Japon geleneğine göre bir fincan çay, ev sahibi ile konuklarının
ruhsal bir birliktelik ile evrendeki uyumu hissetmek için paylaştıkları
barış dolu bir başlangıç olarak kabul ediliyor. Japon Çay Seremonisi
geleneksel Japon felsefesini ve estetik ögelerini dört ana prensip
çerçevesinde sergiliyor - uyum (insan ve doğa ilişkisinde), saygı, arılık
ve huzur . Çay seremonisi özel konuklar onuruna, ya da kiraz ağaçlarının
çiçek açması, baharın gelişi, dolunayı birlikte seyretmek gibi olaylar nedeniyle,
ya da sadece dostlluğu kutlamak için düzenlenebiliyor. Seremoni
ruhsal ve duygusal ögelerin zarif bir biçimde harmanlanmasını gerektirdiği
için Japonlar seremoni başkanı olabilmek için yıllarca eğitim görüyorlar.
Her seremoni orada hazır bulunanları, gelenek zincirinin halkaları
ile 885 yıllık bir çay seremonisi geçmişine bağlıyor.
Kawabata "Bin Beyaz Turna" da geleneksel Japon zarafet ve sadeliğine
yakışır bir biçimde minimalist bir anlatımla okuyucuya aktarıyor.
Bu büyük usta, doğa betimlemelerini usta bir ressamın birkaç
fırça darbesi ile yaptığı tablolar gibi birkaç küçük cümle ile gözlerimizin
Kitapta, babasını kaybeden Kikuyi onun eski Metresi
Hikako tarafından hazırlanan çay seremonisine davet edilir.
Karanlık ruhlu Hikako yalnızca çay törenini değil, sanki usta manevralarla
kitap kahramanlarının kaderlerini de yönetmektedir.
Kikuyinin babasının gerçek bir aşkla sevdiği
Bayan Ota, yiten sevgilinin ardından oğlu Kikuyi'de, ölen sevgilisini
görmektedir. Kikuyi de karşı konmaz bir şekilde Bayan
Otaya cinsel istek duymaktadır. Bayan Otanın kızı Fumiko ise annesinin
bu kabul görmez ilişkisinin utancı altında ezilmektedır. Fumiko bu
aşkın simgeleri olan çay takımlarını Kikuyiye armağan etmesine rağmen günah
duygusundan kurtulamaz. Gün geçtikçe Fumiko da annesine benzer..
Karatsu fincanı üç, dörtyüz yıllık olsa gerekti. Sağlıklı bir
havası vardı ve marazi düşünceler uyandırmıyordu. Fincan hayatla doluydu,
hemen hemen cinsel bir ifadesi vardı. İki güzel ruh, fincan
şekline girmiş de şimdi Fumiko ile onun karşısında duruyorlarmış gibi geliyordu
Kikuyie. Fumiko ile kendisi ne kadar canlıysa iki fincan da
o kadar canlıydı. Kikuyie şimdi öyle geliyordu ki kendisi ile Fumiko
arasındaki her şey şu iki fincan ne kadar canlıysa o kadar canlı ve günahsızdı.
Kikuyi çay fincanları aracılığı ile , Fumikonun o güne kadar kendisi
için yalnızca Bayan Otanın kızı olduğunu, ama artık çevresini
kaplayan çirkin perdeden sıyrılarak feraha... çıktığını anlayarak bu
sihirden kurtulduğunu: onu neredeyse yutacak olan o baştan çıkarıcı uçurumun
kenarından döndüğünü görür.
Kikuyi bir mucizeyle iyileşmiş, Fumiko ise, annesinin kader döngüsü
içinde kısılıp kalarak kendini savunamamış ve onun gibi yitip gitmişti.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1968
Presentation Speech by Anders Österling, Ph.D., of the Swedish Academy
The recipient of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the Japanese
Yasunari Kawabata, was born in 1899 in the big industrial town of Osaka,
where his father was a highly-cultured doctor with literary interests. At
an early age, however, he was deprived of this favourable growing-up environment
on the sudden death of his parents, and, as an only child, was sent to his
blind and ailing grandfather in a remote part of the country. These tragic
losses, doubly significant in view of the Japanese people's intense feeling
for blood ties, have undoubtedly affected Kawabata's whole outlook on life
and has been one of the reasons for his later study of Buddhist philosophy.
