Yukio Mishima

Damian Flanagan at the TLS:

Star, the short novella Mishima published in November 1960, is little known in Japan, buried as it is under the weight of the grander achievements in the forty-two volumes of his Complete Works. But it is now open to rediscovery thanks to an adroit, colloquial translation into American English by Sam Bett. It offers us a snapshot of a twenty-three-year-old, up-and-coming movie star, Rikio “Richie” Mizuno. Paraded in a string of formulaic films, swooned over by his many female fans, Rikio and the studio who manage him carefully groom his image. When a fan intrudes on the set and disrupts a take to throw herself at “Richie”, the director is at first furious, then ponders whether her intervention couldn’t be built into the script. But she can’t act, so she is quickly cut again and promptly attempts suicide, before the studio spin the story as “Richie” intervening to save her life.

Rikio’s own attention is more caught up with hiding from the studio his affair with his silver-teethed, ugly personal assistant, or indulging his narcissistic longing for death, or observing how his star quality opens up a new field of morality. Watching an ordinary person being arrested for shoplifting in a fancy Ginza store, he reflects that if he was to steal something in a shop, it would be simply laughed off as a joke.

more here.