(62) Visit the site of Yukio Mishima's suicide and the Ichigaya Memorial Hall of the Self-Defense Forces Ichigaya Camp (now the Ministry of Defense)

Travels in Sri Lanka, the Holy Land of Buddhism

Travels to Buddhist sites in India and Sri Lanka (62)
Visit the site of Yukio Mishima's suicide and the Ichigaya Memorial Hall of the Self-Defense Forces Ichigaya Garrison (now the Ministry of Defense)

Previous Article(61) Yukio Mishima's Fierce Last Days! What was happening at the site of his suicide that day?In the following section, I spoke about Yukio Mishima's suicide.

Written by Masayasu HosakaYukio Mishima and the Tatenokai Incident."You may have been surprised at the circumstances of Mishima's suicide, as quoted from the following article.

And in this article, I will finally share my experience of visiting that suicide site.

This is exactly what I saw in the balcony and the commissioner's office in the video below.

Ministry of Defense, Self-Defense Forces: Go on a tour of the Ichigaya area

Ministry of Defense (formerly Japan Defense Agency)home page.

The Ministry of Defense offers the "Ichigaya Area Tour (Ichigayadai Tour)" twice a weekday morning and afternoon.

An overview of it.home pageQuote from.

The tour includes a visit to the Ichigaya Memorial Hall, which is a relocated and restored version of the government office building located in the Ichigaya area and the main auditorium that served as the courtroom for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trials). For the afternoon course, we will also take you to the ruins of the Imperial Headquarters Bunker (fee: 700 yen).
By advance reservation, tours will be conducted once in the morning and once in the afternoon from Monday through Friday (except during national vacations and New Year vacations), and guided tours will be conducted by the Ministry. Ministry of Defensehome page.

 Office HoursVisiting HoursVisiting Coursecapacity (of boat, hall, aeroplane, airplane, etc.)
morning09:10~09:2009:30-11:30 (2 hours)Main gate → Ichigaya Memorial Hall → Welfare Building → Main gate40 persons
afternoon13:10-13:2013:30-15:50 (2 hours and 20 minutes)Main gate → ruins of the Imperial Headquarters bunker → Ichigaya Memorial Hall → Welfare building → Main gate20 persons

Due to time constraints, I joined the morning course. Although I could not see the ruins of the Imperial General Headquarters bunker, my destination was, after all, the Ichigaya Memorial Hall. If I could see this, I would have no problem at all.

This is the current main gate of the Ministry of Defense.

The large building on the left side of the photo is where the building where Mishima gave his speech used to be. The building has now been relocated to another location as the Ichigaya Memorial Hall, as shown in the site map above.

The woman on the left in the long red coat is the tour guide. Here I also checked in and waited for the tour to start.

Finally, we arrived at the site. This is the place just inside the main gate, and I could hear the shouts of what sounded like Self Defense Force personnel from far away.

The tour began here, and we were guided first to Building A of the government office building and the ceremonial plaza in front of it.

This is Building A and the Honor Guard Plaza. When the Self-Defense Forces were stationed in Ichigaya, Building No. 1 stood here, and the famous balcony where Mishima made his speech was also located here. Part of Building No. 1 was moved to the other side of the building as the Ichigaya Memorial Hall.

As I walked around the Ministry of Defense grounds, I passed many employees in suits and work clothes, as it was their workday. I was surprised to find that not everyone was a member of the Self-Defense Forces, as this is a government office in the heart of the city.

What also caught my attention was the training scene of the Self-Defense Forces personnel. The sight of strong men in Self-Defense Forces uniforms shouting out orders was dignified and powerful. I could feel the tension in the air. Ah, Mishima must have longed for something like this...

I think I understand how Mishima feels. In fact, I am almost the same height as Mishima. And we have the same physical weakness. I, too, have always longed for strength. That is why I can sympathize with Mishima's desperate search for strength.

Ichigaya Memorial Hall, the site of Yukio Mishima's suicide

Finally, I came to the Ichigaya Memorial Hall. I wanted to come here. This is where Mishima gave his speech and committed suicide.

But you may have wondered a bit when you saw this picture. "Hmm? Isn't it a little small?" And.

That's right. In fact, not all of Building No. 1 was left behind when the building was moved to this location. Only the front part of the building and the main auditorium remain today.

This is an overall model of the former Building No. 1. The building used to be this large, but was reduced to this size when it was relocated.

Also from an oblique angle.

I came directly under the balcony where Mishima gave his speech. When you actually see it like this, you can understand how close it is. At this distance, it was close enough to see his face, eye to eye. This is how close Mishima was speaking to the SDF.

Although many believe that Mishima's speech was barely audible due to the noise from the onlookers and helicopters of the Self-Defense Forces personnel,Goken no Hito: Yukio Mishima no Shikishi" (The Man of Five Decades: A Personal Memoir of Yukio Mishima)According to Mr. Takao Tokuoka, who wrote the book, the speech was indeed heard. I also thought Mr. Tokuoka's testimony was plausible. Even though Mishima insisted on speaking in his own voice and did not use a loudspeaker, he was so close that one would have thought that he could not be heard at all from this distance.

I can imagine Mishima standing on top of this. It felt so real that I thought he might touch it.

Main auditorium inside the Ichigaya Memorial Hall

After changing from shoes to slippers at the entrance of the museum, we entered the building. The entranceway leads to the main auditorium.

