Twelve Views from the Distance
  • Jeffrey Angles , Western Michigan University

Twelve Views from the Distance, published in 1970, is the memoir of Mutsuo Takahashi, one of the most prominent poets of contemporary Japan. This book about Takahashi’s childhood and adolescence in rural southern Japan, uses powerful language to describe how Takahashi and his family’s fate intersected with events on the international stage, namely the rise of the Japanese empire and the dawn of World War II. In addition, Takahashi explores with great candor his budding awareness of his own sexual preference for men. The Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima praised Twelve Views from the Distance, calling it "firm prose that shines with a dark luster much like a set of drawers crafted by a master of old," and singling out the chapters about Takahashi’s sexual self-discovery as "radiating a certain tragic beauty."

  • World War II,
  • Pacific War,
  • Japanese history,
  • gay,
  • queer,
  • LGBT,
  • memoirs,
  • life writing,
  • autobiography,
  • biography
Publication Date
Fall 2012
Citation Information
Mutsuo Takahashi. Twelve Views form the Distance. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.