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The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion

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Because of the boyhood trauma of seeing his mother make love to another man in the presence of his dying father, Mizoguchi becomes a hopeless stutterer. Taunted by his schoolmates, he feels utterly alone untill he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto, where he develops an all-consuming obsession with the temple's beauty. This powerful story of dedication and sacrifice brings together Mishima's preoccupations with violence, desire, religion and national history to dazzling effect.

247 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1956

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About the author

Yukio Mishima

412 books7,075 followers
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, the Sea of Fertility tetralogy—which contains the novels Spring Snow (1969), Runaway Horses (1969), The Temple of Dawn (1970), and The Decay of the Angel (1971)—is considered one of the definitive works of twentieth-century Japanese fiction. In 1970, at the age of forty-five and the day after completing the last novel in the Fertility series, Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide)—a spectacular death that attracted worldwide attention.

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Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,100 reviews7,192 followers
February 3, 2021
A classic by one of Japan’s most famous authors. It’s largely based on a real-life story. As we are told in the introduction, in 1950 a Buddhist temple, a national architectural treasure built in 1398, was burned to the ground by a young Buddhist acolyte. The young man intended to commit ritual suicide afterward but he lost his nerve and was imprisoned. The young man had a severe stutter and thought of himself as ugly. An exactly reconstructed temple still stands today.


So Mishima starts us off with a young man who has a severe stutter and considers himself ugly. This is very much a psychological novel that puts us into the mind of this fictional young man as much as Crime and Punishment puts us into the mind of Raskolnikov.

I imagine there aren’t a lot of novels written about stutterers, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the author’s portrayal of this disability. (Joe Biden overcame a stuttering problem.) A main theme is that the delays in his ability to speak and to respond put a time-delay barrier between the young man and the world. He thinks of the analogy of a rusty key in an old squeaky lock. When he speaks, he sees people look fretfully at him; they are relieved when he stops talking; maybe they understood some of it, but WHAT HE SAYS has little importance in this process. It’s interesting that the narrator tells us that when the man speaks English (to give tours of the temple to American GI’s) he doesn’t stutter.

I’ll use some passages directly from the author to give an idea of the writing style and the feel of the book:

“The matter was entirely self-evident: my feelings suffered from stuttering. They never emerged on time. As a result, I felt as though the fact of Father‘s death and the fact of my being sad were two isolated things, having no connection and not infringing on each other in the slightest.”


“…the fact of not being understood by others had been my sole source of pride since my early youth, and I have not the slightest impulse to express myself in such a way that I might be understood.”

The boy was raised in another temple – his father was a Buddhist priest and he was a “temple brat.” Apparently “temple brats" were looked down upon by society, so as a child the boy was bullied by the other kids for his stuttering, his looks and his family status. His father dreamed of the Temple of the Golden Pavilion and the son fulfilled his father’s wish by becoming an acolyte at the Golden Pavilion. The Temple and its beauty become an obsession with the young man. Like the delay between him and the world caused by his stuttering, the beauty of the Temple now causes a barrier between him and the world:

“I felt no intimacy with anything in the world except the Golden Temple…”

“Between the girl and myself, between life and myself, there invariably appeared the Golden Temple.”

“When I thought that, whatever happened, the Golden Temple was going to be burned down, unbearable things came quite bearable.”

A major theme is good and evil, structured around two friends who are also temple acolytes while college students. One friend is polite and caring, the other is arrogant, self-centered and abusive toward women. “My small theft [of flowers from the temple garden] had made me feel cheerful. The first things that my contact with [his evil friend] always produced were small acts of immorality, small desecrations, small evils.”

Some other passages I liked:

[On Japanese flower arranging:] “The flowers and leaves, which had formerly existed as they were, had now been transformed into flowers and leaves as they ought to be.

“Once again I was struck by the fact that mediocrity did not wane in the slightest when people grew old.”

Einstein would like this: “The continuity of our lives is preserved by being surrounded by the solidified substance of time which has lasted for a given period. Take, for example, a small drawer, which the carpenter has made for the convenience of some household. With the passage of time, the actual form of this drawer is surpassed by time itself and, after the decades and centuries have elapsed, it is as though time had become solidified and had assumed that form.”


Mishima (1925-1970) is one of Japan’s most famous authors. He’s obviously a favorite of mine since I’ve read seven of his books including his tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. I highly recommend this book as a classic psychological novel.

Top photo of the Temple of the Golden Pavilion from timeinc.net
Buddhist monks in Japan from tokyotimes.com
A Japanese flower arrangement from viator.com/tours
The author from cdn.britannica.com

Profile Image for Luís.
1,943 reviews608 followers
September 23, 2023
In 1950, a young novice in Kyoto set fire to the Golden Pavilion, the city's most famous temple. From this drama, which shook Japan, Yukio Mishima set out to tell the fictionalized story of Mizoguchi, the young incendiary monk. But beyond the novel item, the writer recounts the psychological journey of a tortured boy, complexed by his horror and stuttering, obsessed with beauty, of which the Golden Pavilion is, in his eyes, the purest form. Unfortunately, his poor childhood in Japan was devastated by the Second World War, alongside an unfaithful mother who transmitted to him his excessive love. Upon his arrival at the Pavilion to be a novice, we discover a young man who gradually sinks into madness, committing irreversible harm.
Words are too weak to speak of this masterful text's beauty and poetry. Without judging and taking sides, Yukio Mishima describes the initiatory journey of a young man who was his contemporary. Ugly and stuttering, Mizoguchi could have come to terms with his handicaps, flourished in the shadow of the object of his love, and not one day become the prior of this sacred place. His friendship with the luminous Tsurukawa, a novice like him, encouraged him in this direction. But the dark Kashiwagi, a student in the same high school as him, will reveal his darkness and perversity. Driven by this evil genius, Mizoguchi moves away from the past and sinks into depravity. Symbol of Beauty, therefore of what it is not and will never be, the Golden Pavilion becomes the object of love/hate until its reflections lead it to the idea that it is this absolute beauty that prevents him from living. Has he ever been uglier, physically and in his heart, anywhere than near this prodigious temple? No, and that is why she will have to destroy it to finally integrate herself into life in a world free of this constant reminder of beauty.
A suitable tone novel calls for many reflections on the beautiful, the good, the bad, and the madness. To be read, of course, for the nuanced psychological analysis of the torch and the sensual descriptions of this extraordinary place in a superb natural setting.
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,442 followers
March 30, 2023
Am o mare problemă cu literatura japoneză. Am mai scris despre asta. Am citit și recitit Templul de aur de Yukio Mishima de cîteva ori. Fără folos. N-am sesizat intenția autorului. Dincolo de subiectul propriu-zis nu am putut trece.

Romanul m-a derutat complet, nu i-am priceput deloc sensul. Am încercat odată să-l comentez, m-am chinuit o săptămînă și tot nu mi-a reușit mare lucru. Cînd nu e să pricepi, nu pricepi. Punct. Dincolo de sensul literal (un tînăr călugăr buddhist dă foc vestitului templu dintr-un impuls obscur), nu am descoperit altceva. Bun. Omul dă foc Templului de aur, fiindcă așa are el chef, ceva l-a stîrnit (Frumosul, ne dumiresc exegeții, dar ce are Frumosul cu focul?). Motivul accesului destructiv rămîne obscur. Obiceiul european de a gîndi mă împinge să caut o rațiune. Dar un gaijin mediocru ca mine n-o poate sesiza. Asta e.

În Japonia, toate templele sînt de lemn (rezistă la cutremure, dar putrezesc, și pe măsură ce putrezesc, sînt reparate), nu este nici o scofală să le incendiezi, chiar dacă gestul tău e scandalos. Le poți ridica la loc, pretinzi că identitatea lor nu s-a schimbat, nici o problemă. Mai greu e să pricepi de ce un tînăr chiar a dat foc Templului de aur. Mishima pornește de la un caz real. Subtilitatea gestului a fost prea tăioasă pentru mine. M-am lăsat păgubaș. Poate că literatura de acest fel nici nu trebuie citită după un canon european. Poate că se cuvine să te concentrezi doar la sensul ei literal, senzual. Sau la altceva. Sau la nimic...
(26.03.23, duminică, Tokyo)
Profile Image for Adam Dalva.
Author 8 books1,639 followers
August 11, 2019
"I walked back and forth in front of the Nishijin police station. It was evening and several of the windows were brightly lit. I noticed a police-detective hurrying into the building. He was wearing an open-neck shirt and was carrying a briefcase. No one paid any attention too me. No one had paid any attention to me during the past twenty years and under present conditions this was bound to continue. Under present conditions I was still a person of no importance. In this country of Japan there were people by the million, by the tens of millions, who were tucked away in corners and to whom no one paid any attention. I still belonged to their ranks. The world felt not the slightest concern as to whether these people lived or died and for this reason there was something reassuring about them."

An odd, intriguing read, one that reminded me of Dostoevsky or Camus, in that it seemed as much a parable as a narrative. I won't spoil the plot, but Mishima cannily took a real event, changed little, and made it a psychological profile of a young man in turmoil. The lead, a stuttering acolyte at a temple in Kyoto, is unlikable - after a childhood trauma, he becomes hopelessly obsessed with the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The book presents him with various interlocutors and sexual temptations, all of which lead to an inevitable crescendo.

What frightened me - what made me pull the paragraph above - is the insight that Mishima has into the mind of the young domestic terrorist. Mizoguchi, the lead, is a primordial version of an incel, and his cool rationalization of the inexplicable is chilling. Though the novel drags through the occasional parable and has a preposterous coincidence at its core (a minor character keeps appearing in different subplots with no real explanation), it is an accomplishment.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,635 followers
May 3, 2017
This story by Mishima is a beautiful tale about obsession and how it destroys the bearer. It is a fable loosely based on the true story of the burning of the Kinka-kuji temple in Kyoto (I visited it once - it is absolutely sublime!) A must read for entering into the awesome universe of Mishima's writing.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,489 reviews2,373 followers
February 7, 2017
I have twice in the past tried to read Mishima, firstly 'Spring Snow' which at the time for what ever reason just couldn't seem to get into it, although will definitely return there in due course. Secondly had a go at 'The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea' but didn't like his nihilistic portrayal of youth. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion was far more accessible and enticing, but still retained a serious and disturbing tone. Based on this evidence, Mishima was somebody that held traditional Japanese religion very highly, and reading through this it was almost impossible to shake off the though of his ritual suicide, and if I had to pick one key word that best describes this work, that would be 'sacrifice'.

Following the footsteps of protagonist Mizoguchi who enters into the Buddhist priesthood, gives a compulsive insight to a life of strict code and dedication. After witnessing the radiance of a famous temple in Kyoto with his dying Father, Mizoguchi becomes transfixed, and believes his future is set in stone regarding his ambitions. Turning against his Mother for reasons of sexual deviation, he becomes more or less a loner,after losing his good friend Tsurukawa, he drifts through his life and education, giving himself to the temple he would see a change in his person, with one true focus that left me shocked, stunned and sorrowful.

Of all the Japanese writer's I have come across so far, Mishima is probably the best in terms of depth, the narrative here is precise and absorbing, and as mentioned before this was a great place to start for a first timer. You really get a sense of this world, and as a westerner reading of the east there is always something educational to pick up on. The temple itself feels just as much alive as all those within.
So it would come as no surprise that the ending didn't sit well with me, how could a place of such historical significance be treated in this way?, I am sure there is some sort of deeper meaning to the ending, but by this time I had given up caring, as the actions of Mizoguchi where just far too self-centered and disrespectful to his ancestors. Also Mishima's perception of women in this novel were not exactly doing them any favours either. But his writing I strongly admire and will no doubt read more of his work, beautifully descriptive but also savagely doom-laden.
Profile Image for Candi.
622 reviews4,714 followers
August 25, 2022
4.5 stars

Unsavory characters, unreliable narrators, philosophical ruminations, striking landscapes, and accomplished writing: Do any of these elements attract your attention? If so, then it might be time for you to give Yukio Mishima, and this book in particular, a try. Have you ever been so obsessed with an object, a person, or an idea to the extent that it completely ruins your enjoyment of daily life or your other relationships? If yes, then you might be able to find something relatable in this story (hopefully not to the same extent as we see here though!).

“As the time approached for me to come face to face with the Golden Temple, which I had never yet seen, a certain hesitation grew within me. Whatever happened, it was essential that the Golden Temple be beautiful. I therefore staked everything not so much on the objective beauty of the temple itself as on my own power to imagine its beauty.”

