Wednesday, 14 January 2015

MISHIMA AS MODERN ART


Today is the birthday of Yukio Mishima, the Japanese writer and nationalist revered by many on the alternative right. His fame was sealed by his ritual suicide on the 25th of November, 1970, after he had failed to incite a nationalist coup at the Ichigaya Bararcks in central Tokyo.

This video does not feature Mishima, but somebody imitating him. It is by the Japanese contemporary artist Yasumasa Morimura, and is a recreation of the speech Mishima gave to the troops at Ichigaya Barracks, but with the vocabulary changed to reflect on cultural and artistic issues.

Although the artist's intent may be partly ironic, the video also includes elements of tribute and raises important cultural issues that will be recognized by any identitarian. Morimura's performance is also so convincing that it gives us a flavour of the tragic moment in which Mishima's life culminated.

The text is as follows:
That’s why I’m waiting for you
waiting for you to all rise up!
You are artists, aren’t you?
If you are,
why is it you are so enthralled
with forms of expression that deny who you are?
Why do you kiss
the ass of every passing fad and fancy in Japanese art today,
as they undermine your identity?
If you keep on like this,
nothing can ever save you, nothing.
The world is overrun with sick culture.
Tell me, what is the purpose of art?
What is it that makes something Japanese?
You are all deluded, all of you.
You and you and you – all deluded.
Can’t you see that?
Isn’t there a single one of you
Who will join me and
rise up?
All right.
I see.
I can see that not one of you will
rise up in the cause of art.
With this my faith in art is at an end.
All I can do is shout “Banzai!”
Banzai!
Banzai!
Banzai!
Banzai!
Banzai!
Long Live Art!
Banzai! etc.



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