Yasunari Kawabata was a Japanese writer and novelist that was born on the 14th of June, 1899. He was the first Japanese to ever receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. Kawabata wrote mainly novels and short stories. He died on April 16, 1972, at the age of seventy-two, in Zushi, Kanagawa, Japan.
Writer’s Early Life
Yasunari Kawabata, was born in 1899 in Osaka. After the early death of his parents, he was raised by his maternal grandfather and attended Japanese public school. His grandfather also died shortly and he describes this sad moment in one of his autobiographical novels. His life experience is also reflected in his work.
From 1920 to 1924, Kawabata studied at the Imperial University of Tokyo. He was one of the founders of “Bungei Jidai”, the medium of a new movement in modern Japanese literature.
Kawabata made his debut as a writer with the short story, “The Dancing Girl of Izu”, published in 1926. After several distinguished works, the novel “Snow Country” published in 1948 secured Kawabata’s position as one of Japan’s leading authors. In 1952, he published the novels “Thousand Cranes” and in 1954 “The Sound of the Mountain”. Later, Kawabata wrote “The Lake” (1954), “The House of the Sleeping Beauties” (1961), and “The Old Capital” (1962). In 1968, he became the first Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The jury mentioned “Snow Country”, “Thousand Cranes” and “The Old Capital”.
In 1972, Kawabata committed suicide two years after the death of his friend, the writer Yukio Mishima.
Yasunari Kawabata is highly regarded in Japan and abroad for his unmistakable talent. He manages to capture in his novels the typical Japanese aesthetic and also the boundary between tradition and innovation. Besides, the writer is considered to be a good connoisseur of female psychology, because he outlines complex and well-individualized female characters.
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