1927 serialized novel by Nobelist Kawabata identified


A serialized story that appeared in a newspaper in the 1920s has been confirmed as an early novel by Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972).

Takumi Ishikawa, a professor of modern Japanese literature at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, examined the serialized story, titled “Utsukushii!” (“Beautiful!”), and identified it as a novel by Kawabata.

The Kawabata Foundation, which manages the novelist’s works, confirmed it was his first serialized novel in a newspaper.

Few researchers knew the serialized story even existed, as it was included in the complete collection of Kawabata’s work but was not listed in any of his bibliographies.

The novel was published in four installments in the Fukuoka Nichinichi Shimbun, the forerunner of the Nishinippon Shimbun based in Fukuoka, from April 11 to May 2, 1927, when Kawabata was 27.

It was previously thought that his first serialized novel in a newspaper was “Umino Himatsuri” (“Fire Festival at Sea”) published starting in August 1927 in the Chugai Shogyo Shimpo, the forerunner of the Nikkei daily.