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Mishima's Sword: Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Christopher Ross
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Kurzbeschreibung

6. November 2006
The stunning book from Christopher Ross, Sunday Times top 10 bestselling author of 'Tunnel Visions'. In 1970 Japan's most famous writer, Yukio Mishima, cut open his stomach and was then beheaded with his own antique sword. His anachronistic suicide has been called many things: a desperate heroic gesture; a work of art; a political protest; the antics of a madman. But which is correct? And what became of Mishima's sword? Thirty years later Christopher Ross sets out for Japan on the trail of those who might have answers: craftsmen and critics; soldiers and swordsmen; boyfriends and biographers; even the man who taught Mishima hara-kiri. Like his best-selling 'Tunnel Visions: Journeys of an Underground Philosopher', Christopher Ross has written another unclassifiable blend of travel writing, autobiography and philosophical enquiry to create a mesmeric account of modern Japan and the peculiar death that haunts it to this day.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Collins Paperbacks; Auflage: New Ed (6. November 2006)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0007135092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007135097
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,6 x 14,2 x 2,2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 563.510 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

'(Ross's) digressive reflections on his quest are personal, pertinent and philosophical: he gives a vivid picture of a Japan still haunted by nostalgia and nationalism.' The Times 'Entertaining, deftly written and wise...a very good book. Its achievement is that not only does it make the reader learn, it makes the reader think.' Daily Telegraph 'An engaging patchwork of a book, a blend of cultural history, memoir, travelogue and philosophical rumination.' Hari Kunzru, Sunday Telegraph '"Mishima's Sword" resembles a bento, those beautiful lacquered lunch boxes in which delicacies nestle side by side in separate compartments, each a feast in miniature.' New Statesman 'A fascinating read.' Arena Magazine

Synopsis

This is the stunning book from Christopher Ross, "Sunday Times" top 10 bestselling author of "Tunnel Visions". In 1970, Japan's most famous writer, Yukio Mishima, cut open his stomach and was then beheaded with his own antique sword. His anachronistic suicide has been called many things: a desperate heroic gesture; a work of art; a political protest; the antics of a madman. But, which is correct? And, what became of Mishima's sword? Thirty years later, Christopher Ross sets out for Japan on the trail of those who might have answers: craftsmen and critics; soldiers and swordsmen; boyfriends and biographers; even the man who taught Mishima hara-kiri. Like his best-selling "Tunnel Visions: Journeys of an Underground Philosopher", Christopher Ross has written another unclassifiable blend of travel writing, autobiography and philosophical enquiry to create a mesmeric account of modern Japan and the peculiar death that haunts it to this day.

