Christopher Jan Benitez CL 241 Prof. Tope Reaction to “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” Yukio Mishima's masterpiece traces down the mental breakdown of “protagonist” Mizoguchi that led him to commit arson to one of Japan's national monuments. The story follows real-life events that actually caused the burning of the Golden Pavilion by one Hayashi Yōken, who also suffered from schizophrenia. One of the more telling aspects about the novel is the transformation of Mizoguchi from merely a deformed creature, as viewed by society due to his stuttering and physically ugliness, into one that deforms. At the beginning, the influence of Mizoguchi's father that shaped his view of the Golden Pavilion was instrumental in his view of beauty. There was nothing remarkable about the actual structure, thought Mizoguchi, but further inspection of the building reveals its inner, yet unspeakable, beauty. At the end, his view of the Pavilion was merely an affectation to destroy it. Whether Mizoguchi views himself as beautiful is out of the question. The constant disparaging words he gets from his classmates have set off his cynical and somewhat vengeful attitude towards other. In particular, Mizoguchi views the death of Ukio, whom he harbors deep resentment, is the culmination of his hatred towards her. However, much of this antagonistic view towards life has been buffered at first by the kindness by Tsurukawa, who was one of the first people who did not make fun of his speech impediment. Their friendship was the first time Mizoguchi experienced ideas of kinship towards people. However, there was always something dark that lurks inside Mizoguchi, as seen when he repeatedly stomped on the womb of a pregnant prostitute as ordered by an American soldier. Although he was forced to carry out the act, he derived an unforgettable pleasure in destruction and evil. Much of his attitude that consummates the entire novel was triggered by the friendship he carved with Kashigawi, who is the most charismatic and unabashed character in the novel, despite his clubbed feet. His zen background allowed Mizoguchi to explore his inner evil and come into terms with his real “beauty.” Disturbing in its introspection and philosophical in its dastardliness, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion may hit too close to home as it is inspired by the horrific events that happened in Japan. Nonetheless, it serves as a demented portraits into one of the more well-crafted and carefully told stories about man's downward spiral.
Published on Feb 14, 2014