This page is encoded as Japanese Shift_JIS. If your computer does not decode Japanese, there will be words in the captions that will be unintelligible. These are simply the Japanese characters for the English words preceding them.
|The setting for Snow Country is the hot springs resort of Yuzawa (湯沢温泉), in Niigata Prefecture, near the Shimizu Tunnel that bores through the "backbone" of Japan, the Japanese Alps. That tunnel is 970 meters long. The general course of the train through the mountains, and this tunnel, to Yuzawa is marked on the map in blue.|
|The Takahan (高半旅館) in Yuzawa (湯沢), the setting of the story. This photo is undated but is at least before its radical remodeling.|
Web links to places relevant to Snow Country
The geisha Matsue (松栄) who was Kawabata's model for Komako. Matsue, by the way, lived to the age of 99. Her original name was Kodaka (小高キク).
"Nude woman" (裸婦) Pastel by Ishimoto (石本正画). A artwork owned and especially cherished by Kawabata.
|Snow Country was published in sections, over years, and frequently rewritten. Below is a list of installments, and approximately where each installment begins in Seidensticker's translation. However, Snow Country was heavily rewritten and marking off sections in Seidensticker should be seen as more often a general guide than not.|
|Below is a page from memos in Kawabata's hand for Snow Country.|
|The first sentence of Snow Country as we now know it is one of the most famous sentences of modern Japanese literature. Originally, the story began entirely differently. Here are the two versions.|
He touched her damp hair with his finger. --- Shimamura had boarded the steam train and set out on this trip to tell the woman that he remembered this sensation above all else, that he could recall most vividly that one thing.
The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country.
(translation by Seidensticker)
|A hand copy of passages from Snow Country (雪国抄) found at Kawabata's bedside after his death.|
A detailed and annotated bibliography of primary and secondary works in English on Yasunari Kawabata is maintained by Allen Reichart of Otterbein college. Go here.
(I have marked with ** the four works Kinya Tsuruta believed were considered his greatest.)
1926 The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories (trans. by J. Martin Holman)
1930 The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa (trans. by Alisa Freedman)
1933 Of Birds and Beasts (included in the translation House of Sleeping Beauties)
1935-1947 **Snow Country (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)
1949-1951 **Thousand Cranes (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)
1949-1954 **The Sound of the Mountain (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)
1954 The Lake (trans. by Reiko Tsukimura)
1959 First Snow on Fuji (trans. by Michael Emmerich)
1960-1961 **House of Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)
1961-1962 The Old Capital (trans. by J. Martin Holman)
1964 One Arm (included in the translation House of Sleeping Beauties)
1965 Beauty and Sadness (trans. by Howard Hibbett)
1969 Japan the Beautiful and Myself (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)
1969 The Existence and Discovery of Beauty (trans. by V. H. Viglielmo)
1971 Palm-of-the-Hand Stories (trans. by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman) 1972 The Master of Go (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)-posthumous
1987 The Old Capital (trans. by J. Martin Holman)-posthumous
|The Izu Dancer has been frequently made into a movie. Below is a list. The graphics from top to bottom are the 1954, 1963 and 1974 versions. The 1963 and 1974 versions might be the most accessible of the two in this country.|
|1933: director, (五所平之助), Shochiku (VHS 1997)
1954: director, Nomura (野村芳太郎), Shochiku (VHS 1992)
1960: director, (川頭義郎), Shochiku (no VHS or dvd)
1963: director, Nishikawa (西河克己), Shochiku (VHS 1990, 1997) *This is the one with Yoshinaga Sayuri.
1967: director, (恩地日出夫), Toyo (no VHS or dvd)
1974: director, Nishikawa (西河克己), Toyo (VHS and dvd 1992)
|Snow Country (director, Toyoda, 1957)
Internet Movie Database link: click here
|Snow Country (director, Oba, 1965)
Internet Movie Database link: Here
|Koto / The Twin Sisters of Kyoto (director, Nakamura,1963)
Internet Movie Database link: here
MISHIMA AND KAWABATA (currently empty)