The novel Thousand Cranes, by Yasunari Kawabata, is set in Kamakura, Japan, after the conclusion of World War Two. This time period is critical in highlighting one of the book's major themes: the country's departure from historical and cultural values after the war. As a modern man who has embraced some Western values (like dressing in suits and having casual sex), Kikuji, the protagonist, has little interest in the traditional house, furnishings, and tea bowl collection of his deceased father. He also struggles with the notion of an arranged marriage to the beautiful but old-fashioned Yukiko. The war, which was won by Western forces, destroyed much of the value that was placed on these kinds of relationships, objects, and locales.
By placing the novel in post-war Japan, Kawabata forces his protagonist to wrangle with the schism in his cultural identity and to choose between the past and the future.