The Mishima Incident

Mishima & Henry on the beach
Mishima & Henry on the beach

The Mishima Incident is a screenplay written by Mark Devlin about the relationship between Yukio Mishima and Henry Scott Stokes.

LOGLINE: A foreign correspondent is drawn into the suicidal death spiral of Japan’s foremost author.

On November 25, 1970, YUKIO MISHIMA (45), Japan’s foremost author and an international celebrity, takes over a Japanese Army barracks and holds a General hostage at swordpoint. Mishima makes an impassioned, but ignored, speech to the assembled soldiers decrying the state of Modern Japan and appealing for a return to Japanese values and Emperor worship. The soldiers ignore him and Mishima commits a bloody ritual suicide.

THE MISHIMA INCIDENT tells the story of the events leading up to Mishima’s suicide through Mishima’s relationship with HENRY SCOTT STOKES(28), an upper middle-class foreign correspondent for the London Times. Henry arrives in Japan in 1967 with his artist friend Peter Jones. Henry doesn’t want to be in Japan. He would rather be in Vietnam, where the war is developing. Henry is suddenly promoted to Bureau Chief and covers the Tokyo student riots with CAESAR (24), his disheveled cockney photographer. Henry is shocked by the violence and seeks answers. A few days later Henry’s American wife CHARLY (21) arrives in Japan. She is insecure and doesn’t like Japan. Despairing at the lack of news inJapan, Henry agrees to accompany Caesar to one of Mishima’s speeches, where he is enthralled by Mishima, an eccentric nationalist bisexual whose work expounds romantic visions of death and suicide. Henry forms a co-dependent relationship with Mishima where Henry feeds information to Mishima and, in turn, learns about the Japanese way. Mishima uses Henry to get international exposure. When Henry observes Mishima’s army train on Mt Fuji he becomes convinced that Mishima is the most important story in Japan. But as his relationship with Mishima deepens he loses his reporters detachment and starts to espouse Mishima’s ideas, alienating Charly, Peter, his superiors and colleagues and the UK ambassador. Isolated, Henry seeks solace in a relationship with AKIKO (19) an uninhibited student, who is unfazed by Mishima. As Mishima becomes increasingly unstable Henry realizes he has to make choose between the old Japan and the new, between a friend and a story, and between the love of life and the love of death.

Feel free to download the screenplay from Amazon Studios.


Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima is one of the world’s most well-known Japanese authors. He is famous not only for his work, which combines romantic and often startling images of love, loss and death, but for his spectacular suicide in 1970, at age 45. In addition to authoring over 40 novels Mishima wrote books and plays and screenplays. His three most famous works are:

  • Confessions of a Mask — a semi-autobiographical novel about a young man’s sexual awakenings. This was the book that brought Mishima wide international acclaim.
  • The Temple of The Golden Pavilion — based on a true story of a monk who is so obsessed by the beauty of Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion he burns it down.
  • The Sound of Waves — a tragic love story set in a small Japanese fishing village.

During the 1960s Mishima became interested in issues of Japanese nationalism and espoused romantic ideas of Emperor worship and a rearmed Japan. This led him to form a private army called the “Shield Society”. On November 25, 1970 Mishima and his followers took over an army barracks in central Tokyo. Mishima tried in vain to enlist the army’s support for his coup, but the soldiers would not listen. Mishima then committed ritual suicide. This act shocked Japan which still does not understand his actions. Mishima is seen as a hero and visionary by some and as by a fool, an embarrassment and a symbol of a Japan that no longer exists by others. Whatever, the case, his works and final act remains to show his genius.

Henry Scott Stokes

Henry is a former Tokyo Bureau Chief of three great newspapers. The Financial Times, whose Tokyo office he founded, The Times of London, and The New York Times. He was born June 15, l938 in Glastonbury, Somerset and educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford University where he obtained an MA honors degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, Economics). He became Tokyo correspondent of The Financial Times in 1964. In 1967 he was made Tokyo correspondent of The Times where he became friends with Yukio Mishima. During the 1970`s he moved to Paris where he wrote The life and death of Yukio Mishima (1974). He returned to Japan to be Tokyo Bureau Chief of The New York Times from 1978-83. He has also written a number of financial books on small Japanese companies.

Mark Devlin

Mark is from Glasgow, Scotland, where he studied Engineering at Strathclyde University. Arriving in Japan in October 1989, he was an English teacher, an Editor of financial reports and then a Network Administrator at Jardine Fleming Securities before starting Tokyo Classified, Tokyo’s first classified ad magazine, with his wife Mary in 1994. The magazine grew into a 64-page city guide renamed Metropolis, which was the essential guide to Tokyo life and the No.1 English magazine in Japan with 30,000 audited copies distributed each week. In June 2000, Mark launched Japan Today, a Japan news and information portal which is the world’s leading source of Japan news and one of the most popular websites in the world.