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Runaway Horses: Yukio Mishima by Mishima…
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Runaway Horses: Yukio Mishima (original 1969; edition 2006)

by Mishima Yukio (Autor), Mishima Yukio (Colaborador)

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1,1671814,252 (4)92
Yukio Mishima's Runaway Horses is the second novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. Again we encounter Shigekuni Honda, who narrates this epic tale of what he believes are the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae.   In 1932, Shigeuki Honda has become a judge in Osaka.  Convinced that a young rightist revolutionary, Isao, is the reincarnation of his friend Kiyoaki, Honda commits himself to saving the youth from an untimely death. Isao, driven to patriotic fanaticism by a father who instilled in him the ethos of the ancient samurai, organizes a violent plot against the new industrialists who he believes are usurping the Emperor's rightful power and threatening the very integrity of the nation. Runaway Horses is the chronicle of a conspiracy -- a novel about the roots and nature of Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to war.… (more)
Member:calroll
Title:Runaway Horses: Yukio Mishima
Authors:Mishima Yukio (Autor)
Other authors:Mishima Yukio (Colaborador)
Info:Random House UK (2006), Edition: 01, 421 pages
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Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima (1969)

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» See also 92 mentions

English (16)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
A creepy book for sure. Isao is just crazy to commit suicide in a blaze of glory, to purify the world somehow. It is so far from any mode of thought that I can find in myself... but this whole book just wallows in it. I trust that this is not an utter fabrication of Mishima, but reflective of some facet of Japanese culture. So the book is a way to learn a bit about Japan. But surely Japan is a part of the world, and this mode of thought is not exclusive to Japan. Actually, this book seems horribly relevant to the USA in 2020. There is definitely a current of violent loyalty to authoritarian purity in order to return to some past greatness. I still can't say that I understand this mode of thought, despite having wallowed in it for 400 pages. But maybe I have got a bit more familiarity. That's something. ( )
  kukulaj | Jul 30, 2020 |
Reading this reminded me how big a drift there is between not only the modern and traditional outlook on life, but Far Eastern and Western, noble and common, idealist and realist, old and young - pretty much any dichotomy. And, these views are often so irreconcilable that we tend to judge too easy and too often, jump to conclusions even more so.
This book, much more than the previous one in the series, challenged my perspective of a woman with fairly leftist views, treasuring life above all in 2017, when ideals for which individuals are ready to die for all seem a bit blurry, twisted by the contemporary politics and post/wild-capitalist reality. The glorification of seppuku is hard to understand for an outsider to Japanese culture. The ideas of honor and glory are dangerous to play with, as they often lead to extremism, and in my opinion, personal sacrifice is rarely, if ever acceptable in their name. The ideals of patriotism, cultural purity and nationalism are even more problematic, given the history of the 19th/20th century. Somehow, in popular culture, when it comes to Japan, there is a larger tolerance, than when the same comes from e.g. German culture, maybe given the romanticism of the whole samurai mythos as it is portrayed in the West.

The novel is so typically Japanese, and if that means, in Mishima's words, that it is marked by elegance and brutality, I have to say the latter is a tad more overpowering.
Elegance was much more palpable in Spring Snow. It was not a very well constructed novel. Some parts were tedious to read, and some asked a lot of mental investment from the reader that did not really pay off.

What I loved was how the connection of this novel to the previous and the following in the series shone through, those little details that were mystical and surprising. I found Honda strangely refreshing, too. An interesting, but difficult read. ( )
  ZeljanaMaricFerli | Feb 20, 2020 |
Magnificent! Tragic! Beautifully written! Characters I will remember for a very long time! This second of four novels by Yukio Mishima was even better than. the first, "Spring Snow". The reincarnation of the protagonist from the first novel, a 19 year old kendo champion, must come to terms with his notions of purity and honor in a Japan which has moved away from the ancient pathways. I couldn't put the book down. It was deeply engaging on both emotional and intellectual levels. ( )
  hemlokgang | Apr 20, 2015 |
Another beautifully written book, but depressing. Reading about ultra rightwing teenagers in 1930s Japan who are obsessed with their own brand of moral purity to the extent that they would commit suicide against a backdrop of current affairs that include Islamic fundamentalism, Russian imperialism, political nationalism in the UK, and the right to bear arms gone mad in the US was hard.

I think I know where David Mitchell got his reincarnation idea from for the Ghostwritten/number9dream/Cloud Atlas story arcs, though. ( )
  missizicks | Feb 28, 2015 |
Runaway Horses, the second book in Mishima's The Sea of Fertility series, is a completely different book than the first. While Spring Snow is a poetic, tender love story, Runaway Horses is a political manifesto. Given what I know of reincarnation, the idea that one tries to correct the mistakes of their past life, this is a proper step in the path of the character known as Kiyoaki in the first novel. Kiyoaki was confused and unsure; he had very polar opinions of each person in his life—everyone had a sense of loveliness, everyone was out to get him. Isao, Kiyoaki reborn, knows what he wants—he is a revolutionary, he sees people as either good or evil, and he is determined to follow the plot he has created for himself until his final breath; yet Isao has no enjoyment for life, no flexibility—I anticipate in the third novel we'll find Isao reborn, a character who takes time to “stop and smell the roses.”

Mishima was a wonderful writer and I thoroughly enjoyed Runaway Horses. That being said, the series as a whole reminds me a little now of Tolstoy. In a massive work like War and Peace, Tolstoy took his time to tell love stories, fight battles, and express his views on history and politics. For Mishima, Spring Snow was the love story; Runaway Horses was the political rant. On its own, Runaway Horses delves too much into political discourse to keep the plot interesting, but within the series as a whole, it makes sense. In comparison to the first book, Runaway Horses is dry and somewhat flat; but as an addendum or companion to Spring Snow, it is a brilliant follow up. I look forward to the third novel in the series. ( )
  chrisblocker | Apr 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
"The text itself is marred. Mishima failed to make Isao a character interesting enough to hold our attention."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Edmund White (Jun 24, 1973)
 
"A modern masterpiece."
added by GYKM | editBaltimore Sun
 
"Mishima's diction is self-consciously intellectual; his prose is filled with words drawn from the whole history of the Japanese language used in an effort to enrich the texture of his diction" [...] "However the translation we are offered of the first two volumes is in quite pedestrian English."
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yukio Mishimaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Camp, Marion Op denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.
The instant that the blade tore open his flesh, the bright disk of the sun soared up and exploded behind his eyelids.
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Yukio Mishima's Runaway Horses is the second novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. Again we encounter Shigekuni Honda, who narrates this epic tale of what he believes are the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae.   In 1932, Shigeuki Honda has become a judge in Osaka.  Convinced that a young rightist revolutionary, Isao, is the reincarnation of his friend Kiyoaki, Honda commits himself to saving the youth from an untimely death. Isao, driven to patriotic fanaticism by a father who instilled in him the ethos of the ancient samurai, organizes a violent plot against the new industrialists who he believes are usurping the Emperor's rightful power and threatening the very integrity of the nation. Runaway Horses is the chronicle of a conspiracy -- a novel about the roots and nature of Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to war.

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