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千羽鶴 [Sembazuru] ➞ [Epub] ❥ 千羽鶴 [Sembazuru] By Yasunari Kawabata ➨ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Kawabatan teos ’Lumen maa’ oli ensimmäisenä Suomeen saapuneena nykyjapanilaisen romaanina lukijalle ilmestyksen kaltainen tuttavuus Sama tunteen syvyys sama itämaisen tuššipiirroksen kaltaine Kawabatan teos ’Lumen maa’ oli ensimmäisenä Suomeen saapuneena nykyjapanilaisen romaanina lukijalle ilmestyksen kaltainen tuttavuus Sama tunteen syvyys sama itämaisen tuššipiirroksen kaltainen hienostuneisuus antaa hänen teokselleen ’Tuhat kurkea’ aidon taideteoksen ajattoman lumonTeeseremonian opettaja Chikako Kurimoton kutsuu yhteen seremoniatilaisuuksistaan Kikuji nimisen nuorukaisen jonka isän rakastajatar hän on aikoinaan ollut Chikakon tarkoituksena on saattaa yhteen Kikuji sekä muuan Yukiko niminen tyttö Kikuji on haluton tähän avioliittojärjestelyyn jota hänen mielestään ympäröivät huonot enteet mutta rauhaa rakastavana luonteena ei osaa asettua vastaankaanYllätysvieraana tilaisuuteen saapuu rouva Oota joka aikanaan on vienyt Chikakolta Kikujin isän rakkauden Hänellä on mukanaan kaunis tyttärensä Fumiko.


10 thoughts on “千羽鶴 [Sembazuru]

  1. Jim Fonseca Jim Fonseca says:

    Don’t get involved with your dead father‘s mistresses is the main theme of this novella Now that both his mother and father have died a thirtyish Japanese bachelor is having an affair with his father‘s second mistress The father had a lifelong mistress that he dumped near the end of his life to hook up with this second woman just before his deathThe first mistress is bent on revenge Since the bachelor has shown no amorous interest in her she is devoting herself to making sure that the bachelor does not marry his mistresses’ daughter as the mistress wants In fact at one point the daughter comes to his house telling him ‘leave my mother and I’ll be your mistress’ Meanwhile the vengeful mistress is trying to fix him up with other young women The abandoned first mistress even ‘breaks into’ his house at one point and calls him up at work to say ‘I cleaned up your tea cottage and I invited this woman over for tea and I’ll cook’ Intertwined with the action of the story is a lot of symbolism and information about the Japanese tea ceremony and the use of cups most of which are hundreds of years old and extremely valuable Footnotes give us information about makers and dates of manufacture One cup gets deliberately broken at one pointSuddenly view spoiler Spoiler The mistress dies She committed suicide So now all the main characters have to deal with their complex feelings about her death The bachelor and the young woman work with a doctor to hide the way she died The man feels guilt and that he treated the mistress shabbily And we can imagine what the young woman thinks after proposing that he dump her mother And of course the vengeful first mistress has to deal with it also hide spoiler


