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New Left Review I/65, January-February 1971


Jon Hallliday

Mishima

Mishima’s death provides an excellent and salutary occasion to look at two important phenomena: the nature of Zen culture in Japan, and the condition of the Japanese army.

Mishima was one of the main vectors of Zen culture to the West, and to the American beatniks primarily: through books like The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (probably his most widely read work in the West), he was influential on a whole generation of writers, headed by Kerouac. Since Kerouac ended up supporting Ronald Reagan and Goldwater, and Mishima died urging the Japanese army to greater violence and aggression, the connection deserves scrutiny.

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