...E já lá vão precisamente cinquenta anos que o impensável, num país (que nem sempre foi) de brandíssimos costumes, teve lugar e a célebre foto acima reproduzida foi captada num fulminante click pela mão de Nagao Yasushi, à época um jovem fotógrafo de trinta anos ao serviço do Mainichi Shimbun — 毎日新聞 —, valendo-lhe um precoce Pulitzer Prize no ano seguinte (confesso que continuo sem entender de onde provém esse apetite mórbido, quasi-pornófilo [ainda que admitindo que nem sempre assim exclusivamente seja] por parte da Associated Press/A.P., LIFE magazine, de quem mais tem por incumbência retratar o mundo em toda a sua dimensão, e bem assim de sucessivos júris do Pulitzer, por imagens que na melhor das hipóteses se limitam a celebrar o pior da espécie humana... mas enfim... ora, dizia eu?... Ah pois!... adiante...), e a história do assassinato do Secretário-Geral do Partido Socialista do Japão, Asanuma Inejiro, em 12 de Outubro de 1960, pouco mais teria que se lhe diga que não podeis, numa breve pesquisa via Google, apurar por vós próprios, de sumário interesse, não fosse a mesma ter suscitado, à época, a par de outras mais emotivas reacções, um inesperado desenlace no domínio das Artes e Letras de então, e tanto por intermédio do génio de duas personalidades opostas nesse peculiar tempo de muitas incertezas.
É uma história pouco conhecida e boa demais para ficar por contar.
Dei com a mesma, há uns anos poucos entre as páginas de uma das melhores biografias de Mishima Yukio, essa lavrada da pena de John Nathan que já aqui, outrora, neste TLNBJ, ousei citar extensivamente, e que hoje, por imperativo do tempo que é escasso, torno a trazer à baila, desta feita no respectivo Inglês original e porque assim mais convém.
Trata-se da génese de duas obras marcantes de uma certa literatura fortemente polarizada (e politizada) da década de 60, uma sobejamente conhecida da maioria de nós (assim me quer parecer), e que daria ainda lugar a uma película de particular interesse, em especial para esses 'coleccionistas' como eu que nunca se cansam de esgravatar nos terrenos e entre as relíquias dess'outra 'arqueologia do presente' e em particular no que ao Japão respeita, e uma outra um tanto mais obscura mas de não menor valor, sobretudo se e quando tomada como retrato mordaz de um outro universo privado, feito de inconfessáveis inclinações, tão japonês a seu modo, tão torturado e tão tortuoso, um que de tempos a tempos se ergue de entre outras sombras e lugares de má memória.
Mishima e a esposa, Yoko, durante as filmagens de
"Yūkoku [憂国] — Patriotismo", Abril de 1965
Lamento, mas assim não poderá ser — lá temos mesmo que passar à narrativa e sem ceder a mais compassos de espera, porque esta história, em si, é longa e esta é, sem sombra de dúvida, a melhor síntese da mesma que até hoje me coube em mãos, e pela qual este artigo se propôs publicar.
E assim e acerca das origens de "Patriotismo", conto de Yukio Mishima, assim como das de "Seventeen", conto de Kenzaburō Ōe, conta-nos John Nathan:
«"Patriotism" [憂国 — "Yūkoku"], is the earliest indication that Mishima's quest for death was leading him to Shinto mysticism and emperor worship. Before long his newly found faith in the emperor would become the basis of a nationalism, and a politicized Mishima would emerge. But just beneath the surface of the politics was the old desire for death. There is nothing unusual about a man who has never required faith abruptly embracing religion when he learns that he must die. But surely the reverse is quite extraordinary: the "patriotism" Mishima began to formulate in the summer of 1960 was in essence his attempt to acquire faith in order to die.
«"Patriotism" appeared in the January 1961 issue of the Shōsetsu Chūōkōron [小説中央公論].