  2. Dolors Dolors says:

    In my country there is a generalized tendency to glorify the heritage left to us by our ancestors With the loss of God children are regarded as the bearers of eternal life that infuse meaning into our perishable existenceBut what about the sins of the parents? Are they also beueathed to their children in order to be atoned for?Kawabata explores the ongoing dichotomy of love versus duty to our progenitors through the prism of the Japanese ancient traditions mining the deceptively simple story with recurrent imagery that creates a rhythmical pattern reminiscent of minimalistic poetry A girl who brings the faint perfume of morning glories and whose pink kerchief displays a thousand crane pattern the virulent storm and cleansing rains that wash out the dirtiness of betrayal and Machiavellian machinations the sun setting on the grove of the Hommonji Temple and the thousand cranes flying from the piece fabric as if escaping from unavoidable calamity Bad omen or the full acceptance of the transcience and imperfection of beauty?In Kamakura a woman called Chikako hides a horrendous birthmark as large as the palm of her hand that covers her left breast Haunted by a shameful past she gets hold of some precious objects used in the Tea Ceremony that are endowed with the power to transfer the burden of eroticism from generation to generation Thus tea bowls water jars and flower vases glint with the ghost of Kikuji’s deceased father an expert of such ritual and a man whose extramarital affairs marked the lives of two women with contrasting personalities that conjure up the eternal dichotomies in The Tao Te Ching Chikako is as manipulative as she is resentful Mrs Ota as fragile as guilt ridden and Kikuji used as a surrogate for his father will find himself dragged away against his will by the currents of an obsessive love triangle that will end in tragedyThe Tea Ceremony acuires symbolic transcendence and acts like a connecting point between life and death memories and presages corruption and purity nature and aesthetics The storyline flows in a neverending continuum where time is suspended and the reader floats along Kikuji’s preordained destiny Kawabata’s novels have no end and no begining precisely because they could be over in every chapter Only the insinuation of a gradually increased intensity electrified by a melancholic undertone is noticeable but no preconceived plan or definite purpose is made explicit And so the dramatic explosion is deferred indefinitely and only the lingering voices of characters are left after the last page is turned like the fluttering image that a haiku poem leaves on the reader’s mindA novella that explores the sensuality of nostalgia the clashing forces of remorse and desire condensed in a wishful tale where every gesture has a meaning and even the slightest touch or breath has the power to illuminate entire lives sometimes right at the instant they are about to be destroyed but never fallen into oblivion The thousand cranes might have taken flight but the feeling of their soft plumage brushing against velvety skin will keep us warm even in the coldest night A thousand cranes for peace Peace Memorial Hiroshima


  3. B0nnie B0nnie says:

    The memory of that birthmark on Chikako’s breast was concrete as a toad The sins of the fathers is an old theme found in the Bible Euripides Shakespeare and countless other works It's used here too in this slim book of Kawabata's but this is probably the only time it is acted out using bits of pottery cloth and tea True the characters aren't exactly holding these items and making them talk There's a sparse background on which they have plenty of room to act on the imagination Kawabata is famous for leaving a lot of blank space From his Nobel lecture Here we have the emptiness the nothingness of the Orient My own works have been described as works of emptiness but it is not to be taken for the nihilism of the West The spiritual foundation would seem to be uite different Senbazuru or one thousand cranes is the Japanese tradition of folding 1000 origami cranes in order to have a wish granted That idea is not addressed directly in this story Rather it's the Japanese tea ceremony chanoyu and its place in forming the Japanese mind The setting is just a few years after WWII Western culture is being embraced leading to loss of respect for the ceremony Kawabata sees its degradation as a symbol of the loss of traditional values Also from his Nobel lecture I may say in passing that to see my novel Thousand Cranes as an evocation of the formal and spiritual beauty of the tea ceremony is a misreading It is a negative work and expression of doubt about and warning against the vulgarity into which the tea ceremony has fallenThousand Cranes has no origami magic but instead a kerchief with the thousand crane pattern which was once carried by a young woman named Yukiko That kerchief is important we are told Yukiko is beautiful but the kerchief is the only actual description we get of her This novel is full of such associated images Understanding them feels a little bit like learning another language with the symbolism being a sort of grammar It's well worth the effort


