Ba-ra-kei Shinshuban [Ordeal by Roses Re-edited]HOSOE, Eikoh
Tokyo: Shuei-sha. 1971.
Second edition, presentation copy.Oblong Folio (378x529mm). pp [ii], metal plate printed in black affixed to black leaf with tissue guard, . Unpaginated. Original printed endpapers. Original black velvet covered board, colour photographic illustration affixed to upper cover. The book is housed in its original white cloth fold-out chemise, lettered in red to the upper side, lined with colour illustrated paper. Scattered foxing and soiling. Design by Tadanoori Yokoo. Inscribed in blue ink to verso of front free end paper, "To Rory White from Eikoh Hosoe, Xmas 1975. Tokyo". White was a model who had worked with Hosoe.
Unhappy with the original translation, Mishima changed the title of this revised edition to reflect more accurately the original Japanese. The design varies significantly from the first book and is, in effect, a new book altogether. Working closely with Hosoe and Mishima, Yokoo completely restructured the sequence into five chapters ending with “Death”. In December 1970, Mishima committed suicide in protest against the signing of an extension to the Japan-US security treaty. The publication of this book, which was to have been that month, was delayed by Hosoe until 1971. This extraordinary work weaves together Eastern Religion, Renaissance painting, homo-eroticism all combining to celebrate the human body as a work of art. But ultimately the work encourages us to see beyond the body and even beyond the spirit. As Mishima himself said of the experience: “Before Hosoe’s camera, I soon realised that my own spirit and the workings of my mind had become totally redundant. It was an exhilarating experience, a state of affairs I had long dreamed of”.