Episode 482 – Japan, the Beautiful, the Ambiguous, Part 1

This week, we’re taking a look at the first of two Nobel laureates in literature from Japan: Kawabata Yasunari. Kawabata didn’t believe his work–focused on what he saw as a distinctly Japanese context–would translate out of the country. So what is it about his style that developed such a following?



Boardman, Gwenn R. “Kawabata Yasunari: A Critical Introduction.” Journal of Modern Literature 2, No 1 (Sept, 1971).

Brown, Sidney DeVere. “Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972): Tradition versus Modernity.” World Literature Today 62, no 3 (Summer, 1988).

Matson, Gary James. “The Early Works of Kawabata Yasunari.” MA Thesis, University of British Columbia, Dept of Asian Studies, 1982

Cornyetz, Nina. “Fascist Aesthetics and the Politics of Representation in Kawabata Yasunari,” in Tansman, Alan (Ed). The Culture of Japanese Fascism. 

Sibley, William F. “Naturalism in Japanese Literature.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 28 (1968).

The 1968 Nobel Lecture: Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself. 

An article by Omura Azusa on Shinkankakuha and Bungei Jidai.


Kawabata Yasunari in 1946. I think this staged photo says a lot about how Kawabata wanted to portray himself as a writer.
The film adaptation of Snow Country from 1957, directed by Toyoda Shiro and released by Toho. If nothing else, you don’t see too many film adaptations of Nobel prize works in literature!
Kawabata in 1938.
Kawabata Yasunari in 1917.


4 thoughts on “Episode 482 – Japan, the Beautiful, the Ambiguous, Part 1”

  1. How come this episode is not yet upload onto libsyn for downloading? Looking forward to that.

  2. Hi Isaac,
    I’m not sure if the problem is on my side as I am abroad, but the episode itself is missing from both HoJ libsyn site, your main website and rss feed.
    Best wishes from Szczecin (Poland)

    1. Thanks for letting me know! This problem should be fixed now, apologies for the delay.

Comments are closed.