Libmonster ID: JP-1200
Author(s) of the publication: E. IKONNIKOVA


Doctor of Philology (Sakhalin State University)

The name of the famous Japanese writer, screenwriter, director and actor Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) needs no special introduction. The literary legacy of this most shocking Japanese of the XX century has about 100 volumes. Novels and short stories, essays and nonfiction works, plays and screenplays - all this is only a small part of the work of a man who took the pseudonym Mi-si-ma, which strikes the imagination of the layman - "The Devil Fascinated by Death".

The" dark " side of Yukio Mishima's personality is an integral part of modern biographies about him and literary and philosophical interpretations of his works. Violence and homosexuality, the exalted aestheticization of death, the domination of beauty over the moral foundations of the human community grow in painful abundance through the plots and motives of everything that the writer created during the 45 years of his life.

Yes, the very departure of Yukio Mishima into oblivion is so similar to a theatrical drama with a proper amount of stage effects and tragic consequences. The three-time Nobel Prize-winning writer performed his last play in November 1970. The venue of the performance was extremely unusual - one of the Tokyo bases of the Self-Defense Forces. The culmination of this pre-planned action was the suicide of Mishima, who committed hara-kiri 1, which was followed by a wave of suicides of Japanese fans of the writer and supporters of his political credo.


To the Russian reader, the works of Yukio Mishima-the novel "The Golden Temple", the short stories "Death in Midsummer" and "Patriotism", as well as two plays "My Friend Hitler" and "The Marquis de Sade" - thanks to the efforts of the Japanese writer Grigory Chkhartishvili (now a well-known writer under the pseudonym Boris Akunin) became available only at the very beginning 90 - ies of the XX century. But today, the price lists of reputable domestic publishers necessarily contain books by Yukio Mishima. "Thirst for Love", "Confession of the Mask", "The Sound of the Surf", novels from the series "Sea of Abundance" - these and other works of the Japanese writer are published in Russia in thousands of copies. His name sounds not only in the context of Russian translated literature, but also in the modern cinema offered by Japanese cinematographers in Russia.

Thus, in the framework of the 37th Festival of Japanese cinema in Russia (December 2003), the Russian audience was shown eight films made in previous years, four of which were directly related to Yukio Mishima: "The Sound of the Surf" (based on the novel of the same name by the writer, 1954), "Flame" (in the plot of the film his most famous books are "The Golden Temple" (1958), " The Hunted Wolf "(the main role in this gangster thriller was played by the writer himself, 1960) and" The Sword " (the film adaptation of the author's novel of the same name, 1964). And in January 2008, as part of the next Japanese film festival, a completely new film based on his works was presented - "Spring Snow" (2005). The film is named by analogy with one of the novels of the writer from the four-volume series "Sea of Plenty".

Such an active development of the Russian cultural space by the Japanese writer's creative work can be considered not accidental. The theme "Russia and Yukio Mishima" goes beyond the chronological barriers of the 1990s-2000s. The origins of this theme can be seen in the biography, and in some books of the Japanese writer.


The real name and surname of the writer is Kimitake Hiraoka. The first work with which he entered Japanese literature is considered to be the autobiographical novel "Confessions of a Mask" (1949). The story in this book is told in the first person, and only once does Yukio Mishima allow himself to call his hero by name.

"Oh, I'm so tired," says the main character of the book, young Sumiko, < ... > covering her mouth with her delicate white fingers and patting her lips a few more times, as if performing some kind of magical ritual. "Aren't you tired, Kimi?""2 The word "Kimi", which is only used almost in the middle of the novel, is pronounced-

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water, diminutive-affectionate address to a person who bears the full name Kimitake. The names of the hero of Mishima's first book and the writer himself are identical. Most of the writer's life events are identical in the novel with his literary character Kimi. Researchers of the work of Yukio Mishima continue to argue about the proportion of truth and fiction in the "Confession of the Mask". After all, the introduction of the reader into a state of deception, similar to reality, impressed Mishima. Meanwhile, some of the facts presented in the pages of his debut book are quite realistic. And, moreover, they are related to Russia. At the very beginning of his first novel, the writer indirectly writes about the Karafuto governorate (1905-1945) - this was the name of the southern part of Sakhalin Island occupied by the Japanese after the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905.


Over the years, Karafuto was subordinate to 14 governors. From 1908 to 1914, Karafuto was ruled by Sadataro Hiraoka (1862-1942), Yukio Mishima's paternal grandfather. For the writer, this fact was quite significant. He devoted one of the opening passages of his debut book to mentioning this. In "Confessions of a Mask" it is said that the grandfather of the main character - "the governor of one of the colonies, was forced to resign: to hush up some major scandal, taking the blame of his subordinate" 3.

It is noteworthy that in the book, Yukio Mishima, whenever he thinks of his grandfather, puts his relative in the most unsightly light. And yet-the writer gives his grandfather a somewhat distorted personal name. In the novel, his grandfather is named Zetaro Hiraoka.

