Yasunari Kawabata managed to create a lyrical, beautiful and sensual masterpiece. Thousand Cranes is a work of high symbolism which conveys a sense of deep melancholy. The novel is set in Japan after World War II. The author managed to present a disturbing and deep story about the things he was worrying about. Yasunari Kawabata shows us the details which can help us to understand the whole world. He tells about the importance to love, to respect, to admire, to forgive and to choose.
In fact, Thousand Cranes is a novel about loneliness and disorientation. But the images and the thoughts of the characters are so realistic, that we recall our own experiences and walk beside them through the path of their relations.
The protagonist of the story, Kikuji, is not able to choose his own way because of his indefinite nature and because of the the fate. There are a lot of women around him and he is rushing from one to another, seeing only their outer beauty. His relationships with Mrs. Ota and later with Fumiko provoke a sense of guilt between them. Yukiko remains a distant dream but Kikuji forgets about her. This fact helps Chikako, his father’s former mistress, to rule Kikuji’s life in some way.
The author also demonstrates us some problems which are much more serious. The decay of Japanese traditions worries him in a painful way. Becoming disgraced, the Tea Ceremony becomes a tool for Chikako’s intrigues and for hiding vile deeds. Yasunari Kawabata also emphasizes the role of the family values, as by participating in a Tea Ceremony, a person honors the family traditions and family ties as well. All the ceremonial bowls are passed from generation to generation. Kikuji and Fumiko use their parents’ bowls very often in the novel. Thus, the relations between parents and children are represented in a fateful way.
This curious and unusual novel is written beautifully and simply. It teaches us to be kind and decent and to respect our present and past, as it will help us not to lose our future.