All Time Famous Yukio Mishima Quotes

Yukio Mishima Quotes

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was a prominent and controversial Japanese author and nationalist. His works, such as “The Sea of Fertility” tetralogy, explored the clash between traditional Japanese values and Western modernization, addressing themes of beauty, death, and societal expectations. Mishima was also involved in traditional Japanese arts and right-wing politics. His dramatic suicide, through seppuku, on November 25, 1970, marked the end of an era. Mishima’s legacy encompasses his significant impact on Japanese literature and culture, as well as the tragic culmination of his artistic and political pursuits.

Yukio Mishima Quotes

1. “True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.”
— Yukio Mishima

2. “I cried sobbingly until at last those visions reeking with blood came to comfort me. And then I surrendered myself to them, to those deplorably brutal visions, my most intimate friends.”
— Yukio Mishima

3. “I want to make a poem of my life.”
— Yukio Mishima

4. “Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.”
— Yukio Mishima

5. “Human life is limited but I would like to live forever.”
— Yukio Mishima

6. “We live in an age in which there is no heroic death.”
— Yukio Mishima

7. “I had no taste for defeat – much less victory – without a fight.”
— Yukio Mishima

8. “Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff.”
— Yukio Mishima

9. “As long as you know I am waiting, take your time flowers of the spring.”
— Yukio Mishima

10. “If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death No death may be called futile.”
— Yukio Mishima

11. “When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning.”
— Yukio Mishima

12. “The special quality of hell is to see everything clearly down to the last detail.”
— Yukio Mishima

13. “There’s a huge seal called ‘impossibility’ pasted all over this world. And don’t ever forget that we’re the only ones who can tear it off once and for all.”
— Yukio Mishima

14. “Beyond doubt, there was a certain splendor in pain, which bore a deep affinity to the splendor that lies hidden within strength.”
— Yukio Mishima

15. “Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.”
— Yukio Mishima

16. “Man always finds the omens he wants.”
— Yukio Mishima

17. “There isn’t any fear in existence itself, or any uncertainty, but living creates it.”
— Yukio Mishima

18. “For an artist to do creative work, he needs at once physical health and some physiomental ill health. He needs both serenity and gloom.”
— Yukio Mishima

19. “It is a rather risky matter to discuss a happiness that has no need of words.”
— Yukio Mishima

20. “It is a common failing of childhood to think that if one makes a hero out of a demon the demon will be satisfied.”
— Yukio Mishima

21. “At no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. After that, there remains only the journey itself, which is nothing but the process through which we lose our ownership of it.”
— Yukio Mishima

22. “You were so beautiful when you wanted to die. When you wanted to live, you became so ugly.”
— Yukio Mishima

23. “Everybody’s the same. People are all the same. But it’s the prerogative of youth to think it’s not so.”
— Yukio Mishima

24. “Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they’re just repeating what others before them have done.”
— Yukio Mishima

25. “But there is no such thing as individual knowledge, a particular knowledge belonging to one special person or group. Knowledge is the sea of humanity, the field of humanity, the general condition of human existence.”
— Yukio Mishima

26. “It seems to me that before the photograph can exist as art it must, by its very nature choose whether it is to be a record or a testimony.”
— Yukio Mishima

27. “Was I ignorant, then, when I was seventeen? I think not. I knew everything. A quarter-century’s experience of life since then has added nothing to what I knew. The one difference is that at seventeen I had no ‘realism’.”
— Yukio Mishima

28. “I believe that just as physical training will transform supposedly involuntary muscles into voluntary ones, so a similar transformation can be achieved through training the mind. Both body and mind, through an inevitable tendency that one might almost call a natural law, are inclined to lapse into automatism, but I have found by experience that a large stream may be deflected by digging a small channel.”
— Yukio Mishima

29. “The cynicism that regards hero worship as comical is always shadowed by a sense of physical inferiority.”
— Yukio Mishima

30. “The instant that the blade tore open his flesh, the bright disk of the sun soared up and exploded behind his eyelids.”
— Yukio Mishima

