Yukio Mishima committed suicide by ritual hara-kiri

in 1970. Watching these

two Mishima one-act, Noh-

influenced plays, brought over as part of BITE and luminously directed by Ninagawa, you get a real sense of the unsettlingly heady elements that defined the Mishima aesthetic.

Sotoba Komachi, seen at the Edinburgh Festival in 1990, is fairy-tale, harbinger of death, and a haunting collision of past, present, and future, recalling Lorca and Genet - in the latter's case, shorn of the hysteria. Framed within a bower of red camellias, Ninagawa brings a heart-stopping, dream-like potency to this tale of an old beggar woman, who, in her time, commanded love and adoration, and whose ability still to draw such declarations brings death in its wake. As the old hag, Haruhiko Jo, his face a lattice-work of wrinkles, is beguilingly both harsh and poignant.

But it is the younger Tatsuya Fujiwara in Yoroboshi who stuns. Here, Mishima's cultural disillusionment - and misogyny - is blowing at full force in a tale of two sets of parents fighting for the custody of a difficult young man, blinded, we're told, in an air-raid.

Some air-raid; nothing less than the dropping of the atomic bomb. Entering with stick and shades, Fujiwara brings a terrifying, possessed rage to this man-in-a-white-suit visionary who has seen the end of the world.

Written in white heat, played at white heat (against a background of Wagner's Tannhauser), Ninagawa endows him with an iconic status that makes you think that perhaps there is always one such avenging visionary in every generation, be it Mishima, Japan's

latter-day underground cultists, or, even at one remove, remembering her poetry and livid, surreal sense of the banality of the everyday, our own Sarah Kane.

l Sotoba Komachi and Yoroboshi end today, BITE continues into October.