Culturally sanctioned suicide: Euthanasia, seppuku, and terrorist martyrdom

Suicide is one of the greatest concerns in psychiatric practice, with considerable efforts devoted to prevention. The psychiatric view of suicide tends to equate it with depression or other forms of mental illness. However, some forms of  suicide occur independently of mental illness and within a framework of cultural sanctioning such that they aren’t regarded […]

Fantasy and Reality in the Death of Yukio Mishima

Since the early 1950s, ritual suicide was a central element in the writing of Yukio Mishima. This article offers a psychological analysis of how Mishima’s concepts of the River of Body and the River of Action inevitably combined, uniting fantasy & reality & leading to his suicide. (54 refs.)

Seppuku – is it an Athletic Activity?

This paper investigates philosophically the Japanese samurai notion & activity of seppuku, the traditional method of suicide among the warrior class. Seppuku follows prolonged physical, mental & social preparation, a period the author equates to physical training. The suicide of Yukio Mishima is discussed in this context. (10 refs.)

Mishima Yukio and his Suicide

The author discusses both the political & aesthetical implications of Mishima Yukio’s suicide on 25 November, 1970 in the traditional Japanese warrior manner of seppuku, following an unsuccessful attempt to incite a unit of the Self-Defence Forces to a coup d’etat.

Death Memory…and the Problem of Illusion

This article discusses the death of Yukio Mishima in 1970, by seppuku, and attempts to determine possible motivation for this act.

Patterns of Depression and Suicide in Japan

This article contrasts American & Japanese attitudes towards depression & suicide. This article also examines treatment methods for depression & suicide in Japan. The author notes that Japanese society often attaches a stigma to psychiatric disorders, as such Japanese families often do not acknowledge that a family member is suffering from mental illness. The article […]

Yukio Mishima: the Last Samurai?

This article examines whether the death (by seppuku) of Yukio Mishima was significant in a historical sense. The author treats Mishima’s action as a major historical event, examining the immediate impact it had on Japanese society, as well as its implications for the future. The possibility that Mishima was suffering from mental illness is also […]

Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia

The author explores Japanese Buddhist views of life and death and attitudes towards suicide and euthanasia. Emphasizes the traditional Japanese belief that the manner of dying at the moment of death is very important, and that personal choice in time and manner of death is even more so. Explores the implications which these beliefs hold […]

Phallic Narcissism, Anal Sadism, and Oral Discord: the Case of Yukio Mishima, Part 1

This article serves as a profile of the post war Japanese writer Yukio Mishima who performed ritualistic suicide. The conflict between themes in his works & his life such as death, erotic violence, excrement, hatred & degradation for feminine versus the immaculate, are discussed within the work. The topics of phallic narcissism, psychological castration anxiety, […]

Suicide, Individual and Society

The Pattern of Suicide in Japan

This presentation examined the myths & realities of suicide in contemporary Japan. Saito found that there is a belief that hari-kari is still a common practice in Japan, that there is a high suicide rate among children & that there are many cases of parent-child suicide. Statistical evidence that refutes these myths was presented.

The Impact of Suicide Across Cultures: More Than a Fairy Tale (IN: The Impact of Suicide, edited by B L Mishara)

The cultural variations in the effects of suicide are reviewed in this chapter. Different types of suicide (in terms of the consequences intended by the victim), e.g. atonement (seppuku), nonviolent resistance (self-immolation by Buddhist monks), or revenge (Lusi-Kaliai of New Guinea) are discussed. There is also a discussion of cluster suicide & suicide as a […]

Harakiri: a Clinical Study of Deliberate Self-Stabbing

10 patients who deliberately stabbed themselves were identified. Patients fell into 2 distinct groups: the first consisted mostly of young men with antisocial personalities & who reported ambivalent suicidal intent; the second consisted of psychotic patients, most of whom were actively ill at the time of the self-stabbing, & who reported clear suicidal intent. Distinctions […]

Japanese Suicide and American Wartime Policy Analysis

The Narcissism & Death of Yukio Mishima From the Object Relational Point of View

In this article, the author discusses the life & work of Yukio Mishima from the object relational point of view. Describes his life history, pointing out the four big identity crisis in his life. He then suggests that Mishima had been in a state of part object relationship throughout his life. The important role of […]

The Suicide of Mishima Yukio: Alienation of the Feudal Mind in Modern Japan

The author analyzes Mishima Yukio’s suicide in terms of goal means discrepancy & alienated self-conception, using as a background his major works & his life experiences. Attitudes toward his suicide, both in Japan & internationally, are examined. 38 Refs. (NBB)

Personal Situation as a Factor in Suicide, With Reference to Yasunari Kawabata & Yukio Mishima (IN: Between Survival and Suicide, ed. by Benjamin B Wolman and Herbert H Krauss)

Sociological analyses of suicide which focus solely on environmental situation are not applicable to individual cases since they ignore the personal situation. Two cases are examined on the basis of Durkheim’s behavioral indicators which describes both as egoistic suicides even though there were great differences between them. It is noted that any explanation of a […]

Characteristics of Suicides and Attitudes Toward Suicide in Japan (IN: Suicide in Different Cultures, ed. by N L Farberow)

This chapter describes patterns of suicide in Japan including methods & motivation; analyzes the suicide of Yukio Mishima, a Nobel Prize candidate for literature; & discusses Japanese attitudes toward suicide & suicidal victims. The independent variables thought to influence high suicide rates in Japan are authoritarianism & culture conflict. (47 refs.) (LH)

A Personal Myth–Yukio Mishima: The Samurai Narcissus

This article provides a psychoanalytic interpretation of Yukio MishimaÕs suicide & personal myth. A biography of this writer is presented. His writings are discussed in the context of the psychological state & message of the writer. Several explanations for the writer’s suicide are included, emphasizing his personal myth. The article describes MishimaÕs belief that his […]

Mishima’s Suicide: A Psycho-Cultural Analysis

This article is a discussion & examination of the politically motivated, altruistic suicide of Mishima Yukio, a popular novelist, playwrite, & member of the Tate no Kaifshield society. The author looks at this event & reactions to it in both Japanese & Western cultures. (NBB)

Japanese Suicide: Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima

The authors compare the life histories, literary contributions & suicidal behaviors of Yasunari Kawabata & Yukio Mishima, two famous authors. Because of the Japanese tradition of Seppuka & the cultural belief in ancesters which results in the blurring of the border between life & death, suicide for both seemed to be a constructive act–making a […]

Mishima & the Transition From Postwar Democracy to Democratic Fascism

The “Samurai” suicide of political activist Mishima Yokio & one of his Shield Society followers is examined in this lengthy discussion of postwar political development in Japan during the 1970’s. (NBB)

Death in Hero’s Costume: The Meaning of Mishima

John Spurling claims the death of Yukio Mishima by suicide was a carefully planned, theatrical event. He supports this theory by providing glimpses of Mishima’s childhood, & his adult passion for the several “rivers” of his life: writing, theatre, body & action. Mishima was a noted playwright & novelist, starring in many of his own […]