I have to admit I am a fan of those non-fiction memoir/unclassifiliable books that must be hard to market. Christopher Ross' Mishima's Sword (2006) is exactly one of those kinds of books. Ross decides to track down the sword celebrated writer Yukio Mishima used to commit seppuku in 1970. But to say that is what the book is about is too reductive. It is a sort of memoir, Ross explains his attraction long time interest in martial arts as well as provides a sort of contemporary travelogue of mid 2000 Japan as well as some lesson in the history of Japan, martial arts, sword making, philosophy, and the life of Mishima. I was first attracted to this book because I had seen Paul Schrader's fascinating biographical film on Mishima, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters as well as have read Henry Scott Stokes' and John Nathan's biographies of Mishima. Additionally, I have read several of his major works-he remains an enigma to me and modern Japan. Furthermore, it seems that he belonged to the dojo that also produced another writer in Japan, Robert Twigger whose Angry White Pajamas in another unclassifiable memoir book on Japan and the martial arts. The book is divided into three sections, "Death in Tokyo," "Primary: WORD(S)," and "Secondary: (S)WORD." In the first section he explains Mishima's suicide attempt, and in the subsequent sections he tries to track down people close to Mishima and the sword that he used all of which is extremely elusive, but along the way he explains his history and attraction to martial arts and iaido (the Japanese art of drawing a sword quickly), the elusive nature of Mishima, aspects of his writing, Japanese history, sword making, and interspersed are apt quotes from Mishima and other various authors and philosophers. Ross opens the book with a particularly fitting quote, Oscar Wilde's famous quip: "In fact the whole of Japan is pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people." It might be appropriate to say that this book is probably only for those with an interest in Mishima or martial arts, which is a shame, because I think Ross has a lot more to offer the general reader.