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Yukio, Yukio, YU-KI-OOOO

April 8, 2011

In case you forgot, it’s STILL poetry month y’all. Let’s explore another freaky poetic death.

Are you familiar with Yukiko Mashima? Outcast turned celeb at the age of 24 after writing Confessions of a Mask (The Sound of Waves is better), he was dealing with a whole lot of things that were pretty heavy in pre/post-war Japan. His Memaw (grandmother) took him away from his family as a kid, only to return him when he was 12 to live with a crazy dad who would hold him up to speeding trains to teach him discipline. His dad would also search his room looking for whatever might suggest he was into dudes. I don’t know what he could have found because Yukiko was twelve and basically lived under lockdown and based on Superbad boys like drawing boy parts anyways so whatever could have been considered incriminating is lost on me. Anyways, let’s fast forward.

He gets an education, gets a job, quits the job because he is so exhausted, and dedicates himself to writing. He writes a lot about being gay and a little about suicide. He is nominated for the Nobel Prize three times but his mentor Yansunari Kawabata wins and he sorta loses hope (Kawabata later goes on to kill himself, but he’s not a poet so we will not go into this)(However, you should read his stuff).

Fast forward again. Mashima joins a military army. He’s defending the emperor’s honor and holds a coup and addresses some soldiers and is mocked and jeered and thennnn he commits seppuku. Just like that, in some office. What? Apparently he had been planning it for a year and had chosen a fellow coup guy to perform the final decapitation part of the suicide, but the guy wasn’t any good at it and after several (?!?!) failed attempts had to get Hiroyasu Koga to do it. He PLANNED IT FOR A YEAR, STUCK A KNIFE IN HIS GUT, AND COULD NOT GET DECAPITATED BY A SWORD AFTER THREE ATTEMPTS. THIS IS A SIGN TO GIVE UP ON GIVING UP MASHIMA.

But he didn’t give up (thanks military dad?) and before he held the coup he wrote a traditional death poem. Big in Korea, Japan, and China, d.p.’s sometimes act as a will and are sometimes haiku and are always written before you die. It might look like this:

This is a death poem


It’s sorta freaky and weird to think about someone writing this but also kind of beautiful and scary, just like I’m hoping Scream 4 will be like. This is Yukiko Mashima’s death poem:

A small night storm blows
Saying ‘falling is the essence of a flower’
Preceding those who hesitate

This is basically his suicide note, but it’s beautiful and spooky and hard to couple with his actual death, so I’m not going to think about it anymore. Instead I’m going to try and figure out why Annecy is so bossy* all the GD time (see below):



*Annecy is not actually bossy at all



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