Yasunari Kawabata

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Kawabata, Yasunari

(yäso͞onä`rē käwä`bätä), 1899–1972, Japanese novelist. His first major work was The Izu Dancer, (1925). He came to be a leader of the school of Japanese writers that propounded a lyrical and impressionistic style, in opposition to the proletarian literature of the 1920s. Kawabata's melancholy novels often treat, in a delicate, oblique fashion, sexual relationships between men and women. For example, Snow Country (tr. 1956), probably his best-known work in the West, depicts the affair of an aging geisha and an insensitive Tokyo businessman. All Kawabata's works are distinguished by a masterful, and frequently arresting, use of imagery. Among his works in English translation are the novels Thousand Cranes (tr. 1959), The Sound of the Mountain (tr. 1970), and The Lake (tr. 1974), and volumes of short stories, The House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories (tr. 1969) and First Snow on Fuji (tr. 1999). In 1968, Kawabata became the first Japanese author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Four years later, in declining health and probably depressed by the suicide of his friend Yukio MishimaMishima, Yukio
, 1925–70, Japanese author, b. Tokyo. His original name was Kimitake Hiraoka and he was born into a samurai family. Mishima wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He appeared on stage in some of his plays as well as directing and starring in films.
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, he committed suicide.


See his Nobel Prize speech, Japan the Beautiful and Myself (tr. 1969); study by G. B. Petersen (1979).

Kawabata, Yasunari


Born June 11, 1899, in Osaka; died Apr. 16, 1972, in Zushi. Japanese writer; member of the Japanese Academy of Art (1953). Son of a doctor.

Kawabata graduated from the department of Japanese philology of the University of Tokyo in 1924. During the early 1920’s he became part of the modernistic group of neosensual-ists. His first important work, The Izu Dancer (1926), is a lyrical story about youth. Several of Kawabata’s works (for example, the short story “Crystal Fantasia”) were written under the influence of J. Joyce; however, the core of his artistic thought is based on the aesthetics of Zen, which rejects the rational view of the world and stresses that which is natural and artless. The originality of Kawabata’s artistic style is particularly evident in his lyric novella Snow Country (1937), which consists of a series of short stories joined only by their poetic associations. The tea ceremony, an ancient custom raised to the level of a unique art, forms the basis of Kawabata’s novella Thousand Cranes (1951), for which he received the prize of the Japanese Academy of Art. His novels The Sound of the Mountain (1953) and The Old Capital (1961) are characterized by their inner lyricism. In 1968, Kawabata was awarded the Nobel Prize; his books have been translated into many languages.


Kawabata Yasunari zenshu, vols. 1–12. Tokyo, 1960.
In Russian translation:
In the collection Iaponskaia novella. Moscow, 1961.
Tysiachekrylyi zhuravl’. Moscow, 1971.


Grigor’eva, I. “Chitaia Kavabata Iasunari.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1971, no. 8.
Saegusa Iasutaka. Kawabata Yasunari. Tokyo, 1961.


References in periodicals archive ?
El otro libro que volvi a leer fue La casa de las bellas dormidas, de Yasunari Kawabata, que me habia golpeado en el alma hace unos tres anos y que sigue siendo un libro hermoso.
What helped Yato's first two books to find a wider audience was the fact that they featured introductions by Yukio Mishima, perhaps (after Nobel Prize-winning novelist Yasunari Kawabata) the most famous writer to emerge from Japan in the first half of the 20th century.
Oe won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1994, the second Japanese novelist to do so following Yasunari Kawabata.
(The student's errors remain intact.) It is the delicate and challenging text of the short story Amagasa (Umbrella) by Yasunari Kawabata. The story, a brief impressionistic sketch, has been used very successfully as a literary text for translation in my courses over many years.
It's a bit like the famous story "A Row of Trees," by the Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata: A man asks his wife if she has noticed that half the ginkgo trees on the road are bare; how can it be, he ponders, that they had never noticed that before, even though they'd always looked in that direction?
Compellingly written by Yasunari Kawabata (the author of the classic "Snow Country" and Japan's first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature), The Lake is the story of a stalker.
PLEASE TEL 03-5573-8089) Edward Seidensticker, noted translator of ''The Tale of Genji'' and works by Yasunari Kawabata and Mishima Yukio, is saddened by the decline of Tokyo's ''shitamachi'' -- the traditional downtown areas once the source of cultural riches.
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