Acclaimed author Yukio Mishima wrote that young people are masochists at heart in a long-forgotten essay penned shortly before his death by ritual suicide at age 45.

The short essay appeared in a limited number of regional newspapers on Jan. 1, 1969, but has never been included in anthologies or books by Mishima (1925-1970).

The essay was written at a time when Mishima was busy interacting with young people as some of his more radical ideas were taking shape.

In November 1970, less than two years after the essay appeared, Mishima committed suicide by disembowelment at the Eastern Army headquarters of the Ground Self-Defense Force in Tokyo's Ichigaya district after failing to urge SDF members to rise up in a coup d'etat.

In the essay, Mishima writes that youth harbor a desire for self-punishment, observing that young people through the ages have always felt they were not understood.

The essay was found by Masao Saito, an associate professor of modern Japanese literature at Osaka University, in January as he was leafing through culture pages in a bound volume of back issues of The Kyoto Shimbun.

In 1968, Mishima set up his Tate-no-kai (Shield Society), a private militia.

As part of the group's activities, members experienced life as GSDF members. Mishima also took part in debates with members of the student movement at the University of Tokyo.

Mishima touched upon experiencing life in the GSDF in the essay and wrote, "The youth of today likely only believe the explanations they receive through their bodies."

He wrote that young people are rooted in deep-seated masochism that seeks out "scolding and punishment," adding that they can only be satisfied with resolute punishment as they do not appear to be particularly interested in the success of their revolution.

Saito called the essay very interesting "because it not only shows how Mishima viewed the youth of his day, but also provides glimpses of his inner self a year and 11 months before his death."

The essay will appear in the monthly Shincho literary magazine that goes on sale on April 5.