The Nobel Prize in Literature 1968
Born: 11 June 1899, Osaka, Japan
Died: 16 April 1972, Zushi, Japan
Residence at the time of the award: Japan
Prize motivation: “for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind”
Prize share: 1/1
Yasunari Kawabata was born in 1899 in Osaka, Japan. After the early death of his parents, he was raised in the country by his maternal grandfather and attended a Japanese public school. From 1920 to 1924, Kawabata studied at the Tokyo Imperial University, where he received his degree. He was one of the founders of the publication Bungei Jidai, the medium of a new movement in modern Japanese literature. He became a member of the Art Academy of Japan in 1953 and four years later he was appointed chairman of the P.E.N. Club of Japan.
In 1927, Yasunari Kawabata made his debut as a writer with the short story Izu no odoriko (Izu dancer). After several distinguished works, the novel Yukiguni (1937) (Snow Country) secured Kawabata’s position as one of the leading authors in Japan. In 1949, Kawabata started the publication of the serials Senbazuru (Thousand Cranes) and Yama no Oto (The Sound of the Mountain). Mizuumi (1955) The Lake and Koto (1962) The Old Capital belong to his later works; The Old Capital made the deepest impression in the author’s native country and abroad.