Yukio Mishima - well respected Author who had a haywire side.
Yukio Mishima – well respected Author who had a haywire side.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Readers Almanac – Interview with Yukio Mishima – October 30, 1965 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Unless you’re an avid reader, the name Yukio Mishima may not mean anything to you. Or you may recall the name in connection with the Paul Shrader film Mishima, which came out in 1985. Or, the name may be familiar in connection with a spectacular coup attempt and Mishima’s public suicide in November of 1970.

In any event, it’s unlikely you’ve ever actually heard an interview with the author many considered to be Japan’s Greatest Novelist and Poet, who was nominated three times for a Nobel Prize in Literature. He was considered a controversial writer, mixing the avant-garde with traditional Japanese values, but he was widely respected and read throughout  his career.

His political life was another matter, and this was the thing which brought him to an untimely end, as part of a radical right-wing group bent on overthrowing the Japanese government. And when the coup failed to gather anything but laughter from the military he was attempting to incite, he staged a dramatic and very public ritual suicide.

This interview comes from October 1965 and was an episode from the syndicated radio program Writers Almanac. Mishima is in New York to promote the English translation and release of his then-latest novel The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (which was made into a movie).

Here is that long-lost interview with an all-but forgotten writer, whose work was among the landmark accomplishments of the time.

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