An unknown short story written in 1927 by Japan’s first Nobel Prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata, best-known for the novel “Snow Country”, was discovered by researchers decades after the writer’s death.
“Utsukushii!” (“Beautiful!”) was written by Kawabata in the early days of his career. It was published in April and May 1927 in a newspaper in Fukuoka, western Japan, Takumi Ishikawa of Rikkyo University and his fellow researchers found.
The work was found in the paper’s archives and was authenticated as a genuine article by the Kawabata Foundation, according to the international press. The foundation was created in order to preserve Kawabata’s work and it awards a prize named after him every year.
“Utsukushii!” is the story of an industrialist who buries a young girl in his disabled son’s grave after she suffers an accident while visiting the tomb. On the common gravestone, the father inscribes: “A beautiful young boy and beautiful young girl sleep together”.
The story describes the empathy for the weak and was published when the author was 27, right after the release of “The Dancing Girl of Izu,” Ishikawa said.
“It was during the period when many prominent authors sought outlets for their literary products in local papers after major Japanese publishers and newspapers based in Tokyo suffered devastating damage from the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923,” he said.
“The story also has a lot in common with his other story that was published in 1954 under the title “Utsukushiki Haka” (Beautiful Grave),” he added.
Kawabata was the first Japanese author to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.