Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  20 September 1985 (USA)
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A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ...
Masayuki Shionoya ...
Morita (segment "November 25, 1970")
Hiroshi Mikami ...
Cadet #1 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Junya Fukuda ...
Cadet #2 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Shigeto Tachihara ...
Cadet #3 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Junkichi Orimoto ...
General Mashita (segment "November 25, 1970")
Naoko Ôtani ...
Mother (segment "Flashbacks")
Gô Rijû ...
Mishima, age 18-19 (segment "Flashbacks")
Masato Aizawa ...
Mishima - age 9-14 (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuki Nagahara ...
Mishima, age 5 (segment "Flashbacks")
Kyûzô Kobayashi ...
Literary Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuuki Kitazume ...
Dancing Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Haruko Katô ...
Grandmother (segment "Flashbacks")
Yasosuke Bando ...
Mizoguchi (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion")
Hisako Manda ...
Mariko (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion")


A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts 25 November 1970, "The Last Day"... Written by Nick Lopez <ntlopez@fas.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


On November 25, 1970, Japan's greatest author Yukio Mishima commited an act that shocked the literary world...


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

20 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mishima  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$450,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mishima's actual words are used as narration, in Japanese by Ken Ogata in the restored version, and in English by Roy Scheider in the original theatrical release. See more »


Mishima didn't exaggerate his illness. He was declared unfit for military service because of an inexperienced Army physician's misdiagnosis. See more »


Yukio Mishima (Narrator): All my life I have been acutely aware of a contradiction in the very nature of my existence. For forty-five years I struggled to resolve this dilemma by writing plays and novels. The more I wrote, the more I realized mere words were not enough. So I found another form of expression.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Yukio Mishima is acknowledged to have been a real person, but his acts have been fictionalized by writers. Other persons and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons and events is unintentional. See more »

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User Reviews

Harmony of Pen and Sword
24 April 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

The film, original and hypnotizing depicting of the fascinating Artist's life through his writings, works, especially in the first two chapters, "Beauty" and "Art". They are nothing short of perfection if you ask me. Amazing blend of three different styles - quasi documentary of the last day in his life, black-and-white flashbacks of his earlier days and exiting and stylish color sequences of his novels "The Temple of Golden Pavilion" and "Kyoko's House" helps to understand the constant and tragic search of Mishima's protagonists for beauty and for meaning of art. Two last chapters, "Action" and "Harmony of Pen and Sword" seem weaker than the first two. Two hours are not enough to explore the figure of such complexity but the attempt is very interesting and adds to my interest in Mishima - a great writer, actor, director, a military man, a man who felt that he knew where the future of his country lied and who did not hesitate a second to die for his ideas.


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