chapter  Chapter Four
22 Pages

Between Tradition and Modernity

WithRoy Starrs

Snow Country is often regarded as the first major work marking Yasunari Kawabata's return to a more traditionally Japanese style of writing after his experiments with a Western-style modernism in the late 1920s and early 1930s. An historical and political factor should also perhaps be taken into account: Kawabata's 'return to tradition' was as characteristic of the 1930s as his experimentalism and openness to Western modernism was of the 1920s. Kawabata's use of juxtaposition is an excellent example of the fact, both because of a complex story of East/West intercultural relations and also, it seems, because of the pure coincidence that a favourite technique of traditional Japanese writers was 'rediscovered' by Western modernists. Kawabata's 'haiku style itself is also an exemplary demonstration of how monism and aestheticism may work together in a close symbiotic relationship.