On November 25th, 1970, the leading East Asian contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature tried to overthrow the Japanese government in a dramatic coup d'état. Failing at this, he then committed suicide via a combination of disembowelment and beheading. For more than fifty years, Yukio Mishima's life and death have defined Japanese literature.

But what about the actual writing? What made this man so magnetic? So popular? So powerful? So determined to die in the most ostentatious way possible?

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