Jan Wilm at the LARB:
IT SEEMS BOTH the great comedy and the great tragedy of Yukio Mishima’s life that hardly any of his work’s plots live up to his death. While anything but a wallflower, Mishima didn’t have the topsy-turvy life of a Daniel Defoe or a Herman Melville — he was neither jailed and pilloried nor on the hunt for roly-poly whales. But when it comes to spectacular deaths among the writers of the world, Mishima is top tier.
The story goes that he didn’t wait for the ink to dry on his final entry in his Sea of Fertility tetralogy, The Decay of the Angel(published posthumously in 1971), until he made plans for his suicide, in public and full view of the world, when he killed himself after a failed putsch that might never have been wholly political and always a private death masquerading as a public spectacle.