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3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Eine wilde Reise durch das alte und neue Japan! 7. April 2006
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Yukio Mishima ist der wohl berühmteste Autor der japanischen Gegenwart. Seine Werke, so wie sein Leben, handelten von Homoerotik, Sadismus und Masochismus und einer speziell japanischen Form von Ästhetik. In der japanischen Gesellschaft ist es derzeit gesellschaftsfähig, öffentlich Softpornos zu lesen. Nicht jedoch Werke von Mishima!
Wie endete das Leben dieses Autors? Mishima beging 1970 öffentlich Harakiri (Seppuku), nachdem er von sich (mit 45 Jahren) gesagt hatte, "er sein schon unanständig alt" geworden.
Der Autor nun bereist das moderne Japan, auf den Spuren von Yukio Mishima und auf der Suche, nach dem Schwert, das beim Sepukku benutzt wurde und welches oft auf Fotos mit Mishima zu sehen ist. Dabei trifft er auf das moderne Japan, und zugleich spricht er mit Schwertschmieden und Fechtmeistern, dem alten Japan. Er hört ihre Meinung zu Mishima und auch die Gedanken, von Personen die Mishima kannten, werden eingefügt. Selbst Yakuza (Gangster) spielen eine Rolle, bei der Schwertsuche.
Das ganze ist eine wunderbare Mischung aus der Gedankenwelt der Moderne und dem Geist des alten Japan. Und man versteht, wie Mishima so enden mußte.
Ob der Autor das Schwert, eine Arbeit einer berühmten Schmiedefamilie mit Namen "Kanemoto", aus dem 16. Jahrhundert, denn nun wirklich gefunden hat? Das wird auf den letzten Seiten des Buches verraten.
Wer sich für Japan, Samurai, oder auch nur Mishima interesiert, dem sei diese Buch sehr ans Herz gelegt.
Nach der Lektüre habe ich beschlossen, keine Werke von Mishima selbst zu lesen. Wer sich zu nahe an das Feuer begibt, der verbrennt sich. Zu faszinierend ist die schräge Gedankenwelt dieses Mannes. Und man kann nicht sicher sein, ob nicht in seiner eigenen Seele, eine dunkle Saite zum erklingen gebracht wird.
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Amazon.com: 2.9 von 5 Sternen  8 Rezensionen
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good subject, poor delivery. 19. Mai 2009
Von Evil Noah - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This is a pretty fascinating account of Yukio Mishima's life and eventual suicide seppuku style. As far as the amazing real life story of Mishima and the amazing history of Japan goes, this book should have been 5 stars. The reason I only gave it three is the author's self-indulgent, "I'm sooo cool because I know about japanese culture and kendo", attitude and writing style. You have to read %50 percent of the book hearing about this guy's stay in japan and martial arts routines.
I appreciate the attempt to write more than just a biography, but when it comes down to it, who do you want to read about? Mishima or some cocky british japanophile?
8 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen the only book i've thrown across a room in digust at 27. Januar 2009
Von Cirrus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I happen to have read many novels by Mishima in their English translations as well as many other Japanese novelists. I came to this book as someone interested in anything about Mishima having already read the Nathan and Stokes biographies and the Yourcenar book on him. But, regardless of whether one has any interest in Mishima or in Japanese literature or in Japan I think this book could only be read by someone amused by bad writing. This book was the worst book I have ever read by far - nothing comes close. While the story itself and the subject itself are certainly worthy Christopher Ross has such a flair for lack of taste and such a flair for tangents that are neither interesting nor at all relevant that, well, yes, one may find this amusing as an example of bad writing. Ridiculously bad! I am utterly astonished this was published. For example in one particularly crazy tangent that I am recalling from memory he uses the pretext that Mishima was a resident of Tokyo to speak of going to one section of Tokyo where pornography was available (I'm not offended at all by pornography here - only by ridiculously off-subject and uninteresting writing) - and then offhandedly makes some nitwit observation that the chrysantheum image is often used to cover up private parts in pornographic pictures and then he informs us that the chrysantheum is a national symbol in Japan. And then... on with his story of searching for Mishima's sword. But there are countless other examples of tangents that are completely uninteresting, uninformative, and irrelevant. This might be alright with any sort of tactfulness but, always, Christopher Ross seemed to come across as Beavis or Butthead- snickering at some stupid observation which he thinks is original or insightful. I began reading this thinking I might want to write a review of it for a local publication- thus I plunged forward with it despite how much I disliked it. But halfway into it - I think at the point he makes his juvenile snickering about what covers private parts in certain magazines he has seen (which has nothing to do with anything whatsoever) - I spontaneously threw the book across my apartment - both in jealousy that here was someone who had something published and then, primarily, at the utter contempt I had for this person. Spending time reading Ross is like being forced to listen to the most annoying person you have ever sat next to on a bus, plane, or waiting in line. All you can do is endure and try not to lose your temper. I certainly, however, recommend any of Mishima's books particularly 'Confessions of a Mask' and 'Temple of the Golden Pavillion' for those who have not read his works before. Nathan's biography stands out from the others though the movie 'Mishima' was based on the Scott Stokes biography (which is also good and covers the subject in a different enough way to make it worth reading in addition to the other.) Plenty has been written about Mishima and it would be helpful for the novice to Japan to understand that Mishima's death is seen as something of an embarrasment and an egotistical act- though a portion of the right-wing there may look at him with respect. Anyhow, avoid this book unless you are searching for samples of poor writing- in which case I highly recommended going thru the pages of this piece of trash that has the feel of a weekend spent with an immature suburban junior high student without talent, taste, or seemingly without any reason to having had a book published. Was this a publisher's joke? Did Ross pay the publisher to have this book published? In fewer words, this book was just astonishingly bad.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Mishima mishmash 26. Dezember 2012
Von Paul Suni - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
On page 158 Mr. Ross states: "Writers are storytellers and frequently cannot resist applying their creative capacities to embroidering their own stories". This is an odd statement since one can levy the same charge against the author. This is one of those books that made me wonder whether it was really worthwhile finishing the second half or moving on to something more satisfying, such as an actual book by Yukio Mishima. I did both and found "The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea" the far better read.

