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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.

Director:

Paul Schrader
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gay | homosexual | japan | author | zen | See All (283) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

20 September 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mishima See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$437,547

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$504,785
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Has never been officially released theatrically or on home video in Japan even to this day (2019) because of the controversy over both Yukio Mishima's politics, and the film itself. A theatrical release was planned for Japan in 1985, but a bomb threat at a festival screening of the film there made distributors drop their plans. The film has been shown on Japanese television (albeit with the gay bar scene removed) and the U.S. DVD and Blu-Ray releases can legally be imported there. See more »

Goofs

There were two cadets outside the building, not just Morita. See more »

Quotes

Yukio Mishima (Narrator): Men wear masks to make themselves beautiful. But unlike a woman's, a man's determination to become beautiful is always a desire for death.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The 2001 DVD and 1998 LaserDisc releases by Warner Bros. do not have Roy Scheider's narration; they instead have an uncredited narrator. This was an error when choosing sound elements for these releases. The uncredited narration was a temp track that was made during the editing process as a guide when cutting the film together. The 2001 DVD release does, however, feature the Japanese-language narration track by Ken Ogata . Criterion's releases of the film have both English narration tracks - the temp narration made during editing, and Roy Schieder's version, along with Ken Ogata's Japanese-language narration. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful work of art
22 October 1999 | by david-345See all my reviews

Movies are something you see on Saturday night and forget by Sunday morning. Motion pictures are works of art that stick with you forever. Mishima falls into the latter category. This is the type of thing that should win Academy Awards, a brilliant, visual peice of film that is both depressing and uplifting. Instead of doing a straightforward look at the life of Yukio Mishima, director Paul Schrader interweaves three adaptations of the author's stories into a look at his past and final day on Earth, the day he tried to lead the Japanese military into rebellion in the name of the Emperor. Failing to do that, he commits ritual suicide in an ending that hits you like a ton of bricks. The three short story adaptations allow a look into what led him to this and are presented in an experimental way that makes them appear to be filmed stage plays. Ken Ogata is magnificent as Mishima. Despite his eccentricities, he comes off as very sympathetic, a man who is quite willing to die for his beliefs and does. This makes the ending that much more devastating and the sense of loss more meaningful. Of the three story adaptations, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko's House and Runaway Horses, it is the last that is the strongest and most emotional. It also is the story that most closely matches Mishima's mood in his final years and illustrates what truly led him to the events of November 1970. This review cannot be complete without a mention of Philip Glass' striking musical score. Not since 2001 has a film score been such a perfect compliment to it's visuals. Paul Schrader crafted one of the most beautiful movies of the 1980s or any other decade for that matter. Have the hankies at the ready because the ending will leave you in tears. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters reminds you that sometimes film can still be an art form and as art it is brilliant.


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