Patriotism (short story)

Last updated
Author Yukio Mishima
Original title"Yūkoku"
TranslatorGeoffrey W. Sar.
Genre(s) Short story
Published inShōsetsu Chūōkōron
Publisher Chūōkōron-Shinsha
Media typePrint
Publication dateDecember 1960
Published in English1966

"Patriotism" (憂国, Yūkoku) is a 1960 short story by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. It was first published in the January 1961 (cover date) winter issue of Shōsetsu Chūōkōron (小説中央公論), which was published by Chūōkōron-Shinsha in December 1960. [1] [2] [3] It was later included alongside "Star" and 百万円煎餅 ("Hyakuman'en senbei") in the short story collection スタア (Sutā), which was published on 30 January 1961 by Shinchosha. [4] [5] It was translated into English in 1966. The character () actually means "worry" or "concern", and though Yūkoku is translated as "patriotism", the word bears with it a meaning more congruent with "concern for one's country" rather than patriotism directly.



The story of Patriotism centers around the experiences of Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama and his young wife, Reiko, and their ritualistic suicide following the Ni Ni Roku Incident, a mutiny against the Imperial Army in 1936. Their suicide is discussed in brief at the very beginning of the story, and then followed by an introduction to the characters and their daily lives.

The focus of the story takes place across three days, beginning on February 26, and ending on February 28, 1936. On the morning of the 26th, the lieutenant leaves in a hurry to the sound of a bugle; he does not return until the evening of the 28th. When he does return, he tells his wife of the mutiny in the army ranks, and that the following morning, he will be in command of a unit ordered to attack the mutineers. Most of these mutineers are friends of his.

Unable to choose between loyalty to the Emperor and loyalty to his comrades, he informs his wife that he will kill himself that evening, and she immediately requests to accompany him in his endeavour. He asks her to be a witness to his own suicide, and she agrees.

The lieutenant kills himself by seppuku later that same evening; this is described in a violent, lyrical display, typical of Mishima's literary style.

The writing reflects on the interlacing of mundanity and beauty, as when the intensity of passion that the husband and wife share for one another is related to the description of the couple in the photograph taken at their wedding, a recurring reference throughout the story.


"Patriotism" was written in the autumn of 1960, shortly after the Anpo disturbances, which were said to have prompted Mishima's public turn towards right-wing politics. [6] A film of the same title was released in 1966, co-directed by Yukio Mishima and Masaki Domoto.

Mishima later placed it together with the play Toka no Kiku and Eirei no Koe in a single volume, the Ni Ni Roku Trilogy.

Related Research Articles

Yukio Mishima Japanese author (1925–1970)

Yukio Mishima, born Kimitake Hiraoka was a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, Shintoist, nationalist, and founder of the Tatenokai, an unarmed civilian militia. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. He was considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, but the award went to his countryman and benefactor Yasunari Kawabata. His works include the novels Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and the autobiographical essay Sun and Steel. Mishima's work is characterized by "its luxurious vocabulary and decadent metaphors, its fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles, and its obsessive assertions of the unity of beauty, eroticism and death".

Nagai Naoyuki

Nagai Naoyuki, also known as Nagai Genba or Nagai Mondonoshō, was a Japanese hatamoto under the Tokugawa of Bakumatsu period Japan.

<i>Confessions of a Mask</i> Novel by Yukio Mishima

Confessions of a Mask is the second novel by Japanese author Yukio Mishima. First published on 5 July 1949 by Kawade Shobō, it launched him to national fame though he was only in his early twenties.

<i>Death in Midsummer</i> 1953 collection of stories by Yukio Mishima

Death in Midsummer is a 1953 collection of stories by Yukio Mishima. The book takes its name from an included short story of the same title, which was first published in the October 1952 issue of Shinchō. It contains five short stories and one play, Sotoba Komachi.

Shinchosha Publishing Co, Ltd. is a publisher founded in 1896 in Japan and headquartered in Yaraichō, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Shinchosha is one of the sponsors of the Japan Fantasy Novel Award.

Fusao Hayashi

Hayashi Fusao was the pen name of a Japanese novelist and literary critic in Shōwa period Japan. He is known for his early works in the proletarian literature movement, although he later became a strong ultranationalist. His real name was Gotō Toshio (後藤寿夫), although he also used the alias "Shirai Akira".

Naoki Inose

Naoki Inose is a Japanese politician, journalist, historian, social critic and biographer of literary figures such as Yukio Mishima and Osamu Dazai. He served as Vice Governor of Tokyo from June 2007 until becoming Acting Governor on 1 November 2012 following the resignation of Shintaro Ishihara. He was elected Governor in a historical landslide victory in December 2012, but announced his resignation on December 19, 2013, following a political funds-related scandal; his resignation was approved and became effective December 24, 2013.

<i>Patriotism</i> (1966 film) 1966 Japanese film directed by *Yukio Mishima *Domoto Masaki

Patriotism or the Rite of Love and Death is a 1966 Japanese short film directed by Yukio Mishima. It is based on Mishima's short story Patriotism, published in 1960.

