Written when Mishima was only twentysix, Forbidden Colors is a depiction of a male homosexual relationship, in which a rich older man buys the love of a young man who is stunningly handsome but who lacks the ability to love. As in Mann's Death in Venice, the older man's longing for the beauty of youth is associated with aestheticism and death.
Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) is considered by many critics as the most important Japanese novelist of the 20th century. Mishima's works include 40 novels, poetry, essays, and modern Kabuki and Noh dramas. He was three times nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature. Among his masterpieces is The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1956). The tetralogy The Sea of Fertility (1965-70) is regarded by many as Mishima's most lasting achievement.