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Piven, J. (2001). Phallic Narcissism, Anal Sadism, and Oral Discord: The Case of Yukio Mishima, Part I. Psychoanal. Rev., 88(6):771-791.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Review, 88(6):771-791

Phallic Narcissism, Anal Sadism, and Oral Discord: The Case of Yukio Mishima, Part I

Jerry Piven, Ph.D.

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was undoubtedly one of the most prolific and creative writers of this century. His beautiful prose and thematic intensity single him out as an outstanding novelist, while his portrayals of desperation and nihilism in postwar Japan still incite a modicum of Japanese youth to a frenzied call for the return to samurai ethics. However, Mishima's perversions and quasi-fascistic politics were treated with apprehension by his readers and critics, especially after he committed ritual suicide. Whether this apprehension pertained to the auto-eroticism and homosexuality of Confessions of a Mask (Kamen no Kokuhaku, 1949), the identification with Nazism in My Friend Hitler (Waga Tomo Hittora, 1968), or the political satire and martial Emperor worship vividly delineated in The Sea of Fertility (1965-1970), the case of Mishima is permeated by severe conflict, early trauma, narcissistic injury, and the terror of disintegration. Mishima's fantasies consequently reflect a highly conflicted oral matrix, a violent anal sadism, and an intensely exhibitionistic phallic narcissism.

In attempting to understand Mishima, it is important to note those themes that recur in his work. Mishima consistently uses similar characters and conflicts in his fiction, often centering around an obsession with death, tragic love, erotic violence, and a solipsistic absorption in perverse and narcissistic fantasies.

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