There have been times in my life when my imagination of a place or a person has far exceeded the reality of that which I eventually saw with my own two eyes (or felt with my heart). This is what weighed heavily on Mizoguchi, the young acolyte and protagonist of this novel. His father had been a priest of a temple in a remote part of Japan. Mizoguchi was born with a stutter and into extreme poverty. His family’s wishes were for him to join the Golden Temple and to someday succeed the Superior there. This dream, along with the image of a beautiful girl named Uiko, were the two things that were blown so out of proportion in the boy’s mind that he was never fully able to accept or even recognize other forms of beauty. His relationships with women inevitably paralyze him. Certainly he could not see anything but ugliness in himself.

“… my own attachment to the temple was entirely rooted in my own ugliness.”

Obsession becomes debilitating. In some cases, it can make one spiral to the depths of darkness and perhaps evil itself. What Mishima does here is nothing short of a brilliant character study. You’ll find yourself within Mizoguchi’s head for a period of time, and it’s not a very pleasant place to be – but it’s extremely fascinating! It’s somewhat like an excursion into the mind of either a sociopath or a psychopath. (Somebody well-versed in psychology could probably properly label this guy.) We see him in contrast to his acquaintances, Tsurukawa and Kashiwagi. When he commits a heinous act, it becomes more and more evident down which road he is now headed.

“For my deed had settled like gold dust within my memory and had begun to give off a glittering light that constantly pierced my eyes. The glitter of evil. Yes, that was it. It may have been a very minor evil, but I was now endowed with the vivid consciousness that I had in fact committed evil. This consciousness hung like some decoration on the inside of my breast.”

This was my first experience with Mishima’s writing and it won’t be my last. If I could be granted one tiny wish it would be a wee bit less philosophizing on the same topic (in this case, beauty). But then again, when one is obsessed… well, as Mishima has shown us, and as we might know rather personally, obsession is crippling. Now if you’ll excuse me while I log onto Goodreads; I can’t get through a day without it…

“I could never get over the feeling that every single experience that I might enjoy in my life had already been experienced by me previously in a more brilliant form.”
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
1,016 reviews1,182 followers
October 7, 2019
4 and a half stars, rounded up.

In 1950, a young monk set the beautiful Kinkaku-Ji, or Golden Pavilion, on fire. This acolyte was arrested but ultimately released, as he was declared mentally ill. This act of arson shocked Japan deeply, as the building was a protected national monument, and special instructions had even been given so that it not be damaged during the War and occupation. Knowing what we know about Mishima’s politics and interests, I’m not surprised that the event fascinated him: he researched the topic in great details, going as far as visiting the young monk during his imprisonment. His fictionalization of the monk’s life and ultimate criminal act is not a simple retelling. It is a deeply troubling character study, and Mishima uses the character of Mizogushi to express his own thoughts about his country’s history, his views on Rinzai Zen, love and sex, but especially the role of beauty in our temporary existence.

I say it’s a troubling character study because while there was no official word for them back then, if he lived today, we would certainly call Mizogushi an incel. A boyhood trauma about his mother’s sexuality aggravates the young boy’s already painful stutter, and taints his perception of women and of sex. Because of his speech impediment, he is mercilessly bullied by his schoolmates, and learning to become unnoticeable becomes the only defence mechanism this poor man has. The years of isolation and distrust builds up into massive resentment and warps his understanding of the Buddhist teachings he receives as an acolyte (two famous koans are often discussed in rather troubling ways). No summary can aptly do justice to the intricate work done by Mishima to explore the reasoning and motivations leading the troubled young man to destroy what he sees as the most beautiful thing in the world.

When Mizogushi develops a friendship with – and a certain admiration for – Kashiwagi, it paints a unsettling picture of how easily seduced one can be by what Mishima eloquently describes as "the golden sheen of evil". It is also soon after making that toxic friendship that his obsession with the Temple takes an even more sinister turn. But it is also clear that while Kashiwagi fans the flames (pun intended) on the flaws of Mizogushi's character, he is not responsible for his friends actions. In fact, Mishima is very careful to illustrate the many different factors that play in making Mizogushi who and what he is.

Mizogushi’s act would be called domestic terrorism in today’s parlance. Considering current events, it can be chilling to realize how well Mishima captured the increasingly disturbed state of mind of his protagonist. The alienation and rejection experienced by Mizogushi is described with great skill, as is the process through which this sense of otherness corrupts him. Mishima explores the philosophical, spiritual and political ideas that fuel Mizogushi’s actions, but are they really convictions on his part, or simply a justification with which he conceals his anger and feelings of betrayal? Nihilism and suicidal ideation are common through Mishima’s work, which given the way he chose to end his life, is not really a surprise.

Some reviewers have drawn parallels between Mishima and Dostoyevsky (my favourite is this one: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), who is coincidentally next on my reading list; I’m very curious to read “Crime and Punishment” this week, and see if I agree with the comparison.

While this is less poetic than "Spring Snow" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), it's a more riveting book, because while you already know what happens at the end, the journey there is both fascinating and repulsive.


As I read “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, there was a lot of buzz about the new “Joker” movie all over my various feeds; the movie isn’t even out yet, but it's already very divisive and controversial, as audiences can’t seem to figure out if they are supposed to sympathize with an incel turned violent criminal or if they should despise him. I think it’s actually very interesting; this sort of ambiguity about how you should feel towards repugnant characters is exactly what Mishima did with this book (and what Nabokov did with Humbert in “Lolita”, come to think of it), and I feel like challenging readers or movie goers to mull over this ambiguity is important. I’m beginning to think that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you feel about a character like Mizogushi or the Joker: it only matters that you wrestle with that feeling and that you reflect on the fact that people like that do not happen in a vacuum.
Profile Image for Jimmy Cline.
150 reviews194 followers
March 27, 2015
On 1 July 1950, during the Allied Occupation of Japan, a Buddhist monk by the name of Yoken Hayashi set fire to the Kinkaku-ji, or, as it is known in English ‘The Temple of the Golden Pavilion’. Yoken was a man of little consequence; a character in history, who, had he not committed such an acrimonious act, would not have been remembered today. He suffered from a debilitating stutter, and was considered ugly by many of his peers.

It is often conjectured that Yoken was either schizophrenic or suffered from some degree of mental illness. And yet some observers, such as the Japanese literary scholar Donald Keene, think that Yoken’s motives to destroy the Kinkaku-ji were inspired by feelings of indignation regarding the commercialization of Buddhist temples during the Occupation. The only known insight that Yoken has offered on his crime was “ … I do not believe that I have done anything wrong. It is said that a national treasure has been burned, but that seems more or less meaningless.” To this day, his true motives cease to be completely understood. Some years later, the iconoclastic Japanese novelist Mishima Yukio researched the burning of the Kinkaku-ji, using it as source material for a deeply philosophical novel entitled The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

The Kinkaku-ji – its proper name was the Rokuon-ji – is a by-product of Muromachi culture, and was originally a villa built by the statesman Saoinji Kintsune. It was subsequently purchased by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After the death of Yoshimitsu, what was once intended as a relaxing place to escape the pressures of the administrative duties of the Shogunate, was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple. The particular sect of Buddhism practiced was Rinzai Buddhism, which focuses on meditation and koans (Japanese riddles); it is one of the three main sects of Zen Buddhism in Japan. It was in this building that Yoken trained to become a Zen priest as his father had. Bathed in the luster of its gold covering, embodying aspects of Chinese-style architecture and Heian aesthetics, this three-storied double-roofed structure located at the edge of a pond, surrounded by lush forestry, is truly an image of cultural beauty.

In developing the character of Mizoguchi, who is based on Yoken, Mishima wanted to create a figure whose personal deformities – his stutter and his ugliness – provoke an obsession with a symbol of pure beauty. Early in the novel, Mizoguchi’s fascination with the Kinkaku-ji is inspired by, what he sees as its permanence in a world full of death and constant decay, “I knew and believed that, amid all the changes of the world, The Golden Temple remained there safe and immutable.” Against the historical backdrop of the Pacific War, Mizoguchi sees a good deal of death around him. Uiko a local girl he knew in Maizuru, is killed by the Kempeitai (Japanese military police) for sleeping with a deserter, his father passes, as well as his close friend Tsurukawa (later revealed to be a suicide), and he witnesses the devastation reaped by the Pacific War, specifically the air raids throughout Japan.

Kyoto, where the Kinkaku-ji is located, was an exception during this time. During the strategic aerial bombings orchestrated by Curtis Lemay, Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s one request was that Kyoto not be destroyed, as it was the cultural heart of the Japan and, most notably, its former Imperial capital; the focus was on the more industrialized areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. It is this quality of immutability that Mizoguchi sees in the Kinkaku-ji that eventually inspires feelings of hatred. Initially, he decides to burn down the temple because he assumes that it will eventually be destroyed as many lives around him have, but the resilience of this ancient structure is what motivates him into action.

And ultimately, action, not words, is what is truly important to both Mizoguchi and Mishima. Later in the novel, Mizoguchi befriends a fellow deformed student with ‘clubbed feet’ named Kashiwagi. He admires Kashiwagi because as he saw it, “I understood that he disliked lasting beauty. His likings were limited to things such as music, which vanished instantly, or flower arrangements, which faded in a matter of days; he loathed architecture and literature.” Though it has been commented on before, it’s tempting here to draw the ultimate artistic parallel: that between Yoken’s act of burning down the Kinkaku-ji, and Mishima’s attempted coup d’etat in 1970 resulting in his suicide.

In this light, the question becomes one of whether the dramatic actions of these men were motivated by political realities, or it was because both of them were so disturbed by the impermanent nature of beauty in the real world that they felt the need to destroy it in order to free themselves from the oppressive philosophical weight of its transient essence. Considering his reverence for the Heian aesthetic, Buddhism, and Japanese nationalism, it’s likely that Mishima saw in Yoken, an act of protest against the increasing modernity prevalent in Japanese culture and social life after the war. In spite of Mishima’s apparent fondness for European literature and philosophy, as well as his interest in American culture, he saw Japan’s situation as relatively hopeless. In the years leading up to his death, he confided in his close friend, the Japanese film scholar Donald Richie that for Japan “there is nothing to save.” This leads Richie to speculate on Mishima’s motives for his suicide, “When I learned of his suicide that is what I first remembered-that he already knew that there was nothing more to save. His may have been a political statement, an aesthetic statement, but it was also a despairing personal statement.” This last line is the most striking: “a despairing personal statement.”

It’s questionable that Yoken’s character was as deeply philosophical as he is portrayed by Mishima. Rather, in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion Mizoguchi comes off as a literary mouthpiece for Mishima’s thematic obsession with the fleeting nature of existence. This melancholy preoccupation with the transient nature of life was first articulated with precision by the 18th century philosopher and literary critic Motoori Norinaga whose interpretation of the Heian period classic The Tale of Genji viewed the book in the context of mono no aware, or “ a sensitivity to things". This same thematic concept, one seemingly more poetic and artistic than political, is also embodied in Mishima’s rendition of the famous Noh play Sotoba Komachi, which is more of a mono no aware take on femininity. In his book on Noh theater, William T. Vollmann opines that, “Mishima continually implies that the beauty of femininity’s mask is not merely delusory, but dangerous, distracting, voracious: the ruination of male energy." Again, there is a clearly defined thematic concern with aging and transience in Mishima’s take on the destruction and passing of beauty; this time on the grotesque Noh figure of Komachi. Mishima was also very fond of Lady Murasaki’s classic tale of the “shining prince.”

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a rich, complicated novel, as are many of Mishima’s other books. While the theme of mono no aware is predominant throughout this fictional account of a crazed Buddhist acolyte and his relatively inscrutable actions, there are metaphysical Aristotelian musings; Mizoguchi’s distinction between the world of words that creates his inner world, and the outer world of reality. The hypocrisy of Zen Buddhism is called into question: the Superior's courting of a geisha, which is reminiscent of the character of Redshirt in Natsume Soseki’s Botchan. And above all else, a Japan that was experiencing the American influence of the military, postwar poverty, and a diminishing faith in the kokutai after Emperor Hirohito was renounced his divinity.

While all of these historical details add depth to the story of a man who many thought was insane, if not just painfully dull, the most powerful theme is the hatred of beautiful things. This hatred and cruelty, as Mizoguchi describes it are, again, inspired by the unattainable nature of beauty. As Mizoguchi declares, in conversation with Kashiwagi, right before he’s about to finally put his words into action and tap into that “outer reality”, “Beauty, beautiful things,’ I continued, ‘those are my most deadly enemies." And for Mishima, this was also true. His life, in its many guises and forms, was a continuous pursuit of, and battle with, the transient essence of beauty. Whether he found it in the literary classics of Japan, ancient temples, femininity, or the nationalistic fervor of the kokutai, the profound effect that beauty had on Mishima’s life, in the end, made living unbearable.
Profile Image for Pedro.
197 reviews430 followers
October 15, 2021
It only took me a couple of pages to start feeling completely mesmerised by the protagonist’s voice. The first person point of view when properly done (like within this example) is always one of the best devices an author can use to pull me straight into a story. A couple of pages later and I started to feel like our hero was not the little angel I first thought he was! By the time I reached page fifty, I was completely sure this was going to be one of those novels populated only by extremely unlikeable characters. As it turned out I was completely right.

