
Sep 18, 2008 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: weaboos
This story makes me wonder if Mishima wasn't just some big jokester, and him committing seppuku was his final prank on the world. I think the biggest mistake people make in regards to Mishima is taking him way too seriously.

Who says that he has to kill his friends? He's not even sure if he's going to be ordered to kill them, or if he's going to be leading the unit. So why is he going to kill himself? It surely can't be out of patriotism--or at least our definition of patriotism: "love of one's...more
Anushree Rastogi
Yukio Mishima is not just your ordinary writer.

He's the badass who makes Hemmingway look like just another guy with a drinking problem.

He's the stunning, muscular guy who works out three times a day, a regimen that was not disrupted for the final 15 years of his life and appeared as a photo model in Young Samurai: Bodybuilders of Japan and Otoko: Photo Studies of the Young Japanese Male by Tamotsu Yatō; dressed in a loincloth and armed with a sword, posing in the snow.

He's also a movie actor....more
when people think of mishima's language in patriotism, i imagine they come up with words like "lyrical", "illustrious" and "contemplative". i can understand these opinions, but for me the key adjective would be "hyperbolic". mishima's life pretty much confirms that, not only did he take patriotism awkwardly seriously compared to his contemporaries, he also took himself and life much too seriously, too.

i don't need to give some wide-eyed slack-jawed revelation of the fact that *gasp* he actuall...more
A lurid, blood-curdling "dissection" of suicide. The display of patriotism through suicide must be Mishima's master statement about the pursuit of art to its own end. It celebrates supreme vanity and it negates everything.

Don't buy this book. Buy Death in Midsummer and Other Stories where this short story is only one of several masterful stories.

A love story. A bit overly romantic for me, but some nice passages from time to time. A bitter sweetness resemblant of a brutal Romeo and Juliet with, of course, feelings of patriotism, honor, and such intertwined (obvious from the title). Hemingway and Stephen Crane come to mind when reading this with its serious and journalistic writing. The idea of courage, honor, respect, manliness, etc. rings true through his writing while maintaining a literary lightness and floweriness infusion. Some beau...more
This short story is breathtaking. I read it in college and I was brought to tears reading it on the subway.
To read this book as a Westerner coming from the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman traditions is a really odd experience. The ritual of seppuku, and the honored place it has in Japanese tradition is almost incomprehensible on some fundamental level to someone raised with the Judeo-Christian conception that suicide is abhorrent. I say that, but I want to clarify what I mean. This novella (I suppose that would be its technical description) takes us into the mind of an Imperial Army Lieutenant and hi...more
D.E. Varni
Probably the most sensual short story ever written. Although I do not feel it is necessary to have a sexually repressed adolescent read it, I was glad to have discovered Mishima at such a young age. The tale is gripping and pulls the strings of loyalty, honor and tough decisions that follow such stringent moralities, giving insight to ancient Japanese custom and culture as it reverberated down through the generations toward today's confusion in the cross between modernity and tradition. I highly...more
Jun 07, 2010 lauren added it
Shelves: violencia
whoa. all i have to say is, whoa.

i watched that gus van sant film, finding forrester, recently and saw a book by yukio mishima on one of the character's bookshelves. i had no idea who he was or what he was about. flash forward a few days, and i see this novella on a spinner at left bank. after picking it up and reading it in half an hour, i must repeat myself: whoa.

prepare yourself to be both repulsed and amazed. one of those reads, for me, where i was quite offended by undertones of misogyny an...more
Michael  Baggetta
This book by Yukio Mishima is one the most intense books I have ever read! A short book yes,only 57 pages, but not short on it message! The writer tells us about a Japanese way of life , one of a loyal devoted soldier to his nation with such a devotion that not many people could ever relate to! The author tells about am army officer of the Imperial troops of Japan during the 1930's and his wife and blends Patriotism, death and ecstasy with such a unique rigor and passion as never before!I would...more
This is the short story that eventually defined the Mishima mystique. Which is the manner how he died and why. Well, the why we'll never know, but one could pick up the clues that are in this short story as well as look as his life in whole. He was a man who I think thought himself as a performer. The writing was his foundation to do other things - and I think he was so into that identity thing, he would never have ignored his 'death' impulses. It's part of his DNA at that point.
It seems a bit unfair on the surface to give a work as engrossing as Patriotism one star, but upon much reflection, I think it fully deserves that score. There are some aspects of Patriotism that are interesting and/or have potential. For example, the juxtaposition of the sex scene with the equally sensory (and perhaps equally phallic?) death scene is an interesting concept. And I guess you can give Mishima credit for practicing what he preached?

However, when reading Patriotism I couldn't help b...more
Jul 28, 2014 Ioana added it
Shelves: fiction, japanese-lit
I'm usually pretty opinionated but I'm at a loss for how to rate this book. It's basically a very disturbing, graphic, lived-experience description of a general and his wife committing seppuku because of mutiny within the group under the general's command... There's actually very little detail about *why* he decides to take this course, this novella is more a lived moment-by-moment account of how he (and his wife) commit this act.

