Kinjiki - Forbidden Colors

Kinjiki - Forbidden Colors

Product Description

Forbidden Colors (Kinjiki) is a 1951 novel (Kinjiki Part 2 Hiraku "Secret Pleasure" was published in 1953) by the Japanese writer Mishima Yukio, translated into English in 1968. The name kinjiki is a euphemism for homosexuality. The kanji means "forbidden" and F in this case means "erotic love", although it can also mean "color". The word "kinjiki" also means colors which were forbidden to be worn by people of various ranks in the Japanese court. It describes a marriage of a gay man to a young woman. Like Mishima's earlier novel Confessions of a Mask, it is generally considered somewhat autobiographical.


There are many elements Mishima touches on. Two involving the main characters, Yuichi and Shunsuke, are:

Homosexuality: Yuichi's pursuit of his homosexual nature is a driving force of the narrative. Shunsuke's contempt for women leads him to admire Yuichi, whom he feels is incapable of loving women.

Misogyny: Both Yuichi and Shunsuke have contempt for women, and this drives their behavior.

The most basic thematic element is the clash of opposites: Beauty and Ugliness: Yuichi is considered the pinnacle of beauty, while Shunsuke considers himself to be extremely ugly.

Youth and Aging: The young and old are played against each other. The youthful Yuichi and elderly Shunsuke are at odds, though they are conspirators. The young Kyoko and the mature Mrs. Kaburagi are played against each other for Yuichi's affection.

Life and Death: Shunsuke is obsessed with death and feels it is more powerful than life.

Double Lives/Alter-Egos: Yuichi's entrance into the world of Tokyo's homosexuals causes him problems, as he must hide his nature from his wife and the world at large.