  4. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    ”Worrying oneself over the dead—was it in most cases a mistake not unlike berating them? The dead did not press moral considerations upon the living” Kikuji is floating like a red maple leaf on a still pond His father and mother are dead and the most logical thing is for him to marry now The family house is large and musty from disuse He needs to fill it with children and the care of a woman who will make the house into a cheery home again Or at least that is what is being suggested to him The first to start to take control of his life is Chikako one of his father’s castoff mistresses She has a birthmark which as a boy he inadvertently saw The size and shape and placement of this birthmark haunt him as if it were a living creature beneath her skin ”Had his father occasionally sueezed the birthmark between his fingers? Had he even bitten at it? Such were Kikuji’s fantasies” Chikako has found the perfect woman for him ”One of the girls was beautiful She carried a bundle wrapped in a kerchief the thousand crane pattern in white on a pink crape background”All Kikuji has to do is indicate that he is interested and all the details will uickly be worked out The thousand crane girl will be his He doesn’t even need to say anything; he just needs to nod but he is wrestling with who he is in relation to who his father was Is this his decision or is it his father’s decision through his surrogate the bitter and overbearing Chikako? When Kikuji meets another mistress of his father Mrs Ota the tentative track leading to his future takes another unexpected detour Her daughter Fumiko is a carbon copy of her mother She has grown up with the world taking from her mother than what she can afford to give She wants to break the pattern but isn’t sure the world will let her “Mother and I both presume a great deal on people but we expect them to understand us Is that impossible? Are we seeing our reflections in our own hearts?” There is a poignancy here that resonates with anyone who feels that her life has been misunderstood by those who know her That their best ualities are perceived as weaknesses and their weaknesses are perceived as lost strengths The plot revolves around the tea ceremonies who shows up to the events and the implements that are used to conduct the ceremonies ”It had passed from Ota to his wife from the wife to Kikuji’s father from Kikuji’s father to Chikako; and the two men Ota and Kikuji’s father were dead and here were the two women There was something almost weird about the bowl’s career” I often feel this way about antiues that have been passed down through my family to me The history of all those other owners blood of my blood comes to me in the stories surrounding those artifacts I can still see the glass fronted bookcase that now sits in my home office where it originally stood for decades in my grandmother’s house I can still remember the books and bobbles that she had kept preserved on its shelves When I buy items from antiue stores that have lost their histories I hope that a new line of stories will begin with me So I understand the idea that this tea bowl could be haunted by the essences of previous owners With the women he is surrounded by can he ever separate himself from his father? ”“You think of my father don’t you and my father and I become one person?” His mind is scattered to the point that making any decisions beyond what to eat where to sleep and when to go to work are beyond him His father and the vestiges of women he left behind have put Kikuji in a position where he is encountering the ghost of his father wherever he goes ”To forgive or to be forgiven was for Kikuji a matter of being rocked in that wave the dreaminess of the woman’s body”Does he need to forgive himself or forgive his father? Who is responsible for his life now? Who will save him?This is a uiet tale with grand passions smothered before they can ignite There are seemingly bloodless battles being waged in the minds of all concerned A reader who reads this book impatiently skimming along waiting for the stop signs and big curve ahead warnings to guide them to the point of the book will have missed seeing the man floating on the still pond who wants them to ponder things along with him My suggestion is to read some of the book and then stop and make some hot tea Read some and let your mind sift through the words for the uiet meanings that will be lost if you drive by too fast If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  5. Jr Bacdayan Jr Bacdayan says:

    There used to be a time when the beauty of a single flower was enough to give a man pleasure a time when a lone star in the dark expanse of the night gave delight to a wanderer gazing up above a time when the exuisite beauty of a piece of pottery was enough to evoke the feeling of longing when the graceful movements of a woman pouring tea stirred the heart Those times have passed Appreciation for the elegance found in the simple is now dulled by the seduction of the exciting the novel and the vulgar It wasn’t as if it instantaneously disappeared it shattered piece by piece like shards of tea vessel one by one plucked by the invisible hands of time until no trace of it remained In his 1968 Nobel lecture Kawabata expressed regretA tea ceremony is a coming together in feeling a meeting of good comrades in a good season That spirit that feeling for one's comrades in the snow the moonlight under the blossoms is also basic to the tea ceremony I may say in passing that to see my novel Thousand Cranes as an evocation of the formal and spiritual beauty of the tea ceremony is a misreading It is a negative work and expression of doubt about and warning against the vulgarity into which the tea ceremony has fallen”Kawabata believed that the tea ceremony has regressed into a game of deceit of cat and mouse that he highlights with his use of Chikako as a character He creates a cunning and manipulative woman who makes use of the tea ceremony to influence people to her advantages and thus depicts the soiled mud into which the grand tradition has fallen Kikuji a bachelor is interesting as a character because he rejects the inherited culture of tea ceremony yet he is drawn to it because of Mrs Ota and Fumiko At first it was the mother his bridge to the past that draws him back to appreciate the traditions of long ago but when he lost her he found traces of her in the daughter To him Fumiko represented the good in the tea ceremony an ode to the traditions of the past evoking her mother evoking the ancient practice that highlights the reticence the humbleness the peace and grace of the Japanese people Thus even though the contemporary beauty of Yukiko appealed to him Kikuji was still drawn to Fumiko like a waft of floral fragrance lingering under his breath However the glare of the present day was too much for the faint Yukiko and broke the wistful dream In the end Kikuji’s expression saying Fumiko has no reason to die is the voice of Kawabata muttering in regret that the noble traditions of the fading tea ceremony should not disappearAt the surface Thousand Cranes is a tragic novel of love and longing but at the same time it is a sentimental look and a disdainful scowl at different pasts of the tea ritual Its lyrical prose enchants the reader into a peaceful lull its symbolisms whisper of the dark and light and the blur we often find ourselves in An enchanting book through and through one that is bound to stay with me in the depths of my dreamsMaybe in my dreams a mournful voice expressing grief will reach my consciousness because the proud traditions of the past have now become merely decorative like a thousand cranes in a kerchief wanting to soar but forever stuck in portrait


