chapter  Chapter One
33 Pages

An Orphan Psychology

WithRoy Starrs

The most thorough treatment of the psychological and philosophical basis of the metaphor is given by Sasabuchi Tomoichi. Though the diarist's metaphor - and Ummon's - is a particularly startling case of the 'union of opposites', one could argue quite cogently that a monistic world view actually forms the basis of all metaphors, and even of poetry itself. Donald Keene may betray a characteristically Western viewpoint when he calls the metaphor 'ironic'. Hasegawa Izumi, for instance, who was the first critic to analyse the Diary at length, views the metaphor first as a manifestation of the extraordinary poetic sensibility of the young Kawabata. Several writers, though, have argued against a too-easy acceptance of Kawabata's self-image as an 'orphan'. In his seminal essay on the subject, Hadori Tetsuya has amply demonstrated the young Kawabata's attraction to various forms of monist philosophy, both Western and Eastern, and his liberal use of the as thematic material in many of his early works.