It is known as the site where the International Military Tribunal for the Far East was held after the end of World War II.

Inside the courtroom during the trialWikipedia.

Hideki Tojo and others were accused of being class A war criminals and sentenced to death at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. The trial is also famous for Judge Pearl's opposition to the one-sided verdict by the victorious nation.

As such a historical setting, this large auditorium has been carefully preserved.

It is now used as an exhibition room, displaying materials related to the trial and the war. After watching a video introducing the history of the Ichigaya Memorial Hall, each of us went through the materials on our own.

Incidentally, you can see the entrance to the room with the light shining in the upper front of this photo. In fact, this is the general superintendent's office where Yukio Mishima committed suicide.

Now let us go to that commissioner's office.

The commissioner's office where Yukio Mishima committed suicide

This is the commissioner's office where Mishima and the Tatenokai members were holed up.

This is a picture looking out the front from the entrance of the room. This is the room that was the destination of the line of sight from the main auditorium earlier.

A model of the old No. 1 building now stands there, with a window leading to the balcony beyond. This is where Mishima went outside to deliver his speech.

I walked up to the window. I wondered what Mishima's thoughts were as he headed out from here.

The room also retains traces of the brawl that took place at the time of the incident. The door is still marked with a scar from Mishima's blade.

They are carefully marked with sticky notes so that we can easily recognize them. There are many such scars on this door.

Nevertheless, five men armed with Japanese swords were holed up in this room, holding the commissioner hostage. This must have been quite oppressive.

Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide) in the area in front of this photo. Mishima's body, his torso and neck severed, was found lying here.

Atsuyuki Sasa, a close friend of Yukio Mishima, rushed to the scene immediately after the incident and described the devastation as follows

As we approached the bodies of Mishima and Morita with the explanation of Ushigome Police Chief Yoshiyuki Misawa, we felt the carpet under our feet,

 gulp

I made a sound. Startled, I looked at my feet.

The carpet covering the entire floor of the Eastern Area Superintendent's office is crimson.

The blood that had flowed from the two bodies had soaked into the red carpet and made it soggy, and he had stepped into the pool of blood without being able to tell the difference between the crimson carpet and the bloodshed.

I still remember the eerie feeling of the soles of those shoes, even a quarter of a century later.

Bungeishunju, Sasa Atsuyuki, "United Red Army 'Asama-Sanso' Incident," Kindle edition position No. 906

That "sizzling" sensation in your feet...

It is frightening to even imagine.

Mishima was said to have thrust his dagger so deeply that his small intestines popped out and split his abdomen. During the final intervention, his neck and torso were severed. The blood loss must have been enormous. Atsuyuki Sasa must have felt Mishima's spectacular death by the eerie sensation of the soles of his shoes.

I sat in this room for a while, thinking about Mishima and the others. What were they looking at? What were their thoughts? I was born 20 years after the incident, so it is impossible for me to know even the atmosphere of that era. But I still want to know. What drove you to such an extent? Why were you able to act to such an extent?

When I came back to myself, I found that I was the only participant in the room before I knew it. The staff member in charge said to me, "Excuse me, I think it's time for me to go..." and I left the room with a sense of dread.

I will never forget the time I spent in this room. I will never forget the bright red carpet, the soft feeling under my feet, and the balcony seen from the room.... Mishima died here. I am truly grateful that this place has been preserved.

Conclusion - Seeing Mishima's admiration for the freshness of the youth corps members

Thus, I finished my tour at the Ichigaya Memorial Hall. From here, we moved around the site and finished our tour with a visit to the Welfare Building, which is also a facility for the welfare of employees.

And during that last trip, I came across a striking scene.

Just as I passed by the entrance of Building A, I saw a person who looked like an aunt Yakult. I say "Yakult auntie-like" because I could not confirm whether she was really Yakult or not. Well, that's OK. Anyway, there was a lady selling drinks.

And just then, a tall man in an IDF uniform came out from inside the wing and said to the passerby, "Good morning! How are you?" He was probably in his late twenties or early thirties. This young man must have been in his late 20s or early 30s, and I was instantly drawn in by his freshness. I couldn't help but pay attention to the sound of her voice.

What's the matter? Do you want it?"

No, I just wanted to say hi! Thanks! See you later!"

And so the young man left.

I was aghast at this exchange.

I felt as if I understood why Mishima was attracted to young, dynamic young men.

Mishima must have been fed up with a literary world full of intellectuals. One can only imagine how Mishima felt about the pale intellectuals who tried to tear him down. It was all about words, words, words. Mishima's despair over the Japanese literary world is also evident in his letter to Donald Keene.

Perhaps it was this refreshing exchange that soothed Mishima's loneliness in the literary world.

Good morning! How are you?" No, I just wanted to say hi! Thanks! See you later!

I was completely taken aback by these mere words. That freshness was something else.

Perhaps it was this youth, freshness, and strong body that made Mishima admire the Japan Self-Defense Forces. There has already been a great deal of discussion about Mishima, so it is not for me to complain, but I was simply struck by this young man's desire to be a member of the Self-Defense Forces.

This tour at the Ichigaya Memorial Museum was a wonderful experience for me to feel Mishima's admiration for "power" and his last moments. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone interested in Yukio Mishima.

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