Quotes by Yukio Mishima

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Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood. more...

True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys. more...

The purest evil that human efforts could attain, in other words, was probably achieved by those men who made their wills the same and who made their eyes see the world in the same way, men who went against the pattern of life's diversity, men whose spirits shattered the natural wall of the individual body, making nothing of this barrier, set up to guard against mutual corrosion, men whose spirit accomplished what flesh could never accomplish. more...

I want to make a poem of my life. more...

Human beings - they go on being born and dying, dying and being born. It's kind of boring, isn't it? more...

Within those confining walls, teachers - a bunch of men all armed with the same information - gave the same lectures every year from the same notebooks and every year at the same point in the textbooks made the same jokes. more...

I had long since insisted upon interpreting the things that Fate forced me to do as victories of my own will and intelligence, and now this bad habit had grown into a sort of frenzied arrogance. In the nature of what I was calling my intelligence there was a touch of something illegitimate, a touch of the sham pretender who has been placed on the throne by some freak chance. This dolt of a usurper could not foresee the revenge that would inevitably be wreaked upon his stupid despotism. more...

Let us remember that the central reality must be sought in the writer's work: it is what the writer chose to write, or was compelled to write, that finally matters. And certainly Mishima's carefully premeditated death is part of his work. more...

Suddenly the full long wail of a ship's horn surged through the open window and flooded the dim room - a cry of boundless, dark, demanding grief; pitch-black and glabrous as a whale's back and burdened with all the passions of the tides, the memory of voyages beyond counting, the joys, the humiliations: the sea was screaming. Full of the glitter and the frenzy of night, the horn thundered in, conveying from the distant offing, from the dead center of the sea, a thirst for the dark nectar in the little room. more...

The instant that the blade tore open his flesh, the bright disk of the sun soared up and exploded behind his eyelids. more...

Beauty is something that burns the hand when you touch it. more...

Real danger is nothing more than just living. Of course, living is merely the chaos of existence, but more than that it's a crazy mixed-up business of dismantling existence instant by instant to the point where the original chaos is restored, and taking strength from the uncertainty and the fear that chaos brings to re-create existence instant by instant. You won't find another job as dangerous as that. There isn't any fear in existence itself, or any uncertainty, but living creates it. more...

Quite possibly, what I call happiness may coincide with what others call the moment of imminent danger more...

Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they're just repeating what others before them have done. more...

We are not wounded so deeply when betrayed by the things we hope for as when betrayed by things we try our best to despise. In such betrayal comes the dagger in the back. more...

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. more...

A man isn't tiny or giant enough to defeat anything more...

It is a rather risky matter to discuss a happiness that has no need of words. more...

if the world changed, i could not exist, and if i changed, the world could not exist more...

Anything can become excusable when seen from the standpoint of the result more...

By means of microscopic observation and astronomical projection the lotus flower can become the foundation for an entire theory of the universe and an agent whereby we may perceive Truth. more...

At no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. more...

Again and again, the cicada's untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth. more...

At no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. After that, there remains only the journey itself, which is nothing but the process through which we lose our ownership of it. more...

Isao had never felt that he might want to be a woman. He had never wished for anything else but to be a man, live in a manly way, die a manly death. To be thus a man was to give constant proof of one's manliness-to be more a man today than yesterday, more a man tomorrow than today. To be a man was to forge ever upward toward the peak of manhood, there to die amid the white snows of that peak. more...

I seemed like a baby bird keeping its truly innocent animal lusts hidden under its wing. I was being tempted, not by the desire of possession, but simply by unadorned temptation itself. more...

The period of childhood is a stage on which time and space become entangled. more...

For an artist to do creative work, he needs at once physical health and some physiomental ill health. He needs both serenity and gloom. more...

Men had been living a proud life, having felt no need for the spirit-until Christianity invented it. more...

The mind, by its very nature, persistently tries to live forever, resisting age and attempting to give itself a form... . When a person passes his prime and his life begins to lose true vigor and charm, his mind starts functioning as if it were another form of life; it imitates what life does, eventually doing what life cannot do. more...

He was in a room of the Gesshuuji, which he had thought it would be impossible to visit. The approach of death had made the visit easy, had unloosed the weight that held him in the depths of being. It was even a comfort to think, from the light repose the struggle up the hill had brought him, that Kiyoaki, struggling against illness up that same road, had been given wings to soar with by the denial that awaited him. more...

