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Sun and Steel

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,242 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In this fascinating document, one of Japan's best known-and controversial-writers created what might be termed a new literary form. It is new because it combines elements of many existing types of writing, yet in the end fits into none of them.

At one level, it may be read as an account of how a puny, bookish boy discovered the importance of his own physical being; the "sun
Paperback, Paper Dust Jacket, 108 pages
Published April 11th 2003 by Kodansha International (first published 1968)
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Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
a peek inside the head of the finest japanese writer of the 20th century- hint: he is fucking nuts.
Slap Happy
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There is a canon of authors who are Metal.

H.P. Lovecraft is one of 'em. Tolkein, another. (To name but a couple.)

I would include Mishima in that almighty canon. Mishima was that kid growing up, but instead of being born in a place and time where Metal existed, he was born and raised in 20's Japan. Same impulse, though.

Mishima would be from one of the more ecstatic genres of extreme Metal. He'd be Black Metal.
Mishima at his densest, finest, weirdest, most metaphysical. He wrote this just before doing his Big Thing, and this does, really, feel like a manifesto of the sort popular among suicide bombers, Christian millenarians, militia leaders in the American Far West, and 4chan regulars turned school shooters. That last bit is especially noteworthy. If Mishima was alive today, giving his predilection for samurai ideology and whatnot, I can see his teenage self posting edgelord memes had he been alive t ...more
4.5 with the .5 being for "the blue sky was flecked with the semen-white of clouds"
Gertrude & Victoria
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-library
Yukio Mishima, in his enigmatic work Sun and Steel, reveals his inner most contemplations of life, death, and beyond. This work, the elucidations of a literary genius and modern day samurai, is not easy to comprehend, especially if one has not read some of his previous novels, short stories, or plays. He uses the motif of the sun and steel as metaphors to represent enlightenment and body in a particularly personal way. This writing, by throwing light into the recesses of his mind and soul, helps ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
100 pages of uninterrupted, dense, metaphysical introspection about the relationship between words, abstractions, symbols, and the body. Completely humorless, Mishima is a nerdy writer that discovered fitness later in his life, compares airplanes to penises and clouds to sperm, and is absorbed by the concept of death, especially the "tragic" death that—in his opinion—can only be achieved by individuals with a chiseled hot bod. Insane and magnificent. I highlighted many passages but also had a ha ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read, japan
Wooaaaahhhhh! The power of words and the strength of the body, beauty, philosophy, budō, death, tragedy, and madness - love it. Free insight, though: Stay away from ideology, kids, it can distort the sight and numb the senses of even the best and bravest minds.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: japan
I really struggled to finish this book. I found it far too abstract and metaphysical for my liking. The only thing that I got out of this book was the fascinating glimpse that it gave of the mind of Yukio Mishima. It also has the virtue of being brief.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Anyone wanting to understand the philosophy and death of Mishima will want to read this book.
Pliyo Senpai
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-novels, novels
Esta novela corta más bien parece un diario sincero donde descubrir las motivaciones de Mishima.

Vemos aquí su búsqueda de la unidad cuerpo y mente, su insistencia en encontrar el equilibrio por imposible que parezca, así como su forma de acercarse a la felicidad o a la idea de belleza.

Para mí ha sido una dosis de reflexiones brutal, una novela que bien parece un tratado filosófico influido por las artes marciales. Me siento tan identificado con sus palabras, y me inspira tanto su forma de enten
Daniel Polansky
Literature, not to say life, offers no shortage of brilliant people dithering around in the most incoherent or radically destructive directions, but even still, you would be hard to find a more perfect encapsulation of genius put to the most startling stupid ends than Mishima’s grand self-statement. Individual lines are beautifully written, certain thoughts are articulated with heart-aching grandeur, taken in sum its worship of unthinking physical force, that is to say violence, in a nation then ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Erect-angled, the F104, a sharp silver phallus, pointed
into the sky. Solitary, spermatozoon-like, I was installed
within. Soon, I should know how the spermatozoon felt
at the instant of ejaculation."

what the fuck mishima
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Ho sempre considerato estremamente ripugnanti sia i ventri prominenti, segno di pigrizia spirituale, sia i toraci scheletrici con le costole sporgenti, sintomo di un eccessivo sviluppo dello spirito, e non potevo non stupirmi nel constatare che alcuni amavano queste caratteristiche fisiche. Mi pareva un atteggiamento indecentemente sfacciato, un esporre sul proprio corpo le vergogne dello spirito."

