` Japan Society Book Club: The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata

Japan Society Book Club: The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata

The Old Capital is one of the three novels cited specifically by the Nobel Committee when they awarded Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. With the ethereal tone and aesthetic styling characteristic of Kawabata’s prose, The Old Capital tells the story of Chieko, the adopted daughter of a Kyoto kimono designer, Takichiro, and his wife, Shige.

Set in the traditional city of Kyoto, Japan, this deeply poetic story revolves around Chieko who becomes bewildered and troubled as she discovers the true facets of her past. With the harmony and time-honored customs of a Japanese backdrop, the story becomes poignant as Chieko’s longing and confusion develops.

Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) was born in Osaka but after the early death of his parents he was raised in the countryside. He studied at the Tokyo Imperial University and was one of the founders of the publication Bungei Jidai, the medium of a new movement in modern Japanese literature. Kawabata made his debut as a writer with the short story, Izu dancer, published in 1927. After several distinguished works, the novel Snow Country in 1937 secured Kawabata’s position as one of the leading authors in Japan. In 1968, Yasunari Kawabata became the first Japanese novelist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Japanese version available here

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