Born in Tokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan; given name is Tsuyoshi
Yoshida; attends traditional Japanese schools.
At 18 he is inducted into the Japanese army; first homosexual
experiences occur at this time with other soldiers.
Leaves army after defeat of Japan and end of World War II; becomes
active in the emerging underground nightlife of bars and clubs
in Shinjuku area of Tokyo, and engages in frequent sexual contact
with American soldiers stationed in Tokyo -- soldiers who are
the sole source of alcohol and tobacco; despite the poverty and
destruction of postwar Japan, he maintains lavish lifestyle and
is supported by an American officer.
The disarray of post-war Tokyo creates many opportunities
for illegal activities, and the Yakuza (Japanese style mafia)
emerges and becomes powerful in nightclubs, gambling, prostitution,
and shipping businesses; the Yakuza style consists of hypermasculine
attitude, violent behavior, expressionless faces, short haircuts
called "kakugari" and elaborate body tattoos; his contact with
Yakuza and his fascination with their look exerts strong influence
on later artwork.
First meets Yukio Mishima at athletic gym; they quickly establish
close and meaningful relationship, and share interests in bodybuilding,
karate, fencing, and exercise; more importantly, they both have
an interest in and admiration of male body, attributes of masculinity,
and homosexuality; and share a sexual attraction to the same type
of body style and similar male fetishistic obsessions; Yukio Mishima
encourages him to express homoerotic desires in his artwork, and
he seriously begins to draw the male nude (including the realistic
depiction of genitals which was illegal) and would pursue for
the rest of his life; in respect and admiration, he adopts Yukio
Mishima's last name, and creates the pen-name of Goh Mishima.
During the late 1950s and 1960s, Goh Mishima becomes familiar
with and a great admirer of the drawings of Tom of Finland. He
and Tom of Finland (1920-1991) are of the same generation, and
their artistic careers and sociosexual impact share many similarities.
At this time, Yukio Mishima had published a number
of distinguished articles and books that had established him as
one of the most important authors to emerge in Japan during the
twentieth century. It is of interest to note that Yukio Mishima
(born one year after Goh Mishima) had also changed his name (at
age sixteen) from Kimitake Hiraoka to Yukio Mishima, a pen-name
that was somehow related to his admiration of the famous poet,
Sachio Ito. He continued an illustrious career as an author, lecturer,
Yukio Mishima commits "seppuku" or "hara-kiri" (a ritualized disembowelment)
and is subsequently beheaded by one of his political followers.
In keeping with Yukio Mishima's death, Goh Mishima realistically
depicts torture, bondage, self-inflicted pain, and hara-kiri in
numerous drawings completed after Yukio's demise.
Barazoku, the first gay magazine in Japan, begins publishing;
Goh Mishima is responsible of photographs and illustrations in
the magazine, but contributes only one cover drawing in 1973.
Dissatisfied with the "pretty boy" image of Barazoku magazine,
Mishima begins his own male magazine, Sabu, which was named after
the artist's favorite bartender. Sabu promotes a new style and
type of male image, preferring a more "masculine" and sexual attitude.
Mishima is responsible for all cover art for the magazine.
Mishima's reputation as an artist and magazine
editor continues to grow in the small and cohesive gay community
in Tokyo. He produces great numbers of drawings in his small apartment
above a sushi restaurant in the Meguro district of Tokyo, and
both gives away and sells artworks.
Goh Mishima dies in Tokyo on January 5, of complications from
a year-long sickness with cirrhosis of the liver. Mishima dies
three days before the Japanese Emperor also dies, which brings
an end to the Showa era. A modern era then begins that slowly,
but gradually, sees the emergence of a more visible and vocal
gay population in Japan, and the increasing appreciation of homoerotic
artworks, especially those by Goh Mishima.
A special issue of Barazoku is published to memorialize and honor
Goh Mishima; this issue celebrates his greatness and acknowledges
him as a pioneer in the new freedoms of a gay sensiblilty.
Bungaku Ito, editor in chief of Barazoku and another pioneer in
Japan's gay community, presents the Tom of Finland Foundation,
Los Angeles, with three homoerotic artworks by Goh Mishima for
the Foundation collection; the works are selected from his private
collection, which is known to be one of the largest collections
of homoerotic art in Japan.