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Patriotism (憂國, Yūkoku) is a 1966 Japanese short film directed by Yukio Mishima. The English-language release was originally titled The Rite of Love and Death and the French-language release was originally titled Les Rites de L'Amour et de la Mort. It is based on Mishima's short story Patriotism (憂国, Yūkoku), published in 1961.[1]


After participating in the Ni Ni Roku Incident of February 1936, Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama has been given orders to execute some of his fellow mutineers. He decides to commit seppuku, and his wife Reiko vows to kill herself with him. They make passionate love, then commit suicide.


Patriotism is a silent, thirty-minute black-and-white film with long expository intertitles elaborating on the story and its historical background. It contains visual references to Noh theatre, as Mishima admired the traditional style and wrote several plays in the genre. Set in a single room, it is composed of static wide shots and lingering close-ups, most of which obscure Mishima's eyes.[2]


  • Yukio Mishima as Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama
  • Yoshiko Tsuruoka as Reiko


On November 25, 1970, Mishima committed seppuku after delivering a speech intended to inspire a coup d'état.[3]

After Mishima's suicide his widow Yōko requested that all existing copies of the film be destroyed. But in 2005 the original negatives were discovered in perfect condition, in a tea box at a warehouse at their home in Tokyo.[4] The film was released on DVD in Japan in 2006 and then in the US by the Criterion Collection in 2008.[5]


  1. [1] Patriotism, AMC Movie Guide, accessed January 12, 2013
  2. [2] Tom Mes, Midnight Eye, accessed January 12, 2013
  3. [3] Michiko Kakatani, Mishima: Film Examines an Affair with Death, accessed January 12, 2013
  4. [4] Stephanie Goodman, Arts Briefly, accessed January 12, 2013
  5. [5] Dave Kehr, New DVDs: Mishima and Framed, accessed January 12, 2013

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