Yasunari Kawabata

Japan
11 Jun 1899 // 16 Apr 1972
Writer

Quotes

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As death approaches, memory erodes. Recent memories are the first to succumb. Death works its way backward until it reaches memory's earliest beginnings. Then memory flares up for an instant, just like a flame about to go out.

The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
What I believe to be memories are probably daydreams. Still, my own sentimentality yearns for them as if they were the truth, suspect or twisted though they may be. I have forgotten that they were stories I heard from another and feel an intimacy with them as if they were my own direct memories.

The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
Humankind, with its long history, is by now a corpse bound to a tree with the ropes of convention. If the ropes were cut, the corpse would simply fall to the ground. Prayer in one's mother tongue is a manifestation of that pathetic state.

The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
It's not right to live so long in this world only moving backward.

The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
When you die, there is nothing - only a life that will be forgotten.

The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
Only women are really able to love.

Snow Country
A secret, if itís kept, can be sweet and comforting, but once it leaks out it can turn on you with a vengeance.

The Lake
The baby understands that its mother loves it. (...) Words have their origin in baby talk, so words have their origin in love.

First Snow on Fuji
It's remarkable how we go on year after year, doing the same old things. We get tired and bored, and ask when they'll come for us.

The Sound of the Mountain
I wonder what the retirement age is in the novel business. The day you die.

Beauty and Sadness
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays