The Biblical Allegory of Mishima’s *Runaway Horses*

 Mishima Yukio’s final body of work is his most famous and arguably, the most controversial. The Sea of Fertility meticulously outlines the author’s intentions to restore the order and glory of Japan. Mishima took upon himself the task of what he believed to be saving the nation from corruption and decay. The second book, Runaway Horses, reads like a manifesto, especially through the eyes of Isao Iinuma, the deuteragonist. Isao’s motivation is more volatile than that of JC, but the goals reflect one another as the utmost yearning for harmony and order, at its core. The Divine Philosopher was a spiritual samurai, who willingly sacrificed himself for the good of humanity. Iinuma Isao believed that he did likewise. Here is how the two heroes compare:

Iinuma Isao as JC: The Russian variant of the latter’s name is written with an “Ii”.

Isao is phonetically akin to Esau–a warrior, of sorts.

The surname Iinuma consists of the characters 良い”ii” (which means “good” and is a pictogram of rice) and 沼”numa” (“marsh”); ergo Iinuma is a the life-giving rice paddy, just as JC is “the bread of life”.

The Showa League consists of 21 members, hence mirroring the 12 Disciples.

Right-wing lieutenant Hori is disconcerted by the strategy, with which Isao intends to save Japan: The sentiment echoes Caiaphas and his reservations about JC’s mission as having political undertones.

The Showa League’s campaign is a fictionalization of the Shinpuden Rebellion. JC’s actions, in turn, stirred up Roman fears of further uprisings in Jerusalem. 

Isao violently overturned the proverbial tables by planning a coup against the zaibatsu (capitalist conglomerates), just as JC flipped the money changers’ booths.

The Showa League partakes in the Last Supper over sake with innkeeper Reikichi Kitazaki.

Upon hearing his case, the prosecutor/Pilate finds Isao Iinuma /JC innocent.

18 members scatter, with only three of them receiving prison sentences. Three disciples join JC in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Isao’s seppuku was a lone ordeal, but typically would have been a public ritual, just as the Crucifixion is a public execution. Both men die from impalement: JC receives a lance to the rib, whereas Isao dies by his own sword. While Isao had no witnesses, Cassius Longinus (the lance-wielding soldier) could be considered as JC’s kaishakunin (the samurai’s second, who assists in his death).

JC said, “You live by the sword; you die by the sword.” Isao most certainly did, practically worshipping the ideals that the sword symbolized. Furthermore, he was a gifted kendo student.

Makiko Kito, General Kito’s daughter, was Isao’s consort, who willingly perjured herself for his sake. Magdalene was the daughter of Kyros/Cyrus and, reportedly, JC’s platonic consort. (Isao and Makiko share a kiss, before the former departs on his mission. JC is said to have kissed Magdalene on the cheek.)