That same month, the twenty-five-year-old novelist Kenzaburō Ōe published in another magazine a portrait of a fascist as a young man called "Seventeen" [セヴンティーン], which was every bit as sardonic as "Patriotism" was solemn. In fact "Seventeen" was a brilliant and vicious attack on precisely the values that "Patriotism" exalted. The seventeen-year-old hero is a paranoid, convinced that people need only see "the pallor of his face and the cloudiness of his eyes" to perceive that he is a "chronic masturbator". The thought fills him with homicidal rage; he wants to "kill them, everyone of them, with a machine gun." But he cannot stop masturbating, because he needs the "sense of power" he experiences on ejaculation. The rest of the time he feels impotent in the face of "others" and of "eternity." When he hears for the first time in physics class about "infinity" and a "world of nothingness" he loses consciousness, soiling himself as he crumples to the floor. And he is sickened with fear at the thought of death, of having to endure nothingness "eternally a zero." One day a friend takes him to hear a rightist ranting from a soapbox. Until then he has always wanted to be on the Left, "because it felt better." But as he listens he understands suddenly that the "enmity and hatred he required to hold his own against the world" can come only from the Right. He joins the Imperial Way Party. When he puts on the party uniform he feels "armored in the Right" and knows that "[his] mushy, weak, easily injured and unsightly insides" are no longer being observed by others. Now he begins to study the Imperial Institution, and in a book called "The Emperor As An Absolute" he finds the clue that he's been searching for: "In fealty there can be no individuality." The young fascist understands at once: the Emperor has "commanded [him] to cast away his individuality." He does so, and knows "bliss." Vanished entirely is his sense of himself as powerless, ludicrous, contradictory, and out of place. He exults, masturbating: "Even if I do die, I will never perish. Because I am nothing more than a young leaf on a branch of a giant eternal tree called His Majesty the Emperor. I will not perish eternally! My fear of death has been conquered. Ah, Your Majesty, you are my god, my sun, my eternity. In you, by you, oh, I have truly begun to live!"
«The shocking coincidence of "Patriotism" and "Seventeen" was very likely a coincidence with an explanation. On October 12, 1960, the chairman of the Socialist Party, Inejiro Asanuma [浅沼稲次郎], was assassinated by a young rightist named Yamaguchi. Asanuma was delivering a speech when Yamaguchi charged headlong down the aisle of the auditorium, leaped up onto the speaker's platform, and ran him through with a short sword, the traditional weapon of the Japanese terrorist. A news cameraman happened to record the assassination on film (very much like the Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination in it's impact on the Japanese) and subsequently it was witnessed by the whole world. There is little question that Ōe had Asanuma's assassin in mind when he wrote "Seventeen". And it is not unlikely that Mishima was "inspired" by the same incident. Certainly terrorism was beginning to exert a special fascination over him at just this time. And this incident in particular was exciting to him because the assassin conformed to his idea of the hero by hanging himself in jail , thus demonstrating his "sincerity." In 1968, when asked at a teach-in for his opinion of Yamaguchi, Mishima replied: "He was splendid. As you know, he took his own life afterward. In dying that way he was being faithful to the letter of Japanese tradition."
The Asanuma assassination was not the only indication that leftist opposition to the security treaty had reinvigorated the extreme Right. Kenzaburō Ōe, for example, paid for "Seventeen" with nearly a year of isolation: the threats against his life kept him in his house and his friends away. And just one month after "Patriotism" and "Seventeen" had appeared there was yet another instance of rightist terrorism, an attempted assassination of the president of Chūōkōron Publishers. This time, perhaps ironically, it was Mishima's turn to suffer.
The Shimanaka Incident, as it came to be known, was provoked by a twelve-page story called "An Account of an Elegant Dream", which was published in the December 1960 issue of Chūōkōron magazine. The author, a singular man named Shichiro Fukazawa, was principally a guitarist and only incidentally a writer. In 1955, with encouragement from the director of a musical review in which he was appearing, Fukazawa had written a beautiful "folk tale" about the mountain to which young peasants carried their aging mothers to die and had won the first Chūōkōron Literary Prize for New Writers, hence his special relationship to that publisher. In the ensuing years he had maintained his double career as musician and novelist, and by 1960 he had a considerable reputation. In the story that caused so much trouble, the dreamer-narrator is transported to the Imperial Palace where he enthusiastically witnesses the execution of the Crown Prince [Akihito] and Princess Michiko at the hands of an angry populace (a revolution in progress) and then in an inner courtyard comes upon the "decapitated bodies" of the emperor and empress. There is no question that Fukazawa was radical in his sympathies. But considering the hysterical fury it elicited, his story was astonishingly benign, even childlike. The single line on which outrage was focused, quoted repeatedly, was "the severed head of the Crown Prince left his body and rolled along the ground bumpety-bump-bump."
«Shortly after the story appeared, the publisher was visited by seven representatives of rightist organizations [Uyoku Dantai — 右翼団体] who demanded that he apologize in the three major newspapers and that Fukazawa be "expelled" from Japan. Threats continued during December and January; the Great Japan Patriotic Party hired helicopters to scatter leaflets demanding that the Chūōkōron be "tried by the people and sentenced to death." On January 31, the party held a hate rally which was attended by over a thousand young fascists. Then, on the night of February 1, 1961, the inevitable happened. A young man named Komori — he was seventeen! — broke into the home of Chūōkōron's president Shimanaka, found him not at home, stabbed the family maid to death, and seriously wounded Shimanaka's wife*. [*Mishima condemned Komori for his attack on women. In 1968 he told a student audience: "Komori of the Chūōkōron Incident was bad business. The worst thing is attacking women and children. One of the splendid things about the young officers in the February 26 Rebellion was that they didn't harm any women or children."] The incident was particularly terrifying because the Asanuma assassination was still so vivid in memory. Shimanaka immediately announced at a press conference that Chūōkōron had been wrong to publish Fukazawa's story and added that he had "reprimanded" the editor of the magazine and removed him from his post. The police, responding to demands from the Opposition that the police commissioner resign and that emergency measures be taken to quell rightist violence, began an immediate crackdown: arrests were made, rightist groups placed under surveillance, and bodyguards assigned to public figures considered likely targets.