But wait, let’s not get so far ahead. Let me tell you a bit more about my reading experience before getting to the extremely satisfying ending.

So, this coming of age story/character study is quite a philosophical read, and even though this never got heavy to the point of slowing the story down or taking it to ‘boring’ territory, I found that some of it still went straight over my head. I guess that can happen when one spends so much time inside a character’s mind, and I’m only mentioning it because that’s the reason why this didn’t quite reach the heights of a (complete) five star reading experience.

Okay, so now that the ‘bad stuff’ is out of the way, let me tell you why I think you’re probably missing a lot if you haven’t picked up this one already. Well, I think we’re all familiar with obsession, right? We all at some point in our lives have wanted or desired something or someone to the point of feeling that life was only worth living if we could have the object of our desire. Please, let me know if I’m just writing nonsense or if you think I’m taking my own experiences as a reflection of general human behaviour. I’m completely open to different opinions.

As much as I think obsessive feelings can become quite self destructive, they can also show a good deal about ourselves and our quest for beauty.

Never had the temple displayed so hard a beauty - a beauty that transcended my own image, yes, that transcended the entire world of reality, a beauty that bore no relation to any form of evanescence! Never before had its beauty shone like this, rejecting every sort of meaning.

The temple here works like any other possibly beautiful thing. It doesn’t really matter if we’re talking about a temple, a book, a mountain, a song or another human being. I believe the point of this is how much that beauty can reveal about ourselves and also what we would be willing to do to get to the reason of our obsession.

Masterful storytelling and stunning imagery.
Plenty of food for thought and twists and turns to make you keep on turning the pages.
A great, great read.
Probably the most challenging and complex Japanese novel I’ve ever read.

Oh, right, now the ending, yes: haunting and completely satisfying. I’m actually completely obsessed with it, which possibly means that Mishima achieved what he wanted to, where I’m concerned at least!
Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,207 followers
March 7, 2022

When the Golden Temple got bombed, perhaps the phoenix statue at the rooftop would be awakened as a real undying phoenix and rose from the flame and the ashes.

"Peace was kept when death and violence were on display publicly and regularly. So the one thing that should be made public properly is execution."

Actually, I read the Taiwanese translation of the story( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...), so the above quotes are not from the English translation.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

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

I think the first half of the novel is really brilliant and it can easily win 4 or 5 stars. The author Yukio Mishima, wrote in a slightly semi-autobiographical way, a twisted coming of age story, and this coming of age story is based on a real incident of a young monk's burning of Temple of the Golden Pavilion in the post WWII era.

However, near the ending part and the narration about the MC doing damages to his own life starts to drag, that's why the rating has been lowered.

What I really like about the story is the description of the young protagonist's reaction on Japan's defeat in WWII, his inferior complex due to his physical disability and a 'weak, unimpressive' body (I can envision Mishima applying his own thoughts and emotion on these parts), and his obsession with the shining perfection which is the Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

In the few Mr. Mishima's novels that I'd read, there are always an obsession with beauty and perfection and death, love and betrayal, nihility and destruction, etc. Without those elements, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion would simply fall apart as a novel. Plus I really like how Mr. Mishima described his young MC's sense of alienation and being rejected by the normal world---I can imagine this sense of alienation is relied to Mr. Misima being a homosexual young man growing up in the WWII Japan, where the existence of homosexuality or other forms of sexual deviance and desires were barely even acknowledged.

I've never been to the real-life Temple of the Golden Pavilion before, but I'd been to the Temple of the Silver Pavilion (a.k.a. Jishō-ji or Ginkaku-ji) during my visit to Kyoto:

(Link: https://www.deviantart.com/vampirekik...)

(Link: https://www.deviantart.com/vampirekik...)
Profile Image for Deniz Balcı.
Author 2 books600 followers
October 17, 2017
'Altın Köşk Tapınağı' yapısıyla bir üst-kurmaca özelliği taşırken, aslında yazarın bütün eserlerinde gördüğümüz 'kendisi' merkezli bir roman. Konusunu, 1950 senesinde, Kyoto'da yaşanan gerçek bir olaydan alan kitap; Mishima'nın elinde çok katmanlı, karanlık bir düşünme şeklinin gösterisi haline gelmiş. Bu 'Denizi Yitiren Denizci'den alışkın olduğumuz bir şey aslında, ancak orada hikayenin kontürlerini çok iyi çizen Mishima, Noburo karakteri üzerinden yoğun felsefi aktarımlara girişmiyordu ya da 'Bir Maskenin İtirafları'ndaki otobiyografik sayıklamalar bu kadar düzensiz ve kapalı değildi. Buradaki 'karanlık dil' benim zaman zaman 'Bereket Denizi' kitaplarında hissettiğim ancak hiçbir zaman hikayenin önüne geçtiğine tanık olmadığım cinsten. Mishima'nın bu çabasında, olayın gerçekten yaşanmış olmasının getirdiği gerçeklik ve suçlunun psikolojik bozukluğunu silerek, esere kendi kafasındaki Mizoguchi imgesini yansıtma gayreti yatıyor olabilir, bilemiyorum. Ancak ne olursa olsun, romandan hikayeyi çıkarırsak elimizde salt Mishima'nın düşünceleri kalıyor.

'Altın Köşk Tapınağı' Mishima'nın 1956'da yazmış olduğu, o zamana değin yayımlandığı romanların beşincisi. Daha sonraki romanlarının bazılarında da işlediğini gördüğümüz 'tutku' kavramını burada da oldukça tutkulu bir şekilde ele almış. Bu roman, Mishima'nın bir çok romanının aksine yayımlandığından 3 sene sonra Batı dillerine çevrilmiş. Muhtemelen bunda 'Bir Maskenin İtirafları'nın devam eden yankıları ve 'Altın Köşk Tapınağı'nda anlattığı öykünün medyatik ve güncel yönü etkili olmuştur. Sebep ne olursa olsun, bunun Mishima'yı dünyaya tanıtan ilk hamlenin devamı olduğunu söyleyebiliriz.

Kitapta (gerçek olaylarda olduğu gibi) çömezliğini geçirmek üzere 'Altın Köşk Tapınağı'na gelen, kekeme ve çirkin bir keşiş adayı olan Mizoguchi'nin öyküsü anlatılmaktadır. Normal hayatta şizofreni ve kişilik bozukluğuna sahip olan Mizoguchi, Mishima'nın kurmacasında psikolojik olarak sağlıklı, sadece bazı açılardan sıra dışı düşünen bir karakterdir. Tıpkı Mishima'nın kendisi gibi.

Kekemelik durumu ve kekemelerin hisleri Mishima tarafından o kadar ustalıkla anlatılmış ki, buna hayran kaldığımı söylemem lazım. Özellikle, kekemelerin hayat içinde karşılanış şeklini değil, hayatın kekemeler tarafından ne şekilde karşılandığını anlatmış olması çok hoşuma gitti.

Mizoguchi, roman boyunca ailesel travmalarının gölgesinde mistik ve nereye yerleştireceğini bilemediği hisleriyle uğraşırken; bir yandan da 'dünyanın en güzel şeyi' olarak simgeleştirdiği 'Altın Köşk Tapınağı' etrafında 'güzellik' kavramını sorguluyor. Mishima, karakterinin kafasına girip, onların ağzından kendi düşüncelerini aktarıp, bunu okuyucusuna kolaylıkla geçirebilen, onları ikna edebilen bir yazar. Bu romanda da bunun en iyi örneklerinden birini gösteriyor. Güzellik kavgasında bir Mizoguchi, bir Tsurukuva, bir Kaşivagi gibi düşünür buluyoruz kendimizi.

Her şey bir kenara bırakırsak çeviri muazzam. Ali Volkan Erdemir çok yetkin bir çeviri ortaya koymuş. Hatta elimizdeki en iyi Mishima çevirisi olarak ele alınabilir, bana kalırsa.

Bundan sonrası spoiler içerir.

İlk bölümde, Mizoguchi'nin ilk hayran olduğu kadın Uiko'nun kısmi intiharı oldukça dramatik şekilde ele alınmış. Neredeyse bir melodram havasında, Uiko'yu Kongo Tapınağı'nda sevdiğinin yanına koşarken görürüz, ancak tapınağın tam ortasına gelmişken öldürülür ve sevdiği kaçak asker de hemen ardından intihar eder. Bu ilk öykü, aslında eser boyunca ana karakterin, buradan hareketle bir şeyler doğuracağı hissini veriyor. Ki zaten eser boyunca da Uiko resmen bir leitmotif gibi hikayeyi bütünleyen ayrıntı oluyor.

Sonrasında 'Altın Köşk Tapınağı'nı anlatmaya başlayan Mizoguchi, yaptığı pitoresk mekan tasvirleri ile bizi de oldukça büyülüyor. Zaten karakter de 'güzellik' kavramıyla girişeceği saplantılı sürecin sinyallerini ilk kez burada veriyor. Akabinde babasını kaybeden Mizoguchi, büyüme sancıları çekerken kendini yalnızca tapınağa teslim edebiliyor. Karakterin keşişlikle olan saplantılı ilişkisi, zaman zaman başkeşiş, zaman zaman babasının hayaleti, zaman zaman annesinin beklentileri yüzünden tıpkı Altın Köşk gibi eklektik bir şekilde bölünüp, parçalanıp, şekilleniyor. Burada Mizoguchi'nin her gün tapınak ile yeniden tanışması ve onu her gün başka bir şekilde görme, gözünde güzelleştirme çabasını okuyoruz. Bu bana Osamu Dazai'nin 'Buruk Ayrılık' kitabındaki Çinli Zu ile ana karakterin dağda karşılaşması ve onca şairin uğruna şiirler yazdığı manzarayı; onlar gibi görme çabalarını hatırlattı. Orada bir kez yaşanan farkındalık, burada her gün yaşanan bezdirici bir şey haline dönüşüyor. Annesi ile çatışmalarına değindiği noktada, Mizoguchi üzerinde travmatik bir etkiye sahip olan olaylarla karşılaşıyoruz. Mishima'nın kutsal olan şeylere karşı hınçla yaklaşmasını biraz Marques de Sade'ın eserlerine benzetiyorum. Buradaki anne üzerinden de benzer bir şeyi yapıyor Mishima.

Mizguchi'nin okulda kendine arkadaş olarak seçtiği, ayakları yumru şeklinde olan engelli Kaşivagi'nin ilk tanışmada anlattığı bekaretini yitirme öyküsü bence Mishima'nın dehasına bir örnek. Fikirlerin özünde yatan şeyleri sevmeyecek olsanız bile bence aktarış şekli okumaya değer. Bu estetik ve oyunbaz tavrı açıkçası beni inanılmaz motive ediyor, bana ilham oluyor. Kaşivagi, sonrasında Mizoguchi tarafından zaman zaman itici bulunsa da; bana göre Mishima'nın alteregosu olarak kitapta yer alıyor. Kaşivagi'nin hiç yabancı gelmemesi, daha dün yanında oturduğum arkadaşım gibi olması bundan sebep diyorum.

Tsurukuva'nın ölümü kitabın ve karakterin dönüm noktalarından biri oluyor. Kaşivagi ile daha da yakınlaşan Mizoguchi, diğer yandan tapınağa rağmen, tapınağın içindekilerin çirkinlikleri ile de tanışıyor. İyi tarafını Tsurukuva ile kaybettiğini düşünen Mizoguchi, belki de gerçek anlamda kötülük yapmasını engellediğini hissettiği, arzu nesnesi 'Altın Köşk Tapınağı'ndan uzağa gitme isteğiyle fiziki bir yolculuğa çıkıyor. Bunu gerçekleştirmeyi başarıp, denizin kenarına geldiğinde, kendisiyle giriştiği kavgayı sonlandırıyor ve içindeki eylem arzusunu ve olası eylemselliğin sonuçlarını keşfediyor. Buraları okurken hep kendi hayatımdan bir hareket noktası bulup, onu anımsadım. Geçmişime bu gözle bakmamış olduğum, farkında olmasam da benzer hislerle hareket ettiğimi kavradım. İnanılmaz gerçekten.