  6. Brina Brina says:

    A Thousand Cranes is a novella by Japanese Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata Unfortunately the book was not my taste but I did glean much from this short book that many consider a gem The book follows Kikuji Mitani as he copes with the deaths of his parents He is left in the care of his meddlesome housekeeper who attempts to arrange his marriage even though Kikuji is not interested in marriage at this point in his life Each meeting with a perspective bride occurs at a traditional tea ceremony The imagery of these traditions evoked thousands of years of Japanese history and was actually uite moving especially the scarf one young woman wore which depicted a thousand fluttering cranes I took these cranes in motion to symbolize this novella one in which ancient and modern Japanese culture were at a crossroadsEach of the four women in this novella were depicted sexually and whether or not Kikuji could gain from a relationship with any of them I found this to be demeaning and as a result I was unable to empathize with the main protagonist or mesh with any of the flow of this book Especially revolting to me was the open treatment in which Kikuji and his father discussed a hideous birthmark on their housekeeper's breast as though this diminished her character Even if she was of a high moral fabric which I found to be revolting in its own right the thought that men would think low of her due to a physical defect was depressing to me especially as I seek to find uality books written by female authors from around the globe That a male author would only depict women in a sexual manner was alarming to me given that this book is modern and women's role in society has shifted to one in which they have roles than that of mother and housewifeFrom this novella I can see where Kawabata's writing would garner him Nobel consideration This particular story did not move me and was frustrating given that a man only viewed women as sexual objects and even still the ending did not fit at least to me with the rest of the story I did learn about the Japanese tea ceremony tradition and how even clothing and dishes were supposed to associate with the four season I had selected this book think it was the modern story about the one thousand paper cranes and ultimately I was much disappointed I hope that if I ever decided to read Kawabata again that I will enjoy an uplifting experience25 stars