The Mishima story, particularly his suicide (seppuku), is well known and has been retold numerous times in all its gory detail. Enter Mr. Ross wondering whatever happened to the sword used to separate his head from the rest of his body. Somehow this genesis feels a bit like a bunch of mildly stoned over-the-hill hippies sitting around wondering whatever happened to OJ Simpson's Bronco or to whatever implement Manson used to carve a swastika into his otherwise unblemished forehead. These days perhaps either topic is sufficient as the basis for a book. Given the mythology surrounding Mishima maybe this was irresistible to the publishers, perhaps more so since Mr. Ross can speak with some credibility on topics like Japanese martial arts, the Tokyo subway system, and, at the end of his research, sado-masochistic practices in contemporary Japan.

As a book this is kind of a mishmash of stories about Mishima, about Japan, and about Mr. Ross. Much of it feels fragmented. One hopes that in the end it will come together as something memorable, but it just doesn't. Even the final name-dropped quotation is by Wittgenstein, not Mishima, which is less than one would hope for at that point.

Perhaps it's a zen thing that I am just too dumb to understand... At least I think Mr. Ross owes us an explanation for his tummy ache given that he devoted so much time discussing it.
9 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting history lesson mixed with a travel diary 2. Januar 2007
Von therosen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Christopher Ross goes on a quest for the sword used to assist in the suicide of Yushio Mishima, one of Japan's most famous authors. Along the way, the reader is treated to a history of Japan, lessons on Kendo, and insight into Mishima himself, and icon (or iconoclast?) of Japanese literature. In essence, the quest for the physical sword takes secondary importance, behind Ross's quest to understand the man, the times, and the context of his suicide.

For those that read Twigger's Angry White Pajamas, this book is a more serious, and more culturally detailed view of the same genre. Perhaps the connection comes as Christopher Ross was the uber-guru that Twigger wrote about...

If there's one issue I have with the book, it's that the writer at times talks down to the reader. For example, most anyone reading this has experienced international travel - the audience is a cosmopolitan set. Explaining the details of an inflight entertainment system detracts from the overall story.

That said, the book is still concise and well written, and worthy of a read from any afficianado of Japan. It certainly earns a prominent place on my bookshelf!
4.0 von 5 Sternen A book for someone with more background 31. März 2014
Von Chuckz5 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I haven't finished the book (still in the middle) but just want to argue with those reviewers who complain that the author distracts them with his own story and with "unnecessary" sword stories. But this is not a detective story about finding a sword - it is more about finding your own soul or core. This is not a travelogue but a philosophical journey.
Even if you look at the book from the travel prospective, I find his style of writing about this complicated topic well suited to conveying a complex mingling of old and new, of philosophy, religion and modernity that helps to understand today's Japan. Of course, the reader must be interested in understanding the whole instead of just a tabloid-like weird seppuku story.
In addition, since I can understand Japanese, I appreciate terminology and poetry cited in the book.
Maybe those who don't like such style, need find a different book on this topic - less culturally charged.
The author writes for a reader having more solid background or more curiosity and open mind.
It is not for an average beach reader.
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