Supplement to the Counterrevolutionary Manifesto
The counterrevolution must take aim at the point when the revolutionary forces seem at the cusp of linking with administrative power and in that moment destroy them utterly

From the Substack post on December 9, 2021, by Masaki. Translated from Japanese by him. Original by Yukio Mishima.

If one takes revolution itself to be a dialectical product, then it is clear that there are two kinds of approaches to the phenomenon of revolution giving rise to counterrevolution and counterrevolution giving rise to further revolution: demonstration by the dialectical materialist method, and the normal logic of interpreting it as the reaction to a specific phenomenon followed by another reaction.

That is, if, in their way of thinking, counterrevolution against the revolution occurs as an inevitable process, the overcoming of which will result in the progress of the revolution in the form of a greater thesis-antithesis-synthesis, then, on the other hand, the interpretation of interpreting it as a law of the continuation of a single event also undeniably exists.

In their way of thinking, when things that are inconvenient or do not match their laws appear, it is the norm for them to bundle them together as exceptions and direct their efforts toward protecting the sacrality and universal application of their laws. When one seeks further applicable logic in these exceptions, their deception immediately becomes clear. Even if we take only the Czech problem, the Soviets designated the movement of the freedom-seeking Czech people counterrevolution, but from the Czech side, it is what they seek that is the true form of revolution. The designation of counterrevolution is, like that of of fascism, feared amongst them as a strategic term that is thrown at their enemies. To be branded a counterrevolutionary is tantamount to death. However, to us outsiders, “counterrevolutionary” is not an insult.

We take the position that the truth of humanity is to be found in exceptions and the problems of minorities. While the Great Cultural Revolution dragged on in the process of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, it became clear that the question of minority peoples was festering like a cancer. The minority ethnic region of the Uyghur is strategically important as testing sites for nuclear weapons. The formation of Revolutionary Committees there was feared until the last.

In Powers that have experience governing other peoples, there is an awareness of the fact that minority peoples tend to become revolutionary elements. At the same time, in cases where those selfsame countries stand on revolutionary principles, minority peoples suddenly come to be seen as elements carrying the inherent danger of counterrevolution. Counterrevolution is on a racial level the principle of minority peoples and on the level of humanity the often neglected question of the salvation of the truth of humanity. That is because democracy according to the majoritarian principle always leaves in society politically alienated elements whose minority speech is not permitted. It is well-known that these alienated elements in democratic society in some cases become outlaws, in others content themselves with being wanderers among minority political opinion, and, in specific political circumstances, become revolutionary elements. What is now occurring in Japan is indeed the result of social alienation and the progression of the process of the attempt of the socially alienated to attain legitimacy.

The proletariat was once the representative of social alienation. Before the war, the countryside was impoverished as a result of the poverty of Japanese economic policy, starvation spread, and the trade in human flesh1 oppressed and poisoned the hearts of our soldiers. However, after the war those villages that had been left behind by the progress of industrialization were saved by the artificial rice price policy. Not only that, but poverty has been solved and workers now live in an era when economic struggle is more effective than revolution or political struggle. One might say that the postwar development is the gradual awakening of workers to the effectiveness of economic struggle over political struggle.

At that point, the socially alienated appeared not as the economically alienated, but as the psychologically and intellectually alienated. Those were the students. Possessed of no specific class and representing nothing, students gradually became conscious of and embraced their role as members of the masses. However, even while being members of the masses, they took no part in production, possessed no means of returning the fruits of production to society, and found no object that would reflect back to them their views as a minority force. Further, although the progression of the information society permitted the expression of all strata and made it natural for the representative views of those strata to collide with society, only students were still enveloped in the old nineteenth century university system.

I am not averse to approving of the process by which the student movement began as a campus struggle. However, this minority force gradually followed the natural development of approaching the legitimacy of the majority. At that point the opposite phenomenon gradually began to take shape. The average student became alienated and the National Federation of Students’ Self-Government Associations2 attained a certain legitimacy. They had become fully conscious of themselves as the subject of revolution.

