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Yamamoto, J. Iga, M. (1975). Japanese Suicide: Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 3(2):179-186.

(1975). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 3(2):179-186

Japanese Suicide: Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima

Joe Yamamoto and Mamoru Iga

As with all behavior, the act of suicide must be considered in its cultural context. Suicide in Japan has had a different significance than, for example, suicide in a Catholic European nation. Rather than discuss Japanese suicide by observations of patients, we decided to discuss the cases of two famous authors. Mishima committed suicide in November 1970, with one of his male admirers, after delivering an impassionate plea to 1,200 members of the Self Defense Forces to rise up and revive the Imperial Army. He was 45 years old. The other author, Kawabata, left his home on the afternoon of April 16, 1972, for his nearby studio, without leaving any sign of suicidal intent. That evening, he was found dead with a gas conduit in his mouth.

We believe that in comparing and contrasting their life histories, life styles, literary contributions and suicidal behavior, we may be able to gain some important insights into the dynamic significance of suicide in Japan's different cultural context.

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