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Mishima: The Last Debate, a documentary film by Keisuke Toyoshima, revives Yukio Mishima’s “duel” by the “physical language”

Exotic Grammar Vol.67-1

©SHINCHOSHA

“The duel” by the language of “the flesh”, capturing “the life” overcoming the curse of the death of a supreme novelist.

 There is one black and white photo (the world “to be seen”). Yukio Mishima (hereafter refereed as YM) stands perfectly motionless with hands on his hip, smiling calmly. And unforgettably large eyes of his, stare at his right side. His body tightly in a polo shirt exposes his muscularity in front of the microphone on podium. Before him, a crowd of young boys and girls are jostling — the seats in the conference room are occupied by them up to the second floor. The aisles are filled by the audience standing — and focusing their eyes tightly on Mishima on the stage, but somehow they seem enjoying the situation.

 May 13 of 1969, on the day when this photo was taken, room 900 at Komaba Campus of Tokyo University (hereafter referred as TU), was filled with uncanny enthusiasm. Some volunteers from the All-Campus Joint Struggle Committee (hereafter referred as ACJST) of TU planed to hold an open debate with Yukio Mishima there. ACJST of TU had just lost an important battle of “political season” in late 60’s against the regime at the time. Meanwhile, Mishima, a prominent novelist, had been gaining international expectation as a nominee of Nobel prize for literature till 1968, the year when Yasunari Kawabata won the prize. He had also drawn public attention as a writer who had been preoccupied gradually by the extreme rightist tendency, and as a leader who formed “Tate no kai (Shield Society)”, a paramilitary group last autumn before the debate. It was explicit for both sides that the common issues then was “Violence” and “Radicalism”.  An episode that Mishima held off the offer to put himself under the convoy of the police could fill us with an atmosphere of the place and the tension of the time. We are able to learn what the issues were between them under an extremely delicate situation by the script published as the book later “The Debate between Yukio Mishima and ACJST of TU — The Beauty and Community, and the Struggle at TU”. Half a century after the debate, the documentary film “Mishima: The Last Debate (三島由紀夫vs東大全共闘 50年目の真実, literally “Yukio Mishima vs. ACJST of TU — The Truth Revealed in the 50th Year”)” will be put on the screen. The film is based on the footage filming the debate.

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