In the system vs. anti-system and authority vs. anti-authority debates in Japan a clever logic has been invented with which to grasp the weak points of their opponents. Those on the side of the system can always declare to the students and others who profess themselves to be the subjects of revolution that they are receiving money from the Chinese Communists and being aided by foreign powers. In response, the so-called revolutionary forces have become able to define themselves as nationalists, those on the side of the system as comprador forces, and further the opinion leaders who oppose them as the apologists and running dogs of the system.

Their logic is thus. They assert that, “even if anti-system speech is predominant within a single narrow framework of the mass media, like the university, the press, or the literary establishment, the speech of speech of the minority within it is in fact no more than ingratiation with the pro-system feelings of society as a whole. That is, the minority opinion within a specific small group takes as its background and shield the overwhelming pro-system sentiment that exists outside the group.”

Here the aforementioned problem of social alienation and minorities faces a paradox. That is, they tell us that when we live in a small closed society, we become the alienated or the minority and that when we live in a free society we become apologists for the system.

However, our way of living in society is not as simple as they say. What they call the open society of those on the side of the system and authority in fact seems to exist, yet does not, and drifts among us in vague, amorphous form. The development of mass society has contributed to this amorphization and informalization of the image of society. Now, when the nineteenth century form of state has collapsed, the Gesellschaft that should have replaced it does not tower as a society before us.3 We each belong to small groups and feel viscerally that we are capable of securing the beginnings of our existence only within those small groups. This is the form of the employee’s extreme empathy for the enterprise that is particular to Japan, but it has already been stated that, rather than the intellectual oppression of the majority within the group that takes place in the university, it is more common for it to take the form of an economic struggle that can be easily appealed to the majority.

However, that external society presents the social structure of a massive body of unprincipled opinion. To analyze everything with dialectical materialism and socialist thought, and to interpret the amorphous social pressure that extends to one’s small group as a situation in which authority under the Anpo4 system has extended to one’s group is, at a glance, truly simple and easy to understand. However, if one were to suppose that we have been living in such an easily understood society, then there is no way that the problems of alienation, the problems of minority groups, or the problem of the ambivalence that exists between us and society could have occurred.

That is to say that this way of thinking in which small groups and societies are logically linked cannot but deny the way of thinking that begins from social alienation. Is society our enemy, or our ally? Are we to link society with the state in the same way? Are we to think of and manipulate all social phenomena that extend to our small group as the automatic movement of state power? These are our greatest difficulties in thinking about society. The forces of revolution, by a kind of simplification, by a kind of linking, encourage “hints of a solution” to these difficulties of ours.

The influence of the “system of irresponsibility,”5 which, through postwar society’s endless retroactivity of responsibility, in the final analysis blurs the locus of responsibility, is much to blame here. When people say that everything is the fault of society, they are lending a hand to the amorphization of society.

They initially set out from alienation, but the alienation that they made use of became the majority within their small groups. Their plan for revolution is to secure a majority within society through the steady combination of the majorities in these small groups that can then easily turn to violence and action and arrive at the overthrow and destruction of the present system. Such a revolution, which abuses the loss of the principle of responsibility, is currently making steady progress.

However, we who stand on the side of culture, we who stand on the side of man, in response to this situation, in which alienation has collapsed into such self contradiction, must on the other hand set out from the position of positively valuing alienation and the minority.

The Korean6 and minority problems in Japan of which the left speaks are a deception. That is because, although as a result of changes in the political situation in Korea7 we have accepted many South Koreans8, it is not these South Koreans9 out of which they make an issue. It is instead the problem of North Koreans10 who, in spite of the fact that Japanese do not welcome such behavior, build North Korean universities in Japan, gain the authorization of the governor of Tokyo, and carry out anti-Japanese education that they seek against all reason to define as a minority problem.

They already have no recourse but to place the problems of the alienation of humanity and national alienation on a fictional basis. When they discover even a single alienated group in Japan, they have no thought but of assaulting it and putting it to the use of the revolution.

For example, this becomes clear when one looks at the case of those victims of the atomic bombings suffering from illness. Their situation is certainly unfortunate, but the left assaults these poor people, immediately develops a political movement against nuclear weapons and, without paying the slightest bit of attention to the real problem, to their sadness as alienated people, they drag them into the arena of their own struggle for power.

