In the present day – when places called cafés are springing up everywhere, drawing in thousands of idle people with money to squander, when male and female students behave so shockingly in streetcars that it has become necessary to segregate them – men have lost all trace of that fervor that drove their ancestors to accept the most frightening challenges. Now they are good for nothing but to flutter their effeminate hands like dry, fragile leaves shaken by the merest puff of air.
…from Spring Snow, by Yukio Mishima, who in his 45 years wrote 34 novels, 50 plays, 25 short story collections, 35 books of essays, one libretto, and a single film, and who, upon completing his masterpiece Sea of Fertility tetralogy in 1970, led his own private militia to invade the Eastern Command of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, gave a speech intended to inspire a coup (for which he was brazenly mocked), then calmly walked into the commandant’s office, drew his sword, and committed ritual suicide.
Clearly, Mishima had issues.
Yet even so, it’s hard to deny the vision of a writer who could render the turmoil of a broken era so clearly in the flaming scarlet maples reflected on a calm pool of water.