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Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
Most of Kawabata Yasunari's Hand Stories
Date:14, Apr, 2020
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Hello. Have you ever heard Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972)? He is a Japanese popular author who flourished in the 20th century, and also famous as a master of Mishima Yukio. Kawabata Yasunari was born in 1899 Osaka, and received the 1968 Nobel Prize in literature. By the way, the prize has gone to the only two Japanese: Kawabata and Oe Kenzaburo. It means that those Kawabata wrote are supposed to be very popular all over the world.

Somehow, Kawabata killed himself in 1972 after a while he gained the Nobel Prize, just like Ernest Hemingway. Why did he have to do it? It is not clear yet. His disciple Mishima Yukio also committed suicide by harakiri in 1970, 2 years before Kawabata passed away on his own. "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories" is a hand story collection of Kawabata, released in 1971 March when Kawabata was still alive.

What does the hand story mean? you might wonder. Hand stories mean short short stories. The stories shorter than short stories. I suppose the Dancing Girl of Izu is the most popular short story written by Kawabata. But he also wrote many hand stories. They say Kawabata wrote about 130 hand stories while he was active. And surprisingly, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories includes most of them. The first edition had 111 stories, and the 1989 edition has 122. I don't know how many in foreign editions. I would like you to try to check if you can.

What does it mean? Reading Palm-of-the-Hand Stories might give you a bird's-eye view of Kawabata Yasunari. In the collection, you can find a hand story he wrote in his early career and also what he wrote in his last years. It shows us a long life of the author with a lot of hand stories, in other words.

Some might say you have heard Kawabata Yasunari, but have never read what he wrote. I suppose there are many people who say so. And you might hesitate to try the popular stories he wrote. Then I say who not try Palm-of-the-Hand Stories? As mentioned above, it includes nothing but short short stories. I believe you can easily try to read them and get what Kawabata Yasunari was. It means that the hand story collection must be the best first step for those who have never read what Kawabata wrote.

about Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

・Written by Kawabata Yasunari
・Published by Shincho-sha





 

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