Yuya Sato is a Japanese novelist from Hokkaido Prefecture. He won the 21st Mephisto Prize for Flicker Style, and the 20th Yukio Mishima Prize for 1000 Novels and Backbeard. His works have been translated into English, Chinese and Korean.

<i>Silk and Insight</i>

Silk and Insight is a 1964 novel by the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. The subject of the novel is taken from an actual strike in Japan in 1954 at Omi Kenshi, a silk thread and fabric manufacturer, which lasted for 106 days. The novel was first serialised in the monthly magazine Gunzo between January–October 1964. It was published in hardcover format by Kodansha on 15 October 1964. It was translated into English in 1998 by Hiroaki Sato.

The bibliography of Kimitake Hiraoka, pen name Yukio Mishima, includes novels, novellas, short stories and literary essays, as well as plays that were written not only in a contemporary-style, but also in the style of classical Japanese theatre, particularly in the genres of noh and kabuki. However, although Mishima took themes, titles and characters from the noh canon, he included his own twists and modern settings, such as hospitals and ballrooms, which startled audiences who were accustomed to the long-settled originals.

Kosaburo Eto was a Japanese nationalist, thinker, social activist, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force official, and member of a leading Japanese political family. He is best known for committing suicide through self-immolation as a nationalist protest in front of the Japanese Houses of Parliament.

Maki Kashimada is a Japanese writer. She has won the Bungei Prize, the Mishima Yukio Prize, the Noma Literary Prize, and the Akutagawa Prize.

Natsuki Koyata is a Japanese writer. She has won the Mishima Yukio Prize, the Japan Fantasy Novel Award, and the Oda Sakunosuke Prize.

<i>Life for Sale</i>

Life for Sale is a 1968 novel by Yukio Mishima. It was first serialised twenty-one times in the weekly magazine Weekly Playboy between 21 May 1968 and 8 October 1968. It was published in hardcover format by Shueisha on 25 December 1968. It was published in paperback by Chikuma Bunko on 24 February 1998. The novel was translated into English by Stephen Dodd and published in paperback format in the United Kingdom by Penguin Classics on 1 August 2019. The English translation received a wider release in paperback by Vintage International on 21 April 2020.

<i>The Frolic of the Beasts</i> 1964 Japanese film directed by Sōkichi Tomimoto

The Frolic of the Beasts is a 1961 novel by Yukio Mishima. Drawing inspiration from Noh plays, specifically the 14th-century Motomezuka, the novel centers on a tragic love triangle depraved by adultery and violence. It is a short novel in length and has a nonlinear narrative structure. The novel was first serialised thirteen times in the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho between 12 June 1961 and 4 September 1961. It was published in hardcover format by Shinchosha on 30 September 1961. It was published in paperback by Shincho Bunko on 10 July 1966. The novel was translated into Italian by Lydia Origlia and published by Feltrinelli in September 1983. The novel was translated into English by Andrew Clare and published in paperback format in the United States and Canada by Vintage International on 27 November 2018. Clare's translation was later published in paperback in the United Kingdom by Penguin Modern Classics on 4 April 2019.

Hiroshi Hasebe is the professional pseudonym of Makoto Matsuno, a Japanese theatre critic and professor at Tokyo University of the Arts.

"Star" is a short story by Yukio Mishima. It was originally published in the November 1960 issue of Gunzo, a literary magazine published by Kodansha. It was later included alongside "Patriotism" and "Hyakuman'en senbei" (百万円煎餅) in the short story collection of the same name, Sutā (スタア), which was published on 30 January 1961 by Shinchosha.

Hōji Shimanaka was a Japanese magazine publisher who was the president and publisher of the prominent monthly magazine Chūō Kōron for nearly five decades. According to Shimanaka's longtime friend and sometime rival Kengo Tanaka, the publisher of competing Bungei Shunjū magazine, "Shimanaka was a virtual synonym for Chūō Kōron." Under Shimanaka's leadership, Chūō Kōron became one of the best known and most widely read magazines in Japan, but in his final years as president he sunk the magazine deep into debt, causing it to be taken over by a rival publishing company. Shimanaka is also known for an attempt by a right-wing youth to assassinate him in February 1960, in what became known as the "Shimanaka Incident."

Kawade Shobō Shinsha

Kawade Shobō Shinsha., Ltd., formerly Kawade Shobō (河出書房), is a publisher founded in 1886 in Japan and headquartered in Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo. It publishes the magazine Bungei and administers the Bungei Prize.


  1. 新潮. 新潮社. 1971. p. 319.
  2. Mazur, Matt (21 August 2008). "Yukio Mishima, of Love and Death". PopMatters . Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  3. ”Final edition-Yukio Mishima complete works No.42-Biographical sketch and Bibliography” (published by Shinchosha, 2005). Japanese title "決定版 三島由紀夫全集・第42巻・年譜・書誌" pp.241-244
  4. 新潮. 新潮社. 1989. p. 283.
  5. "スタア (新潮社): 1961". 国立国会図書館サーチ. National Diet Library . Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  6. Kapur, Nick (2018). Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 250–51. ISBN   978-0-6749-8442-4.