Patriotism-Yukio Mishima

Patriotism is a short story by Yukio Mishima.  I kind of ended up reading this by accident, and I’m so glad I did! I read this in college because I swore it was on the syllabus. Either I missed class the day the proff said we didn’t have to read it or I read the wrong story because dyslexia. Anyhow, I ended up loving this story.

Right at the beginning, Michima tells you the ending. This is the third paragraph in the story, but I think it captures the story well:

“After the suicide, people would take out this photograph and examine it, and sadly reflect that too often there was a curse on these seemingly flawless unions. Perhaps it was no more than imagination, but looking at the picture after the tragedy it almost seemed as if the two young people before the gold-lacquered screen were gazing, each with equal clarity, at the deaths which lay before them.”

This is a story about a Patriotic man Japan who takes his position seriously. So much that he decides suicide was his only answer to an uprising that was taking place under his watch.

The main focus of this story is the love between Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama and his wife, Reiko. It tells of their love and their last night together, because if Reiko’s husband is committing suicide so is she because her patriotism belongs to him.

The way the story is written is very poetic and sensual. It’s what drew me in. This love story is much better than Romeo and Juliette and much more tragic.



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