Other books byYasunari Kawabata
Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s Thousand Cranes is a luminous story of desire, regret, and the almost sensual nostalgia that binds the living to the dead. While attending a traditional tea ceremony in the aftermath of his parents’ deaths, Kikuji encounters his father’s former mistress, Mrs. Ota. At first Kikuji is appalled by her indelicate nature, but it is not long before he succumbs to passion—a passion with tragic and unforeseen consequences, not just for the two lovers, but also for Mrs. Ota’s daughter, to whom Kikuji’s attachments soon extend. Death, jealousy, and attraction convene around the delicate art of the tea ceremony, where every gesture is imbued with profound meaning.
The Master of Go
Go is a game of strategy in which two players attempt to surround each other’s black or white stones. Simple in its fundamentals, infinitely complex in its execution, Go is an essential expression of the Japanese spirit. And in his fictional chronicle of a match played between a revered and heretofore invincible Master and a younger, more modern challenger, Yasunari Kawabata captured the moment in which the immutable traditions of imperial Japan met the onslaught of the twentieth century. The competition between the Master of Go and his opponent, Otaké, is waged over several months and layered in ceremony. But beneath the game’s decorum lie tensions that consume not only the players themselves but their families and retainers—tensions that turn this particular contest into a duel that can only end in death. Luminous in its detail, both suspenseful and serene, The Master of Go is an elegy for an entire society, written with the poetic economy and psychological acumen that brought Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature. Translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker
The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa
In the 1920s, Asakusa was to Tokyo what Montmartre had been to 1890s Paris and Times Square was to be to 1940s New York. Available in English for the first time,The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa,by Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata, captures the decadent allure of this entertainment district, where beggars and teenage prostitutes mixed with revue dancers and famous authors. Originally serialized in a Tokyo daily newspaper in 1929 and 1930, this vibrant novel uses unorthodox, kinetic literary techniques to reflect the raw energy of Asakusa, seen through the eyes of a wandering narrator and the cast of mostly female juvenile delinquents who show him their way of life. Markedly different from Kawabata's later work,The Scarlet Gang of Asakusashows this important writer in a new light. The annotated edition of this little-known literary gem includes the original illustrations by Ota Saburo. The annotations illuminate Tokyo society and Japanese literature, bringing this fascinating piece of Japanese modernism at last to a wide audience.