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Fuminori Nakamura contributes to important Yukio Mishima 50th anniversary publishing project

Promotional banner for new paperback editions of Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) novels launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mishima’s death. Image: PR Times
To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Yukio Mishima’s (1925-1970), one of Japan’s most renowned authors, Shinchosha, a leading Japanese publisher, is re-issuing all of the author’s major works with newly designed covers.

These handsome new bunko, paperback, editions also include specially commissioned commentaries from a select group of 11 leading contemporary authors, including Fuminori Nakamura, who, according to the publisher, represent a new generation of highly-talented Japanese writers following in Mishima’s creative wake.

English translation edition of Yukio Mishima’s (1925-1970) novel Confessions of a Mask. Translated by Meredith Weatherby (1915-1997)
The multi-award-winning Nakamura, known for his fast-paced narratives that hypnotically blend psychological suspense with literary fiction, has written a commentary for the new edition of Confessions of a Mask, Kamen no Kokuhaku, first published in 1949 when Mishima was only 24.

The novel, a work that would today be described as auto-fiction, features a homosexual protagonist, Kochan, and his struggles growing up during Japan’s militaristic and imperial era. It is well known for its often cited masochistic fantasies, as well as its captivating prose. The novel played a critical role in launching Mishima’s writing career in Japan.

Other authors who have written commentaries for the new editions include Riku Onda and Kijushi Shigemtatsu who have written about The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji and The Sound of Waves, Shiosai, respectively.

In recent years Mishima’s fame has been somewhat eclipsed outside Japan by the rising profiles of writers like Haruki Murakami and Keigo Higashino and the current cohort of female Japanese writers who are often winning and being nominated for international literary prizes.  

Promotional banner of images of Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) for new paperback editions of the author’s books launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mishima’s death. Image: Shinchosha
Mishima, who was only active as a writer for 21 years, was prolific as well as internationally famous and notorious for killing himself in a very public manner. And despite recent headlines shouting such sentiments as: The Return of Mishima and Mishima is Back, the reality is that the author’s reputation and renown have been enduring.

Mishima’s work Life for Sale, Inochi urimasu, described by critics as ‘an exhilarating piece of quirky fiction’ initially published in serial format in 21 installments of Weekly Playboy, a Japanese adult magazine, has been recently made into a TV-series by Amazon Prime. And articles and books about him, including biographies, are still regularly penned and published. 

Mishima’s name on the covers of the Shinchosha books has been printed using gold and silver foil making these new editions feel and look very special, a clever design touch that would no doubt have pleased the author, who was very style conscious.

Display of covers of new paperback editions of Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) novels launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the author’s death. Image: PR Times

The publisher has also released a rare recording of a speech by Mishima titled: My Friend Hitler on its website, which will only be accessible for a limited period until the end of January 2021.

That said, Nakamura, like Mishima, is an author in high demand with a growing reputation outside Japan. His works, despite being very different in style, are also regularly serialised in major Japanese publications and more of his works are now being translated into many different languages. His novel, The Kingdom, Okoku, for instance, has recently been translated into Thai and published in Thailand.
  • RedCircle
    About Red Circle:
    Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit:
    • Fuminori Nakamura
      About Fuminori Nakamura:
      Fuminori Nakamura is the most exciting thriller and crime writer of his generation in Japan whose fast-paced narratives hypnotically blend psychological suspense with literary fiction. Nakamura, who has won numerous literary prizes in Japan, won his first non-Japanese literary award in 2014, the NoirCon’s David L. Goodis Award, named after the American crime fiction writer, who epitomized the noir fiction genre.