  7. Praj Praj says:

    With emerald shadesDance eternal cranesIn the pristine rainsA warm koicha sharedUpon poignant chestsTranuil prayers kneltJust as Bolaño teases my psyche Kawabata plays with my rhythmic senses In his words I find songs of a wintry heart waiting for a prosperous spring I cannot refrain myself from scribbling lost thoughts in the shadows of Kawabata’s characters Speaking of shadows; what an enigmatic delusion? The you walk into it the it grows; a loyal companion who never departs your physicality no matter how much you want it to leave And then somehow on a rainy day you crave for the sun once again to be able to walk with your humble silhouette Kikuji lived in and among numerous shadows of his past and present Like the serpentine birthmark on Chikako’s breast Kikuji’s past was conspicuous as warts on a toad The ugliness of the birthmark that marred Chikako’s luminous skin spewed venomous ghosts through the intoxicated brew The novel opens with Chikako inviting Kikuji to meet a prospective bride in pretense of a tea ceremony The purplish mark on Chikako’s breast was all Kikuji remembered about his father’s mistress As if the mark was an effigy of his father’s betrayal the anguish of his mother and yet somehow it made him desire its touch in a bizarre way Yukiko Inamura a girl with the thousand cranes patterned kerchief was chosen for Kikuji’s miaimatchmaking Kawabata interlaces the complex emotions in simple characterizations; analogous to the meticulous procedures that of a tea ceremony Sen no Rikyū is considered as a profound historical figure in the tradition of wabi chathe Japanese Way of Tea In the early 1500s Rikyū integrated the teachings of Zen philosophies with the simplicity of tea to achieve aesthetics with pristine lucidity Based on the four Zen principles of Harmony Respect Purity and Tranuility; the tea ceremony is of a spiritual experience than mere drinking of tea The ceremony that commences with the cleaning of the tea utensils before the tea is whisked is symbolic to achieving stillness of mind and heart by eradicating the worldly filth and strives for simplicity Kawabata however fills the beauty of the tea ceremony with repulsiveness of human complexities and rigid destinies; a befitting paradox to the traditional Japanese art of Tea Regarding his novel Kawabata once said “It is a negative work and expression of doubt about and warning against the vulgarity into which the tea ceremony has fallen Unlike other tea masters Mr Mitani left a legacy of guilt and melancholic irregularities to his son Kikuji With the passing of tea utensils through generations Kikuji not only inherited the embellished porcelains but also his father’s revolting past and his women Kawabata uses various tools of the tea ceremony as pictures on a nostalgic wall of grotesue sentimentalities When Chikako serves tea to Kikuji in his father’s favourite Oribea black bowl for the first time Kikuji snubs the wistfulness brought by the kitchen ware But what difference does it make that my father owned it for a little while? It’s four hundred years old after all – its history goes back to Momoyama and Rikyū himself Tea masters have looked after it and passed it down through the centuries My father is of very little importance’ So Kikuji tried to forget the associations the bowl called upIt had passed from Ota to his wife from the wife to Kikuji’s father from Kikuji’s father to Chikako; and the two men Ota and Kikuji’s father were dead and here were the two women There was something almost weird about the bowl’s careerThe same outlook is displayed when Fumiko brings the Shino Jar over to the cottage A jar that had been Mrs Ota’s was now being used by Chikako After Mrs Ota’s death it had passed to her daughter and from Fumiko it had come to KikujiIt had had a strange career But perhaps the strangeness was natural to tea vessels In the three or four hundred years before it became the property of Mrs Ota it had passed through the hands of people with what strange careers?The ceramics that once were proud of their serene concoctions were now symbols of forlorn tragedies Kawabata delineates the corruption of sanctimonious tea ceremony by whisking in human greed and viciousness Resembling the serene tea that gets muddied by loosened clay particles the essence of chaste spirituality vanishes into emotional turmoil ridden by jagged history of the human soul In this book the tea ceremony upstages the mortals as it takes the centre stage of vanishing traditions and escalating materialistic vulgarity transforming into a laudable protagonist Further when Fumiko brings the red and the black Raku bowls over to Kikuji’s cottage the molded clay become symbols of an incomplete love The love between Mrs Ota and Mr Mitani that was haunted by immoral ramifications; Mrs Ota’s love for Kikuji as she could not detach herself from his father’s memories; Kikuji’s love for Fumiko that dwelled in sinister shadows of his bedding Mrs Ota; Fumiko’s apprehensions in reciprocating the warmth burdened with her mothers sins and the malice of Mr Mitani in Chikako’s sexless existence In a peculiar way all of it appeared to juxtapose the ghosts raised from the antiue bowls Though they were ceremonial bowls they did not seem out of place as ordinary teacups; but a displeasing picture flashed into Kikuji’s mind Fumiko’s father had died and Kikuji’s father had lived on; and might not this pair of Raku bowls have served as teacups when Kikuji’s father came to see Fumiko’s mother? Had they not been used as ‘man wife'With artistic perfection Kawabata paints the red and black Raku giving a heart to these lifeless objects The crimson love blackened by shame The dreaminess of a man’s love and a woman’s devotion perished in morbid fanciesKawabata does not romanticize suicide He explores death in depths of salvation for it being the definitive pardon to mortal transgressions Mrs Ota’s untimely death or rather suicide brought closure to several irregularities Her guilt that lived in the Raku bowls churned venom in a sorrowful Shino Even though one forgives the dead ; the viciousness of the past becomes sorrows of the present An urge to spit out all the venom “Death only cuts off understanding No one can possibly forgive that”Guilt never goes away but sorrow doesGravely haunted by her mother’s death; ”Maybe mother died from not being able to stand her own ugliness”; Fumiko could not bring herself to love Kikuji for she felt the burden of acuiring the touch that once belonged to her mother Even the smashing of the Shino did not mitigate Fumiko’s grief of her mother’s ignominyConversely the “death” of the Shino in some way freed Kikuji from the paralytic curse induced by Mrs Ota’s bond to him Now he sensed freedom and for the first time saw Fumiko in a pristine cleanness detached from the all the repulsiveness that once followed her existence Fumiko was then an enlightened soul achieving the primitivism of the tea ceremony “He could think of no one with whom to compare her She had become absolute beyond comparison She had become decision and fateLeaving traces of the mono no aware conceptBeauty and Sadness Kawabata puts forth the idea of 'perishability' being the essence of nature The indigo morning glory that hung on the gourd in Kikuji’s cottage in its short life span bestowed flavor in the morning tea fading in the watery oblivionChikako’s greed for the antiue tea bowls and Kikuji’s guilt over MrsOta’s suicide and his intriguing affinity to the lipstick stained Shino creates a nauseating sense of filth; contradicting the simplistic spirit of the tea ceremony that Kawabata speaks so fondly; gradually disappearing in human greed The aesthetic transience of beauty that envelops the wabi sabi concept of accepted transience and imperfection is vivid through the uixotic words of this text and the flawed existence of its people “Does pain go away and leave no trace then?’‘You sometimes even feel sentimental for it” Personally the picture of thousand cranes is synonymous with Sadako Sasaki a book that I had read years ago Sadako a victim of the Hiroshima bombing prepared thousand origami cranes as a prayer for her recovery from leukemia Legend has it that Sadako could not finish the said number of paper cranes; however her brother Masahiro Sadako asserts that she indeed completed the 1000 paper cranes and it was during her second origami cycle that her youthful life was cut short In the Japanese culture the crane stand for longevity and good fortune The tradition of folding 1000 cranes is done when someone has a wish for better health peace and happiness Sardonically the kerchief of patterned crane that the Inamura girl held represented the tragedy of missed chances and missed chances of luck and hope that eluded Kikuji’s fated destiny The ‘bird of happiness’ after all did not nest in Kikuji’s lifeIn his Nobel Prize speech Kawabata commented A tea ceremony is a coming together in feeling a meeting of good comrades in a good season That spirit that feeling for one's comrades in the snow the moonlight under the blossoms is also basic to the tea ceremony A tea ceremony is a coming together in feeling a meeting of good comrades in a good season I may say in passing that to see my novel Thousand Cranes as an evocation of the formal and spiritual beauty of the tea ceremony is a misreading It is a negative work and expression of doubt about and warning against the vulgarity into which the tea ceremony has fallenAs the fragrant tea emits transitory life into the tinted ceramics Kawabata brilliantly bring beauty in the dynamism of nothingness exposing the conundrum veiled within the peaceful periphery of mortality