An attempt at a rating:
I absolutely do not understand or identify...more
One of the most beautifully tragic books around, with a lush yet humble, cinematic poise to its every word. Its simple story, which can fit on a business card, is an endlessly fertile well of emotion, depth, and power.
Rhys Parry
Difficult to rate. On one hand the short story is very well written. There were sections that were a bit oddly worded and didn't flow particularly well but I am going to chalk that up to the translation (and what a convenient scapegoat that is). This short story is a lens that we can see Mishima's romanticism of suicide through and that's just something although, I suppose, I can appreciate, I simply cannot reconcile it within any moral framework. Call that cultural or moral elitism if you will...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Two questions: Why did I read? and Why did Mishima write this novella?

It is my first of Mishima. In fact I wanted to try out this before venturing into his other works. And now I am just stupefied. A novella that contains one of the powerful beginnings. The novella begins with a first chapter of just two pages in which the reader is already told of the tragedy. And then he narrates the events. The tragedy is always on every page and at the end when it really happens it is unbearable and you chok...more
Arousiak Turabian

a little history on the great mishima..


"On November 25, 1970, Mishima and four members of the Tatenokai, under pretext, visited the commandant of the Ichigaya Camp - the Tokyo headquarters of the Eastern Command of Japan's Self-Defense Forces. Inside, they barricaded the office and tied the commandant to his chair. With a prepared manifesto and banner listing their demands, Mishima stepped onto the balcony to address the soldiers gathered below. His speech was intended to inspire...more
After having read Mishima's 'Sun and Steel', I thought I'd give 'Patriotism' another try. It was a good decision on my part, because it turned out that I enjoyed it much more on a second reading.
The story of Shinji and Reiko is, I believe, the story Mishima wanted to write the most. It embodies all the concepts and values the author discussed in 'Sun and Steel', with the added benefit that in this case, the tragic death of two beautiful individuals (young and morally superior, in the narrator's...more
Patriotism is a 1966 novella by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. Written after his embrace of traditional Japanese social values and four years before his own death by seppuku after a failed coup d'etat, the work concerns a soldier and his wife during a 1936 incident in which some imperial troops mutinied against the emperor. The soldier is dismayed to see his colleagues rise up against the forces of the emperor, and resolves that he and his wife shall kill themselves through seppuku in order to d...more
Stephen (SteveReadsBooks)
Well. This was a...what was it? At sixty pages, with the premise that it has, it's a quick read for sure. I see love, marriage and loyalty in a whole different light now. It was cringe-inducing at points which contrasted fantastically to moments of absolute beauty. Ultimately, I loved this portrait of a marriage, where two people come together as equals and spend their last hours together, articulately imagined with simple prose. Needless to say, I'll be reading more Mishima and so should you.
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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
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“Reiko had not kept a diary and was now denied the pleasure of assiduously rereading her record of the happiness of the past few months and consigning each page to the fire as she did so.

- Death in Midsummer and Other Stories”
“At his leisure, the lieutenant allowed the unforgettable spectacle to engrave itself upon his mind. With one hand he fondled the hair, with the other he softly stroked the magnificent face, implanting kisses here and there where his eyes lingered. The quiet coldness of the high, tapering forehead, the closed eyes with their long lashes beneath faintly etched brows, the set of the finely shaped nose, the gleam of teeth glimpsed between full, regular lips, the soft cheeks and the small, wise chin…

Wherever the lieutenant's eyes moved his lips faithfully followed. The high, swelling breasts, surmounted by nipples like the buds of a wild cherry, hardened as the lieutenant's lips closed about them. The arms flowed smoothly downward from each side of the breast, tapering toward the wrists, yet losing nothing of their roundness or symmetry…The natural hollow curving between the bosom and the stomach carried in its lines a suggestion not only of softness but of resilient strength, and while it gave forewarning to the rich curves spreading outward from here to the hips it had, in itself, an appearance only of restraint and proper discipline. The whiteness and richness of the stomach and hips was like milk brimming in a great bowl, and the sharply shadowed dip of the navel could have been the fresh impress of a raindrop, fallen there that very moment. Where the shadows gathered more thickly, hair clustered, gentle and sensitive, and as the agitation mounted in the now no longer passive body there hung over this region a scent like the smoldering of fragrant blossoms, growing steadily more pervasive…

Passionately they held their faces close, rubbing cheek against cheek…Their breasts, moist with sweat, were tightly joined, and every inch of the young and beautiful bodies had become so much one with the other that it seemed impossible there should ever again be a separation…From the heights they plunged into the abyss, and from the abyss they took wing and soared once more to dizzying heights…As one cycle ended, almost immediately a new wave of passion would be generated, and together -with no trace of fatigue- they would climb again in a single breathless movement to the very summit.”
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