Japan’s social problems were once different. I will not say all, but those who in the prewar period devoted themselves to the solution of social problems, be they on the left or the right, were overwhelmed by purely humanistic motives and, as a result of their sympathy for the alienated and their sense of justice, thought of a certain form of social reform as a method of salvation.

However the postwar revolution, tainted by general postwar trends, turned that morality and humanism into pure deceit and hypocrisy. We do not deny that the entirety of postwar society is also responsible for that. What made the revolutionary forces lose those heights of morality and humanism is also a product of the amorality of the postwar world.

We are those who cling to alienation and to the rights of minority groups, because only these are capable of taking the position of counterrevolution against the revolutionary forces and being the strongest and most radical adversary of the logical contradictions of their group actions which are reliant on the majority.

Man possesses the need11 to flee from alienation. The most comprehensible slogan of that need is “freedom,” but when man is given freedom, and I am no Erich Fromm, he once again attempts to flee from freedom, and the mechanism of flight progresses automatically. When the mechanism of flight progresses automatically, the alienated minority eventually becomes a majority within the group. That majority within the group then becomes a majority and seeks power, in the end tramples on the minority, and cannot but deny the raison d’etre by which it holds its position.

It is this progression of the revolution of which we must be most wary and during which we must not allow ourselves a cheap sympathy for the emotions of their starting point.

Counterrevolution is not the mere prevention of revolutionary action. Counterrevolution does not consist merely of opposition to revolution using the rejection of violence, because the rejection of violence easily tends toward the rejection of the state. The National Federation of Students’ Self-Government Associations demonstrated before the public during the Shinjuku Riot12 that the slogans of peace and pacifism immediately signify violent action and thereby contributed greatly to exposing in broad daylight the deception of those words.

However, violence itself is evil, and not good. Depending on the point of view from which violence is defined, it becomes both good and evil. They define state power as an apparatus of violence and the riot police as class enemies, and, by their definition, power itself is thought of as a massive mechanism of violence suppressing revolution. It is then explained that, the so-called unconscious and indifferent general masses have a psychological structure such that, in their eyes, only the violence of the National Federation of Students’ Self-Government Associations or that of the yakuza13 is parsed as such, while the armed groups that emerge to protect them like the Self Defense Force or the police are not parsed as violent. The Communist Party surely desires that that rejection of violence on the part of the masses be directed at the National Federation of Students’ Self-Government Associations. It also surely desires that, until violence becomes just in the eyes of the people, it not be directed at them. (This is mimicry of the Democratic Youth League of Japan-affiliated14 National Federation of Students’ Self-Government Associations’ pseudo-police functions.) It is the forces of revolution, particularly the Communist Party, that best understand that the rejection of violence in the end supports revolution. The Communist Party fully accepts violence as a means in the final revolution, but knows to refrain from violence until it earns the support of the people.

If we were to substantively and in principle reject violence, we would be unable to stand against them. The problem of the universities is like unto a miniature of the entire revolution, and the reasoned ideas of the Associations of University Professors vis-à-vis violence are plagued with nineteenth century illusions. It is a peculiar characteristic of reason that it cannot stand against violence empty-handed, just as it is a peculiar characteristic of violence that it cannot on its own affirm its legitimacy without using some form of reason as a support.

Thus are violence and reason on equal footing at the stage when each attempts to usurp the legitimacy of the other. But by asserting that it has a certain form of rational thought behind it, violence becomes stronger than reason. They are skilled in the tactics of forcibly dragging their opponents into their arena by driving them toward the logic that they are connected to the “violence” that is state power.

It is actually easy to see how the rejection of violence is logically linked to the rejection of the state.

We know of the likes of Gandhian thought as a thought of resistance that absolutely rejects violence. Gandhianism is at least a thought of resistance. In Japan’s anti-violence, resistance thought is thin, and only egoism takes precedence, because absolute pacifism, in its meek acceptance of attacks against its own group, denies the inviolability of the state, which stands for the principle of at the very least not accepting attacks against its own group.

The state cannot be a state without force. The state possesses within its borders a basis for its existence, and the fact that, as a means of securing those borders and demonstrating that it is a state, it cannot but maintain force in order to preserve the inviolability of its sovereignty and its territory are surely clear from even the recent example of Czechoslovakia.

