In 1968, Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata became the first Japanese author to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The author of numerous works published between 1925 and his death by suicide in 1972, amongst his most widely used in the classroom is the short story "Izu Dancer." Originally published in 1925, this story helped first establish his reputation in Japan. On the surface the story of the relationship between an 19 year old college student and a young dancer, the work can be used to approach numerous issues, such as the dislocation and isolation of the newly urban in the 1920s or the artistic/literary rendition of the temporary nature of beauty and individual moments.
In this picture, Emperor Hirohito (back to camera) and Empress Nagako (fourth from right, front row) congratulate Kawabata at a Garden Party in his honor. November 8, 1968.
Credit: Donated by Corbis-Bettmann