Bu arada daha dün okumuş olduğum Engin Türkgeldi'nin 'Orada Bir Yerde' isimli öykü kitabının son öyküsünde de benzer bir temanın işlendiğini hatırlayınca garip oldum. Güzellik ve felaket arasındaki, Mishima'dan alışkın olduğumuz ilişki; Türkgeldi'nin öyküsünde de oldukça naif bir şekilde işlenmişti. Buraya da not düşeyim dedim.

Diğer taraftan tapınağın yakın zamanda yok olacağını öngören Mizoguchi çevresinde çatışma yaşadığı her şeyle barışıyor. Tıpkı ölümle barışan, ölmekten korkmayan insanların daha yaşarken hissettikleri o huzur gibi. Mizoguchi'nin bu tavrı bana aslında Mishima'nın son günlerini anımsattı. Mishima'nın elem sonuna dair bütün eserlerinde bir iz bulmak mümkün, buradaki bağırsak imgesi gibi vs. Ama beni en çok Mizoguchi'nin tapınağı yakmaya karar vermesi ile yaktığı zaman arasındaki halinin, nedense Mishima'nın son günlerine dair bilgi sahibi olabildiklerimize çok benzemesi. Eserlerinden Mishima'yı izlemek bana ayrı bir keyif veriyor.

Kitabın sekizinci bölümünde Kaşivagi ile Mizoguchi arasında geçen farkındalık-eylemsellik muhabbeti ise; benim için tek başına parlayan bir kısım oldu. Birkaç kere okuma ihtiyacı hissettim. Yine düşüncenin hikaye içerisinde aktarılmasının en ustaca örneklerinden biri ve bana kalırsa çok haklı.

Daha çok şey denilebilir. Biraz demlenmeye bırakmam en iyisi olacak sanırım. Daha yeni bitti, biraz kafanın sakinleşmesi lazım.

Herkese iyi okumalar!

Profile Image for P.E..
776 reviews558 followers
April 14, 2021
Worshipper Iconoclast

A painted photograph of the Kinkaku-ji before the arson.

A photograph following the 1950 arson

A photograph of the newly built Kinkaku-ji in 2016

Rather than a fully-fleshed out account of the story (many reviews can offer you that in a much more articulate way than I, such as Matthew's or Jim's), here are a few strong parallels that dawned on me while reading this formidable story, written so exquisitely:

The downward spiral initiated by emperor Caligula after the death of his sister (and mistress) Drusilla... Slightly reminiscent of how the unrequited admiration for Uiko seems to accelerate, if not entail the whole monomania in Mizoguchi:

Iconoclasm, individual freedom, the here and now are debated in:
Freedom from the Known

Regarding the main character's resentment towards Beauty (the Cosmos?), his wishing others to be utterly debased or annihilated before him, it all evokes Notes from Underground

In its painstaking study of the mobiles of a crime, this story (inspired by the actual arson of the temple) is stunningly reminiscent of Crime and Punishment... Not to mention the extremely unsettling hints and seemingly meaningful references to his own musings the main character stumbles on everywhere!

In Souvenir, the short essay 'Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes', centers on subjective and objective reality ('idios kosmos', 'koinos kosmos'). Also note that in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Mizoguchi receives a O-mikuji (oracle or 'sacred lot') in the Kenkun Shrine, which is not a little reminiscent of the actual...The I Ching or Book of Changes itself.

Martian Time-Slip. Be it only because of Manfred's point of view and its similarities (and differences) with Mizoguchi's.

Life is Elsewhere
All's in the title.


The chapters in Le Japon regarding Japan's complex relationship with American occupation forces, among others.

But to me the most striking element in this story hands down is how it almost encapulates all instalments of the Sea of Fertility cycle, one way or another...


- Kiyoaki's isolation from the world in Spring Snow

- Isao's obsession in [[book:Runaway Horses|62812]]

- How infinity is vested in the architecture of Siamese temples (and Honda's notions) in The Temple of Dawn, echoing Mizoguchi's enduring obsession with the Golden Pavilion.

- Toru's universal hatred in The Decay of the Angel

B'Boom - King Crimson
Profile Image for Eddie Watkins.
Author 6 books5,470 followers
September 8, 2016
To make one Mishima take one dehydrated Dostoevsky; remove all hair and whiskers (go all the way! give old Dos a full Brazilian!) then polish to a steely sheen; carefully remove the heart and brain; take the heart between both hands and squeeze, using occult Buddhist techniques, until the heart’s emotional essence is drop by drop converted into intellectual conceits; collect these drops and add to brain; replace squeezed-out Dostoevsky heart with something pitiless; rehydrate with fanaticism and disembodied compassion and send it on its way through a convoluted and deterministic universe. This recipe good for only one side of Mishima, as he appears to have been a man who, even as he refined his mind and body to a single point of final intensity, kept his myriad contradictions in solution to serve as goad and fuel for that single-minded intensity. The more I think about it the less sense the recipe makes (as in even this one aspects of mercurial Mishima have already slipped through its measurements and proportions), so scrap the recipe, but let its memory linger in the mind as a kind of partial ghost image, an echo of a meaning that never quite was; which is appropriate as Mishima was - at times (as in this book) - an anti-intellectual intellectual, a man for whom words, thoughts, ideas were thoroughly plastic and manipulable, able to fill-out and justify any cockamamie idea, and so in a way meaningless, though still of course powerful enough to exert an inexpugnable sway. What does one do when faced with such an intellectual dilemma? Burn what is perceived as the wellspring of intellectual aesthetic permanence down to the ground so as to more directly access the infinite root network of instinctual reality, if only for a moment… Mishima must have delighted in the idea of writing this book, as working from an existing true story fulfilled his needs, even at the meta level, of a determined world, of fate as the driving force, even as his natural intensity and intellectual fire attempted to transcend the actual flames and convoluted messiness of this world to present a fleeting image of perfection, as a glance through an infinitely-faceted crystal, of an apotheosis, a single moment that briefly encapsulates a hydra-headed life.
Profile Image for AiK.
545 reviews134 followers
December 28, 2022
Мрачный философский роман о добре и зле, красоте, сознании и деянии, жизни и смерти. Местами философия крайне странна. Например, рассуждения о красоте котенка, отсечении его головы и надевании обуви на голову. Это кажется каким-то ненормальным ходом мыслей, трудно осознаваемым современным человеком.
На мой взгляд, главный герой с детства был более склонен к злу, нежели к добру, возможно, этому можно дать объяснение наличием физического недостатка – заикания, при наличии которого злые люди травят, дразнят, что может пробудить злое начало в человеке. А может Мидзогути имел склонность к злу вне зависимости от заикания. Автор не открывает нам это. Он лишь упоминает, что наш герой имел планы проникнуть в планы зла (довольно необычное желание для юноши, впрочем, это говорит о том, что он думающий человек). У него изначально были мысли втереться в доверие настоятелю, получить статус его преемника, а потом отравить его. С первых дней нахождения в монастыре он проявляет свое злое начало – это и эпизод с наступанием на живот проститутки, и сигареты настоятелю, чтобы быть замеченным, до этого были проклятие Уико, презрение к матери. Никаких проявлений доброты у Мидзогути не видно и в помине в романе. Рядом с ним в монастыре были два друга – Цурукава, воплощение доброты, и Касиваги, эдакий змей-искуситель, воплощение зла, показавший, что в жизни всегда есть окольный путь, с черного хода. Цурукава погибает в самом начале романа, как выяснится позже, это было самоубийство. Весь жизненный путь Мидзогути – это нравственный выбор, и каждый раз он делает его в пользу зла. Эти мелкие шажки, то это «проверка на прочность» настоятеля путем прогуливания занятий в университете, подкидывания ему открытки с гейшей, с которой он его случайно встретил, то растрата денег на обучение и много чего, то это святотатство над могилами, и последним шагом в сторону зла становится сожжение храма. Делая осознанный выбор в сторону зла (решение сделать) и его «деяние», главный герой тем не менее задает себе вопрос: «Возможно ли в этом мире зло?». Это тоже кажется странным, ненормальным. Если ты сам делаешь выбор, то зачем же спрашивать, возможно ли зло? Конечно, возможно, если его делать. Также совершенно непонятно его решение сжечь храм, которое для него является абсолютом красоты и совершенства, и покончить жизнь самоубийством, для чего припасен был нож и яд. В романе есть его обдумывание, Например, одним из мотивов является, что между героем и женщиной всегда вставал храм. Но это не храм виноват, а его сознание. Еще один постулат в обсуждении с Касиваги о том, что красота только жаждет сна и забвения, под надежной защитой сознания. Тоже очень непонятная причина для сжигания. В общем, Кинкакудзи он сжигает, но выбежав из пожара, он выбирает жизнь, причем опять здесь нет описания душевных переживаний, а циничная констатация, что на душе было спокойно, как после хорошо выполненной работы. Роман на этом заканчивается, оставляя за читателем право домыслить, как Мидзогути жил дальше после содеянного, встречался ли с настоятелем, как ему хватило совести посмотреть ему в глаза и подобные вопросы.
Я не понимаю строк из «Риндзайроку» «Встретишь Будду – убей Будду» и как через это достичь просветления. Мне нужно глубже изучить буддизм, чтобы понять эти строки.
Мисима делает очевидную отсылку на «Преступление и наказание» Достоевского. Но его отличие от этого романа- это непроницаемость души героя для читателя, автор не раскрывает ее. Из-за этого, он нам кажется психически ненормальным, лишенным всяких эмоций. На мой взгляд, роман недоработан, хотя и затрагивает очень важные вопросы.
Profile Image for Ken.
Author 3 books969 followers
October 31, 2021
Six degrees of separation. Books play the game too. Specifically the books you read, which seem to know each other or relate to each other in unexpected ways or at least to have seen each other once in the subway (each peeking at the other’s cover, trying not to judge or feel jealous).

WIth apologies to Kevin Bacon, I thought of that while reading Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The first Mishima I read, Spring Snow, was done while bedridden for a week with the flu (the only time I can recall getting the flu -- by that, I mean the more innocent version from more innocent times).

The time and place made that book memorable. This one, too, won’t be easily forgotten. Based on a real-life event in 1950 Japan, it takes a deep dive into the psychology of a twisted teenager who stutters and whose best “friend” is another twisted teenager who has club feet. Roll this Dostoevskian gunpowder with the structure and strictures of Zen Buddhism. Lay it at the feet of a temple that is hundreds of years old -- the titular Golden Pavilion which, thanks to Mishima’s facility with description, looms as the largest character of all -- and you get a compelling train wreck in the making (or in “slow motion,” thanks to the page-turning).

Which brings me back to connections. A while back I read a book (Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping) about modern-day writing workshops in college settings. Seems remote to Mishima, I admit, but the author, Matthew Salesses, argued that our literary tastes are often uninformed prejudices of a provincial sort. One example he provided? Coincidences.

Guilty as charged, I admit to feeling the old annoyance to coincidences while reading this. Again and again, the anti-hero (sorry, but I’m on Team Pavilion) sees characters from afar, only to bump into them again close-up later in the narrative. One of Salesses' points was that, in Eastern traditions, coincidence is not a weakness, it is a tradition. Meanwhile, the Western reader is working himself up about suspensions of disbelief (a meal laid on the table by Aristotle, later hosted by Coleridge and many others). Said reader complains that too much coincidence throws the game board off a book's table, ruining everything.

And so it was that I told myself to relax and take a deep breath, leaning in to this connection, seeing this supposed weakness as a strength, as an example of a Japanese writer being quintessentially Japanese.

Then there was the scene where our protagonist meets a rather delightful prostitute. I kept thinking of another lost youth, Holden Caulfield, and his experience with a young hooker named Sunny (I think her name was). I kept wondering if Salinger had called Mishima up (Holden always wanted to phone authors he liked), or at least if J.D. had read Mishima’s book. Stands to reason, considering Salinger’s well-documented fascination with Buddhism.

The third connection came when I kept thinking of all the Buddhist-related books I’ve read. Consider Thich Nhat Hanh's massive output, for instance. Buddhism in such a pure light. The religion that isn’t a religion (really). The gentleness, passiveness, peacefulness.

All of these books were like paper ships tossing on the high seas of Mishima’s disruptive narrative. Violence toward a kitten as a koan of consequence. A Buddhist Superior who likes his liquor and loves his ladies. A protagonist who is an acolyte of Doom.

But really, what won me over more than anything was the descriptive writing that brought the temple and the pond around it and the shadows within it to life. It kept shifting. It kept looming even when out of sight. It kept messing with the protagonist's head in all the right ways, like a psychologist trying to salvage something from the Prince of Nothingness -- or of nihilism, a word that kept coming to mind, leading Kevin Bacon to whisper something about Bazarov in Ivan Turgenev's Fathers & Sons. (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.)

