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Scarred memory: Ex-GSDF member remembers sword attack by Yukio Mishima

Akio Terao
Akio Terao shows where Yukio Mishima gashed him with a sword on November 25, 1970 (TBS News)

TOKYO (TR) – Last week marked the 47-year anniversary of the ritual suicide of noted author Yukio Mishima following a failed coup attempt. One 88-year-old male witness to the events of that day has a very unique memento — and he shared it with TBS News (Nov. 24).

On November 25, 1970, Mishima and four members of a revolutionary group attempted to garner support from troops at the Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) garrison in Ichigaya, Shinjuku Ward for an overthrow of the government and a return of the Emperor to power.

During the attempt, Mishima and his cohorts took the commissioner general of the garrison hostage inside his office. A fight erupted as a number soldiers attempted to free the commissioner general.

Akio Terao, then 41, was one of the soldiers who took on Mishima. Wielding a sword, the author slashed Terao in the back, leaving the soldier with a 23-centimeter-long scar.

Terao, now retired, unveiled the gash for the network’s cameras last week in a first-ever public display. “Because I’m fine I do not hold a grudge,” he said.

After the overthrow failed, Mishima went on to commit ritual seppuku, which is self-disembowelment. Two of his comrades then decapitated him.