Author: Mishima Yukio
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: 2010 (1961)
Genre: Modern Classics / Short Story
Source: Birthday Gift
By now, Yukio Mishima’s (1925-1970) dramatic demise through an act of seppuku after an inflammatory public speech has become the stuff of literary legend. With Patriotism, Mishima was able to give his heartwrenching patriotic idealism an immortal vessel. A lieutenant in the Japanese army comes home to his wife and informs her that his closest friends have become mutineers. He and his beautiful loyal wife decide to end their lives together. In unwavering detail Mishima describes Shinji and Reiko making love for the last time and the couple’s seppuku that follows.
Patriotism was a short but intense story told with classic Mishima emotional flair. The detailed description of the couple's preparation for and completion of seppuku is especially poignant given that it is the way Mishima ended his own life nine years after writing this story. Perhaps this is not a good first work to read if you are new to Mishima's writing, but established fans of his should definitely check it out. It gets 4.5 stars from me.