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Patriotism (Second Edition) (New Directions Pearls) Paperback – February 24, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Pearls (Book 1163)
  • Paperback: 60 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; Second Edition edition (February 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811218546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811218542
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This brief historical story of a young army officer and his wife is considered seminal Mishima. LJ's reviewer wrote that Mishima's stories have "timeless and universal appeal" (LJ 4/1/66).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

“A direct yet lyrical style devoted entirely to bringing out the elevated emotions of its two characters.” (Trevor Berrett - The Mookse and the Gripes)

“The violence we are facing with such difficulty in our daily lives, he gives us simply in all its subcutaneous horror and myth.” (Hortense Calisher - The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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This is definately worth a read - a fairly unknown classic.
Kitsuno
He keep faith with them in his act of seppuku, hence the fact that the majority of the story is actually concerned with the act itself.
David A. Wend
Mishima writes in a way that makes the reader completely understand why his characters do what they do.
momwith2kids

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Stevens VINE VOICE on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Patriotism" is Mishima stripped to the core: a simple tale of the sacrifice of a young couple, willingly and eagerly giving their lives for the emperor. Written by most anyone but Mishima this would be portrayed as a story of regret and tragedy, but in the hands of Mishima, the couple is described in tones extolling their beauty and virtue; death explained in words that evoke images of heat and passion. Mishima does not sugarcoat the experience; he lays it bare for the reader. My personal feelings regarding the content of this short story are at odds with those of Mishima, but I cannot deny the power and skill of "Patriotism". This is the type of book that should be read and discussed, a story that loses no power despite the time that has elapsed since it was written nearly forty years ago.

An interesting note regarding the title: although the original title (Yukoku) is usually translated as "patriotism" in English, the word carries different overtones than the English word "patriotism" or the more common Japanese word "aikoku" or "aikokushin". Yukoku translates more accurately as worry or anxiety over the present state or future of one's country. It is also a homophone for another word that means "evening". When reading this tale, remember these details as well as the fact that Mishima wrote this tale not during the heat and fury of wartime Japan, but twenty years after World War II ended, and this story will take on new nuances.

Patriotism is an intense study in nationalism, wartime-Japan style, as well as a window onto the soul of the enigmatic Mishima.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Alford on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
The new 2010 "Pearls" edition of Patriotism is so full of typos I wanted to cut my own stomach out. There's no excuse for these mistakes. It took me no more than 40 minutes to read the entire story and it's a shame New Directions couldn't take the time to do so before they sent this thing to press. For example: a sentence that is supposed to read "her socks were no longer sticky with blood" says "her sucks were no longer sticky with blood." Completely appalling stuff--I'll be skipping all the "Pearls" from here on out.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David A. Wend TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
To recall Madama Butterfly's comment on life: If one cannot live with honor, one can die honorably. This would be something with which the lieutenant and his wife, depicted in this story, would certainly agree. The reviewers who have commented here are caught up in the gore and blood of this story. Mishima indeed took care to precisely delineate of the act of disembowelment but the gore in this story is more clinically described than done for gratuitous results.
What is at the center of this story is being true to one's beliefs. Toward the end of his life Mishima was outspoken about the traditions of Japan that were rapidly disappearing, among them being allegiance to the Emperor. The event that the story was based upon was a rebellion by a group of junior officers in the Japanese army. They felt that the power and position of the emperor was being infringed upon and proceeded to kill some members of the government who they felt were leaning too much to the West (apologizing to family members). In other words, the soldiers reacted to a threat to traditional Japanese values. The soldiers who participated in the rebellion did not count upon Hirohito feeling otherwise, for he did not support their actions.
The lieutenant is left alone after his comrades participated in the rebellion while he was on leave. He keep faith with them in his act of seppuku, hence the fact that the majority of the story is actually concerned with the act itself. We may wonder why the lieutenant feels he must go through with his act, particularly since the rebellion was a dismal failure. The answer, I think, is honor.
The theme of this story, of keeping faith to traditional values, is echoed in Runaway Horses and, of course, in Mishima's own life - the unity of pen and action.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By lantos@sun.uchc.edu on November 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
"Patriotism," a short story by one of the 20th century's most talented and notorious authors, cannot be adequately described within the constraints of language. It has a raw power that, like all of Mishima's works, is profoundly delicate in construction and exquisite in tempo.
The plot of "Patriotism" is simple enough -- it is, in fact, unimportant. An officer in the Japanese military is given orders to disrupt a renegade political group that he happens to hold allegiance to. What else does one do in such a quandry (particularly a character of Mishima) than commit seppuku? The bulk of "Patriotism" is the last night that this officer and his wife spend together before they both commit ritual suicide. What sets "Patriotism" apart from virtually all other literature is its portrayal of a couple's last night and their gruesome, graphic, horrific deaths in glorious and ecstatic terms.
Many writers are capable of vividly depicting a scene of death and horror, and this story is more disgusting and graphic than anything I've read in Stephen King. But the literal description of what happens has an unpredictable and unbelievable impact in this story, where one man's act of disemboweling himself is described in the most ecstatic terms. It was that juxtaposition of glory and death that made me nearly double over when I'd finished. "Patriotism" is not for the weak heart nor the weak stomach, but in 50 pages or so it creates an effect you are not likely to see executed so well elsewhere.
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