As long as you know I am waiting, take your time flowers of the spring. more...

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'. more...

His conviction of having no purpose in life other than to act as a distillation of poison was part of the ego of an eighteen-year-old. He had resolved that his beautiful white hands would never be soiled or calloused. He wanted to be like a pennant, dependent on each gusting wind. The only thing that seemed valid to him was to live for the emotions-gratuitous and unstable, dying only to quicken again, dwindling and flaring without direction or purpose. more...

Dreams, memories, the sacred-they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles. more...

His emotion evident in the glitter of his eyes. more...

However, as words become particularized, and as men begin - in however small a way - to use them in personal, arbitrary ways, so their transformation into art begins. It was words of this kind that, descending on me like a swarm of winged insects, seized on my individuality and sought to shut me up within it. Nevertheless, despite the enemy's depredations upon my person, I turned their universality - at once a weapon and a weakness - back on them, and to some extent succeeded in using words to universalize to my own individuality. more...

If we look on idly, heaven and earth will never be joined. To join heaven and earth, some decisive deed of purity is necessary. To accomplish so resolute an action, you have to stake your life, giving no thought to personal gain or loss. You have to turn into a dragon and stir up a whirlwind, tear the dark, brooding clouds asunder and soar up into the azure-blue sky. more...

i still have no way to survive but to keep writing one line, one more line, one more line... more...

..and certain that life consisted of a few simple signals and decisions; that death took root at the moment of birth and man's only recourse thereafter was to water and tend it; that propagation was a fiction; consequently, society was a fiction too; that fathers and teachers, by virtue of being fathers and teachers, were guilty of a grievous sin. more...

An ugliness unfurled in the moonlight and soft shadow and suffused the whole world. If I were an amoeba, he thought, with an infinitesimal body, I could defeat ugliness. A man isn't tiny or giant enough to defeat anything. more...

What I wanted was to die among strangers, untroubled, beneath a cloudless sky. And yet my desire differed from the sentiments of that ancient Greek who wanted to die under the brilliant sun. What I wanted was some natural, spontaneous suicide. I wanted a death like that of a fox, not yet well versed in cunning, that walks carelessly along a mountain path and is shot by a hunter because of its own stupidity... more...

Amid the moon and the stars, amid the clouds of the night, amid the hills which bordered on the sky with their magnificent silhouette of pointed cedars, amid the speckled patches of the moon, amid the temple buildings that emerged sparkling white out of the surrounding darkness - amid all this, I was intoxicated by the pellucid beauty of Uiko's treachery. more...

Possessing by letting go of things was a secret of ownership unknown to youth. more...

When a captive lion steps out of his cage, he comes into a wider world than the lion who has known only the wilds. While he was in captivity, there were only two worlds for him - the world of the cage, and the world outside the cage. Now he is free. He roars. He attacks people. He eats them. Yet he is not satisfied, for there is no third world that is neither the world of the cage nor the world outside the cage. more...

Other people must be destroyed. In order that I might truly face the sun, the world itself must be destroyed.... more...

...the samurai ethic is a political science of the heart, designed to control such discouragement and fatigue in order to avoid showing them to others. It was thought more important to look healthy than to be healthy, and more important to seem bold and daring than to be so. This view of morality, since it is physiologically based on the special vanity peculiar to men, is perhaps the supreme male view of morality. more...

a samurai is a total human being, whereas a man who is completely absorbed in his technical skill has degenerated into a 'function', one cog in a machine. more...

The cynicism that regards hero worship as comical is always shadowed by a sense of physical inferiority more...

It is a common failing of childhood to think that if one makes a hero out of a demon the demon will be satisfied. more...

Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff. more...

For clearly it is impossible to touch eternity with one hand and life with the other. more...

Better to be caught in sudden, complete catastrophe than to be gnawed by the cancer of imagination. more...

The special quality of hell is to see everything clearly down to the last detail. more...

According to Eshin's Essentials of Salvation, the Ten Pleasures are but a drop in the ocean when compared to the joys of the Pure Land. more...

All my life I have been acutely aware of a contradiction in the very nature of my existence. For forty-five years I struggled to resolve this dilemma by writing plays and novels. The more I wrote, the more I realized mere words were not enough. So I found another form of expression. more...

