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Thousand Cranes

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  4,408 ratings  ·  344 reviews
Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s Thousand Cranes is a luminous story of desire, regret, and the almost sensual nostalgia that binds the living to the dead.

While attending a traditional tea ceremony in the aftermath of his parents’ deaths, Kikuji encounters his father’s former mistress, Mrs. Ota. At first Kikuji is appalled by her indelicate nature, but it is not lo
Paperback, 147 pages
Published November 26th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1952)
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Tata Managadze Kikuji is attracted to the Inamura Girl and he hates Chikako's meddling in his life.
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The memory of that birthmark on Chikako’s breast was concrete as a toad.

The sins of the fathers is an old theme, found in the Bible, Euripides, Shakespeare, and countless other works. It's used here too in this slim book of Kawabata's but this is probably the only time it is acted out using bits of pottery, cloth and tea. True, the characters aren't exactly holding these items and making them talk. There's a sparse background on which they have plenty of room to act on the imagination. Kawabat
Sep 30, 2015 Dolors rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Don't wait, just walk
Shelves: read-in-2015, asian
In my country, there is a generalized tendency to glorify the heritage left to us by our ancestors. With the loss of God, children are regarded as the bearers of eternal life that infuse meaning into our perishable existence.
But what about the sins of the parents? Are they also bequeathed to their children in order to be atoned for?
Kawabata explores the ongoing dichotomy of love versus duty to our progenitors through the prism of the Japanese ancient traditions, mining the deceptively simple sto
With emerald shades,
Dance eternal cranes.
In the pristine rains,
A warm koicha shared.
Upon poignant chests.
Tranquil prayers knelt

Just as Bolaño teases my psyche, Kawabata plays with my rhythmic senses. In his words I find songs of a wintry heart waiting for a prosperous spring. I cannot refrain myself from scribbling lost thoughts in the shadows of Kawabata’s characters. Speaking of shadows; what an enigmatic delusion? The more you walk into it the more it grows; a loyal companion who never depar
Ian Agadada-Davida
Traditional Values

"Thousand Cranes" is about the continuity of tradition and the conformity by individuals with traditional values.

At the heart of the novel is the Japanese Tea Ceremony. While tea has been drunk in Japan since the ninth century, it only became a part of a formal ceremony with religious significance around the 12th century.

An elaborate set of equipment is used in the Tea Ceremony. Often the equipment, such as drinking bowls, is artisan-made and is kept in a family for periods as
Apr 05, 2011 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: waking giant
Recommended to Mariel by: sleeping giant
I've been reading most of the day. Yesterday, too. I've been distracted, if not altogether impatient, and wanting (need? want?) an urgent yet unassuming emotional life in books. All the reflection my brain can eat. The situation was right; thunderstorms and a day off and nothing I couldn't put off for another day. It still felt wasteful. Shouldn't I be doing something else with this luxury? I was really waiting for my Kawabata books to arrive in the mail. The mail doesn't come until around 4:30 ...more

Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yasunari Kawabata was the first Japanese author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968 "for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind." In awarding the prize, the Nobel Committee cited three of his novels, Snow Country, The Old Capital and this novel, Thousand Cranes. In 1972 he joined the list of celebrated Japanese authors (including Akutagawa, Dazai and Mishima) to have c
What a curious and unusual book!
It is a very short read and there is a real sense
of calm and peace reading it.
It is really beautifully and simply written.
But even though it is very calming and nice to read it
is jam packed with symbolism and some really complex emotive
I can't even begin to understand it all but I would gladly
read it again and again and each time I think I would understand
the symbolism and complexity of these characters relationships more.

It really is very captivating and un
Thousand Cranes offers a compelling study on the interplay of tatemae (the public face that one puts on for propriety's sake) and honne (one's true feelings and desires), as well as on the present's constant struggle against the constraints of the past. The novel is very much about the quiet tempests raging underneath the seemingly peaceful and polite surface of a propriety-obsessed society.

The intricacies of the characters' relationships are presented with the grace and extreme subtlety of tra
Yasunari Kawabata adheres to some stoic code. He employs the game of Go and tea ceremonies. These are tacit traditional affairs. They mask such terrible behavior. Thousand Cranes depicts self-possession under such threat. This is a novel where tradition attempts to check waves of resentment, and it does to varying results. The events begin in the wake of a man death. His son finds himself at a tea ceremony with his father's two mistresses. Thus begins a series of triangles and slights. Seldom is ...more
A Cerimónia do Chá, hoje, como há séculos, parte integrante da vida social japonesa, é o pano de fundo de “MIL GROUS” (1952) . Yasunari Kawabata (YK) recebeu o Prémio Nobel da Literatura, em 1968, “pela mestria da narração e pela final sensibilidade com que exprime a essência do espírito japonês.”. Suicidou-se quatro anos mais tarde com a idade de 72.

