On the morning of November 25, 1970, Yukio Mishima sent the manuscript for his last novel, "Tennin gosui" (The Decay of the Angel).

Mishima and four other members of his private militia, the Tate no Kai (The Shield Society)-- Masakatsu Morita, Masayoshi Koga (known as Chibi-Koga), Masahiro Ogawa, and Hiromasa Koga (known as Furu-Koga)-- drive together to the Ichigaya headquarters of the Japanese Self-Defense Force (Army).

Mishima, armed with a katana (sword), leads his companions to the office of the commanding officer. After a brief and courteous greeting, Mishima gives a signal to Chibi-Koga, who quickly subdues and binds the commander.

By 11:20 AM, Morita, Ogawa, and Koga have barricaded all entrances to the office. When aides in an adjoining room hear the commotion and try to enter the office, Mishima tells them to go away, or he will kill the commander.

He then pushes a list of demands underneath the door, which are as follows: 1. that the entire Eastern division be assembled in front of the headquarters by twelve noon;
2. that a speech by Mishima and brief remarks by four students be "attended quietly";
3. that the members of the Shield Society gathered for a meeting at the Ichigaya Kaikan be brought to the base to listen to Mishima and the others;
4. that no offensive action or interference take place from eleven o'clock to ten minutes past one. In the event of interference of any kind, Mishima would kill the commander at once and commit seppuku.

By 11:35, Mishima and Morita have wounded seven men who try to enter the office, although they are careful not to use killing blows. A senior officer halts the attempts and promises to assemble the division.

By ten minutes to twelve, Mishima appears on the commander's balcony; some eight hundred men from the 32nd regiment are assembled below. At 11:55, Morita emerges onto the balcony, and hangs a cloth banner bearing the demands of the Tate no Kai.

Mishima had prepared a thirty minute speech, which he commences to proclaim at twelve noon exactly. However, in addition to the noise made by three police helicopters circling above Mishima, the assembled regiment refuses to listen, instead yelling and jeering as Mishima tries to speak. After seven minutes, Mishima gives up in frustration, and jumps to the end of his speech, exhorting the regiment to rise against the Japanese constitution and return Japan to "her true form, and in the restoration, die." Mishima and Morita step forward and shout, "Tenno Heika banzai" ("Long live his imperial Majesty!") three times, then turn and reenter the office.

Mishima sits in seiza (a kneeling position) on the floor of the office, with Morita standing slightly behind and to the left, with sword raised.

Mishima, using a wakazashi (short sword), drives the blade into his left side and cuts across his abdomen to the right.

When he slumps forward, exposing his neck, Morita cuts down with the sword, but fails to complete the blow.

He swings again, but again fails to sever Mishima's head, whereupon Furu-Koga steps forward and, taking the sword, completes the cut.

Morita then kneels and drives the short sword into his belly.

Furu-Koga dispatches him with a single stroke.

Chibi-Koga, Furu-Koga, and Ogawa right the heads and bow to them, before releasing the commander and allowing him to bow to the two dead men.

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