Quotes from book
Sun and Steel

Sun and Steel: Art, Action and Ritual Death is a book by Yukio Mishima. It is an autobiographical essay, a memoir of the author's relationship to his body. The book recounts the author's experiences with, and reflections upon, his bodybuilding and martial arts training.


Yukio Mishima photo
Yukio Mishima photo
Yukio Mishima photo
Yukio Mishima photo
Yukio Mishima photo

„Only through the group, I realised — through sharing the suffering of the group — could the body reach that height of existence that the individual alone could never attain.“

—  Yukio Mishima, book Sun and Steel

Source: Sun and Steel (1968), p. 87.
Context: Only through the group, I realised — through sharing the suffering of the group — could the body reach that height of existence that the individual alone could never attain. And for the body to reach that level at which the divine might be glimpsed, a dissolution of individuality was necessary. The tragic quality of the group was also necessary, the quality that constantly raised the group out of the abandon and torpor into which it was prone to lapse, leading it to an ever-mounting shared suffering and so to death, which was the ultimate suffering. The group must be open to death — which meant, of course, that it must be a community of warriors.

Yukio Mishima photo

„Words are a medium that reduces reality to abstraction for transmission to our reason, and in their power to corrode reality inevitably lurks the danger that the words will be corroded too.“

—  Yukio Mishima, book Sun and Steel

Source: Sun and Steel (1968), p. 9.
Context: Words are a medium that reduces reality to abstraction for transmission to our reason, and in their power to corrode reality inevitably lurks the danger that the words will be corroded too. It might be more appropriate, in fact, to liken their action to excessive stomach fluids that digest and gradually eat away the stomach itself.
Many people will express disbelief that such a process could already be at work in a person's earliest years. But that, beyond doubt, is what happened to me personally, thereby laying the ground for two contradictory tendencies within myself. One was the determination to press ahead loyally with the corrosive function of words, and to make that my life's work. The other was the desire to encounter reality in some field where words should play no part at all.

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