Of course, the phantom of the nineteenth century sovereign state has crumbled, and the age of international collective security has arrived. The concept of the state has divided into the socialist community and the various liberal countries. Even in Europe, rather than communal allied states, forms of the state possessing more stable ties are sought after as the image of the future.

However, it is the principle of states that rules at present, and the end of ideology is still a pipe dream. On the contrary, the progress of the technical society has, in opposition to the tendency of technique to take on an automatic momentum of its own resulting from its own aims, the state, in order to control this automatism in the technical society within it, has the tendency of having no choice but to strengthen ideology. The Socialist International is no more than used as an excuse for majority and powerful peoples to control minority peoples.

It is the makeshift law of force that still rules international politics, and in the context of that law, those who reject force are ultimately none other than those who reject the state itself. Those called the forces of peace target the vague loss of confidence in the view of the Japanese state and intend to gradually link the rejection of the state of Japan’s own state with the rejection of violence. What they ultimately intend is none other than the collapse and neutralization of Japan as a state, its infiltration, and the establishment of a Communist regime. It is self-evident what sort of state will begin once a Communist regime has been established.

We, who take the standpoint of counterrevolution, must not be those who immediately borrow state power and the force of its armed groups, the Self Defense Force or the police, and suppress the revolutionary forces in an attempt to defend our petite bourgeois lifestyles. A great deal of strategic consideration is necessary to induce such indifferent members of the majority of mass society to rise in favor of the counterrevolution. In the end, we must use the desire of the indifferent to defend their livelihoods as a spiritual prop, but if we do not do so during a fairly serious crisis, it will not appear as an either-or decision.

When De Gaulle forced his people to give a final answer to the question of whether or not they desire revolution, the May Revolution had already shown itself as being in a stage of crisis. De Gaulle deftly grasped this political moment and forced the general stratum of the indifferent to give their answer – yes, or no, oui or non.

The general masses have practically no knowledge of when and how the formation of a revolutionary government would influence the lifestyle that they are presently defending. As the problem immediately facing them, they always desire the preservation of order over ideology, and in particular the idea of maintaining the status quo, gained as a result of economic prosperity, has seeped into the minds of each and every one of them, and they tend towards accepting any form of ideology if it means that they can protect their homes and their families. It is largely impossible to demand from their minds a map of the future describing what a change in the nature of the order would entail for them. People do not feel pain if they are not pinched.

In the case of the formation of a government of the revolutionary forces or a pro-Communist government, if even a single pro-Communist bureaucrat were to enter and were able to interfere with the powers of the police, he would gradually begin to reshuffle all middle and low-ranking staff from the police chiefs on downward, or to implant cells among young policemen and cause the police to collapse from within. It is obvious that the following elections would suffer from interference in that form, which the events leading up to the Communist coup d’etat in Czechoslovakia in 1946 demonstrate well. If they grasp even a single end of the government, they will surely devote all their energies into using it as the first step toward a Communist regime. The Socialist Party would surely have to take on the tragic role of the Kerensky15 cabinet. There is not a single example in all the countries of Asia of a pro-Communist governing remaining simply a pro-Communist government. Pro-Communist governments are used exhaustively by Communist parties as a preparatory stage leading to their single-party dictatorship. They in fact prefer such slow transitions to those involving sudden armed revolution. Rather than overturning the apparatus of state control in a day, it is obviously wiser to encroach upon it from the base over the course of one or two years and, without on the surface disturbing the life of the people, gradually reform the administrative apparatus from the bottom up.

Consequently, the Czech “Two Thousand Words”16 demonstrates what will happen if the forces of Communism are allowed to link with administrative authority in the slightest. At that point, it will be too late, and at that point, the general masses who valued order over ideology will surely awaken and realize their error.

However we who take the position of counterrevolution cannot rely on the support or the understanding of the people as they are at present. We can do nothing but anticipate, warn, preempt, and, while bathing in the criticism, resentment, and insults of the people, defend their future.

To speak more precisely, it is not that we defend their future, but that we cannot but defend the fundamental things that, though they be unconscious of them, give rise to their existence, that is, our history, our culture, and our tradition. This is counterrevolution as the vanguard, and the counterrevolution as the vanguard moves not in accordance with the support of that public opinion which both left and right watch so closely.