Kimi says in the pages of the book that his grandfather had " absolute, idiotic trust."4. And the irrepressible entrepreneurial activity of Zetaro Hiraoki contributed to the fact that family affairs with "some kind of jaunty acceleration rolled downhill"5. Former Governor Karafuto is accused by his grandson of "monstrous debts", "inventory of property", and forced sale of the estate. It is obvious that the vain relatives of the writer himself (and he reports in the novel about the painful vanity of his relatives, "possessed by a certain dark force"6) believed that the financial and moral problems of the entire Hiraoka family were entirely due to its elder.

Mishima uses the image of a young Kimi to convince the reader that his grandfather had dealings with "dubious friends and went to faraway lands in pursuit of a golden rain"7. And even in the endless diseases of the grandmother, the main character again blames his grandfather: "...the bouts of depression that plagued my grandmother until her death, "writes Yukio Mishima in Confessions of a Mask," were the result of the suffering that her grandfather caused her with his adventures in her younger years. " 8

When the book" Confessions of a Mask " was published in the writer's homeland, Yukio Mishima's grandfather had long been dead. However, there were still people in Japan who knew Sadataro Hiraoka well, but were hardly able to refute the opinion of a confident aspiring writer.


It so happened that the image of the famous Japanese writer's grandfather remained not only in the storerooms of eastern literature of the XX century. The portrait of Sadataro Hiraoki was also captured by the Russian priest - Bishop Sergiy (1863, or 1871-1945, in the world - Sergey Alekseevich Tikhomirov). Bishop Sergius, who had been a member of the Japanese Orthodox Mission since 1908, visited Karafuto three times. The result of his missionary work was little-known to the general readership travel notes "On Southern Sakhalin", published in 1914.

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At the very beginning of his notes, the first entry of which dates back to August 1909, Bishop Sergius defines the necessity of his trip to the south of Sakhalin as follows:"...find the Russians < ... > and satisfy their spiritual needs"9. Indeed, the main part of the bishop's book is devoted to describing the Russian people who remained on Karafuto, their spiritual and everyday needs. The Russian priest also had to deal with a number of administrative issues, which once brought him together with Sadataro Hiraoka.

Bishop Sergiy highly appreciated the Governor of Karafuto, who together with his subordinates prepared materials for the transfer of Orthodox parishes to the jurisdiction of the Japanese Orthodox Church. In his opinion, the Japanese not only tried to preserve Orthodox church buildings, but also contributed to the widespread spread and establishment of the spiritual mission in the new colony. Therefore, it was no accident that in September 1911 Bishop Sergius was honored to be present at the governor's dinner. The reception was accompanied by the invitation of representatives of other confessions - Catholics and Buddhists. Fr. Sergiy in his notes recalled the pleasant atmosphere of the reception, and the luxury of the governor's table, filled with "plentiful preparations of Japanese cuisine"10, and the skill of the speeches delivered at dinner. And in one of the fragments- "Dinner at the governor's" - he quoted the following words from the solemn speech of the deputy governor (the governor himself was absent)11:

"...the Russians who remain on the island are not the best Russian citizens, and the Japanese who migrate are not the color of Japanese society...> We need to raise the morale of the islanders... And how to do it without faith?.."12

In the priest's book, there are both indirect and direct references to Sadataro Hiraoki.

His first and only meeting with the Japanese governor took place on October 5, 1911. Here is a description of Sadataro Hiraoki, in contrast to the artistic description in the novel "Confessions of a Mask", given by the author of the book "On Southern Sakhalin":"...still a relatively young man, about five or 13 years old, standing at his post. He received me in his Japanese kimono and haori... And they are so simple and monotonous everywhere that it is difficult to see the governor's greatness because of them... Or maybe it is "out of fashion" here!.. " 14.

Fr. Sergiy notes not only Hiraoka's simple appearance, but also his benevolence and willingness to be useful for the development of spirituality in South Sakhalin. Moreover, the governor even advised opening Orthodox parishes in other areas of Karafuto that are free from religious preaching. "I am not teaching you, of course," says the governor in the retelling of Bishop Sergius, "but it would seem to me that it would , and small branches in different places"16

This sudden suggestion startled the travel writer: "It wasn't a Christian speaking!... How truly, widely and far ahead the venerable Governor looks! Of course, I did not hesitate to take advantage of his advice! "17

Moreover, the governor offered to immediately report to him on the facts of oppression of Orthodox Christians on the island and promised to satisfy the requests of the oppressed Orthodox residents of Karafuto.

Sadataro Hiraoka was by no means the loser or destroyer of the lives of those close to him, as his grandson describes in his first novel, Confessions of a Mask.

Even during his lifetime, the retired governor, who also had the rank of general, was awarded very high honors. In the administrative center of Karafuto - Toyohara-with public funds, a monument was erected to him 18 in his honor. At the opening of the three-meter monument in August 1930, Sadataro Hiraoka himself was present, invited to the island for this occasion.

He was also prudent and moderately diplomatic in other matters. In particular, he was not only loyal to the religious feelings of a person

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(and Mishima, as you know, denied traditional religiosity, raising narcissism to the highest spiritual sense), but also encouraged the activities of various religious organizations on Karafuto.