"I fasci di muscoli, ormai quasi superflui nella vita contemporanea, sono ancora elementi vitali n
Patrick McCoy
Sun and Steel a nonfiction work by Yukio Mishima is a difficult work to categorize. I was compelled to read it in connection with research I am doing related to Paul Schrader’s film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Schrader used excerpts from the long essay (manifesto?) that is a mediation on the fusing of life and art. I think it provides a lot of insight into the mind and philosophy of Mishima at the end of his life when he was obsessed with body building, training with his private army, and ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ángel by: Edmee Pardo
Mishima fue un provocador y, a la vez, un hombre distinto a su tiempo. Al abordar la lectura de este libro, no debe olvidarse que estamos frente a un ensayo, lo que implica entender las ideas que se proponen y, en su caso, estar de acuerdo o no. En ese contexto, la idea de separación del cuerpo me parece un tanto descabellada y quizá superada. Lo que está claro es que Mishima fue un hombre de acción y palabra: vivió y murió como él lo deseó.

El sol y el acero es un libro iluminador, pero también
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An intricate balancing act against the fates, Mishima rushes full-force to conquer the impossible through introspection, observation, muscle stimulation, and ideology. A long love letter to the conscience spirit-body we've abandoned in favor of lazy, inept, quiet mental (dis)satisfaction, Mishima's words, actions, and experiences continue to challenge us to live life at the edges like the brazen warriors we were meant to be. His convictions continually beat against the chambers of our untold hea ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, giappone
Il corpo come traduzione dello spirito

Fu ossessionante il modo in cui Mishima cercò di tradurre l’animo e la mente in un corpo esteriore, puramente fisico.
Al crescere della consapevolezza forgiò il corpo fino al raggiungimento dell’equilibrio cercato, esso divenne traduzione fisica dello spirito.

"Ho sempre considerato estremamente ripugnanti sia i ventri prominenti, segno di pigrizia spirituale, sia i toraci scheletrici con le costole sporgenti, sintomo di un eccessivo sviluppo dello spirito […]
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-red-circle
He's never going to get over that he wasn't the biggest, most popular boy in middle school, is he? But then, who does?

I enjoyed the epilogue much more than the rest. I loved the Mishima / semen bit:
"Erect-angled, the F104, a sharp silver phallus, pointed into the sky. Solitary, spermatozoon-like, I was installed within. Soon, I should know how the spermatozoon felt at the instant of ejaculation."
Alor Deng
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese, profound
I have yet to come across a book that has distilled so much immensity in so few words. This is a peek inside my favorite authors mind- and what a mind it is. The principles of his prose, which one can detect through his novels, is fully expounded upon in this marvelous non-fiction work. Thank you Mishima.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Will definitely read this again!

“Was I ignorant, then, when I was seventeen? I think not. I knew everything. A quarter-century's experience of life since then has added nothing to what I knew. The one difference is that at seventeen I had no 'realism'.”

Un libro complejo de leer, pero ideal para todo aquel que quiera acercarse un poco más a la enrevesada mente de Mishima. Tiene fragmentos muy interesantes, aunque en general se hace una novela densa de leer.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"To continue the metaphor, let us picture a single, healthy apple. This apple was not called into existence by words, nor is it possible that the core should be completely visible from the outside like Amiel’s peculiar fruit. The inside of the apple is naturally quite invisible. Thus at the heart of that apple, shut up within the flesh of the fruit, the core lurks in its wan darkness, tremblingly anxious to find some way to reassure itself that it is a perfect apple. The apple certainly exists, ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In questo libro Mishima si confessa senza l'utilizzo della "maschera" che lo portò al successo: mentre il libro giovanile era un inabissarsi nelle pieghe tortuose dello spirito, qui l'autore canta il corpo e la sua forza, parlando ancora di sé in prima persona, in un saggio dal carattere autobiografico denso di idee filosofiche e che può essere visto come un manifesto non solo della produzione artistica di Mishima ma anche, e forse soprattutto, della sua vita.

Dopo la giovinezza da debole intell
Dylan Collie
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This at a future time will certainly deserve a second reading. This book suggests to me a concern with short and measured circumstances, ever attaching itself to the present moment not through the manner of recognizing prior accumulation, but through the lifelong repetition of Mishima continuously hitting some, very truthful, divide between body and mind. The effort undertaken to grow each element in tandem was measured against an unachievable upper limit, dissolution, rather than against prior ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
My first Mishima, and I feel like being a little flippant. When it's coherent it's good. If nothing else, it will remind you not to neglect your body, get swol, brah. I liked the last few pages and epilogue most - not because the book was almost over but because it's far more comprehensible and better communicated. Some really interesting sections, and some very concerning sections. You can feel his intensity and see how it lead him to his end. Do you even lift, bro?!

Also, the cover on this boo
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The line between genius and madness is so often blurred. I'm not sure which group Mishima belongs to, but either way he's one-of-a-kind. Sun and Steel describes his quest to bring his body to the heights that his mind has soared, and deals heavily with the balance between action and thought. It's also a commentary on death and its relation to life. At first they come across as being crazy, but the more I think about it, the more sense his ideas make.

