Country By Yasunari Is A Story That Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Country by Yasunari is a story that depicts a variety of diverse and rich imagery that is presented through symbolization of the natural setting. From the snow to the rocks and the cedar and the equally important presence of the human life the story takes on an allegorical form that touches the emotional psyche of the reader. Thus, this paper will explore the symbolic representation that has been lost or forgotten through translations of the story and present it as a segment of the plot. In short the paper will explore how symbolic imagery adds to the plot of the story.

Yasunari Kawabata novels were set in environments depicting loneliness, emptiness, symbolizing unsatisfied yearning, and transient or unattainable love, with a backdrop of wild and beautiful nature. His novels were written in a free associative and unconventional style, usually over long periods of time. The bulk of 'Snow Country' was published between 1935 and 1937, the period in which it was set, but it was not formally completed until 1947. [Kimball, 1973]


Like numerous authors before him, Kawabata was master at using descriptive language and imagery to further his story and characters. Just the title of the book, 'Snow Country' instantly evokes images of vast white landscapes, silent and stark swept with harsh Siberian winds and surrounded by looming ominous mountains. It is not a picture that hints at life and joys but rather hopelessness and endless terrain. Japan's snow country is a specific region on the West Coast of Honshu, the main island, situated west of the central mountain range. During the 1930's, the time period this novel was set in, only the railroads remained open during the five-month winter season. [Yasunari 1996] Description of the 'train coming out of the tunnel' alludes to the journey to a new destination in search of fresh discovery. Braving the darkness in hope of new and promising beginnings.

Set at a time in
...[Yasunari 1996] It shows her changing from optimistic young girl adopted by a music teacher to a cynical world worn woman forced to sell herself for a living.

The traditional geisha, a talented woman and wholesome entertainer with musical and dancing talents was replaced by the 1930's, by an accomplished beauty who had to charm her patron in the bedroom as well. She was pushed aside by an impoverished society whose inhabitants were forced to adopt new standards to survive. [Kimball, 1973] Unless she married a guest or persuaded him to finance an enterprise for her, such a woman was usually trapped perpetually in her existence, wasting as she aged. [Kimball, 1973] Such is the life of Komako depicted by the author using nature to allude to circumstance. The role of a sweet and ardent hot-springs geisha is juxtaposed to the image of the unyielding snow country implying the hopelessness of her situation.

You're a good girl." Shimamuru says showing his guilt and uneasiness at having deceived Komako."Don't tease me. Why am I good?" she asks. "You're a good woman," he repeats, and at that moment, she realizes she has been used.

Unfulfilled love is a major theme throughout the novel. We are shown Yoko's devotion to Yukio, the music teacher's dying son who is in love with Komako. The latter is however infatuated with the well-off artist from Tokyo who represents a whole different world. He is a symbol of real and pure emotion she is capable of as opposed to the mask she has to don everyday. He represents the power to choose associations without reward and also the hope of a different life. She is indifferent to Yukio's pleas or Yoko's disgust at her behavior, engrossed in finding meaning and substance in an affair without heart only expectation. She was a 'good girl' but not in the complete sense of the word. She was using him…

Sources Used in Documents:


Uedo, Makoto. Modern Japanese Writers. Palo Alto: Stanford UP, 1976.

Kimball, Arthur G. Crisis and Identity in Contemporary Japanese Novels. Boston:

Tuttle, 1973.

Cite This Term Paper:

"Country By Yasunari Is A Story That" (2002, October 07) Retrieved March 8, 2021, from

"Country By Yasunari Is A Story That" 07 October 2002. Web.8 March. 2021. <>

"Country By Yasunari Is A Story That", 07 October 2002, Accessed.8 March. 2021,