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Forbidden Colours

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,988 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Irresistible to women, the beautiful, young Yuichi embarks on a loveless marriage while he enters a homosexual underworld during postwar Japan.
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published 1968 by Secker & Warburg (first published 1951)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Capsguy
It's such a pity that Forbidden Colours will always be foreshadowed by Mishima's other works that had closer ties to his eventual death, because if he talked about suicide and actually did it it must mean that that work is suddenly more DEEP&EDGY, right guys?

I love Mishima's ability to depict internal thought-processing and reasoning across a wide array of characters in quite unique positions for a reader like myself. His views on Japan's shift to a more materialist and individualistic cultu
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عبدالعزيز المحيني
يمتد تاريخ الأدب الياباني على فترة ما يقارب ألفي عام، و تأثرت أوآئل الأعمال الأدبية اليابانية بالثقافة الصينية والتي غالباً ما كُتبت باللغة الصينية، إلا أنه عبر الزمن تغير هذا النمط ليأخذ الأدب الياباني طابعاً مميزاً خاصاً به.

وعندما بدأت اليابان بفتح أبوابها على الغرب في القرن التاسع عشر، بدأ الأدب الياباني بالتأثر بالأدب الغربي والتأثير فيه.

و على الرغم من حداثة الأدب الياباني، قياساً بتجارب أمم أخرى، فقد وصل إلى مراتب متقدمة بفوز روائييه بجائزتين من جوائز نوبل.

الكتاب اليابانيون لديهم اهتمام واض
...more
Dusty Myers
For those who don't know, Yukio Mishima is one of Japan's most-revered writers of the 20th century. He committed suicide in 1970 that tragic and noble ritualistic way they have over there, and he was probably gay, though he was definitely married (to a woman). This novel is, above all, a harsh critique of marriage. Like Thomas Mann, the story begins with an aged, single, famous writer (Shunsuké) at the beach, gazing upon the impossibly beautiful body of a young male (Yuichi, much older than Mann ...more
Steven
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
as with all other books by Mishima i have read, the writing style, twisting of sentences, use of extravagant imagery and downright beauty of the whole book is what makes this read so phenomenally amazing. Forbidden Colours is veiled with prose so insanely beautiful, it's often easy to over-look the horrifically cruel and emotionally gutting plot. I believe that to be the point, and exactly why i put it as one of my favourite all-time reads. There is not one redeeming feature in any of the charac ...more
Tim Pendry

An early Mishima novel that shows him at his most paradoxical. The style is mannered at times, realist at others. It is highly referential to a specific post-war Japanese culture, half-way between defeat and economic miracle, and yet looks back to European decadent and classical literature.

There are two barriers to understanding here. First, we wonder whether the translator (Alfred Marks) has always been able to communicate the subtle behaviourial codes of an upper class that hovers between trad
...more
David
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
Yuichi! Yuichi! Yuichi!

It’s all a bit silly because he is so much. Everyone falls in love with him, and the reader is pretty much the only person who doesn't get to bang him. Mishima loves Yuichi too much for anything really bad to happen to him, but there's the threat that weird Shunsuke will win. Will a Dorian Gray style "having fun and breaking hearts makes you ugly" kick in? Will he end up killing himself? Will he turn into an aged, make-upped queen? Shunsuke tries to push Yuichi too far, bu
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Sketchbook
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mishima lived his s&m, militaristic, uber-masculine/gay fantasies. In his 20s he bared his feelings in this troubling, often astonishing, novel where desire is an evil spirit to get drunk on. Life, as he
sees it, is a deceptive "show" in false face, headlining naked
players in a series of tableaux depicting Beauty, Sex, Death.
And the show, which spotlights lovelessness in Loveland, must
always go on.
Meike
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017, japan
Highly poetic language and more intricate thoughts per paragraph than bpm on any given night at Berghain - Mishima knows how to challenge his readers. The whole personnel of "Forbidden Colours" is floating between the classic poles that make up the world of ideas measured by Mishima: Youth and old age, beauty and ugliness, tradition and modernity, body and mind, homosexuality and heterosexuality (and of course there's suicide, too). In this novel, the two protagonists, Yuichi and Shunsuké, are b ...more
Carol Storm
If you've never read Mishima before, don't start with this book. Begin with his first book, CONFESSIONS OF A MASK, then read THE TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN PAVILION, which is another great early book. Then read the four classic novels he wrote just before he died, SPRING SNOW, RUNAWAY HORSES, THE TEMPLE OF DAWN, and DECAY OF THE ANGEL.