The poem at the end about Icarus-and Mishima
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the only work of Yukio’s I’ve read. I find his life and message equally inspiring. If you know anything about Yukio then it’s difficult not to at least read “Sun and Steel.” I loved this read, and found it easily grasped, BUT, I myself being both an avid reader/writer, AND someone who has been consistently enthralled in the art of body building, may have been more easily able to yield a relation to it than others might. Even so, Mishima’s persistent inner struggles with two sides of the ...more
Mishima must be the only bookworm in the world who convinced himself that art is a form of martial arts and to hone his art, he must workout to achieve a body of steel to become the ultimate expression of his art. The journey of self-discovery is solipsistic, yet there is conviction in the group. Ouroboros and Icarus closed this very personal exposition, Infinity and a moment of touching the sky before falling as the order of Nature, and the final speck of an idea - it's oddly hopeful. I'm prett ...more
Krishna Avendaño
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sobre El sol y el acero hay un consenso. En esta apología metafísica-fascista del fisicoculturismo es donde la estética y el estilo de Mishima alcanzan su cumbre: Enhiesto falo de plata, el F104 apuntó al cielo en un ángulo recto. Solitario, como un espermatozoide, yo iba instalado dentro. Pronto iba a saber cómo se sentía el espermatozoide en el momento de la eyaculación (...) Todo era majestuoso, y la superficie del cielo azul aparecía salpicada del espermático blanco de las nubes.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lectores de Mishima
Lectura obligatoria para quienes busquen conocer algo más sobre Mishima y sus ideas. Complemento ideal para su ensayo La ética del samurái en el Japón moderno; el cual recomiendo leer primero, ya que es bastante menos denso. Y es que de a ratos se vuelve un poco demasiado intrincado en su metafísica de la vigorexia.
Por otro lado, el epílogo sobre su experiencia en un caza F-104 es simplemente delicioso.
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  • The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima
  • Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World
  • Mishima: A Biography
  • And Then
  • The Kojiki: Records of Ancient Matters
  • Vita Sexualis
  • The Hunting Gun
  • Trattato del Ribelle
  • The Life of an Amorous Man
  • Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day
  • The River Ki
  • First Snow on Fuji
  • Four Major Plays of Chikamatsu
  • The Broken Commandment
  • Honor: A History
  • Kinshu: Autumn Brocade
  • One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu
  • Some Prefer Nettles
Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫) was born in Tokyo in 1925. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Jurisprudence in 1947. His first published book, The Forest in Full Bloom, appeared in 1944 and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask (1949). From then until his death he continued to publish novels, short stories, and plays each year. His crowning achievement, th ...more
“Do I, then, belong to the heavens?
Why, if not so, should the heavens
Fix me thus with their ceaseless blue stare,
Luring me on, and my mind, higher
Ever higher, up into the sky,
Drawing me ceaselessly up
To heights far, far above the human?
Why, when balance has been strictly studied
And flight calculated with the best of reason
Till no aberrant element should, by rights, remain-
Why, still, should the lust for ascension
Seem, in itself, so close to madness?
Nothing is that can satify me;
Earthly novelty is too soon dulled;
I am drawn higher and higher, more unstable,
Closer and closer to the sun's effulgence.
Why do these rays of reason destroy me?
Villages below and meandering streams
Grow tolerable as our distance grows.
Why do they plead, approve, lure me
With promise that I may love the human
If only it is seen, thus, from afar-
Although the goal could never have been love,
Nor, had it been, could I ever have
Belonged to the heavens?
I have not envied the bird its freedom
Nor have I longed for the ease of Nature,
Driven by naught save this strange yearning
For the higher, and the closer, to plunge myself
Into the deep sky's blue, so contrary
To all organic joys, so far
From pleasures of superiority
But higher, and higher,
Dazzled, perhaps, by the dizzy incandescence
Of waxen wings.

Or do I then
Belong, after all, to the earth?
Why, if not so, should the earth
Show such swiftness to encompass my fall?
Granting no space to think or feel,
Why did the soft, indolent earth thus
Greet me with the shock of steel plate?
Did the soft earth thus turn to steel
Only to show me my own softness?
That Nature might bring home to me
That to fall, not to fly, is in the order of things,
More natural by far than that improbable passion?
Is the blue of the sky then a dream?
Was it devised by the earth, to which I belonged,
On account of the fleeting, white-hot intoxication
Achieved for a moment by waxen wings?
And did the heavens abet the plan to punish me?
To punish me for not believing in myself
Or for believing too much;
Too earger to know where lay my allegiance
Or vainly assuming that already I knew all;
For wanting to fly off
To the unknown
Or the known:
Both of them a single, blue speck of an idea?”
“Was I ignorant, then, when I was seventeen? I think not. I knew everything. A quarter-century's experience of life since then has added nothing to what I knew. The one difference is that at seventeen I had no 'realism'.” 53 likes
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