Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Japanese
Translated from: Japanese
Authors: Mishima, Yukio
Translated by: Kugevičiūtė, Dagija
ISBN: 978-609-444-301-5
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2019
Publisher: Sofoklis

Yukio Mishima’s novel “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” tells the story of the changing mind and life of a Zen Buddhist monk. The life of a monk is full of philosophical insights and inner monologues that show the cruel tragedy of existency and man. The story is based on real facts, and the main focus of the book, as the name suggests, is the Kyoto Golden Pavilion set on fire in the 1950s. The book contains a number of Buddhist terminology and real historical events that will broaden the reader’s horizons.

Mizoguchi is a stuttering and therefore complex monk of Zen Buddhism, full of destructive monologues and thoughts, which eventually lead him to the terrible tragedy of his story. He remembers from his childhood the Golden Pavilion shown by his father, which is etched in the memory of Mizoguchi for centuries. In the monk’s memory, the temple is of stunning beauty, just perfect. But after many years of traveling again to visit the Pavilion, unfortunately, the picture of the perfect temple from memory is completely out of touch with reality and greatly disappointing to Mizoguchi. This is where the monk’s disappointments in the life of the Golden Pavilion begin. However, as he lives in this temple and seeks answers to the internal conflicts that arise, the mind of Mizoguchi is gradually darkened again by the unreachable beauty of the temple.

The book is not an easy reading, it takes time to delve into the characters’ thoughts and the reader himself has to try to understand what is going on in their worlds. Moreover, the end of the story is already clear from the very first sentences, so it is unfortunate, but there is no big mystery that would surprise in the ending of the work. However, the reader, knowing the end of the work, can delve into the monk’s inner world and wonder why this was done and how people met by Mizoguchi led him to his destructive thoughts that changed his outlook on life and its beauty.

Yukio Mishima (January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970) is a Japanese writer, actor, director and playwright who has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature three times. The Golden Temple was written quite a long time ago – in 1956. and translated into Lithuanian in 2019. According to the book, a performance was also staged in Lithuania (directed by Eglė Mikulionytė).

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU