Yukio Mishima was born in 1925 in Tokyo, and is considered one of the Japan's most important writers. His books broke social boundaries and taboos at a time when Japan found itself in a state of rapid social change. His interests besides writing included body-building, acting, and practising as a Samurai. In 1970 he attempted to start a military coup, which failed. Upon realising this, Mishima performed seppuku, a ritual suicide, upon himself. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature three times.
His major novels include Confessions of a Mask, Forbidden Colours (also a Penguin Modern Classic), The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea and the tetralogy The Sea of Fertility: Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and The Decay of the Angel.