The fact that Yukio Mishima belongs to the family of the man who ruled the southern part of Sakhalin during Karafuto's time is not the only fact of the writer's involvement in the modern island.

At the age of six, it was through the patronage of his grandfather, who had connections in the society of "high" officials, that Kimitake Hiraoka became one of the students of Gakushuin Gymnasium 19. The end of this prestigious educational institution for Japan was marked by the first successes of the future writer. A little later, in Confessions of a Mask, he will write about the young Kimi's audience with Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989). Becoming the best graduate of Gakushuin Gymnasium, a member of the Governor Hiraoka's family, Kimitake Hiraoka, was received at the imperial palace, where he received an award-winning silver watch as a gift.

Notably, the grandson of former Governor Karafuto was honored with a gift from the hands of the grandson of Emperor Mutsuhito (1852-1912), known as Meiji. It is possible that later Mishima's theatrical suicide was caused by his disagreement with the political activities of Emperor Hirohito.

Emperor Hirohito himself visited the territory of southern Sakhalin in 1927 and even called on his compatriots to actively develop the new colony. Hirohito's name is also associated with the fall of the Karafuto governorship: on August 15, 1945, the emperor was forced to order the Japanese army and navy to stop resisting the Allies. After the signing of the Act of surrender of Japan (September 2, 1945), in accordance with the Yalta Agreements, the southern part of Sakhalin was returned to the Soviet Union.

Echoes of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), a contemporary of which was the writer's grandfather, are a veiled theme of Mishima's novel "Spring Snow" (1968). The character of a young nobleman from the Matsugae family, his dramatic relationship with the inexperienced Satoko in love becomes even more significant and deep through the prism of the tragedy of people who suffered the loss of loved ones in the war. Relationships between young people - boys and girls - are seen as a "war of feelings" as opposed to a"war of actions".

Having traveled around the world seven times, Yukio Mishima never visited Russia. Being the grandson of a person who is directly related to Sakhalin, he, in general, did not make this fact a major one in any of his forty novels. Nevertheless, the writer's life and work are intriguingly intertwined with everything that is directly or indirectly related to Sakhalin and, more broadly, to Russia. And these unexpected interweavings are akin to random, but natural in its essence metaphysical wanderings through the world of the characters of another Japanese writer-Haruki Murakami (b. 1949). Haruki Murakami repeatedly mentions the name Yukio Mishima in his books. But Murakami himself mentioned Sakhalin in episodes of the novel "Sheep Hunting", and then in the company of friends visited the island in the summer of 2003.

To this day, many of the life and creative aspirations of Yukio Mishima still remain closed to the Russian reader. But secrets are eventually revealed. The Sakhalin trail in the world of Yukio Mishima and his heroes is outlined only in outline. And, perhaps, someday it will take on more concrete outlines, unexpected and intriguing. Such discoveries are within the power of attentive and meticulous readers of the books of this Japanese writer, whose biography and creativity are just opening up in the cultural dimension of world literature.

1 For more information about the biography of Yukio Mishima, see: Chkhartishvili G. The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima, or How to destroy the temple / / Mishima Yukio. Roman, novellas, plays / Translated from English, foreword by G. Chkhartishvili. St. Petersburg, 1993, pp. 3-30.

Mishima Yukio. 2 Confessions of a Mask / Translated from English by G. Chkhartishvili. St. Petersburg, 2002, p. 99.

3 Ibid., p. 9.

4 Ibid., p. 9.

5 Ibid., pp. 9-10.

6 Ibid., p. 10.

7 Ibid., p. 10.

8 Ibid., p. 11.

Bishop Sergiy (Tikhomirov). 9 Na Yuzhnom Sakhalina (iz putevykh nastimok) [On Southern Sakhalin (from travel notes)]. Kraevedcheskiy bulletin, 1991, No. 1, pp. 33-141.

10 Ibid., p. 119.

11 Bishop Sergius in some fragments of his work sometimes correctly writes the surname Nakagawa, and sometimes slightly distorts it, calling the deputy governor Yokagawa. The same applies to other Japanese surnames used in the Russian priest's book.

Bishop Sergiy (Tikhomirov). 12 Edict. op. p. 119.

13 Bishop Sergius is somewhat mistaken in this passage: Sadataro Hiraoka had been governor for just over three years.

Bishop Sergiy (Tikhomirov). 14 Edict. op. p. 139.

15 Toyohara - the name of the administrative center of Karafuto. Toyohara became the main city of Karafuto in 1908, during the governorship of Mishima's grandfather Yukio. Currently-Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the regional center of the Sakhalin region.

16 Ibid., p. 139.

17 Ibid.

18 For the fate of the monument, see: Fedorchuk S. Alien Memory. Governor-reformer / / Soviet Sakhalin, 26.09.2007. P. 3; On the activities of Sadataro Hiraoki as governor, see: Fedorchuk S. Alien memory. Having earned love and recognition / / Soviet Sakhalin, 21.11.2007. p. 3.

19 Japan's most prestigious Gakushuin High School (formerly known as the Peerage School) was graduated by both Emperor Hirohito and his wife Nagako, who was a pupil of the lyceum's women's department.


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