Books: Apollo in Hell

FORBIDDEN COLORS by Yukio Mishima, translated from the Japanese by Alfred H. Marks. 403 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

Yukio Mishima, 43, is clearly out to become Japan's answer to Papa-san Hemingway. He lifts weights. He excels at kendo, a Japanese swordfighting sport. He makes headlines by producing, directing, and acting in films. And, of course, he writes. How he writes! Poetry, modern No plays, short stories by the score, and novels (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea) at the rate of nearly one a year.

Paralleling Hemingway the artist as well as the...