Actually the action called a kiss represented nothing more for me than some place where my spirit could seek shelter. more...

Is there not a sort of remorse that precedes sin? Was it remorse at the very fact that I existed? more...

There is no virtue in curiosity. In fact, it might be the most immoral desire a man can possess. more...

I had no taste for defeat - much less victory - without a fight. more...

The most appropriate type of daily life for me was a day-by-day world destruction; peace was the most difficult and abnormal state to live in. more...

If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death No death may be called futile. more...

We tend to suffer from the illusion that we are capable of dying for a belief or theory. What Hagakure is insisting is that even in merciless death, a futile death that knows neither flower nor fruit has dignity as the death of a human being. If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death? No death may be called futile. more...

Just let matters slide. How much better to accept each sweet drop of the honey that was Time, than to stoop to the vulgarity latent in every decision. However grave the matter at hand might be, if one neglected it for long enough, the act of neglect itself would begin to affect the situation, and someone else would emerge as an ally. Such was Count Ayakura's version of political theory. more...

Human life is limited but I would like to live forever. more...

A father is a reality-concealing machine, a machine for dishing up lies to kids, and that isn't even the worst of it: secretly he believes that he represents reality. more...

In the pale light of daybreak the gravestones looked like so many white sails of boats anchored in a busy harbor. They were sails that would never again be filled with wind, sails that, too long unused and heavily drooping, had been turned into stone just as they were. The boats' anchors had been thrust so deeply into the dark earth that they could never again be raised. more...

Beyond doubt, there was a certain splendor in pain, which bore a deep affinity to the splendor that lies hidden within strength. more...

Pain, I came to feel, might well prove to be the sole proof of the persistence of consciousness within the flesh, the sole physical expression of consciousness. As my body acquired muscle, and in turn strength, there was gradually born within me a tendency towards the positive acceptance of pain, and my interest in physical suffering deepened. more...

To see human beings in agony, to see them covered in blood and to hear their death groans, makes people humble. It makes their spirits delicate, bright, peaceful. It's never at such times that we become cruel or bloodthirsty. No, it's on a beautiful spring afternoon like this that people suddenly become cruel. It's at a moment like this, don't you think, while one's vaguely watching the sun as it peeps through the leaves of the trees above a well-mown lawn? Every possible nightmare in the world, every possible nightmare in history, has come into being like this. more...

...living is merely the chaos of existence... more...

There isn't any fear in existence itself, or any uncertainty, but living creates it. more...

Even when we're with someone we love, we're foolish enough to think of her body and soul as being separate. To stand before the person we love is not the same as loving her true self, for we are only apt to regard her physical beauty as the indispensable mode of her existence. When time and space intervene, it is possible to be deceived by both, but on the other hand, it is equally possible to draw twice as close to her real self. more...

When people concentrate on the idea of beauty, they are, without realizing it, confronted with the darkest thoughts that exist in this world. That, I suppose, is how human beings are made. more...

..and certain that life consisted of a few simple signals and decisions; that death took root at the moment of birth and man's only recourse thereafter was to water and tend it; that propagation was a fiction; consequently, society was a fiction too; that fathers and teachers, by virtue of being fathers and teachers, were guilty of a grievous sin. more...

An ugliness unfurled in the moonlight and soft shadow and suffused the whole world. If I were an amoeba, he thought, with an infinitesimal body, I could defeat ugliness. A man is' tiny or giant enough to defeat anything. more...

a samurai is a total human being, whereas a man who is completely absorbed in his technical skill has degenerated into a "function", one cog in a machine. more...

Time is what matters. As time goes by, you and I will be carried inexorably into the mainstream of our period, even though we"re unaware of what it is. And later, when they say that young men in the early Taisho era thought, dressed, talked, in such and such a way, they"ll be talking about you and me. We"ll all be lumped together.... In a few decades, people will see you and the people you despise as one and the same, a single entity. more...

Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one's own heart. more...

We live in an age in which there is no heroic death. more...

There's a huge seal called 'impossibility' pasted all over this world. And don't ever forget that we're the only ones who can tear it off once and for all. more...