  8. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    Traditional ValuesThousand Cranes is about the continuity of tradition and the conformity by individuals with traditional valuesAt the heart of the novel is the Japanese Tea Ceremony While tea has been drunk in Japan since the ninth century it only became a part of a formal ceremony with religious significance around the 12th centuryAn elaborate set of euipment is used in the Tea Ceremony Often the euipment such as drinking bowls is artisan made and is kept in a family for periods as long as four hundred yearsThese drinking bowls are treated like art works and have great sentimental and economic valueEmpty VesselsBy participating in a Tea Ceremony a person honours and perpetuates not only the traditional Way of Tea but their own family traditionThe tea bowls are important vessels in the ceremony Alone they are empty but must be filled with tea and hot waterIn the same way people are empty vessels until they are realised and shaped by the right traditions and influences in accordance with the precepts of Zen Buddhism Remove the tradition and ceremony and the process of personal growth and socialization stallsBorn under a Bad Sign Kawabata uses the Tea Ceremony as a symbol of the tradition and legacy of a family only the portrait he paints is of a family that has lost its way partly due to the premature death of both of the protagonists’ parentsThe Tea Ceremony for Kikuji’s family is conducted by Chikako a woman who was once his father’s mistress and ended up having a role in his householdIn the only aspect of the novel I didn’t like Chikako has a birth mark across her chest This is regarded as a bad sign It denies her the possibility of a husband and after joining the household as a servant she becomes uite sexless Her birthmark heralds ill when she effectively takes control of the family’s future via her control of the Tea Ceremony She attempts to use the formalities of the Ceremony to find a suitable wife for KikujiKikuiji on the other hand has other plans He isn’t necessarily looking for a wife yet He seems to be much independent than most Japanese Like his father he is prone to be tempted by mistresses and he is unable to make a prompt choice between the rival brides Chikako has in mind for himInherent ViceAlthough Kikuji and Chikako are pitted against each other in the novel they are both part of the same problem the breakdown of tradition and the social expectation that we will all conform to the same standardsKikuji rebels against tradition in pursuit of his own desire and satisfaction Marriage and family are secondary to himIn contrast marriage family and the Tea Ceremony are important to Chikako but only as a means of perpetuating her own role in life She embraces the Tea Ceremony selfishly and purposively as a vehicleThus in this family two important vessels for perpetuating tradition the family and the Tea Ceremony have flaws in the glassChikako represents an inherent vice a threat to the authenticity of the CeremonyKikuji on the other hand represents the inherited vice of libertinism that possessed his fatherVice Like GripKawabata paints this portrait with such grace and economy yet like the early stages of a painting it took me a while to see it taking shapeFor almost half of the novel it just didn’t grab me When it did it took hold of me with a vice like grip and wouldn’t let me go Then when it ended it ended too soon I could not see where Kikuji was headed but nor could he This is the beauty of KawabataVERSEHer Mother’s LipstickIn the Words of Kawabata and ShakespeareIn her hand her mother’s tea bowlThe white glaze hinted of redThe colour of faded lipstickThe colour of a wilted red roseThe colour of old dry bloodThe colour of love’s labours lostThe colour of families long goneAnd of families yet to comeOTHER KAWABATA REVIEWSI read Thousand Cranes straight after reading and reviewing Snow Country


