Yasunari Kawabata Short Fiction Analysis
The short story or the vignette is the essence of Yasunari Kawabata’s literary art. Even his great novels were written piecemeal. Not only were they originally published in serial form, the parts frequently presented as separate stories, but also many segments were rewritten and revised for both style and content. Japanese tradition has applied the term shosetsu, loosely “fiction,” to both novels and short stories, and as a result, such works as “The Izu Dancer,” consisting of only thirty pages, and The House of the Sleeping Beauties, forming less than a hundred, have been treated critically as novels.
“Diary of a Sixteen-Year-Old”
Kawabata composed his first work “Jrokusai no Nikki” (“Diary of a Sixteen-Year-Old”) at that age and published it eleven years later. The work describes the humiliating last days and suffering of his grandfather and foreshadows the themes of aging and death in his later works. Comparing the diary with his recollections at a later date, Kawabata maintained that he had forgotten the sordid details of sickness and dying portrayed in his narrative and that his mind had since been constantly occupied in cleansing and beautifying his grandfather’s image.
“The Izu Dancer”
With “The Izu Dancer,” his first work to obtain international acclaim, the opposite is true. Here, he idealizes a somewhat commonplace autobiographical incident and...
(The entire section is 1765 words.)
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