Yasunari Kawabata

Yasunari Kawabata (yäsōōnä´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 Mishima, he committed suicide.

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

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Yasunari Kawabata: Selected full-text books and articles

Great World Writers: Twentieth Century By Patrick M. O'Neil Marshall Cavendish, vol.5, 2004
Librarian's tip: "Yasunari Kawabata" p. 693-702
Reading against Culture: Ideology and Narrative in the Japanese Novel By David Pollack Cornell University Press, 1992
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "The Ideology of Aesthetics: Yasunari Kawabata's Thousand Cranes and Snow Country"
Topographies of Japanese Modernism By Seiji M. Lippit Columbia University Press, 2002
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Mapping the Space of Mass Culture: Kawabata Yasunari's Scarlet Gang of Asakusa"
Reality and Fiction in Modern Japanese Literature By Noriko Mizuta Lippit M. E. Sharpe, 1980
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "Kawabata's Dilettante Heroes"
Writing as Tea Ceremony: Kawabata's Geido Aesthetics By Carriere, Peter M International Fiction Review, Vol. 29, No. 1-2, January 2002
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Warm Heart of Japan's Snow Country By Mackintosh, Paul St John Contemporary Review, Vol. 262, No. 1527, April 1993
Masterworks of Asian Literature in Comparative Perspective: A Guide for Teaching By Barbara Stoler Miller M.E. Sharpe, 1994
Librarian's tip: "Kawabata Yasunari's Snow Country" begins on p. 481
Modern Japanese Stories: An Anthology By Ivan Morris; George Saitō; Edward Seidensticker; Geoffrey Sargent Charles E. Tuttle Publishing, 1962
Librarian's tip: "The Moon on the Water" by Kawabata Yasunari begins on p. 245
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity By Susan J. Napier Routledge, 1996
Librarian's tip: "Sleeping with the Dead: Kawabata's House of the Sleeping Beauties and 'One Arm'" begins on p. 60
Daughters of the Moon: Wish, Will, and Social Constraint in Fiction by Modern Japanese Women By Victoria V. Vernon Institute of East Asian Studies, 1988
Librarian's tip: Chap. Seven "Creating Koharu: The Image of Woman in the Works of Kawabata Yasunari and Tanizaki Junichiro"
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