Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - Reconstructing Mishima Yukio’s Visit to India

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Gulmohar, First Floor

Mishima Yukio visited India in September 1967, a few months before the announcement of the 1968 Nobel Prize in literature, which did not go to Mishima despite being the favorite. Mishima wrote a two-part column called “Indo Tsūshin” in Asahi Shimbun shortly after he returned to Japan.


The May 1975 issue of the journal of the Indian PEN carried an article titled “A Meeting with Mishima”, which narrated an interview conducted by Marathi author Vrinda Limaye. This interview was conducted five months before he committed suicide in 1970.


These documents give an interesting insight into his visit to India and how it transformed him. From finding “beauty” in the filth of Bombay to finding Indian women “the most beautiful in the world”, from encountering death in Benares and Jaipur to theorizing that poverty is “a philosophical problem rather than an economic one”, Mishima’s accounts provide a unique glimpse into his orientalist worldview. This presentation would also highlight Mishima’s continued obsession with death and rebirth as he saw it in India, and his revelation to Vrinda Limaye that all that was left to do was “to die”, shedding new light on the days before his suicide.

Tariq Sheikh

English and Foreign Languages University, India

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