• Short Summary

    TOKYO, APRIL 17, REUTERS -- JAPAN YESTERDAY LOST ITS FIRST NOBEL PRIZE WINNER FOR LITERATURE, YASUNARI KAWABATA, WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE AT HIS WORKROOM IN A SEA RESORT NEAR HERE AFTER AN AFTERNOON WALK.

  • Description

    TOKYO, APRIL 17, REUTERS -- JAPAN YESTERDAY LOST ITS FIRST NOBEL PRIZE WINNER FOR LITERATURE, YASUNARI KAWABATA, WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE AT HIS WORKROOM IN A SEA RESORT NEAR HERE AFTER AN AFTERNOON WALK.

    BUT THERE WERE NO SIGNS THAT THE 72-YEAR-OLD AUTHOR HAD LEFT ANY LETTERS BEHIND WHICH MIGHT EXPLAIN THE MOTIVE OF HIS DEATH BY INHALING GAS.

    KAWABATA, ONE OF A FEW JAPANESE NOVELISTS WHOSE WORKS WERE TRANSLATED OVERSEAS, WAS KNOWN FOR HIS SUPERB LYRICISM.

    CRITICS HERE CALLED HIM AN AMORIST BUT SAID EROTICISM ONCE IN HIS HANDS NEVER BECAME OBSCENE BECAUSE OF ABSTRACT AND INTELLIGENT WRITING.

    HE RECEIVED THE NOBEL PRIZE IN 1968 FOR "HIS NARRATIVE MASTERSHIP, WHICH WITH GREAT SENSIBILITY EXPRESSES THE ESSENCE OF THE JAPANESE MIND."
    HE WAS REGARDED AS ONE OF THE NOVELIST WHO COULD REPRESENT THE COUNTRY'S LITERATURE DURING THE CURRENT SHOW ERA, WHICH BEGAN IN 1926.

    HE WAS FOUND DEAD WITH A GAS TUBE IN HIS MOUTH AT HIS FLAT IN ZUSHI, 40 KILOMETRES (25 MILES) SOUTHWEST OF TOKYO. POLICE SAID HE SHOULD HAVE DIED AROUND SIX P.M. (0900GMT).

    A MAID AT HIS HOME IN KAMAKURA, A NEARBY CITY, WAS SO WORRIED WHEN KAWABATA WAS OVERDUE FROM HIS WALK THAT SHE CALLED AT THE WORKROOM, WHICH WAS LOCKED FROM INSIDE.

    THE FLAT'S CARETAKER AND OTHER FORCED THEIR WAY INTO THE ROOM AS THEY SMELLED GAS, AND THEY FOUND HIM DEAD WITH A BOTTLE OF WHISKY AT HIS SIDE.

    HE WAS THE SECOND LEADING AUTHOR IN JAPAN TO KILL HIMSELF IN THREE YEARS. THE 45-YEAR-OLD YUKIO MISHIMA, REGARDED AS "PUPIL" OF KAWABATA, DISEMBOWELLED HIMSELF IN HARA-KIRY AT AN ARMY HEADQUARTERS IN NOVEMBER 1970 AFTER AN ABORTIVE INCITATION ON TROOPS FOR A COUP D'ETAT TO RESTORE PRE-WAR MILITARY POWER.

    KAWABATA, WHO ACTED AS GO-BETWEEN FOR MISHIMA AND HIS WIFE, SAID IT WAS A WASTEFUL WAY OF DYING AFTER HE RUSHED TO THE SCENE OF THE YOUNGER AUTHOR'S RITUAL SUICIDE.

    THE BIG-EYED, SLIM, KAWABATA FIRMLY ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS A NOVELIST WITH "IZUNO ODORIKO" (DANCERS OF IZU PROVINCE) A YEAR AFTER HE GRADUATED FROM THE LITERATURE DEPARTMENT OF TOKYO UNIVERSITY IN 1924.

    HIS QUIETNESS AND LOVE OF JAPANESE
    ANCIENT OBJECTS SUCH AS CERAMICS, ON WHICH HE SPENT MONEY LAVISHLY, WERE PERHAPS LINKED WITH HIS SAD BOYHOOD EXPERIENCES IN OSAKA, WESTERN JAPAN.

    HE LOST HIS DOCTOR FATHER AT THE AGE OF TWO AND HIS MOTHER THE NEXT YEAR. BY THE AGE OF 16, HE ALSO HIS ONLY SISTER AND GRANDPARENTS.

    AMONG HIS BOOKS ARE "YUKIGUNI" (SNOW COUNTRY), WRITTEN BETWEEN 1935 AND 1947, AND CONSEQUENTLY TRANSLATED INTO EIGHT LANGUAGES, AND "SENBAZURU" (A THOUSAND CRANES), WRITTEN IN 1952 AND TRANSLATED INTO SEVEN LANGUAGES.

    THE CHAIRMAN OF JAPAN'S LITERARY WRITERS ASSOCIATION, MR FUMIO NIWA, SAID HE THOUGHT HE WAS BEING KIDDED WHEN TOLD OF THE DEATH AND THAT THE SUICIDE OF KAWABATA SHOCKED HIM BY FAR MORE THAN MISHIMA'S.

    EARLY IN THIS CENTURY, JAPAN SAW TWO OTHER PROMINENT WRITERS KILL THEMSELVES -- THE FIRST IN A LOVER'S SUICIDE AND THE SECOND FOR PSYCHIATRIC REASONS.

    KAWABATA'S CHIEF CONSULTING PHYSICIAN, DR SHOHEI HONDA, SAID THE NOVELIST HAD BEEN IN FAIRLY GOOD HEALTH CONDITION, EXCEPT FOR GALL-STONES, AND HE WAS WELL RECOVERING FROM AN OPERATION OF APPENDICITIS EARLY LAST MONTH.

    THE DOCTOR ADDED THERE HAD BEEN NO PARTICULAR ILL HEALTH WHICH COULD BE ATTRIBUTED TO HIS SUICIDE.

    BUT ONE OF HIS CLOSE FRIENDS, FORMER SUPERINTENDENT GENERAL AKIRA HATANO OF TOKYO, SAID THE NOVELIST LOOKED IN POOR HEALTH FOLLOWING THE APPENDIX OPERATION.

    SUICIDE WAS ONCE REGARDED AS HONOURABLE ACT IN JAPAN'S FEUDAL IRAS AND EVEN IN THE NOW-DEFUNCT IMPERIAL ARMY IN ORDER TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITIES.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA86T3EQUI599U2BZSVQ473K8GZ
    Media URN:
    VLVA86T3EQUI599U2BZSVQ473K8GZ
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    17/04/1972
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:29:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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