Dele só conhecia um pequeno excerto de “A Casa das Belas Adormecidas”, epígrafe de “Memória Das Minhas Putas Tristes” de Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

A e
Tanuj Solanki
"In a masterpiece there is nothing unclean"

An achingly simple story, unfolding in conversations that are tantilizingly
suggestive of its character's histories.

Each nuance, each action is laden with emotional weight. Even the atmosphere, whenever described, serves to add to that mystical aura behind which - the reader knows - hide intentions, destinities, and fates.

Kawabata's narrative can be best described as a floating, fleeting sort, which gives a feeling of sparseness and economy; although it
Fine book - but very strange, very japanese, austere to the point of the vanishing point... a series of strange love affairs are reduced to identifications with three-hundred year tea bowls fired in the kilns of 9th cen. tea masters. The underlying idea is quite fascinating, however. The tea-ceremony (Seidensticker explains) allows the drinker to sit briefly at the intersection of time and eternity, as he contemplates -- while he sips his tea, in his quiet rustic cottage -- the permanence of the ...more

Rating: 3/5

O mie de cocori este o lectură în care autorul Yasunari Kawabata pune accent ca de cele mai multe ori pe tradițiile care se practică în Japonia, de această dată fiind în centru ceremonia ceaiului dar și legăturile familiale. Împărțită în cinci părți (O mie de cocori, Pâlc de copaci în amurg, Vasul Shino, Rujul mamei, Stea dublă), cartea ne familiarizează ca de obicei cu stilul minimalist, simplist, al lui Kawabata, atrăgându-ne atenția asupra unor lucruri mărunte din viața de zi cu zi
When Kikuji's father died it seemed he inherited not only his material properties--the house and the antique tea bowls. His father's mistresses seemed to claim their hold onto him too. At the beginning of the novel, his father's first mistress Chikako sought him out to participate in a tea ceremony. But it seemed there was more to her invitation than tea drinking. She was arranging for Kikuji to meet a young beautiful woman as a marriage prospect. Mrs. Ota, his father's second mistress, with who ...more
Death and sadness are words that seem to go together in a lot of Japanese literature and nobody, it seems, is better at it than Kawabata. He draws his characters as deftly as the the porcelain and china that is used for the tea ceremony itself.

His minimalistic style suits his subject and his characters. Which doesn't mean his characters aren't complicated. They show an amazing depth for such a short book. It's his lack of complex plots and numerous characters that can be refreshing especially af
This beautiful short novel reads like a poem. The story is rather sentimental and melodramatic, but is told in a spare, restrained, exquisitely controlled style that reminds me of a noh play or a haiku. Much is left unsaid, and passions are always kept just below the still surface. Kawabata conjures up a delicate sense of melancholy and nostalgia through impressionistic language exploring the theme of human impermanence in the midst of the permanence of tradition and the recurring cycles of natu ...more
The second novella from Kawabata for me. Yet again, I really wanted to like it in its entirety more than I did. But, unfortunately, the sum of its parts was less than I desired. Rather, one might say, the separate parts were that great, that, put together, nothing could compare? Take, for example, Kawabata's prose.

Twisting to the right, she was about to fall. The side of her face would be against his chest -- but she turned supplely away. The touch of her left hand on his knee was unbelievably
Nấm Hương
Đọc "Ngàn cánh hạc" nhớ "Thủy nguyệt", nhớ thầy mình nói: cái gì em hiểu thì hiểu, cái gì em không hiểu thì mai mốt lớn lên em sẽ hiểu, cái gì mai mốt lớn lên em không hiểu thì bây giờ thầy có nói em cũng không hiểu đâu. o.o Phát hiện ra thầy mình giống y chang Murakami quahahabahata :)).

Thích nhất là đoạn hai người nói chuyện qua điện thoại, rồi Kikuji nghe thấy tiếng mưa rơi trong vườn nhà Fumiko :D.
Nằm trước cửa thư viện đọc đến đoạn này thì trời chuyển mây đen, lá bay tứ tán, mưa rào
One reviewer (on Goodreads) wrote that one must read this with focus and with the purpose of analyzing the passions/development of the characters. While I don't think that books should be read cavalierly, I do think that one must have an appreciation for tea ceremony and Japanese culture to read this book and enjoy it.

I rated this book two stars because the characters, the plot, and the props were all so alien to me that I could not even say that I enjoyed the book. A Japanese man attends a tea
Apr 04, 2010 Ali rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: japanese enthusists, poets, deep thinkers
Shelves: required
Well, Thousand Cranes is quite the interesting read to say the least. Kawabata's language is beautiful and subtle, as is its plot line and his characters.

A word of caution however: this book is not meant for those wanting a feel-good, light read. This short novella, although only 147 pages in my copy, reads like a thick, frustrating block of text. While you read it, you must be focused and you must analyze, otherwise the meaning and the intent are lost in unfamiliar, foreign ritual.

For those of
Sometimes I'll compose a review without pressure, sometimes I need the live open review box to force my hand and mind. This is the latter. This novel was a cluster farm of nearly incestuous proportions, indicating the modern corruption of the tea ceremony (so Kawabata said in his Nobel speech), and society after WWII. So, decay of standards, principles, and culture are symbolized in multiple ways.

The tea ceremony paraphernalia and ritual carry centuries-worth of significance, and so impact the s
Nina Rapsodia
Jun 20, 2014 Nina Rapsodia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Todo el mundo
Recommended to Nina by: Bicheando en la biblioteca
Mi primer autor japonés, el primero que leo. Y dios, qué encantada que he quedado. El Sembazuru (mil grullas en origami unidas por una cuerda) es el título original de esta novela. Se cree en el mito japonés que cualquiera que fabrique estas mil grullas, uno de estos pajaritos de papel le cumplirá un deseo, como una vida larga o la sanación de una enfermedad.

Esta historia es por lo menos curiosa. Kikuyi es un joven que vive solo en una gran casa. Luego de la muerte de su madre y su padre vive so
Kelly Jean Egan
Every time I read Kawabata I get the feeling that his work is like a pure utterance of the Japanese sensibility. It is a sensibility that is ethereal and delicate and focused on the intangible emanations of fine details, like the color a tea bowl almost is, the deepening glow of fireflies at dusk, or the poignance of a short-lived flower in an ancient bowl. Kawabata's tapestry of these emanations is haunting. His characters are constantly moved by the smallest of details that come and go on the ...more
Jim Coughenour
What a beautiful, melancholy book this is. At a tea ceremony a young man comes face to face with both of his father's mistresses – one wicked and strong, the other sad, gracious and fragile. He slowly falls in love with the second mistress's daughter, but is slow, too slow, to act. (And, as in any decent tragedy, almost everyone dies.) The tale has an anxious, dreamlike quality, haunted by sadness, ornate and coagulated in its courtesies. Last year I read Kawabata's Snow Country – generally cons ...more
Yet again, an annoying, self obessesed, male protagonist who, thankfully, was overshadowed by Kawabata's description and appreciation of the tea ceremony. I was completely present in this book even tasting the bitterness left over by the lipstick that had engrained itself in the tea cup. I loved the way he protrayed his(the author's) anger at the loss of the tea ceremony or the way it was becoming insignificant. I'm very conflicted about Kawabata...truely!
Literatura sutil y deliciosa imaginería japonesa, verdadera belleza de los detalles, en esa individualización poética de los objetos, puro fetichismo que roza lo erótico. Qué belleza y cuánta sabiduría, cuánto pasado que viene al presente con tan solo la descripción de unos sencillos gestos cotidianos y de observaciones sosegadas de la realidad. El tiempo no existe en este libro, todo es presente, pero un presente antiguo.
This was such a subtle and gentle book to read that I almost felt I shouldn't breath too heavily near it and turn the pages more slowly than usual.

However I feel like perhaps I missed a lot of the depth of meaning due to my cultural difference. So much of the novel centred on the tea ceremony and my lack of understanding of its intricacies must have impacted on my grasp of the human relations in the story.

Dense and lyrical, this is not an easy novel for a non-Japanese to read. If the tea ceremony represents a certain pinnacle of traditional Japanese culture, its nuances and its decline are especially difficult for an outsider like me to understand. There's no doubt that Kawabata is a stunning writer, but when I read Thousand Cranes it was at times like watching a movie without subtitles in another language. I adored The Old Capital and Snow Country, but this was just beyond my capabilities as a r ...more
Another wonderful offering from Yasunari Kawabata, this novel is darker and more nuanced than the exuberant Old Capital aka Kyoto though that one is still my favorite of the current ones I am reading precisely for that exuberance. The same beautiful style to lose oneself in and superb descriptions of nature and Japanese associated objects (here tea sets and porcelain as opposed to kimonos, obis and such there)

In essence this novel is about obsession - with women and death (from a man) and with m
Thousand Cranes There is something about traditional Japanese literature that I find so peaceful, like sitting in a glade beside a brook on a summer day as the water gently dances over the moss covered rocks beneath while the sun cloaks you with its rays filtered by the leaves above.

Shortly after the death ofKikuji’s father, he attends a tea party hosted by Kurimoto Chikako, a discarded mistress of his father. At first he believed the invitation was no more than aformal gesture in memory of his
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Yasunari Kawabata (川端 康成) was a Japanese short story writer and novelist whose spare, lyrical, subtly-shaded prose works won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the first Japanese author to receive the award. His works have enjoyed broad international appeal and are still widely read.

Nobel Lecture: 1968
More about Yasunari Kawabata...
Snow Country Beauty and Sadness House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories The Sound of the Mountain The Master of Go

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“Does pain go away and leave no trace, then?’
‘You sometimes even feel sentimental for it.”
“Now, even more than the evening before, he could think of no one with whom to compare her. She had become absolute, beyond comparison. She had become decision and fate.” 27 likes
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