31. “Possessing by letting go of things was a secret of ownership unknown to youth.”
— Yukio Mishima

32. “All my life I have been acutely aware of a contradiction in the very nature of my existence. For forty-five years I struggled to resolve this dilemma by writing plays and novels. The more I wrote, the more I realized mere words were not enough. So I found another form of expression.”
— Yukio Mishima

33. “Beauty is something that burns the hand when you touch it.”
— Yukio Mishima

34. “The highest point at which human life and art meet is in the ordinary. To look down on the ordinary is to despise what you can’t have. Show me a man who fears being ordinary, and I’ll show you a man who is not yet a man.”
— Yukio Mishima

35. “The past does not only draw us back to the past. There are certain memories of the past that have strong steel springs and, when we who live in the present touch them, they are suddenly stretched taut and then they propel us into the future.”
— Yukio Mishima

36. “Better to be caught in sudden, complete catastrophe than to be gnawed by the cancer of imagination.”
— Yukio Mishima

37. “Quite possibly, what I call happiness may coincide with what others call the moment of imminent danger.”
— Yukio Mishima

38. “We all know that the world is empty and that the important thing, the only thing, is to try to maintain order in that emptiness.”
— Yukio Mishima

39. “The most appropriate type of daily life for me was a day-by-day world destruction; peace was the most difficult and abnormal state to live in.”
— Yukio Mishima

40. “With a heart unaccustomed to doubting, he never wondered for an instant whether the girl would brave such a storm to keep their rendezvous. He knew nothing of that melancholy and all-too-effective way of passing time by magnifying and complicating his feelings, whether of happiness or uneasiness, through the exercise of imagination.”
— Yukio Mishima

41. “The period of childhood is a stage on which time and space become entangled.”
— Yukio Mishima

42. “When people concentrate on the idea of beauty, they are, without realizing it, confronted with the darkest thoughts that exist in this world. That, I suppose, is how human beings are made.”
— Yukio Mishima

43. “Anything can become excusable when seen from the standpoint of the result.”
— Yukio Mishima

44. “If we look on idly, heaven and earth will never be joined. To join heaven and earth, some decisive deed of purity is necessary. To accomplish so resolute an action, you have to stake your life, giving no thought to personal gain or loss. You have to turn into a dragon and stir up a whirlwind, tear the dark, brooding clouds asunder and soar up into the azure-blue sky.”
— Yukio Mishima

45. “Within those confining walls, teachers – a bunch of men all armed with the same information – gave the same lectures every year from the same notebooks and every year at the same point in the textbooks made the same jokes.”
— Yukio Mishima

46. “He was like a husband so jealous that he insists his wife have the very dreams he has.”
— Yukio Mishima

47. “A person who has been seriously wounded does not demand that the bandages that save his life be clean.”
— Yukio Mishima

48. “The measure of a woman’s power is the degree of suffering with which she can punish her lover.”
— Yukio Mishima

49. “Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one’s own heart.”
— Yukio Mishima

50. “Just now I had a dream. I’ll see you again. I know it. Beneath the falls.”
— Yukio Mishima

51. “For everything sacred has the substance of dreams and memories, and so we experience the miracle of what is separated from us by time or distance suddenly being made tangible.”
— Yukio Mishima

52. “The path we’re taking is not a road, Kiyo, it’s a pier, and it ends someplace where the sea begins. It can’t be helped.”
— Yukio Mishima

53. “For clearly it is impossible to touch eternity with one hand and life with the other.”
— Yukio Mishima

54. “There is no virtue in curiosity. In fact, it might be the most immoral desire a man can possess.”
— Yukio Mishima

55. “By means of microscopic observation and astronomical projection the lotus flower can become the foundation for an entire theory of the universe and an agent whereby we may perceive Truth.”
— Yukio Mishima

56. “The only people in this world I really trust are my fans – even if they do forget you so fast.”
— Yukio Mishima

57. “Men had been living a proud life, having felt no need for the spirit-until Christianity invented it.”
— Yukio Mishima

