Moral Isolation

In contrast to the intrinsic western enlightenment, the modern enlightenment of Japan is indeed extrinsic. As we are forced to make such unnatured development, forced by (western) pressure, the current Japan’s enlightenment will jump ahead with a heave of effort. The people who will be affected by such enlightenment must let discontent and anxiety reside in their mind. It is not to be approved that there are those that fein and look proud, as if this enlightenment arrived from within us. That is far too deceptive and frivolous.

It must come back to the point that the modern Japan’s enlightenment is sliding along, just on the very surface. I do not mean to say that this must be stopped. It’s just the helpless truth, that we must watch it happening, sliding ahead as we hold back our tears. If our enlightenment must happen in a mechanic, helpless way just sliding along on the surface, or otherwise, scrape down our nerves and brace up against it, are the Japanese not powerless, are they not pitiful.

Soseki Natsume, 1911

I think that industrialization is fine, urbanization and modernization is fine, on that point I am quite realistic. However, whether if the Japanese are satisfied in this situation, I must say that frustrations can be found. The idea is, that the root of it will conclude to the Emperor. He must exist as the last saviour of the frustration. The Emperor must reside on the very other side of the nation’s egoism and the people’s egoism.

Yukio Mishima


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