It is the story of Kochan who is raised during Japans era of right-wing militarism and Imperialism. From a very early age he struggles to fit into society, not helped by his homosexuality and less than ideal health.
The story is strongly autobiographical.
Confessions of a Mask provides examples of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Kochan's bad habit starts when he sees one of his father's art books.
- Beneath the Mask: Where the title comes from. One of the biggest themes is how Kochan tries to appear normal.
- Closet Key: The famous painting of a bare-chested Saint Sebastian being pierced by arrows is this for Kochan.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Fantasies of sex, pain, and death are deeply interconnected in Kochan's mind.
- My Beloved Smother: Well, Grandsmother: Kochan's grandmother basically kidnaps the boy, prevents him from seeing his parents and demands his constant company. This changes after she becomes too ill to look after him and sends him back home.