These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. Yasunari Kawabata managed to create a lyrical, beautiful and sensual masterpiece. Thousand Cranes is a work of high symbolism which conveys a sense of deep melancholy. The author managed to present a disturbing and deep story about the things he was worrying about.
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Thousand Cranes by Kawabata Yasunari. Our Assessment: A- : evocatively understated. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review 's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.
We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The complete review 's Review :. The main character in Thousand Cranes is Kikuji, now in his mid-twenties. His dead father was a tea ceremony aficionado and collector, and he left a fine collection of classical pieces -- cups and the like.
He also left some mistresses, notably Kurimoto Chikako -- a brief fling who had quickly: "lapsed into sexlessness and been made a convenient fixture" in the household -- and Mrs. Ota, with whom he had a relationship that lasted until his death. The novel opens with Kikuji arriving for one of Chikako's tea ceremonies; only once he gets there does he realize that Chikako is playing matchmaker and has arranged this to be a miai , where Kikuji can check out prospective mate Inamura Yukiko though given the nature of the invitation he received he must have realized that this was in the cards.
Throwing a wrench in Chikako's machinations is the presence of Mrs. Ota and her daughter, Fumiko: "it's been the rule that anyone who happens to be in the neighborhood can drop in", and Mrs. Ota and her daughter have inconveniently decided to do just that. Thousand Cranes is a novel of gestures and images.
From the first arresting memory Kikuji recalls in the opening pages -- Chikako's disfiguring birthmark that covers half her breast -- to the beautiful girl he sees upon his arrival for the ceremony, whom Kikuji identifies by the "thousand crane kerchief" she has with her, to the ceremonial tea cups, including one that Mrs.
Ota suggested was permanently stained by her lipstick, Kawabata focuses attention on these images, and keeps it on them in lingering close-ups.
Presented so evocatively, they are imbued with layers of meaning -- like the tea ceremony itself. When Kikuji identifies Yukiko by her thousand crane handkerchief Chikako presumably shakes her head: "Kerchief. What odd things you notice" -- but it is exactly these sorts of 'things' that dominate the story. Kikuji is not yet a young man looking towards building his own future -- such as by marrying and starting a family.
His father has left him with a lot of baggage, and Kikuji has to deal with that first. The two fixtures from his father's household, manipulative Chikako and still-sensual Mrs. Ota even though she is twenty years his senior , each insinuate themselves into passive Kikuji's life. More pro-active or at least pro-passive in his dealings with the younger generation -- Yukiko and Fumiko -- Kikuji is nevertheless held back in his struggle to break free from the hold his father and his father's legacy have on him.
At one point Kikuji suggests that instead of the usual kind of tea ceremony they could do things differently for the one commemorating the fifth anniversary of his father's death: It would be fun to invite all sorts of connoisseurs and use imitation pieces from beginning to end.
Chikako dismisses the silly idea, noting that there wasn't a fake piece to be found in the entire grand collection -- but Kikuji knows exactly what he's talking about: This cottage always smells of some mouldy poison, and a really false ceremony might drive that poison away.
Have it in memory of Father, and make it my farewell to tea. Of course I severed relations with tea long ago. He may have tried to sever relations, but the poison certainly still lingers and he has good reason for wanting to take drastic steps. As is, Thousand Cranes is a short novel filled with sex, deception, suicide, and things lives, tea cups getting shattered. All presented quite ceremoniously and entirely understated: Thousand Cranes is a novel of quiet suicides and not of raised voices -- even when Kawabata relates: "He had cried out", it is a passive, past cry.
Though the novel resounds with howls of despair, none of these are heard out loud. An effective story of deep emotion and suffocatingly binding personal ties that still exert a hold even after death , Thousand Cranes is uncomfortably but powerfully understated -- with the slightly stilted feel of the translation working quite well as well here. Presented like the smooth surface of a body of water, the roiling underneath is suggested but barely shown, leaving much for the reader to read into the text, as Kawabata presents a surprisingly deep, layered, and disturbing story in such a short space and with such simple brushstrokes.
Orthofer , 20 January Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Contents: Main. Thousand Cranes - US. Thousand Cranes - UK. Thousand Cranes - Canada. Thousand Cranes - India. Tausend Kraniche - Deutschland. Mille gru - Italia.
Morbid beauty and charged sexuality of Yasunari Kawabata's 'Thousand Cranes'
I was first introduced to work of the Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata by the unlikely figure of a sixteen-year-old Arsenal fan. At the time I was tutoring English literature while writing my first novel. This boy, a struggling A2 candidate, seemed more interested in studying girls and Premiere League transfers than great novels. But private tutoring is full of surprises.
Thousand Cranes Analysis
Thousand Cranes , novel by Kawabata Yasunari , published serially in several newspapers beginning in and published as Sembazuru with the novel Yama no Oto The Sound of the Mountain in Although it has been praised for the beauty of its spare and elegant style, the novel has also been criticized for its coldness and its suggestion of nihilism. Thousand Cranes. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History.
Thousand Cranes by Kawabata Yasunari. Our Assessment: A- : evocatively understated. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review 's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The complete review 's Review :. The main character in Thousand Cranes is Kikuji, now in his mid-twenties.
Kikuji has been invited to a tea ceremony by a mistress of his dead father. He is shocked to find there the mistress's rival and successor, Mrs. Ota, and that the ceremony has been awkwardly arranged for him to meet his potential future bride. But he is most shocked to be drawn into a relationship with Mrs. Ota - a relationship that will bring only suffering and destruction to all of them. Thousand Cranes reflects the tea ceremony's poetic precision with understated, lyrical style and beautiful prose.