We move with foresight, and in the last analysis we move in accordance with the principle of the minority.

The counterrevolution may therefore not be able to become a glorious thing on the surface, but it must be one that scrupulously observes the state of the revolution, takes aim at the point when the revolutionary forces seem at the cusp of linking with administrative power, and in that moment destroys them utterly. It is surely for this reason that we cannot rely on the support of the people. We must be prepared to withstand all manner of slander and calumny from the people. This may at times take the form of being beaten to death by a popular court.

But that is to be expected, for we neither pander and adhere to the cheap, blind, and sentimental psychology of the masses in the present moment, nor do we act with it as our background or prop.

We saw in detail in the Shinjuku Riot what sort of work mobification17 does. That mobification symbolizes what Japan is. It is indeed that mobification that symbolizes what the people, who expect stimulation and change while prizing their and Japan’s lifestyles, are.

What sort of attack the counterrevolution will meet with is visible in that mobification. To face up to it, we must preserve our minority pride, our confidence, and an elite consciousness that does not give in to isolation.

We must not look to even the government. The government will in the last analysis likely think of nothing other than pandering to the people, because public opinion is always god in democratic society. We reject this god of democratic society and ultimately seek to reject the inhumanity of mass society.

What, then, is the basis of the action of that minority consciousness? That is the Emperor. When we speak of the Emperor, we are cognizant of contemporary intellectual trends that regard it as against the times for the people to take the Emperor as their basis, and it is precisely because of such contemporary intellectual trends that we support the Emperor. That is because the Emperor, in our conception, is not the symbol of any political power, but, like a mirror, reflects the totality and continuity of Japanese culture, and because we believe that we must wager our Japanese culture and tradition to fight against forces that in the end would destroy an Emperor System that reflects such a totality and continuity.

If we fight not to defend the Liberal Democratic Party, then we fight not to defend democratic society. Naturally, because we believe that the political form of multi-party democracy is most appropriate as the political foundation of the cultural Emperor System which we have in mind, that may take the form of acting to defend such a democratic political system. However, our ultimate aim is the defense of the Emperor, and we must crush and destroy such political forces as ultimately reject the Emperor.

The Twelfth Month of the Forty-third Year of the Shōwa Era (December 1968).


1 This refers to the practice of poor families selling their daughters into prostitution.

2 Zengakuren 全学連, perhaps the most famous of Japan’s radical student associations of the 1960s.

3 Mishima uses the German Gesellschaft and then the Japanese translation of that same term in this sentence.

4 This refers to the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan, which sparked some of the most fierce left-wing student protest in the world. For more on this, see George Packard’s Protest in Tokyo: The Security Treaty Crisis of 1960. Anpo 安保 is an abbreviation of anzen hoshō 安全保障, which means security.

5 This is a term coined by the influential political scientist Maruyama Masao (1914-1996) to describe the prewar political system and its effects on Japanese society. See “The Logic and Psychology of Ultranationalism.” Mishima here inverts his usage in using it to refer to postwar society.

6 Chōsenjin 朝鮮人. This refers to the inhabitans of the Korean Peninsula and their descendants indiscriminately. It is typically considered a slur today for that reason, and South Koreans consider it particularly offensive because the ROK’s official name makes no reference to Choseon.

7 Chōsen.

8 Kankokujin 韓国人. Refers specifically to South Koreans.

9 Kankokujin.

10 Hokusenjin 北鮮人. Refers specifically to North Koreans.

11 Yōkyū 要求、lit. demand.

12 A massive anti-Vietnam War riot that took place in October 1968 involving the occupation of Shinjuku Station and the disruption of regular traffic.

13 Bōryokudan 暴力団、lit. violent groups.

14 Minsei 民青, short for Nihon Minshu Seinen Dōmei 日本民主青年同盟, is the youth wing of the Japan Communist Party and a part of the National Federation of Students’ Self-Government Associations.

15 Government established by Alexander Kerensky immediately following the February Revolution in the Russian Empire. This government was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in October of that year.

16 Manifesto written by Ludvík Vaculík (1926-2015) during the Prague Spring calling for the renewal of Czech socialism through greater openness, freedom of the press, greater public participation in and control of the government, and relations of parity with the USSR.

17 Mobbuka モッブ化.