Yukio Mishima

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

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Father's face was buried in early summer flowers. There was something gruesome about the utter freshness of those flowers. It was as though they were peering down into the bottom of a well.
For a dead man's face falls to an infinite depth beneath the surface which the face possessed when it was alive, leaving nothing for the survivors to see but the frame of a mask; it falls so deep, indeed, that it can never be pulled back to the surface.
A dead man's face can tell us better than anything else in this world how far removed we are from the true existence of physical substance, how impossible it is for us to lay hands on the way in which this substance exists.
This was not at all like a meeting; I was merely looking at Father's dead face. The corpse was just being looked at. I was just looking. To know that looking (the act, that is, of looking at someone, as one ordinarily does, without any special awareness) was such a proof of the rights of those who are alive, and that this looking could also be an expression of cruelty― all this came to me now as a vivid experience.

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

父の顔は初夏の花々に埋もれてゐた。花々はまだ気味のわるいほど、なまなましく生きてゐた。 花々は井戸の底をのぞき込んでゐるやうだつた。なぜなら、死人の顔は生きてゐる顔の持つてゐた存在の表面から無限に陥没し、われわれに向けられてゐた面の縁のやうなものだけを残して、二度と引き上げられないほどの奥のはうへ落つこちてゐたのだから。 物質といふものが、いかにわれわれから遠くに存在し、その存在の仕方が、いかにわれわれから手の届かないものであるかといふことを、死顔ほど如実に語つてくれるものはなかつた。
対面などではなく、私はただ父の死顔を見てゐた。 屍はただ見られてゐる。私はただ見てゐる。見るといふこと、ふだん何の意識もなしにしてゐるとほり、見るといふことが、こんなに生ける者の権利の証明でもあり、残酷さの表示でもありうるとは、私にとつて鮮やかな体験だつた。


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