chapter  Chapter Five
Elegies for a Dying Tradition
WithRoy Starrs
Pages 14

In the wake of Japan's total and catastrophic defeat in the Pacific War, with most of the major cities levelled, the populace facing starvation and the country occupied by a foreign army for the first time in its history, the general mood of the nation seemed to favour a wholesale rejection of Japanese values and traditions. The nouveau roman of Robbe-Grillet and other contemporary French writers, for instance, frequently presents an incident from several different angles, and even with the introduction of contradictory data. The sense of ambiguity which Kawabata creates in Thousand Cranes, however, does not serve merely to heighten the sense of reality. The fact that otake takes so much longer than the Master to make his moves seems to suggest that his whole approach to the game is, by contrast, deliberate and calculating - in other words, overly cerebral.