FORBIDDEN COLORS is from the "sagging middle" of Mishima's career. What's missing is the idealism and passion of his last great novels. This is a more mundane world, not
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Dan
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If a greater misogynist than Shunsuké exists in literature then I don't want to meet him. This book really challenged me. On the one hand, the vile opinions spewed by Shunsuké made it very hard to read, but on the other hand the plot was pretty propulsive and erotically charged. I don't know if I can say I "liked" the book, but I did enjoy reading it and found it to be mostly immersive (though I could've done without the paragraphs upon paragraphs of uninterrupted philosophizing dialogue — I get ...more
Hadrian
A book at turns both scorning and beautiful. The collision of the ideals of beauty and the ugliness of life.
James
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Certainly one of the most impressive novels that I have read in awhile now.
Rhockman
May 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fer por la misoginia y Miki por la misoginia.
Recommended to Rhockman by: Bucletina
Shelves: chicos
Un relato sencillo, con una narración atrapante y un mensaje enfermizo.

Un misógino conoce a un cínico y de ese encuentro surge el proyecto de crear una obra de arte que trascienda el campo de la materialidad para alcanzar el "espiritu". El tema de la "espiritualidad" se toca constantemente sin dejar bien en claro al lector que se quiere decir con esa palabra. Tal vez, un japonés de 1950 tenía una idea muy especifica de que significa; si alguien nos dice que "la belleza perfecta se encuentra en e
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Darío
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
:( Esperaba mucho más del libro. Carece de nudo y clímax, lo cual hace que el libro se disfrute menos. Al igual yo ya andaba haciéndome a la idea que iba a pasar algo entre Shunsunké y Yuichi pero no pasó nada. Al igual todo termina muy rápido. De la nada sucedió tal cosa que te quedas paralizado que cómo rayos pudo pasar cuando algo bueno y que querías pudo haber acontecido... Me gustó en general... Pero no lo suficiente para ganarse más de 3 estrellas.
Brian R. Mcdonald
Jun 07, 2010 marked it as books-with-go-references  ·  review of another edition
One brief go reference: "Just that much was said, with eyes never wavering from Yuichi's face; each word, every syllable, was pronounced with deliberation, like placing a stone in a game of go".
Mizuki
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-writing
One of Yukio Mishima's best novels!
Mery
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ahora tengo web y allá comento sobre este y otros libros: letrasdesordenadas.com
Melissa
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew very little about the author before reading this, only those few things that are the common facts to anyone familiar with his name: that for a long time he was perhaps the most internationally renowned Japanese novelist, that he was nominated three times for the Nobel prize, and that he died one of the most unusual deaths of any writer in the twentieth century. Reading around him a little, I soon found that in recent biographical essays those points tend to overshadow the rest of his life ...more
Patrick McCoy
I was first inspired to read Yukio Mishima's Forbidden Colors (1951) when I found out that Paul Schrader intended to use the novel in his biographical film on Mishima's life and work, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. I suspect that he wanted to use this book since it outlines the double life Mishima was leading as gay man married with children as well as introducing several themes that would be seen in his other literary works in the future. However, his widow would not allow Schrader and his p ...more
David
This book was marvelous, epic, operatic, poetic!