On November 1, Mishima had left the country with Yoko on a trip around the world, the "real honeymoon" he had promised her as soon as [his latest novel] "Kyōko's House" [鏡子の家 — "Kyōko No Ie"] should be finished. When he returned to Japan on January 20, he learned of a widespread rumor that he was responsible for Fukazawa's story appearing in Chūōkōron because he had strongly recommended it to the editor. He denied this vehemently in print, declaring it was ridiculous to suppose that an established writer like Fukazawa, who was, moreover, the winner of the Chūōkōron Literary Prize, would require anyone to recommend his story to that publisher's magazine. He ended the brief disclaimer saying that "certain people" — meaning Shimanaka — were allowing the rumor to persist in hopes of saddling him with responsibility properly their own; it is a fact that Chūōkōron never publicly stated that Mishima had not recommended the Fukazawa story. Whatever the truth may have been — and it is not inconceivable that Mishima could have appreciated the story despite its irreverence — there was ample basis for the rumor, given the fanatics who spread it, in his association with the Chūōkōron and his well-publicized friendship with Fukazawa himself. Beginning in 1956, the year after Fukazawa had won it, Mishima had served annually as one of the three judges awarding the Chūōkōron Prize. (...)
«The rumor persisted, and beginning in the last week of January, Mishima received repeated threats against his life and his family. Then came the Shimanaka Incident. For several nights afterward Mishima patrolled his garden himself, Japanese sword in hand. Then the police assigned him a "bodyguard", who lived in the house and accompanied him wherever he went for the rest of February and half of March. (...)
«But, however frightening this encounter with reality may have been, terrorism — more properly, Mishima's notion of terrorism — retained its excitement in his imagination. The most immediate evidence of this was his major [theatre] play for 1961, written in the summer and performed in November on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Bungaku-Za. "One Day Too Late" takes place sixteen years after the February Rebellion. The hero, then the Minister of Finance, has narrowly escaped assassination on that snowy dawn, and in escaping has lost an opportunity which will not present itself ever again ( the very opportunity the lieutenant in "Patriotism" seized). Ever since, the minister has survived in the "desolation of his spirit," a "living corpse" continuously rehearsing in memory that "moment of supreme glory". Every year on the anniversary of his escape, he his visited by his former chief maid and head butler, who join him in toasting the incident (...). The action of the play is essentially an attempt by the minister and his former maid to recreate the tension of that night and its glorious possibilities without the aid of the young rebels and their blazing guns. Inevitably, they fail. And the play implies that their failure is due to the engulfing and apparently unassailable peace of the postwar age. In a private, undramatic sense, peace is the villain of the play. It was no accident that Mishima specified the time in his stage directions as "1952, in other words, the year the Japan-U.S. Peace Treaty went into effect."
«"Kyōko's House" is evidence that Mishima was holding the postwar peace responsible for his difficulty in feeling alive as early as 1958. In "Patriotism" and "One Day Too Late" he represented terrorism as a "blissful" or a "glorious" alternative to peace. It was only a matter of time before he began to complain of peace in person instead of through a character in a novel. He first sounded the lament that was to be a leitmotif of his final years in August 1962, on the seventeenth anniversary of the surrender. His one-page article was called "These Seventeen Years of Warlessness" (the coinage is Mishima's):
«I can remember watching a movie during the war that had been made in peacetime and sighing at the sight of the Ginza all lit up with neon lights. But when I later found myself in an age of more neon than had ever been dreamed of, all I could think of was how easy it had been to live in a wartorn world and how painfully difficult it was to live in a world of peace. How arbitrary we are!
«When I imagine the three hundred years of Tokugawa peace and how tedious that must have been I am embarrassed as a Japanese to complain of boredom after a mere seventeen years.... But during that three hundred years the samurai [warrior] class, for all its corruption and overindulgence in sexual pleasure, maintained an artificial consciousness of peril which it seems to have employed as spiritual hygiene. But today, Bushido is 'passé'....»*
No demais, remeto-vos para a(s) obra(s) citada(s).
* In "Mishima, A Biography", John Nathan, Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, 1975.
◉ ◉ ◉