We had stretched out our arms to each other and supported something in our joined hands, but this thing we were holding was like a sort of gas that exists when you believe in its existence and disappears when you doubt. The task of supporting it seems simple at first glance, but actually requires an ultimate refinement of calculation and a consummate skill. more...

I cried sobbingly until at last those visions reeking with blood came to comfort me. And then I surrendered myself to them, to those deplorably brutal visions, my most intimate friends. more...

Mine was the unbearable jealousy a cultured pearl must feel toward a genuine one. Or can there be such a thing in this world as a man who is jealous of the woman who loves him, precisely because of her love? more...

For a long time I had not approached the forbidden fruit called happiness, but it was now tempting me with a melancholy persistence. I felt as though Sonoko were an abyss above which I stood poised. more...

...of all the kinds of decay in this world, decadent purity is the most malignant. more...

History knew the truth. History was the most inhuman product of humanity.It scooped up the whole of human will and, like the goddess Kali in Calcutta, dripped blood from its mouth as it bit and crunched. more...

He had never looked forward to the wisdom and other vaunted benefits of old age. Would he be able to die young-and if possible free of all pain? A graceful death-as a richly patterned kimono, thrown carelessly across a polished table, slides unobtrusively down into the darkness of the floor beneath. A death marked by elegance. more...

Time is what matters. As time goes by, you and I will be carried inexorably into the mainstream of our period, even though we're unaware of what it is. And later, when they say that young men in the early Taisho era thought, dressed, talked, in such and such a way, they'll be talking about you and me. We'll all be lumped together.... In a few decades, people will see you and the people you despise as one and the same, a single entity. more...

I am one who has always been interested only in the edges of the body and the spirit, the outlying regions of the body and the outlying regions of the spirit. The depths hold no interest for me; I leave them to others, for they are shallow, commonplace. What is there, then, at the outer most edge? Nothing, perhaps, save a few ribbons, dangling down into the void. more...

Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one's own heart. more...

When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning. more...

The highest point at which human life and art meet is in the ordinary. To look down on the ordinary is to despise what you can't have. Show me a man who fears being ordinary, and I'll show you a man who is not yet a man. more...

As usual, it occurred to me that words were the only thing that could possibly save me from this situation. This was a characteristic misunderstanding on my part. When action was needed, I was absorbed in words; for words proceeded with such difficulty from my mouth that I was intent on them and forgot all about action. It seemed to me that actions, which are dazzling, varied things, must always be accompanied by equally dazzling and equally varied words. more...

Yet how strange a thing is the beauty of music! The brief beauty that the player brings into being transforms a given period of time into pure continuance; it is certain never to be repeated; like the existence of dayflies and other such short-lived creatures, beauty is a perfect abstraction and creation of life itself. Nothing is so similar to life as music. more...

The past does not only draw us back to the past. There are certain memories of the past that have strong steel springs and, when we who live in the present touch them, they are suddenly stretched taut and then they propel us into the future. more...

In its essence, any art that relies on words makes use of their ability to eat away - of their corrosive function - just as etching depends on the corrosive power of nitric acid. more...

This is a photograph, so it is as you see: there are no lies and no deceptions. One can detect here, elevated to an incomparably higher level, the same pathetic emotional appeal that lies concealed in every fake spiritualist photograph, every pornographic photograph; one comes to suspect that the strange, disturbing emotional appeal of the photographic art consists solely in that same repeated refrain: this is a true ghost... this is a photograph, so it is as you see: there are no lies, no deceptions. more...

It seems to me that before the photograph can exist as art it must, by its very nature choose whether it is to be a record or a testimony. more...

The images which the [press] photographer has filtered from reality, whether particular events or the anguish of human reactions to them, already bear a stamp of authenticity which the photographer is powerless to alter by one jot or tittle; the meaning of the objects, by a process of purification, itself becomes the theme of the work. more...

If the photographer is to create works that will stand for his spirit in the same way as artists in other genres, he must first - having no ready-made, abstract components such as works and sounds - supply other means to abstraction instead. more...

The only people in this world I really trust are my fans - even if they do forget you so fast. more...

Abruptly he thrust his snow-drenched leather gloves against my cheeks. I dodged. A raw carnal feeling blazed up within me, branding my cheeks. I felt myself staring at him with crystal clear eyes... From that time on I was in love with Omi. more...


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