I have never seen a plot like this: an ugly old writer, Shunsuke, who has been embittered and burned in relationships with women takes a young attractive gay man, Yuichi, under his wing. He encourages Yuichi to get married and have affairs with women in order to seek revenge on women. Shunsuke observes Yuichi as he seduces these women into loveless relationships. And meanwhile Yuichi continues to meander his way through numerous primarily sexual r
...more
Lari Bartolo
la narrativa de Mishima es bastante buena, quizás por esa razón terminé de leer el libro. en algunas partes me parecía aburrido. Sin duda las cosas que más disfrute fueron dos discursos de Shunsuké.
Ahmed Abdelazim
" ولسخرية القدر ظهر الشعور بالفشل على شانسوكي وكان خطيرا جدا . لقد بدأ شانسوكي يشعر بالحب تجاه يوشي "
Rossii Acosta ortíz
Creo que he leído a dos Yukios, por un lado Yuichi, un joven hermoso idealizado y dotado de un gran poder basado en la absoluta belleza física, y Shunsuké un hombre con espíritu, intelecto y riqueza, pero condenado a una vida miserable, por el único motivo de no poseer belleza exterior. Mishima no cree posible que la belleza y el espíritu vivan en un mismo cuerpo en una misma edad y lo lamenta. Por otro lado este libro ridiculiza a la mujer, mostrándola bella, pero sin inteligencia ni ingenio, i ...more
Russell Bittner
Apr 10, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I give up. I read to p. 59, which is nine pages more than I’ll generally give a novel either to engage me or at least to convince me that it’s worth pursuing.


This novel accomplished neither. Quite to the contrary: further reading became almost physically painful.


But don’t let me dissuade you. Take a snippet – this one from p. 48 – and decide for yourself. After all, you have here many, many reviews to tell you the contrary. And I for one am perfectly willing, after having failed to appreciate bo
...more
Mick Nesmith
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story and a really good translation.
José
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ayer en la noche terminé este libro de Mishima, es de las primeras novelas que escribió el autor y por ende una de las menos conocidas, no es una historia feliz, es amargo, es cruel y está lleno de personajes llenos de defectos que terminan desbordándolos, y solamente la belleza física sale impune, gran parte de la narrativa se dedica a explorar detalladamente el universo psicológico de cada uno de los personajes. Hay varios temas que se entrelazan: la vejez y la intelectualidad, la belleza y la ...more
Louis
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanophiles, homophiles, misanthropes and general bibliophiles.
Recommended to Louis by: Geoffrey
Shelves: japanese
The amount of time it took me to read this book is by no means a testament to my opinion of it. I am in love with this book. Like most of my favourites it says something about the nature of relationships and, although the actions of the main characters are cruel they are somehow believable. A mark of good writing is to take something difficult to believe (like such blatant misogyny) and make it not only believable but understandable. While some Feminists-with-a-capital-F might find the revenge p ...more
Matt
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up because the Borders was having a closing sale, the author was Japanese, and one of the protagonists is gay. Part of the reason I didn't enjoy it was that it was a horrible translation--far too literal. Aside from that, the story was wandering in a very Middlemarch sort of way, but less detailed and less directed. It was an interesting portrayal of sexual amorality and cruelty, but I wonder if it was supposed to be realistic. Some rang true, some didn't.

Regardless, it was pot
...more
Nicholas Cavenagh
I knew this book was special after reading the first couple of pages. Like many good books, it took a long time to read because I felt the need to take a break and digest what happened in each chapter. Mishima gives all his characters a beautiful complexity and crafts a narrative that leads to some masterful scenes. How he describes some aspects of gay life, in particular the interplay with homosexuality and narcissism, are better than anything I have ever read. While I didnt relate to all the e ...more
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The ending 1 11 Apr 22, 2013 06:21AM  
  • Quicksand
  • And Then
  • The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima
  • Masks
  • The Lake
  • Kappa
  • Secret Rendezvous
  • The Wild Geese
  • The Silent Cry
  • Tales of Moonlight and Rain
  • Rivalry: A Geisha's Tale (Japanese Studies Series)
  • Blue Bamboo: Japanese Tales of Fantasy
  • The Great Mirror of Male Love
  • Mishima: A Biography
  • Black Rain
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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
More about Yukio Mishima...

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“Beauty is something that burns the hand when you touch it.” 147 likes
“The process in which a writer is compelled to counterfeit his true feelings is exactly the opposite of that which the man of society is compelled to counterfeit his. The artist disguises in order to reveal; the man of society disguises in order to conceal” 5 likes
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