Expressing Your Country's Loyalty And Superiority Over Others

Patriotism means vigorous support for one’s country. Expressing devotion and superiority of one’s land over others are strong patriotic feelings. However, gutting one’s self is really not an act of patriotism when your country is going through inner conflict. This action seems more like an escape route then bravery. Mishima’s actions in real life reflect the Lieutenant’s in “Patriotism”. This may conjure up questions about whether Mishima was also running away from something or himself. Mishima had everything, yet he still commits seppuku—a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment.

Mishima’s traumatic beginnings can give us a glimpse into his psychological state and in return, we can also have a glimpse into his reasoning.

We can find out what connects them both— if anything— or find out if “Patriotism” was a cry out for help. To understand Yukio, we first have to look at his life. Mishima was separated from his family from a very young age and lived with his grandma.

She was the kind of grandma that was often violent and didn’t let Mishima leave the house. He was only allowed to play with his female cousins and their dolls. At the age of 12, Mishima returned to his family and had already started writing—mostly poems. His father was more in favor of military discipline and thought poetry was not masculine enough. He tried to put some masculinity into Mishima by destroying all his writing and holding him up against a speeding train.

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Later on, Mishima was drafted for the Japanese army at the beginning of WWII but has a cold when he went for a medical check-up. The army doctor claimed it was not a cold but tuberculosis instead and Mishima wasn’t able to take part in the war. After the war, Japan really wanted the others to forget that they were allied with the Nazis and wanted to convince everyone Japan was just a country of fun loving people.

This was strongly against Mishima’s patriotism and his pride of Japan’s tradition—the samurai and shoguns. Mishima had the option to marry Michiko Skoda, but instead married Yoko Hiraoka and had two children. However, Mishima was rumored to have visited gay bars and was indeed a homosexual. Mishima was very open with who he was and lived freely. According to Donald Richie, Mishima’s secret to life is “If you behave the way you want to be, you will become it… you become who you are by practicing it and little by little you will turn into who you want to be”. John Nathan describes Mishima as an “excruciatingly self-conscious human being”. And he could see himself as an artist and ultimately his life became part of his art.

Mishima made it so that life is easier for him with no alternatives and no competition. He ended his life with a grand finale that can be seen as the end of his masterpiece—his art. From the beginning, Mishima was told who to be and he just needed to find his own identity. His work and the people he admired can be seen as his journey to find himself. Although the actions Mishima took mirror those of the Lieutenant’s, they were nothing alike. In “Patriotism”, Mishima depicts the Lieutenant as a fool who is lacking and a person who is honestly a joke. People who follow orders lose their identity and cannot be admired. The Lieutenant did exactly that; follow orders. The Lieutenant had no story and it can be said that he was mocked through the work. On the other hand, Mishima was the total opposite. He gave the orders. He was admired by many people and his work is considered one of the best in literature.

Donald Richie states that the man Mishima talked most about was Gabriel Denunzio, who was a great extravagant men like Mishima himself. He expressed himself emotionally and sexually in a way that Mishima could have found attractive or inspiring. Gabriel was a man of politics and he had his own little kingdom with is own little army, much like Mishima himself contrived when he made tatenokai army that he wanted to define Japan with. However, one of the people Mishima disliked very much was Ernest Hemingway. According to Richie, Mishima dislike the celebration of age which is one of the things Hemingway embarked on later on in his career. His can but Mishima’s action under a different light. Mishima was in his 40s and his body was aging. His suicide could have been his way of winning the battle against time. He was taken is life onto his own hands.

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Expressing Your Country's Loyalty And Superiority Over Others. (2021, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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