58. “The perfectly ordinary girl and the great philosopher are alike: for both, the smallest triviality can become the vision that wipes out the world.”
— Yukio Mishima

59. “I hope that I am making myself understood. The Golden Temple once more appeared before me. Or rather, I should say that the breast was transformed into the Golden Temple.”
— Yukio Mishima

60. “A man isn’t tiny or giant enough to defeat anything.”
— Yukio Mishima

61. “Separation is painful, but so is its opposite. And if being together brings joy, then it is only proper that separation should do the same in its own way.”
— Yukio Mishima

62. “Mine was the unbearable jealousy a cultured pearl must feel toward a genuine one. Or can there be such a thing in this world as a man who is jealous of the woman who loves him, precisely because of her love?”
— Yukio Mishima

63. “A father is a reality-concealing machine, a machine for dishing up lies to kids, and that isn’t even the worst of it: secretly he believes that he represents reality.”
— Yukio Mishima

64. “You’re not human. You’re a being who is incapable of social intercourse. You’re nothing but a creature, non-human and somehow strangely pathetic.”
— Yukio Mishima

65. “We are not wounded so deeply when betrayed by the things we hope for as when betrayed by things we try our best to despise. In such betrayal comes the dagger in the back.”
— Yukio Mishima

66. “No human being can be so honest as to become completely false.”
— Yukio Mishima

67. “Blood and flowers were alike, Isao thought, in that both were quick to dry up, quick to change their substance. And precisely because of this, then, blood and flowers could go on living by taking on the substance of glory. Glory in all its form was inevitably something metallic.”
— Yukio Mishima

68. “In modern society the meaning of death is constantly being forgotten. No, it is not forgotten; rather, the subject is avoided.”
— Yukio Mishima

69. “A hidden poetry that will be lost if any mediocrity is shed. Genius is a casualty. The poetry must never be conspicuous – its scent is only detectable when subtle.”
— Yukio Mishima

70. “That which proceeds from a man’s soul shall shape his soul; that which proceeds from his speech shall shape his speech, and deeds that proceed from his body shall shape his body.”
— Yukio Mishima

71. “In his heart, he always preferred the actuality of loss to the fear of it.”
— Yukio Mishima

72. “For me, beauty is always retreating from one’s grasp: the only thing I consider important is what existed once, or ought to have existed. By its subtle, infinitely varied operation, the steel restored the classical balance that the body had begun to lose, reinstating it in its natural form, the form that it should have had all along.”
— Yukio Mishima

73. “Only knowledge can turn life’s unbearableness into a weapon.”
— Yukio Mishima

74. “I longed for the great sense of relief that death would surely bring if only, like a wrestler, I could wrench the heavy weight of life from my shoulders.”
— Yukio Mishima

75. “The law is an accumulation of tireless attempts to block a man’s desire to change life into an instant of poetry. Certainly it would not be right to let everybody exchange his life for a line of poetry written with a splash of blood. But the mass of men, lacking valor, pass away their lives without ever feeling the least touch of such a desire.”
— Yukio Mishima

76. “An ugliness unfurled in the moonlight and soft shadow and suffused the whole world. If I were an amoeba, he thought, with an infinitesimal body, I could defeat ugliness. A man isn’t tiny or giant enough to defeat anything.”
— Yukio Mishima

77. “The elements of intoxication and superhuman clarity in the tragic are born when the average sensibility, endowed with a given physical strength, encounters that type of privileged moment especially designed for it. Tragedy calls for an anti-tragic vitality and ignorance, and above all for a certain “inappropriateness.” If a person is at times to draw close to the divine, then under normal conditions he must be neither divine nor anything approaching it.”
— Yukio Mishima

78. “Most writers are perfectly normal in the head and just carry on like wild men; I behave normally but I’m sick inside.”
— Yukio Mishima

79. “I seemed like a baby bird keeping its truly innocent animal lusts hidden under its wing. I was being tempted, not by the desire of possession, but simply by unadorned temptation itself.”
— Yukio Mishima