And in the end, a special irony, wherein Mishima uses something as inconsequential as a cigarette close up -- foreshadowed, coincidentally, in an earlier incident where a student sneaks a smoke in the distance -- to make a simply profound (profoundly simple?) statement about the protagonist.

That part reminded me not of other books, but of modern headlines in newspapers. Agents of destruction who forgive themselves for the deeds they've done. The cult of Self that doesn’t seem to recognize itself. You know. The thing Buddhists warn us about but, in this case, that goes unheeded.

In the end, my closed Western mind, crying for justice, was a bit uncomfortable and unsatisfied, but the opening, yet young Eastern mind was sated. Or at least learning to be sated, thanks to degrees of separation. Separation from its own literary background, upbringing, and prejudices.
Profile Image for Meike.
1,589 reviews2,809 followers
April 18, 2020
English: The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion
This classic novel is based on a real incident: In 1950, an aspiring Buddhist monk set fire to the title-giving Golden Pavilion, a 14th century Zen temple in Kyoto. Mishima was fascinated by the story of the young criminal who at the trial stated that he wanted to destroy the building because of its beauty - the author, whose own obsession with beauty is reflected throughout his works, even visited the arsonist in prison while working on the fictionalization of these events. The outcome is an intriguing tour-de-force rendered from the perspective of a stuttering, neurotic young narrator who projects his own needs on a sacred temple and gets lost in a mental maelstrom of his own making.

As we follow our protagonist from his childhood through his time at university and as an acolyte, witnessing how he is easily manipulated and severed from his surroundings by his stilted emotions and urge to gain power / control, the complex psychological dynamics reflect many themes that are typical for Mishima: Apart from beauty, the text ponders youth, sex, traditional Japanese values, loyalty, nihilism, Westernization, dignity, and - as if this was a Mishima bingo - suicide. While the atmosphere of the story oscillates between mania and depression, it becomes more and more claustrophobic.

Many aspects of the book appear like Zen riddles (so not only those which actually are Zen riddles), and it's utterly absorbing: This novel is a philosophical psychogram of a person and a country. The German translation by the wonderful Ursula Gräfe is once again superb.
Profile Image for ArturoBelano.
99 reviews291 followers
July 13, 2018
Yukio Mişima hep bir gün sırası gelecek olan yazarlardan biriydi benim için ve bir türlü sırası gelmeyenlerden. Herkesin vardır böyle yazarları, kesin okuyacağım deyip bir türlü başlamadıkları. Kısmet bugüneymiş. okuma grubumuzun bu ay okuyacağı iki kitaptan biriydi Altın Köşk Tapınağı, yoksa ben Mişima’ya buradan başlamayı hiç düşünmemiştim. Ben genelde büyük yazarların en bilinen, en temel denilen eserleri ile başlarım okumalarıma, oradan diğer eserlerine geçer, dertlerinin izini sürerim. Bu tarz bir okumanın metni çözümlemede az ekmeğini yemedim. Neyse buradan başladık, atladığım hususlar muhakkak olmuştur, ileride dönmek zorunda da kalabilirim bu esere, şimdilik ilk elden şunu diyeyim çok iyi bir kitaptı, öneren arkadaşa teşekkür ederim.

Evvela Mişima’nın dili ve gözlem gücünü çok beğendim. İnsanın gün yüzünü çıkmamış, belki kendi içinde dahi dile getiremediği arızalı halleri onun kaleminde billurlaşıp önünüze seriliyor. Adeta bir röntgenci edasıyla çizdiği karakterin derinliklerinden taşan karanlığı okurken kendinizi “ bunu ben de düşünmüştüm” derken yakalıyorsunuz. Diğer eserleri nasıl çevrildi bilmiyorum ancak bu çok iyiydi, Ali Volkan Erdemir güzel bir iş çıkarmış. Gelelim bol spoiler içeren kısma;

Yukio Mişima Lacan okumuş mudur ya da Lacangil kavramlardan haberdar mıdır bilmiyorum ancak Mizoguçinin “mutlu son” ile biten hikayesini buradan okumanın işlevsel olacağını düşünüyorum.

“ Dünyanın bir yerlerinde beni bekleyen, henüz benim kendimin bile bilmediği bir görevim olduğu hissine kapılıyordum”

Budist bir keşişin oğlu olan Mizoguçi’nin dilsel ve duygusal kekemeliği (Gün gibi açıktı durum. Duygularımda da kekemelik vardı. Duygularım da hiçbir zaman zamanında yetişemiyordu.) dışında esas “sakatlığı” babanın adı, babanın yasası tarafından iğdiş edilmiş olmasındadır. Küçüklüğünden itibaren babasının büyük övgü ile bahsettiği, dünyada ondan güzel bir şey olamaz dediği Altın köşk Tapınağı’nın halesi ile büyülenmiştir. Kendisi ne kadar çirkin, ne kadar değersiz ise Altın Tapınak tam tersi bütün güzelliklerin kendinde vücut bulduğu merkezdir. Kitap boyunca etkisini hissedeceğimiz Uiko’ nun yoluna çıktığında belki başka yere evrilecek kaderi, eyleminin kadük kalması sonucunda boşa düşmüş ve mizoguçi’nin öznelliğinin üstü en başından babanın yasası tarafından çizilerek büyük ötekinin arzusu, o ulaşılamaz parça öznelliğinin hakikat yanılsaması olmuştur.

Altın Köşk Tapınağı ile ilk karşılaşması babanın ölümünden sonra tapınağa baş keşiş yardımcısı olarak gitmesi ile olur ve Tapınağın gerçekliği en başta bir hayal kırıklığı yaratır. Beklediği güzellikten eser yoktur, ancak baba ölse de babalar, yasalar ve tanrılar dünyası iç dünyasında dimdik ayaktadır. Olmayan güzellik tekrar keşfedilir. Bu keşifte tek arkadaşı Tsurugava’nın da payı muhakkak. Tapınak tekrar halesine kavuşmuştur, savaş ve yıkım tehdidi onu daha da güzelleştirir.

" Bir gün gelecek ve sana ben hükmedeceğim. Bir daha asla yoluma çıkamayacağın şekilde "

David Lynch’in Kayıp Otoban’ının izleyenler hatırlar, yaptığı eylemin ağırlığını kaldıramayan baş karakter yarattığı fantazmatik dünyada da istediğine ulaşamaz ve filmin sonlarında seviştiği kadın “bana asla sahip olamazsın” der ve fantezi dünyası çöker. Bir gün baş keşiş olmayı umduğu tapınağa dair fantezileri bir anda çökmez Mizoguçi’nin. Tsurugava’nın ölümü, baş keşişin geyşaları, annesinin sinsi gözleri, kaşivaganın yumru ayakları, tekmelediği kadın, okulu asmaları, göl kenarları ve elbette kadınlar.” Kadınlarla aramda, yaşamla aramda değişmez bir şekilde Altın Tapınak beliriyordu.”

“Elin parmaklarıyla sonsuzluğa dokunup diğeriyle yaşama dokunmak olanaksızdı”

Altın Tapınak büyüdükçe karşısında ezilen Mizoguçi’nin üstü çizilmiş öznelliğinin, “sakat”lığının fakına vardığı an, gündelik hayatın basit mutluluklarından, mutsuzluklarından dışlandığını görmesi ile mümkün olur. “ Yine orada altın tapınak göründü.daha doğrusu meme, altın tapınaka dönüştü.” Nefretten başka bir duygu tanımayan, annesine umutlu diye düşman kesilen, anlaşılmamayı meziyet sanan bakir karakterimizin ilk küçük “mutluluk” anlarını “Altın tapınakı yakmalıyım” fikrine ulaştıktan sonra görüyoruz. Bu kararı aldığı yeri anlatırken “burada kendi kendime yetiyordum. Burada hiçbir şey tarafından tehdit edilmiyordum.” diye belirtmesini de önemli görüyorum.

“ Çünkü baş keşişi öldürsem de onun keşiş tıraşı edilmiş kafası, acizlikten oluşan kötülüğü, karanlık bir ufuktan sonsuza dek tekrar tekrar görünecekti.”

Tapınağa zorunlu dönüşünün ardından yakma yerine baş keşişi öldürme fikrine kapılsa da “doğru yolu” tekrar bulacaktır. Burada Badiou’nun hakikat kavramının bir sağlamasını da görmek mümkün. Badiou Varlık ve Olay kitabında hakikat ancak mevcut durumdan, düzenden, rutinden radikal bir kopuş neticesinde zuhur edebilir diyordu. Bireyin, özne olabilmesi için işte bu radikal kopuşa sebep olan olaya bağlılık göstermesi ile mümkündür. Keşişin ölümü karanlık bir ufukta tekrar tekrar görünecekse eğer mizoguçi özgürleşmek için ilk kararında ısrar etmelidir. “Baş keşişe duyduğum nefreti unutmuştum. Annemden de arkadaşlarımdan da her şeyden özgür kalmıştım.” Artık Altın Tapınağın gölgesi vurmadan bir kadının memelerine bakacaktır Mizoguçi ( meme deyip geçmeyin, kitapta önemli yer tutuyor)

Babanın hayırından özgürleşmek yasanın ihlali ile mümkün olsa da yasalar sadece dıştan gelmez, biz onları zaten çoktan içselleştirmişizdir. Mizoguçi’de bundan muaf değil ve tam eyleminin ortasında kısa bir tereddüt anı yaşar, kararını sorgular ve ancak çıkışı yine Zen Budizminin içinde bulur.Rinsaroku kitabındaki şu pasaj elinden tutar; “Buda’yla karşılaştığında Buda’yı öldür, atanla karşılaştığında atanı öldür,Buda’nın müridiyle karşılaştığında müridi öldür… işte ancak o zaman kurtuluşa erersin..” Özgürleşme kişinin kendini tutsak eden yasa ve kurumları işlevsiz kılması ile mümkündür bu yoruma göre ancak yetmez, sahip olduğu her şeyi de o ateşin içinde yakacaktır Mizoguçi.

Ve geldik mutlu sona; eylemin ve kitabın sonunda Mizoguçi’yi sigara içerken görürüz; “bir işi yapıp bitirdikten sonra sigara içen erkeklerin yaptığı gibi. Yaşamak istiyordum”
Profile Image for Lars Jerlach.
Author 3 books161 followers
November 11, 2017
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion traces the curious relationship between a young stuttering priest named Mizoguchi and the Golden Pavilion, from the time when his father first introduces him to the serene and incomparable beauty of the temple, to the moment when, having finally destroyed it, he smokes a cigarette in an almost post coital act of defiance.

Until this last dramatic act, the Golden Pavilion has dominated MIzugushi’s life, constantly changing its meaning in his confused but charged mind, from a reassuring foundation for his belief to a menacing authority that lays over him like a subjugating presence and he finally comes to the conclusion that only by destroying the pavilion can he truly free himself from its eternal grip.

From the beginning of the novel when Mizogushi as a young boy, lying next to his dying dad, witnesses his mother’s infidelity, the novel quickly evolves into a philosophical meditation on the qualities of anger/ forgiveness, attraction/ repulsion and of the all encompassing question of the significance and standard of external and internal beauty.

One of the rather interesting strategic elements in the narrative is that it’s particularly hard to feel compassion for Mizogushi, who’s portrayed as a self obsessed, reticent and somewhat cruel individual. Mishima has crafted his protagonist’s narrative voice extremely well, and although it’s sometimes hard to agree with his choices, they all seem to make sense within his obsessive reality.

The novel is philosophically rich and some of the most fundamental questions that we ask ourselves are succinctly addressed in the narrative: How beauty can exist in a world of evil, how a single moment like the physical placement of a single blade of grass can be understood contrasted against the cosmic physical world, and ultimately how we constantly seek to understand ourselves.