  9. ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)(RK) ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)(RK) says:

    What happens when traditions start to fall apart? when a new generation has let the old ways of their parents drop What was the value in those ways? How can the value be retained when the tradition has been smashed? The pieces cannot be put back together When we try like Nietzsche to philosophize with a hammer we may be left with only shards and those shards can leave painful wounds There's a love story here but in the new world the love must remain unreuited It becomes impossible and is also left in shards Such is the message of this gently told poignant novel There is a musty beauty about it that has left me wanting Luckily I bought four of Kawabata's novels This is my first Thanks to William1


  10. Paul Paul says:

    25 starsMy first venture into anything by Kawabata; this novella centres on the tea ceremony Kikuji has lost his father and mother; he is a young man and there is the uestion of his father’s two mistresses and the possibility of whether he ought to marry There is a great deal of consideration in an obliue way of the importance of inheritance and the continuation of tradition The novel is set in the 1950s in a time of great change in Japan The prose is precise and describes well the sense of decay and degeneration especially in relation to Kikuji’s garden and tea house Subtlety and intricacy are two of the words that the reviews seem to throw up regularly It is a novel about ideas and people rather than a linear plot; actually it could also be said that it is a novel about Kikuji’s love lifeLoneliness and disorientation are themes but it is impossible to avoid contempt Kikuji has for older women in particular; neither Mrs Ota nor Chikako ae portrayed positively There is an extended description of a birthmark in the shape of a mole that Chikako has on her breast; this is early in the book and is designed to ensure the reader has it in mind whenever Chikako is present I get a sense of women being demeaned and worshipped; the descriptions of the two younger women are in sharp contrast to the older women Take note of what Kikuji thinks of himself when he has had a sexual encounter with Mrs Ota the conueror whose feet were being washed by the slave uite Whilst I can appreciate the intricacies of the tea ceremony the discussions about pottery and the wonderful prose even the analysis of a changing society I also like the lack of ending Kawabata didn’t like writing endings All these are strong themes but just as strong are the motifs relating to the women especially Chikako and her birthmark which seems to be a symbol of malevolence and Chikako’s character seems to be linked to it But the issue is much visceral;“Not that No the trouble would be having the child look at the birthmark while it was nursing I hadn’t seen uite so far myself but a person who actually has a birthmark thinks of these things From the day it was born it would drink there; and from the day it began to see it would see that ugly mark on its mother’s breast Its first impression of the world its first impression of its mother would be that ugly birthmark and there the impression would be through the child’s whole life” And“It was not just the fear of having a brother or sister born away from home a stranger to him It was rather fear of that brother or sister in particular Kikuji was obsessed with the idea that a child who sucked at that breast with its birthmark and its hair must be a monster”There is a link here that I almost missed; the pottery of the tea ceremony must be flawless and beautiful; lesser pieces and those that are flawed degrade the ceremony Kawabata’s descriptions of the younger women’s flawless necks reminded me of some of his descriptions of the tea ceremony pottery Too much objectification for me I’m afraid


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