80. “Why are we all burdened with the duty to destroy everything, change everything, entrust everything to impermanency? Is it this unpleasant duty that the world calls life?”
— Yukio Mishima

81. “His emotion evident in the glitter of his eyes.”
— Yukio Mishima

82. “Because in the pupils of his eyes there lingered the mysterious and eternal horizon that the sea leaves as a keepsake deep in the eyes of all who are born at the seaside and forced to depart from it.”
— Yukio Mishima

83. “Ordinary life is even more horrible than war.”
— Yukio Mishima

84. “He wanted to talk about the strange passion that catches hold of a man by the scruff of his neck and transports him to a realm beyond the fear of death.”
— Yukio Mishima

85. “Someone once said that homosexuals have on their faces a certain loneliness that will not come off.”
— Yukio Mishima

86. “The men who indulged in nocturnal thought, it seemed to me, had without exception dry, lusterless skins and sagging stomachs. They sought to wrap up a whole epoch in a capacious night of ideas, and rejected in all its forms the sun that I had seen. They rejected both life and death as I had seen them, for in both of these the sun had had a hand.”
— Yukio Mishima

87. “When a captive lion steps out of his cage, he comes into a wider world than the lion who has known only the wilds. While he was in captivity, there were only two worlds for him – the world of the cage, and the world outside the cage. Now he is free. He roars. He attacks people. He eats them. Yet he is not satisfied, for there is no third world that is neither the world of the cage nor the world outside the cage.”
— Yukio Mishima

88. “What more could I have done when I did not know that to love is both to seek and to be sought? For me love was nothing but a dialogue of little riddles, with no answers given.”
— Yukio Mishima

89. “For a long time I had not approached the forbidden fruit called happiness, but it was now tempting me with a melancholy persistence. I felt as though Sonoko were an abyss above which I stood poised.”
— Yukio Mishima

90. “One could certainly think of a man not in terms of a body but as a single vital current. And this would allow one to grasp the concept of existence as dynamic and on-going, rather than as static.”
— Yukio Mishima

91. “And one clouded stream that never ran dry was that choked with the scum of humanism, the poison spewed out by the factory at its headwaters. There it was: its lights burning brilliantly as it worked even through the night – the factory of Western European ideals. The pollution from that factory degraded the exalted fervor to kill; it withered the green of the sakaki’s leaves.”
— Yukio Mishima

92. “He radiated the innocence that marks the absolute rejection of prudence.”
— Yukio Mishima

93. “I have been self-reliant to the point of sadness. I wonder when I first fell into the habit of washing my hands after each brush with humanity, lest I be contaminated.”
— Yukio Mishima

94. “Actually the action called a kiss represented nothing more for me than some place where my spirit could seek shelter.”
— Yukio Mishima

95. “His occupation gave me the feeling of “tragedy” in the most sensuous meaning of the word. A certain feeling as it were of “self-renunciation,” a certain feeling of indifference, a certain feeling of intimacy with danger, a feeling like a remarkable mixture of nothingness and vital power – all these feelings swarmed forth from his calling, bore down upon me, and took me captive, at the age of four.”
— Yukio Mishima

96. “Before long, my blood would not permit a halt of even a day or two. Something ceaselessly set me to work; my body could no longer tolerate indolence, but began instantly to thirst for violent action, forever urging me on. Thus for many a day I led a life that others might well dismiss as frenzied obsession.”
— Yukio Mishima

97. “Thus in a single phrase I can define the great illusion concerning ‘love’ in this world. It is the effort to join reality with the apparition. Presently I came to realize that my conviction – the conviction that I could never be loved- was itself the basic state of human existence.”
— Yukio Mishima

98. “According to Eshin’s Essentials of Salvation, the Ten Pleasures are but a drop in the ocean when compared to the joys of the Pure Land.”
— Yukio Mishima

99. “Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.”
— Yukio Mishima

100. “I was born with gloomy nature. I do not think I have ever known what it is to be cheerful and at ease.”
— Yukio Mishima

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