FIRST SNOW ON FUJI, by Yasunari Kawabata. Translated by Michael Emmerich. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 227 pp., $24.

That these works form a meditation on death is not surprising. Many of Kawabata’s works — early and late — are just that. He called himself a master of ceremonies at funerals, and though he was referring to duties at the demise of friends, his writing was from the earliest informed by thoughts of death.

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