Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The Japanese writer Yukio Mishima committed seppuku to end his life. He disemboweled himself, publicly. He used a large sword of some ritual importance. (I don't remember what the sword is called, but I read about it in a biography of the writer I read years ago in Chicago). There was an audience, I believe it involved members of the Japanese military.

Thus he manifestly argued against the act of self-destruction as a feminine, "soft" expression of the will. Death is a kind of drawing inward to one's self, I think. That is why for so many the preferred method brings one first into a state of sleep. But real men throw their stuff out there for all to see. Shooting into the temple; seppuku; hanging, lighting one's self on fire, driving off a cliff: these are acts of exhibitionism. One is displayed, becomes public.

Statistically men are far more apt to use violent means in committing suicide than women. I know I read this somewhere. When I find the correct attribution I will add footnotes.

1 comment:

Tristin said...

I have heard that too (about men using more violent means for suicide v. women).
Death is such a personal thing to me. I can't imagine hanging myself out to dry in front of an audience. A public display of death seems to have a martyristic (well it's a word now if it wasn't before) bent, which also seems to be more masculine (a hunch). I've seen news stories about women suicide bombers so maybe I'm wrong on that one. But I hope when I die I'm not on display.