Issue 134, Spring 1995
Yukio Mishima was born Kimitake Hiraoka on January 14, 1925 in uptown Tokyo. His father was the deputy director of the Bureau of Fisheries in the Agriculture Ministry; his mother, from a family of educators and Confucian scholars, was herself well-versed in literature. The family lived in a well-to-do neighborhood in a rented two-floor house with a houseboy and six maids, an unusual extravagance. But for the first twelve years Mishima lived downstairs with his grandmother in her sickroom, leaving the room only with her permission.
His first fiction pieces, which he wrote at the age of twelve as a student at the Peers School, attracted the attention of the editor of Bungei-Bunka (Art and Culture) who invited him to write a story for that magazine. It was the first piece published under his new pen name, Yukio Mishima.
Despite his literary accomplishments, Mishimds father discouraged his writing: in a 1941 letter to his son he wrote, “I hear that some high-and-mighty writers speak of y…