Mishima's Sword: Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend

Author(s): Christopher Ross

Literary biography

On 25th November 1970, after a failed coup d'tat, Japanese writer Yukio Mishima plunged a knife into his tightly muscled belly, and was decapitated using his own antique sword. Mishima's spectacular suicide has been called many things: a hankering for heroism; a beautiful, perverse drama; a political protest against Japan's emasculated post-War constitution; the last act in a theatre of death; the epitaph of a mad genius. But which, if any, is correct? And what happened to Mishima's sword?Thirty years later Christopher Ross sets off for Tokyo on a journey into the heart of the Mishima Incident. While searching for Mishima's sword and re-assessing the life and anachronistic death of this uniquely complex man, he encounters those who knew Mishima, craftsmen and critics, soldiers and swordsmen, boyfriends and biographers even the man who taught him hara-kiri.

The cold trail he follows inspires digressions on, amongst other things, bushid and socks, mutineers and Noh ghosts, nosebleeds and metallurgy and how to dress for suicide.Like his best-selling Tunnel Visions, Christopher Ross has written another unclassifiable blend of travel writing, autobiography and philosophical quest, an insider's mesmeric account of modern Japan and a death that still haunts the nation.
First published 2006.


Product Information

PRAISE FOR TUNNEL VISIONS: 'This is one of the most original and surprising books that I have read for years: a reflection on city life by an unusual mind that proves just how extraordinary the ordinary can be.' Christopher Matthew, Daily Mail, (Critics Choice) 'Ross has produced a truly brilliant book.' Gary Younge, Guardian 'Very funny! a parable of our times.' Iain Sinclair, Daily Telegraph ' . . this unique, utterly original little philosophical tome. This is pop philosophy in its best sense: a kind of subterranean Sophie's World, but more adult, darker-edged, its modest wisdom harder won.' Literary Review

Christopher Ross has travelled in over a hundred countries. He now lives in Oxfordshire. His first book, Tunnel Visions: Journeys of an Underground Philosopher, was published in 2001.

General Fields

  • : 9780007135080
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • : Fourth Estate Ltd
  • : March 2006
  • : 222mm X 141mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Christopher Ross
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : very good
  • : 272
  • : Reinforced binding Reinforced binding illustrations