Confessions of a Mask (Kamen-no Kokuhaku) is Japanese author Mishima Yukio's first novel. Published in 1948, it launched him to national fame though he was only in his early twenties. Confessions of a Mask is an account, usually considered at least semi-autobiographical, of a boy growing up in a Japan that is war-torn and militaristic. Entirely unsuited by nature to this environment, the narrator, Kochan, must weave an intricate and profoundly self-defeating facade around himself as he discovers his sexuality. This mask leads him into a pitiful affair with a young woman which only redoubles his fear of his peculiarity, into deceiving his parents, and into effectively becoming further estranged from himself the older he becomes. The novel also becomes fixated upon the link between sexuality and violence, and the narrator's tendency to dream in this vein is recounted with mixed feelings of horror and fascination. The book was chosen as one of the 50 great books one should have read by George Walsh.
Actually the action called a kiss represented nothing more for me than some place where my spirit could seek shelter.
At no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. After that, there remains only the journey itself, which is nothing but the process through which we lose our ownership of it.
Is there not a sort of remorse that precedes sin? Was it remorse at the very fact that I existed?
My "act" has ended by becoming an integral part of my nature, I told myself. It's no longer an act. My knowledge that I am masquerading as a normal person has even corroded whatever of normality I originally possessed, ending by making me tell myself over and over again that it too was nothing but a pretense of normality. To say it another way, I'm becoming the sort of person who can't believe in anything except the counterfeit.
I received an impassioned letter from Sonoko. There was no doubt that she was truly in love. I felt jealous. Mine was the unbearable jealousy a cultured pearl must feel toward a genuine one. Or can there be such a thing in this world as a man who is jealous of the woman who loves him, precisely because of her love?
I had long since insisted upon interpreting the things that Fate forced me to do as victories of my own will and intelligence, and now this bad habit had grown into a sort of frenzied arrogance. In the nature of what I was calling my intelligence there was a touch of something illegitimate, a touch of the sham pretender who has been placed on the throne by some freak chance. This dolt of a usurper could not foresee the revenge that would inevitably be wreaked upon his stupid despotism.
There is no virtue in curiosity. In fact, it might be the most immoral desire a man can possess.