A tremendously important figure in 20th Century Japanese literature. The winner of 1968 Nobel Prize for literature, his works have received graceful translations by such notable Western scholars as Edward George Seidensticker.

He was born in Osaka in 1899. He committed suicide and his body was found on April 16, 1972. There was no suicide note.

Especially recommended for an acquaintance with his body of work are

  • "Palm of the Hand Stories," a collection of short stories many of which are but a page or two in length.
  • "The Master of Go," which presents a Go tournament in the 1940s between an old master and a young professional player as a metaphor for the changes in Japanese culture.
  • "The Snow Country" about youth and age, sex and death, memory and forgetting.

For his famous acceptance speech see Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself.

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