Mishima’s Sword

Christopher Ross

This book is concerned with the author’s circuitous search for the sword used by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima to commit seppuku (ritual suicide by belly-slicing) in 1970. Choppy organization and meandering historical sketches hurt the book’s overall continuity and cause it to fall just short of scholarly. The book does work as a travel narrative, however, full of the author’s accounts of interesting and often humorous,experiences while living and working in Japan for several years. The book is mildly skeptical about the value of Mishima’s work to posterity, and it shows. Despite that uncomfortable ambivalence, Mishima’s Sword is an enjoyable and fast read for those eager to learn about the life—and death—of Yukio Mishima.