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.

Bibliography

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.

WORKS

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

REFERENCES

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

K. REKHO

References in periodicals archive ?
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Escrita tambien por Shunji Iwai, Carta de amor posee la sutileza de los relatos de Yasunari Kawabata.