The book is wonderfully written, the prose is inspired and evocative, and I particularly appreciate the underlying tone of ineradicable despair, even when objects of great beauty is described.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Peiman E iran.
1,429 reviews694 followers
February 2, 2019
‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، داستانِ این کتاب، از این قرار است که در سالِ 1950 میلادی، یکی از معبدهایِ مشهورِ بودائیان در شهرِ توکیوِ ژاپن، در آتش سوخت و نابود شد... کتابخوانها و فرهنگ دوستانِ ژاپنی، نمیتوانستند این حادثهٔ تلخ را فراموش کنند و بر این باور بودند که هیچ چیز نمیتواند چنین آثار ارزنده و تاریخی را برگردانده و یا بازسازی کند... از سویِ دیگر روزنامه نگارها نیز سوژه ای مهم به دست آورده و بر این باور بودند که یک موجودِ نادان، عقده ای و یا کینه توز، این معبدِ طلائی را به آتش کشیده است
‎در همان روزِ مهمِ آتش سوزی، شخصی به نامِ <هایاشی شوکن> در حالِ بازی "گو" با دوستانش بود و تا ساعتِ یازده شب به بازی با مهره هایِ "گو" ادامه داد و سپس به خانه رفت... در ساعتِ دو شب، به یکباره لباسها و تخت خوابش را برداشت و به گوشه ای برد و همهٔ آنها را به آتش کشید... سپس تریاک خورد و خنجری در دست گرفت و به سبکِ ژاپنی هایِ باستان، خنجر را در شکمش فرو کرد تا به روشِ "هاراکیری" خودکشی کند... ولی عجیب آن است که او با این ضربه کشته نشد و روزِ بعد، او را دردمند و ضعیف، در تپه ای نزدیک به معبدِ طلائی، پیدا کردند.... آن روز، هرچه مردم از هایاشی پرس و جو کردند، تمامیِ پاسخ هایِ هایاشی، موهوم و درهم برهم بود و کسی از سخنهایِ او سر در نیاورد.. ولی آنچه مشخص است، این است که هایاشی، از پیروانِ شاخه ای از بودایی میباشد و بر این باور است که: آنچه استادان و برگزیدگانِ دینی و سنت، گفته اند، نادرست است و تو باید همه چیز را خودت تجربه کرده و به حقیقت دست یابی
‎به نظر میرسد، پس از سوخته شدنِ معبدِ طلائی، هایاشی که پیروِ فرقهٔ به خصوصی از بودا میباشد، به حالِ مراقبه و مکاشفه، فرو رفته! و بنا به دلایلی، زنده ماندن را جایز نمیدانسته است.... درکل، داستان حولِ محورِ فلسفهٔ فکری و دینیِ هایاشی شوکن، میگردد... بهتر است خودتان این رمان را خوانده و از چند و چونِ داستان و سرانجامِ آن آگاه شوید
‎جالب است بدانید که نویسندهٔ این کتاب <میشیما یوکیو> که علاقهٔ بسیار زیادی به سنتهایِ سرزمینِ ژاپن دارد، به سبکِ "هاراکیری" یا همان پاره کردنِ شکم به سبکِ ژاپنِ باستان، به زندگیِ خویش، پایان داد
‎امیدوارم این ریویو در جهتِ آشنایی با این کتاب، کافی و مفید بوده باشه
‎<پیروز باشید و ایرانی>
Profile Image for Matthew Ted.
765 reviews659 followers
January 8, 2020
My 107th book of the year, and my third Mishima book. I think Mishima is one of the most interesting writers in the world. His death is shocking, his work is beautiful. He was born into a samurai family and he was gay, but with a wife and two children. I also recently learnt that David Bowie was a massive fan of Mishima's, so much so that he painted a portrait of him and hung it over his bed.

Mishima is most famous for his novel 'The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea', which was my introduction to his work. Although it was a lighter book, easier to read and had more 'drama', I think this, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (TTofGP) is better.

Personally, it's better for me. It's a story about obsession, which always interests me, be it the Ring in Lord of the Rings or Zweig's 'Chess' story. The plot, in essence, is a young man being obsessed with a temple. Pretty simple. There are other things too, things that I now expect from Mishima books: suicide, philosophy, Zen and strange characters (here we have a clubfooted character and our protagonist has a stutter).

The setting is what drew me in more than anything though, Kyoto. The Temple itself, the mountains it inhabits, the sounds and the descriptions of the landscape are magnificently done in this novel, which makes me wonder where this power of observation slips to in the other two books I've read, 'Sailor' and 'Thirst for Love'. I saw a Q&A once where someone was asked the question: an amazing story and bad writing or a crap story and amazing writing? Without a doubt, for me, it is the latter. Especially as I've grown older, story doesn't bother me so much. What excites me, in reading, is the description, the power of words and the feelings they create. The story is just a byproduct. This novel really transports you, in the way I like books to do; I will write some quotes below in the review to capture some of Mishima's wonderful use of language.

There's not much I can say about the plot. I realised, on reading the blurb AFTER finishing the book, that the novel is based on an 'actual incident'. In fact, let's borrow some more of the blurb:

'Taunted by his schoolmates, he feels utterly alone until he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto, where he develops an obsession with the temple's beauty. In the novel's soaring climax, he tries desperately to free himself from his fixation.' That says it better than me. Quote time.

As for themes, these quotes illustrate some of the protagonist's mindset:

'What I dreamed of was something like a huge heavenly compressor that would bring down disasters, cataclysms and superhuman tragedies, that would crush beneath it all human beings and all objects, irrespective of their ugliness or their beauty.'

'As I have said again and again, the fact of not being understood was the very reason for my existence.'

My favourite description of the Temple:

'The Golden Temple stood before me, towered before me, like some terrifying pause in a piece of music, like some resonant silence.'

A shockingly detailed, focused moment of description written by Mishima with the most minute detail:

'...and the snowflakes touched my teeth, making a noise as if the were striking a very thin piece of tin foil.'

And to finish, some lovely descriptions I would like to record:

'It was a wild sea. The waves surged forwards in an almost continuous mass, hardly letting one see the smooth, grey gulfs that lay between one wave and the next. Piled up over the open sea, the great cumuli of clouds revealed a heaviness and, at the same time, a delicacy. For that heavy, undefined accumulation of cloud had for its edging a line as light and cold as that of the most delicate feather, and in its centre it enveloped a faint blue sky of whose actual existence one could not be sure. Behind the zinc-coloured waters rose the purple-black mountains of the cape. Everything was imbued with agitation and immobility, with a dark, ever-moving force, with the coagulated feeling of metal.'

'Where I stood it was not raining hard enough to make any ripples. The pond steamed in the rain and seemed to stretch out endlessly into the distance. The air was full of moisture.'

'I opened the window and exposed myself to the north wind. In the direction of the sea the clouds were pursuing that leisurely, ponderous game of theirs, which they did not mean anyone to see. These clouds seemed to be a reflection of some aimless impulse of nature. In certain parts of them one could see fragments of sky - small, blue crystals of clear intelligence. The sea itself was invisible.'
Profile Image for Raul.
295 reviews210 followers
January 28, 2021
For a long time, I avoided writing reviews. Simply because I felt that I lacked the proper words and sufficient literary knowledge to do the books read justice. However, sooner or later, we come across something that heightens our levels of experience and stirs within us an inexplicable desire to discuss it with everyone and anyone we know, starting with the first person we meet, and this book made me feel this way and more.

Based on an actual event, the story, narrates of the tragic love story between an acolyte and his temple. Mizoguchi, the protagonist, is a priestly apprentice embittered since childhood because of his ugliness, poverty and stuttering. From the beginning, Mishima introduces a reclusive and sinister character in Mizoguchi, who feels his lack of beauty can only be expiated by possessing the emblem and epitome of beauty, which is in this case the golden temple.

It is difficult to express how captivating this book, which is mostly driven by philosophical dialogues about beauty, life and destruction based on Zen Buddhism, is. Mishima does something with what can be mundane and tedious into such beautiful prose, which can be compared to the words of Mizoguchi towards his friend Tsurukawa,"... seemed to me like an alchemist who could transform tin into gold".
Profile Image for emily.
381 reviews255 followers
July 28, 2023
‘Because the fact of not being understood by other people had become my only real source of pride, I was never confronted by any impulse to express things and to make others understand something that I knew. I thought that those things which could be seen by others were not ordained for me. My solitude grew more and more obese, just like a pig.’

‘With life, with carnal pleasure, with treachery, with hatred and with love – yes, with every possible thing in this world. And my memory preferred to deny and to overlook the element of the sublime that lurked in all these things.’

It has taken me a few months to resume/edit/post my review – and I few reasons for that. One of them being how I have the novel to blame for (if not its ways of rekindling then of how it has been) setting my gardening urges (an understatement) on a raging, unrelenting wave of flames. Like his other novels, Mishima makes grand references to nature that are strongly reminiscent of (visual) ‘art’ – especially of old Japanese floral paintings. The way Mishima wrote about something as simple as ‘rain’ was brilliantly magical but in the most ordinary sense. It was an absolute pleasure to read this novel – filled with beautiful terror, and terrific beauty. Thanks to Matthew for the kind recommendation, otherwise I might've never read this due to the misleading blurbs. In his review, he too raves about how Mishima wrote, and used the beauty of ‘rain’ in the novel which instantly makes me feel less alone about the mesmerising power of Mishima’s writing. The whole concept of it has an uncanny resemblance to Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Beauty’ – an art installation with a dark room filled with a silky mist of rain lit by a soft rainbow glow. I experienced Eliasson’s art installation with someone precious to me, and I loved every second of it (even though I’m not a fan of humidity – particularly the artificial, man-made sorts). Did Eliasson ever read Mishima? Well, I think he should if he hasn’t.

‘She was called Uiko. Her eyes were large and clear. Perhaps because hers was a rich family, she had a haughty manner. Although people used to make much of her, one could not imagine what she was thinking when she was all by herself. Uiko was probably still a virgin, but jealous women used to gossip about her and say that her looks betokened a sterile woman.’

‘…perhaps with Uiko – I had known a more violent form of carnal joy, a sensuality that had made my entire body seem numb. This provided the source of all my later joys, and indeed those joys were merely tantamount to scooping out handfuls of water from the past. Truly I felt that at some time in the distant past I had somewhere witnessed a sunset glow of incomparable magnificence. Was it my fault that the sunsets which I had seen thereafter had always appeared more or less faded?’

Uiko, for me, was a very memorable character in the novel even though she is only indirectly associated with the protagonist. She rarely appears in the novel except at times when the protagonist is reminded of the ‘beauty’ he had experienced in his younger days. Even so, she’s not physically present at those moments. I like how the women characters are written in Mishima’s (and Dazai’s) novels/work; I’ll even push it further and say that I even like them in Akutagawa’s too (even though I can’t say I’m a fan of his novels in general). Having read all of Murakami’s novels, perhaps, that is why I’m easily pleased and surprised when it comes to this. Every time I criticise Murakami, I instantly think of the blatant disappointment on my Japanese flatmate’s face a few years back. It was the result of me proudly uttering Murakami’s name when she asked me which Japanese writer I favoured. I still appreciate Murakami’s work. I appreciate them for being my gateway books to Japanese literature, but every time I find something better (esp. from Japanese writers), I am thrilled – it makes me feel like I have grown/matured as a reader – and it makes me think of how my taste/preference in literature is constantly evolving, not stagnant.

‘Let’s put it this way – human beings possess the weapon of knowledge in order to make life bearable. For animals such things aren’t necessary. Animals don’t need knowledge or anything of the sort to make life bearable. But human beings do need something, and with knowledge they can make the very intolerableness of life a weapon, though at the same time that intolerableness is not reduced in the slightest. That’s all there is to it.’

Another character – and a character that most readers of the novel can most definitely remember is Kashiwagi. I think he’s very well written. Perhaps it’s Mishima’s intention to use him as a character who is so aesthetically corrupted that it makes every beautiful thing/person he touches a form of corruption too. Kashiwagi is someone that the protagonist is impressed with at first meeting/sight because of his wildly transgressive qualities. He encapsulates the whole philosophy of how one has the power to destroy ‘beauty’ if one is not bestowed with it. And Kashiwagi takes it further and persuades the protagonist that that is exactly what he should do. For Kashiwagi, ‘beauty’ is only physical and material, but for the protagonist, it transcends the flesh (not necessarily in a spiritual/religious way, but it surely does not exclude all that; if anything, it includes that and then makes it deliciously complicated) and this conflict is perpetuated in the continuous tension in their ‘friendship’. For Kashiwagi, ‘beauty’ is for the taking – and it can and should be used/manipulated, whereas for the protagonist, ‘beauty’ is usually connect to nature – and I’d even argue that for him, there is no real ‘beauty’ that isn’t rooted or connected to ‘nature’ in some way or another. As much as he’s obsessed with ‘beauty’, he feels hesitant and conflicted about the idea of possessing ‘beauty’. And that leads to him becoming consumed by it – if not literally then in a figurative sense? I’ve been told that Mann’s Death in Venice flirts with a similar tread of ideas when it comes to ‘beauty’ and obsession, but I’ve not read Mann’s work so I can’t say for sure.

