Mishima is one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. A monument to literature and my favorite writer. The little I knew of his life I learned it from his Confession of a Mask [an autobiographical novel] and Forbidden Love [a fiction in which Mishima seems to have transcribed a way of life that was his]… And also, I must shamefully admit, from his Wikipedia page.
So, while I was wandering through my favourite bookstore looking for something to read in celebration of the reopening, I came across Weber and Li-An’s graphic novel, Mishima—My Death is My Masterpiece. A black-and-white comic depicting the life of the famous man of letters. I had just found the grail! I needed it! So I bought it right away.
Forty minutes was all I needed to devour the 247 pages of the book. I rediscovered the artist, I rediscovered his work. Humanist as I am, I was astonished to appreciate, again and again, this figure that I thought was patriotic, but who was only a nationalist fanatic. A pastist idealizing the times of the glorious Japanese Empire, vomiting on the modernity of his country and devoting an unhealthy fascination to death.
In spite of everything, my heart and soul could not reject these writings… This pathetic character, because that’s what he was, through the multiple masks of his life made his books more precious to me.
Discovering these different facets did not make me espouse his nationalist aspirations and convictions. They are disgusting to me! But they made me understand that in every man can coexist the sublime and the despicable. Mishima is the story of a person who has spent his life living in characters.
Mishima—My Death is my masterpiece by Weber and Li-An, West Wind edition.