Yukio Mishima (1925-1970)

Died: 25th November 1970
Location: Tama Reien, Fuchū, Tokyo, Japan
Cause of death: Ritual Suicide by Seppuku
Photo taken by: Olavia Kite
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Japanese author who is remembered for his ritual suicide by seppuku after a failed coup d'état. He was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Mishima was internationally famous and is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. 
He started to write aged twelve but was discouraged by his father who considered it to an effeminate pastime. He didn't serve in the Japanese Army during WWII as he faked the symptoms of tuberculosis; however it is believed that he regretted doing this as he missed out on having a heroic death. He continued to write in secret and eventually his father agreed that he could resign from his position in the Finance Ministry to write full time.
Mishima achieved success in 1948 with his second novel Confessions of a Mask. It is a largely autobiographical work that deals with a young homosexual who has to hide behind a mask so that he can fit into society. Although Mishima had sexual relations with men he married in 1958 and had a daughter and a son.
In 1967 he founded the Tatenokai, a militia dedicated to traditional values and the veneration of the Emperor. On November 1970 Mishima and four members of the Tatenokai went to the Tokyo headquarters of Japan's Self-Defence Forces and held the commandant hostage. Mishima made a speech to the soldiers at the camp to inspire them to hold a coup but they heckled him and he committed seppuku. It is believed that Mishima had planned his suicide as he had left his affairs in order and had even left money to be used for the legal defense of the Tatenokai.