‘The flying of the bee and the shaking of the flower did not differ in the slightest from the rustling of the wind. In this still, frozen world everything was on an equal footing, and that form which had emitted so powerful a charm was extinct. The chrysanthemum was no longer beautiful because of its form, but because of that vague name of ‘chrysanthemum’ that we give it and because of the promise contained in that name. Because I was not a bee, I was not tempted by the chrysanthemum and, because I was not a chrysanthemum, no bee yearned after me. I had been aware of a sense of fellowship with the flow of life and with all the forms in it, but now this feeling disappeared. The world had been cast away into relativity and only time was moving.’

As this is the second Mishima book that I’ve finished, I can’t be sure if all of them are as impressive as the two I’ve read. Even though they have very similar themes playing around the ideas of ‘beauty’ and existential doubts, Star and ‘The Temple of the Golden Pavilion’ are very different novels. If translated more creatively, one wouldn’t be able to tell that they both came from the same writer. I do think that Mishima’s work is something one either likes or don’t. Every time I read a Mishima, I’m always reminded of Woolf. The both of them explore different issues/ideas in their work, and are literally separated by oceans, miles and miles – age, language, and more – can’t be anymore different. But – having said that, they have a very similar ‘vibe’. If you enjoy simplistic, straightforward writing, this won’t be for you. You’re going to think that this prose is flowery as fuck (literally and figuratively). I always think of Woolf's The Waves as a novel that is written in a way that is as close as poetry as one can get while still being a work of ‘prose’. And that just about sums up my feelings of Mishima too.

'Under present conditions I was still a person of no importance. In this country of Japan there were people by the million, by the tens of millions, who were tucked away in corners and to whom no one paid any attention. I still belonged to their ranks. The world felt not the slightest concern as to whether these people lived or died and for this reason there was something reassuring about them.'

'Then I understood. What made her ugly was – hope. Incurable hope, like an obstinate case of scabies, which lodges, damp and reddish, in the infected skin, producing a constant itching, and refusing to yield to any outer force.'

Reading Mishima’s ‘The Temple of the Golden Pavilion’ reminded me of a time when I was more passionate/serious about pursuing an education/career related to ‘art’. When I was in sixth-forms, after receiving a last-minute invitation to attend Art Basel, I skipped school and got on a plane impulsively. At the event, I met an artist who had a mask on who was doing an installation(s) at the show. I pretty much spent most of my time there watching him work (or at least that how I’m remembering it now because memories do evolve on their own accord, don’t they), and he let me work on one of his pieces. He allowed me to believe that art is never personal; it’s always a shared experience. At first, I was afraid I’ll ruin his work, but he insisted he didn’t care if I ruined it; said something about how these are all priceless materials to begin with anyway – it’s people – who make them worth something.

'My spirits, which had been so cheerful when I left Kyoto, had now been drawn into memories of dead people. As I recalled…an ineffable tenderness arose within me, and I wondered whether the only human beings whom I was capable of loving were not, in fact, dead people.'

'The third-class carriage was not very crowded. There they sat – the people who were so hard to love – busily puffing away at their cigarettes or peeling tangerines.'

Thinking back now, that was such an ironic but powerful statement to make in that occasion and situation. Just because you don’t and/or can’t see the interventions (in an artwork), doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Most interventions are indirect. And nothing is truly yours. Art can only be ‘experienced’. When you purchase an artwork, is it ‘it’ itself that you’re ‘acquiring’? And is it really the artwork that is of value – or the sentiment/feeling that it transpired? I believe once you’ve ‘purchased’ an artwork, it ceases to mean much; and all you’re actually bringing home is a carcass – a memory of what it once was – the memory of your first encounter/experience of it. But it feels unfair to publicly promote this manner of thinking since artists need to sell their art to survive, but that doesn’t mean I believe my earlier statement any less. And this I believe goes hand in hand with what the protagonist felt about the temple and the general ‘beauty’ that surrounds him/his life as he ricochets between that and the chaos/tragedies.

‘Music is like a dream. At the same time it is, on the contrary, like a more distinct form of consciousness than that of our normal waking hours. Which of the two really was music, I used to wonder? Music had the power at times to reverse these two contrary things…My spirit was familiar with the joy of embodying itself in music…music was truly a consolation.’

Art. Music. Beauty. Death. Mishima, oh Mishima – he gathers them all, and composed such a glorious work of it all. I took a while to read the novel because I was taking my time with it – not wanting to finish it all in one go. The poetic quality of his prose is much better when savoured slowly. I have delayed writing my review because I’ve not been in the mood to write a review for the past couple of months. But having been introduced to Kenshi Yonezu’s music a couple days ago, for some reason, I thought about ‘The Temple of the Golden Pavilion’ once again. The protagonist in the novel is the kind of lad who would rather choose death over sustaining a life he didn’t or can’t ‘love’. If I had made this statement casually in public, anyone would have easily and quickly interjected with something like ‘only a person of privilege would say such things’. Now before we get ahead of ourselves, Mishima has cleverly written the protagonist with a background of ‘poverty’. And this I think is what makes Mishima’s writing and characterisation so powerful. The unpredictability of the story arc; the strong and complex character development, and so much more. It’s packed with wicked surprises; and dare I say – it also interferes with your perception of the world after you’re done reading it?

‘What is so ghastly about exposed intestines? Why, when we see the insides of a human being, do we have to cover our eyes in terror? Why are people so shocked at the sight of blood pouring out? Why are a man’s intestines ugly? Is it not exactly the same in quality as the beauty of youthful, glossy skin?’

‘Then I noticed the pack of cigarettes in my other pocket. I took one out and started smoking. I felt like a man who settles down for a smoke after finishing a job of work. I wanted to live.’

I adore, and/but also absolutely hate dearly the lines above about smoking. Doesn’t it then make the feelings more true because it’s more complicated? Instead of going into a lengthy discussion of Mishima’s politics/views, I will simply conclude the review with my direct feelings/reaction to the text. The end of the novel made me want to go and light a cigarette despite not having one for about two years or more now. But thankfully I wasn’t persuaded enough to do so. I’ve never, and still do not believe in the act of trying to convince someone to quit smoking unless I can be of use to them (and often I just can't afford to be of use; and much too tired usually). I do believe that sometimes a cigarette (although ‘bad’ in every way) may be the cheapest way of making one feel more connected to life, and no one has the right to shame someone’s coping mechanism if you can’t promise an alternative sense of ‘relief’ (no matter how small). I’m by no means trying to promote ‘smoking’, but this is was the easiest way to explain my thoughts about the ending of Mishima’s novel. The protagonist’s life – and life in a general sense is but a fantastically absurd blur albeit speckled with chaos and tragedy. Well, at least that’s what I think is the vibe of the ending of the this particular Mishima novel.

‘The sky bore the traces of a violent sunrise. Here and there clouds, still reflecting a red glow, moved across the blue background. It was as though the clouds had not yet been able to get over their shyness…The trees were still wet from the rain that had been falling until the previous evening. The morning glow was reflected on the dewdrops which were abundantly speckled on the surrounding shrubs and it looked as though red berries had started to grow there out of season. The cobwebs that stretched from one dewdrop to the next were also slightly red and I noticed that they were quivering.’

After reading this novel, I’m convinced that there are only a few writers who can match Mishima’s sensitivity to nature, and the world around them. One other writer that comes to mind is undoubtedly Woolf. And another one with a suspiciously similar style that I’ve recently come to like a lot is Federico Falco ( A Perfect Cemetery ). Mishima’s play on ‘beauty’ is wildly expansive and extensive. I still can’t be sure of what I think he meant to say about it, except for that ‘beauty’ and life is inseparable. To truly own ‘beauty’ is to also be dearly acquainted with death. Donna Tartt, anyone? ‘Death is the mother of beauty’ – from The Secret History. The eroticism of death, and the obsession with beauty – is obviously a Bataillean specialty, and I can’t not think of him. It’s a shame that Bataille never read Mishima; I think that he would have loved Mishima ardently. I’d recommend this to anyone with enough guts and time for the experience. And if you manage to get to the end of my rambling review of Mishima’s brilliant novel, then you might as well read the book. I’m giving the book a 4.5-star rating but I’m more than okay to round off to a full 5-star rating.

‘I knew that my stomach was going to dream. It was going to dream about sweet bread and bean-jam wafers. While my spirit dreamed about jewels, my stomach would obstinately dream about sweet bread and bean-jam wafers.’

Perhaps, I can finally read Mishima’s tetralogy now that I’m ready to bury myself deep in books? Kenshi Yonezu’s music has gently tugged me back into a reading/writing mood after a somewhat long struggle to get out a reading rut – and so I’m going to recommend some to read any Mishimas with :

Profile Image for Hakan.
209 reviews161 followers
April 24, 2018
altın köşk tapınağı yaşanmış bir olaydan yola çıkılarak yazılmış bir roman. yaşanmış-gerçek bir olayın nasıl romanlaştırılacağına dair ideal bir örnek değil ama yaşananın düşünsel altyapısının nasıl oluşturulabileceğine dair müthiş bir örnek.

bir olayı duyduğumuzda, okuduğumuzda, bir şekilde haberdar ya da tanık olduğumuzda hatta yaşadığımızda düşünmediğimiz, düşünemeyeceğimiz, dahası düşünmek istemeyeceğimiz bir noktaya götürüyor bizi mişima bu romanla. pervasız, keskin, karanlık.

romanın merkezini mişima'nın bereket denizi dörtlemesinde mükemmelleştireceği temalar oluşturuyor. güzellik özellikle dikkat çekici. güzellik kavramının çocukluktan itibaren şekillenmesi, öğretilen güzellikten hayal edilene erişemeyen güzelliğe, güzelliğin şeklen oluşup tamamlanmasından anlamının aranmasına ve nihayet anlamdan hiçliğe varan yolculuk dörtlemenin anahtarı gibi hatta.
Profile Image for Özgür Atmaca.
Author 2 books59 followers
October 20, 2017

"... Müzik rüyaya benzeyen bir şey. Aynı zamanda da rüyanın tam zıddı bir şey, sıradan uyanık saatlerimizden farklı olarak özel bir bilinçlilik haline benziyor..."

Yazma eylemlerinin içerisinde sanırım en kutsal olanı, geleneği, coğrafyası ve insan hissiyle etrafını saran tüm pencerelerden tarihi görüp anlatabilmektir.

Mişima japon edebiyatında okuduğum ikinci yazar oldu. Kendisi hakkında daha önce hiçbir cümle okumamış olmama rağmen ( ki bu daha güzelleştirdi ) yazmış olduklarıyla, ellerimin arasında cümle cümle büyüyen anlatım zenginliğiyle, hem kendi zihnini keşfetmemi hem de yaşadığı florayı kusursuzca tanımamı sağladı.

Baştan ayağa, içten dışa tabirlerinin yakıştığı ne kadar manevi yaklaşım varsa, yazarın sade, güçlü ve bir o kadar da derin anlatım gücüyle, sayfalar arasında bölüm bölüm sizi eşikten bir diğerine geçiriyor.

Mişima, kaleminin içerisine; insanın en temel yaşam prensiplerinden olan “yolculuk” felsefesinin kodlarını sıkıştırmış gibi. Karakterini, aile, kendi iç dünyası ve fiziksel dünyevi açmazlarla boğuştururken, etrafındaki resmi genişletiyor ve sonra bunları görmesini sağlıyor.

Roman’ın arka planında sinsi bir hastalık gibi ilerleyen, kendini sessizce kurgulayan, uygulayan ve tarihi değiştirmeye çalışan savaş boyutunun da en karanlık travmasını, gökyüzüne bile bakmaya korkan insanlardan anlıyoruz.

Kitabın bir başka boyutu da Japon kültürü ve gelenekleri adına küçük temalarla büyük tarihi ve coğrafi yapıların anlatımı, yemek ve müzik kültürü adına bilgiler (enstrumanlar) verilmesi, mezhepler-inanışlar-keşişler-zen budizmi’nin tanımları anlamları, geleneksel sözler (sutralar) gibi kültürün de temele alınarak anlatılması, bambaşka bir pencereden değerlendirilmesi gerektiğini gösteriyor.

Son olarak, kitabın tarihi, psikolojik ve edebi tüm kaygılarını bir kenara bırakıp ona bir yolculuk gibi bakmanın ve bu yolculuk esnasında yolda bulduğu tüm erdemleri heybesine atan küçük çocuğun, yüksek bir tepede insan olarak bu yolu sonlandırması demek sanırım beni mutlu edecektir.

