Spring Snow

bookshelves: spring-2015, japan, historical-fiction, tokyo, tragedy, published-1965

Read from March 30 to 31, 2015

Description: Tokyo, 1912. The closed world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders – rich provincial families, a new and powerful political and social elite.

Kiyoaki has been raised among the elegant Ayakura family – members of the waning aristocracy – but he is not one of them. Coming of age, he is caught up in the tensions between old and new, and his feelings for the exquisite, spirited Satoko, observed from the sidelines by his devoted friend Honda. When Satoko is engaged to a royal prince, Kiyoaki realises the magnitude of his passion.

The first book in The Sea of Fertility tetralogy. Translated from the Japanese by Michael Gallagher.

Opening: WHEN CONVERSATION at school turned to the Russo-Japanese War, Kiyoaki Matsugae asked his closest friend, Shigekuni Honda, how much he could remember about it.

I have no yearning to read anything other than this first book to get a sense of the author and his politics, and just why he felt that to go back to the mediaeval way of the Samurai was ::a::good::thing::

The particular reason to read this now is that it is Spring – and snow is falling.

As we move through the story there are divinations of things to come from the Dream Diaries, and a black dog at the top of a waterfall, an occurence which is said to augur badly. Yes, many carrots of things to come further down the line.

Yukio Mishima started weight training in 1955. His rigorous weekly regimes continued until his death. Mishima also become an avid and skillful practitioner of kendo. Despite his earlier flight from military service, Yukio Mishima would be known for his political support for a re-militarized Japan. Yukio Mishima became a part of the Ground Self Defense Force and went through the training process in 1967. In 1968, Yukio Mishim uses his reputation and his martial training to found the Tatenokai or the Shield Society. This paramilitary organization swore their loyalty to the abstract notion of the Voices of the Heroic Dead. Mishima supported Japanese Nationalism but was greatly angered by Emperor Hirohito’s renunciation of imperial divinity.

In 1958, Yukio Mishima married Yoko Sugiyama. The following year, Yoko gave birth to a daughter named Noriko and four years later Yoko gave birth to a son named Ichiro. Yukio Mishima frequented gay bars. But many people (including Mishima’s widow) have tried to obfuscate the fact of his homosexual activities. This obfuscation has failed to prevent many of Mishima’s male lovers from coming forward. Yukio Mishima’s children have joined in the effort to prevent Mishima’s full sexuality from becoming apparent by suing people who acknowledge these relationships.
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