YUKIO MISHIMA (1925–1960) was a leading Japanese novelist, playwright and cultural and political figure. He was born in Tokyo and educated at the Peer’s School, where he received a special commendation from the Emperor of Japan. His international reputation as a leading Japanese writer was firmly established by the English publication in 1960 of Confessions of a Mask, considered to be one of the most important novels to have emerged from Japan since the war. In 1970 Mishima publicly committed seppuku, ritual suicide by disembowelment, in an ultimate gesture towards fulfilling his own fantasy of death. Mishima was the subject a memorable and award-winning Paul Schrader film, Mishima a Life in Four Chapters in 1985.