Profile Image for Andrew.
2,024 reviews728 followers
September 17, 2011
Only the Japanese can write books like this, I feel. Lyrically beautiful, aesthetically driven, thoroughly homoerotic, unsettlingly fascist at points, violently modernist, violently anti-modernist, violently violent, operatically melodramatic, sexually repressed, profoundly Buddhist, religious, anti-religious, and set in a landscape of burned temples and told by a misanthropic outsider. Lord I want to go there.
Profile Image for Canon.
686 reviews80 followers
August 1, 2022
Updated review

Though intrigued by Mishima’s philosophical reflections on beauty, aesthetics, and alienation — and the madness of Mizoguchi that constitutes these themes, ever-expanding like a malignant dream palace — this was a bit of a slog for me from a narrative point of view (it induced in me what I've called "reader's languor" in my review of Fuentes' The Old Gringo). I’ll probably have more thoughts on its themes later.* I thought it began very promisingly only to muddle along most of the way before ending with a blast (literally).

— — — — — — — —

* And here they are:

"My stuttering, I need hardly say, placed an obstacle between me and the outside world. It is the first sound that I have trouble in uttering. This first sound is like a key to the door that separates my inner world from the world outside, and I have never known that key to turn smoothly in its lock. Most people, thanks to their easy command of words, can keep this door between the inner world and the outer world wide open, so that the air passes freely between the two; but for me this has been quite impossible. Thick rust has gathered on the key."

A week or so has passed since I finished this book, and what sticks with me is its central image of the temple.

I think the power of the image consists in its ambiguity as, on the one hand, an objectively existing, somewhat shabby structure, in the vicinity of Kyoto, of a particular size and age, etc., that happens to appear in the main character's life — but on the other hand, as a subjective ideal of ultimate, eternal significance.

The "subjective" existence of the temple is greater than its "objective" existence; for Mizoguchi, the temple contains, or is, a higher world of meanings that at once promises liberation and threatens imprisonment. Despite the honorific of “objective,” the subjective temple ends up exerting more causal power than the literal one, inverting the apparent realness of the two: the dream temple destroys the waking temple.

Mizoguchi variously sees the temple as containing the world, as being the world, as standing between life and himself, as containing his mind, as the structure of his mind. The temple is Beauty and liberation. It is also, precisely as something ultimate, the embodiment of everything that Mizoguchi feels imprisoned by, and that he therefore increasingly resents — his society and its history and culture and religion, his upbringing, family, class, sexuality. In short, everything out of his felt control: "Something had bestowed reality on all this without waiting for my participation; and this great, meaningless, utterly dark reality was given to me, was pressed on me, with a weight that I had until then never witnessed."

Mizoguchi is wracked by his inability to participate in "reality" and this inability is embodied in his stuttering, which always puts him out of step with what goes on around him: "my feelings suffered from stuttering. They never emerged on time. As a result, I felt as though the fact of Father's death and the fact of my being sad were two isolated things, having no connection and not infringing on each other in the slightest."

Mizoguchi attempts to cope with his alienation by taking pride in it: "the fact of not being understood by others had been my sole source of pride since my early youth, and I have not the slightest impulse to express myself in such a way that I might be understood." As the story develops, this purposeful disconnect is a losing strategy. He has to become intelligible to others by making the world bend to his will, and this means destroying the world, embracing evil.

Mizoguchi imagines his stuttering and how he will overcome it through the temple architecture constituting his world. He will unlock the doors to the world. But here's the crux: everything that oppresses him, the temple as Beauty and as existential prison, is ultimately his own invention, rooted in his own deeply traumatized, deluded psyche.

The source of the world as the Temple is himself; the Temple-World in all its significance is simply the world as perceived by Mizoguchi. Through the temple, he reifies the phantoms of his imagination into paralyzing objective structures, and thus collapses the duality between himself and the world precisely by erecting an impenetrable wall between them. His selfhood is formidable in its fragility.

And so, to me, the aesthetic theme of the book is precisely the inescapability of one's perspective, how the self's partial and fleeting vantage point is also a visionary and all-encompassing outlook that recreates the world, or, invents the world. The individual is the universal. The world is the temple, and the temple is Mizoguchi's invention. Aesthetic vision is thus sublime in being entirely quotidian; realms of grandeur or terror flowing from insubstantial moments of consciousness. Entering the aesthetic, we enter a realm of madness and extremity. Yet we are already in the realm of the aesthetic: one's existence.

And the only way Mizoguchi perceives to end his self-imprisonment is through an outbreaking act of destruction, one that depends on locating the cause of his oppression in an objective reality and then destroying it. This destructive act brings the world to heel and frees him. Only then does he "[want] to live." Though by living, he has not escaped, for the world he freed himself from was the world of his own life. The book ends in the middle of things, giving a sense of finality and liberation only by cutting off in the midst of a fleeting moment.
Profile Image for Tessa Nadir.
Author 3 books273 followers
September 3, 2021
"Cand oamenii se concentreaza asupra ideii de frumos, fara sa-si dea seama macar, ei se confrunta cu cele mai intunecate ganduri ce exista in lume. Asa cred eu ca sunt facute fiintele omenesti."
O carte malefica a lui Mishima. Intunecata, cu mare impact asupra psihicului si dureroasa prin puterea de transmitere a autorului, care este uriasa, simtindu-te practic patruns de intuneric si rautate.
Romanul este plin de personaje ticaloase de o rautate pura, totala, completa. Insa, cel mai dureros lucru este realismul, veridicitatea lor, faptul ca oameni de o asemenea factura chiar exista. Drept dovada Mishima s-a inspirat din fapte reale pentru a elabora aceasta opera.
In "Kinkakuji" naratiunea se face la persoana intai si il avem in prin plan pe Mizoguchi, un baietel, fiu de preot din Shiraku. Balbait fiind este batjocorit frecvent de catre colegii sai de scoala. Cand se indragosteste de Uiko, o fata draguta si bogata, aceasta il respinge si il umileste public. El cunoaste atunci cu adevarat ura, durerea si o blesteama pe fata. La scurt timp, ca o putere a acestui blestem, fata va avea un destin tragic.
Inainte sa moara, tatal sau il duce sa vada Templul de aur. Baiatul cade sub fascinatia acestei cladiri, care la prima vedere nu are nimic special si se intreaba "De ce esti atat de frumos, de ce e necesar sa fii frumos?"
Dupa moartea tatalui sau el ajunge ucenic la Templul de aur insa gandurile si destinul lui devin din ce in ce mai intunecate, in contrast parca cu stralucirea din ce in ce mai vie si mai puternica a Templului: "Uneori, stralucirea neobisnuita a cerului de primavara imi parea lumina lamei reci a unui topor suficient de urias cat sa cuprinda intreaga lume. Apoi asteptam ca acest topor sa cada - sa cada cu o asemenea viteza, incat nimeni sa nu mai aiba nici o clipa de ragaz."
Si acum sa ne referim la ideea centrala a romanului si anume conceptul de frumusete. Aici mi-am adus aminte de Henry James si de felul in care este privita frumusetea in operele sale. La James exista mereu ceva mai mult decat frumusete si anume oamenii desavarsiti. La Mishima in schimb avem frumusetea care dezamageste prin aspectul fizic, dar care se infige in suflet si minte ca o radacina, obsedandu-l pe privitor. Este puterea de acaparare si seductie a unei frumuseti neobisnuite, care mi se pare malefica.
Tot legat de frumusete, de-a lungul romanului Mishima aduce in discutie "frumusetea maruntaielor umane" (estetica uratului). El considera ca daca omul este socotit frumos pe dinafara atunci odata 'intors pe dinauntru', cu organele interne expuse ar trebui considerat la fel de frumos si nu respingator sau urat mirositor caci e aceeasi fiinta.
Un alt aspect pe care doresc sa-l amintesc este atunci cand Mizoguchi isi da seama ca daca omul realizeaza ca cel de la care trebuie sa-si ceara iertare este mai distrus moralmente decat el, atunci gestul de a-ti cere iertare vine extrem de usor pentru ca nu inseamna o infrangere.
In al treilea rand, un alt lucru despre care putem sa invatam din acest roman este despre cat de perfida poate fi speranta. Aici avem situatia in care Mizoguchi isi vede mama, care este ingrijorata pentru soarta lui si care spera ca fiul sau sa ajunga preot principal la Templul de aur, gandind despre ea ca este incredibil de urata. Uratenia pe care el o vede nu se datoreaza fizicului ei, ci felului in care i se citeste pe chip speranta pe care si-o punea in el. Este vorba asadar despre uratenia sperantei fara temei care se gaseste in general la oameni si de care acestia se agata obsesiv in ciuda realitatii. Este neputinta oamenilor de a vedea cu adevarat rautatea din ceilalti.
Poate ca ne intrebam de ce trebuie sa arda Templul de aur si de ce Mizoguchi ii da foc? Ce ii impinge pe oameni sa distruga frumusetea, adevarul, pacea, bunatatea? Eu as zice ca este in firea si natura omului sa faca aceste lucruri. Consider ca protagonistul a trebuit sa distruga obiectul fascinatiei sale pentru a se elibera de influenta acestuia si pentru a rupe lanturile cu care era legat.
Sunt de parere ca frumusetea Templului are o latura malefica deoarece il ispiteste si il inrobeste pe baiat si pentru ca, desi ii apare adesea in fata ochilor impiedicandu-l sa faca unele lucruri, niciodata nu il opreste din a face fapte rele, imorale, groaznice.
Sa nu uitam ca focul are rolul de a purifica din temelii acel loc, unde preotii au o conduita dubioasa apeland la serviciile prostituatelor, primind mita si dedandu-se la acte de cruzime. O purificare era chiar necesara.
Mi-am adus aminte ceva ce am vazut recent: preoti tibetani lucrand cu migala si devotament la o Mandala, presarand nisip bob cu bob, timp de mai multe zile neincetat, doar pentru a o distruge la final cand este gata. Acest gest simbolizeaza lipsa de permanenta a vietii si faptul ca nu trebuie sa ne atasam de lucruri materiale in ciuda frumusetii si aparentei perfectiuni de care dau dovada.
Am taiat o stea din cele 5 pentru un moment erotic si un moment de cruzime pe care nu doresc sa le dezvalui aici deoarece sunt neobisnuit de crude. In rest, Mishima este la inaltime si in acest roman dovedindu-ne ca, asa cum considera cei mai multi critici literari este cel mai talentat romancier japonez al secolului XX.
Profile Image for Introverticheart.
219 reviews189 followers
April 16, 2021
Złota pagoda to powieść na kanwie prawdziwych wydarzeń. Mishima zbeletryzował głośną sprawę buddyjskiego mnicha, który w 1950 roku podłożył ogień pod Złoty Pawilon, później próbując dokonać samobójstwa.
Zaraz, zaraz – Złoty Pawilon? To skąd Złota pagoda? Otóż tę rozbieżność wyjaśnia tłumaczka, która posługując się adekwatnym ekwiwalentem językowym, podkreśliła wizję świątyni , która w oczach bohatera, Mizoguchiego, jest niemalże boginią, która uwodzi młodego, niedoświadczonego mnicha i toczy z nim miłosną grę zmysłów.

Złota pagoda Yukio Mishimy jest znakomitym studium obłędu, pogrążania się w ciemności obsesji. Młody mnich stopniowo wpada w otchłań szaleństwa, swoich rojeń i wizji. Zrywa ze światem rzeczywistym i coraz mocniej zanurza się w oniryczny świat iluzji. Stąd nie ma ucieczki, jedynym więc wyjściem wydaje się mu zjednoczyć z obiektem swojego pożądania – świątynią w płomieniach.

Powieść Mishimy to także minitraktat o szaleństwie, o cielesności, a także, o tragicznym, ulotnym pięknie.
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163 reviews79 followers
February 15, 2018
Mišimina proza se ogleda u umjetničkom načinu prikazivanja lijepote i nihilizma kroz oči mizantropski nastrojenog đaka zen-budizma po imenu Mizogući (Hajaši Šoken). Od samog početka Mišima nastoji da predstavi stanje u gradu Kjoto, neposredno poslije kapitulacije Japana. Ovdje nema neke dvojbenosti, da li je bolje crno ili bijelo, dobro ili zlo, lijepo ili ružno, već je to gurnuto u neku vrstu apstrakcije ostavivši na čitaocima da se pozabave i porazmisle o tome. Apostrofira se prije svega na psihološko stanje glavnog junaka i njegovo pokušavanje da se suoči sa Zlatnim paviljonom. Naime, kako je paviljon sve ono što Mizogući nije, njegova frustracija i antagonizam su prisutni kroz čitavu priču, oslikavajući se na pojedine ekscesne momente koje je on izveo. Kao paradigma njegovih čudnih i ciničnih izvedbi uzima se sve ono što je suprotno njemu.
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