Forbidden Colors

Forbidden Colors

infobox Book |
name = Forbidden Colors
title_orig = nihongo|Kinjiki|禁色|
translator = Alfred H. Marks

image_caption = Cover of the 1999 Vintage Books edition.
author = Yukio Mishima
cover_artist = Marc J. Cohen, design, and Danielle Epstein, photograph (1999 Vintage Books edition)
country = Japan
language = Japanese
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Alfred A. Knopf (US Eng. trans), Vintage Books (1999 US Eng. trans)
pub_date = 1953
english_pub_date = 1968
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 403 p. (US hardback edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-436-28153-8 (US hardback edition)
ISBN 978-0-375-70516-8 (Vintage paperback)
oclc = 629740
preceded_by = Thirst for Love
(愛の渇き - "Ai no Kawaki")
followed_by = The Sound of Waves
(潮騷 - "Shiosai")

nihongo|Forbidden Colors|禁色|Kinjiki| is a novel by Yukio Mishima, translated into English in 1968. The name "kinjiki" is a euphemism for homosexuality. The kanji 禁 means "forbidden" and 色 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. As with Mishima's earlier novel "Confessions of a Mask", there is generally considered to be some degree of autobiographical nature in the work.

Major themes

There are many elements Mishima touches on. Two involving the main characters, Yuichi and Shunsuké, are:
* Homosexuality: Yuichi's pursuit of his homosexual nature is a driving force of the narrative. Shunsuké's contempt for women leads him to admire Yuichi, whom he feels is incapable of loving women.
* Misogyny: Both Yuichi and Shunsuké 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 pinacle of beauty, while Shunsuké considers himself to be extremely ugly.
* Youth and Aging: The young and old are played against each other. The youthful Yuichi and elderly Shunsuké 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: Shunsuké 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.


* Yuichi "Yuchan" Minami: Protagonist of the story. Yuichi marries and then must come to terms with his homosexuality.
* Shunsuké Hinoki: An elderly author. He is a misogynist, and makes a deal with Yuichi to get revenge on women whom have wronged him.
* Yasuko Minami (Segawa): Wife of Yuichi. She has a history with Shunsuké.
* Mrs. Kaburagi: A former lover of Shunsuké and blackmailer. She is well known for her marital infidelities.
* Nobutaka Kaburagi: A former count and partner in crime to his wife. He played the cuckold to help his wife blackmail Shunsuké.
* Kyoko Hodaka: A young married woman who falls in love with Yuichi.
* Rudy: Owner of "The Rudon", a public house patronized primarily by homosexual clients. Rudy is a foreigner living in Japan.


The first butoh piece was an adaptation of "Kinjiki" by Tatsumi Hijikata, which premiered in 1959.

The title of the novel was used by David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto as the name of their theme song for the film soundtrack of "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence", a film set in Japan which includes exploration of homoerotic themes.

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