As a student at the imperial university in Tokyo, he decided early on a
writing career, and he is an example of the kind of restless absorption
that is always a condition of the literary calling. In a youthful short
story, which first drew attention to him at the age of twenty-seven, he
tells of a student who, during lonely autumn walks on the peninsula of Izu,
comes across a poor, despised dancing girl, with whom he has a touching
love affair; she opens her pure heart and shows the young man a way to deep
and genuine feeling. Like a sad refrain in a folksong the theme recurs with
many variations in his following works; he presents his own scale of values,
and with the years, he has won renown far beyond the borders of Japan. True,
of his production only three novels and a few short stories have so far
been translated into different languages, evidently because translation
in this case offers especially great difficulties and is apt to be far too
coarse a filter, in which many finer shades of meaning in his richly expressive
language must be lost. But the translated works do give us a sufficiently
representative picture of his personality.
In common with his older countryman, Tanizaki, now deceased, he has admittedly
been influenced by modern western realism, but, at the same time, he has,
with greater fidelity, retained his footing in Japan's classical literature
and therefore represents a clear tendency to cherish and preserve a genuinely
national tradition of style. In Kawabata's narrative art it is still possible
to find a sensitively shaded situation poetry which traces its origin back
to Murasaki's vast canvas of life and manners in Japan about the year 1000.
Kawabata has been especially praised as a subtle psychologist of women.
He has shown his mastery as such in the two short novels, "The Snow Kingdom"
and "A Thousand Cranes", to use the Swedish titles. In these we see
a brilliant capacity to illuminate the erotic episode, an exquisite keenness
of observation, a whole network of small, mysterious values, which often
put the European narrative technique in the shade. Kawabata's writing is
reminiscent of Japanese painting; he is a worshipper of the fragile beauty
and melancholy picture language of existence in the life of nature and in
man's destiny. If the transience of all outward action can be likened to
drifting tufts of grass on the surface of the water, then it is the genuinely
Japanese miniature art of haiku poetry which is reflected in Kawabata's
Even if we feel excluded, as it were, from his writing by a root system,
more or less foreign to us, of ancient Japanese ideas and instincts, we
may find it tempting in Kawabata to notice certain similarities of temperament
with European writers from our own time. Turgeniev is the first to spring
to mind, he, too, is a deeply sensitive storyteller and a broadminded painter
of the social scene, with pessimistically coloured sympathies within a time
of transition between old and new.
Kawabata's most recent work is also his most outstanding, the novel, "The
Old Capital", completed six years ago, and now available in Swedish
translation. The story is about the young girl, Chiëko, a foundling exposed
by her poverty-stricken parents and adopted into the house of the merchant
Takichiro, where she is brought up according to old Japanese principles.
She is a sensitive, loyal being, who, only in secret, broods on the riddle
of her origin. Popular Japanese belief has it that an exposed child is afflicted
with a lifelong curse, in addition to which the condition of being a twin,
according to the strange Japanese viewpoint, bears the stigma of shame.
One day it happens that she meets a pretty young working girl from a cedar
forest near the city and finds that she is her twin sister. They are intimately
united beyond the social pale of class - the robust, work-hardened Naëko,
and the delicate, anxiously guarded Chiëko, but their bewildering likeness
soon gives rise to complications and confusion. The whole story is set against
the background of the religious festival year in Kyoto from the cherry-blossom
spring to the snow-glittering winter.
The city itself is really the leading character, the capital of the old
kingdom, once the seat of the mikado and his court, still a romantic sanctuary
after a thousand years, the home of the fine arts and elegant handicraft,
nowadays exploited by tourism but still a loved place of pilgrimage. With
its Shinto and Buddha temples, its old artisan quarters and botanical gardens,
the place possesses a poetry which Kawabata expresses in a tender, courteous
manner, with no sentimental overtones, but, naturally, as a moving appeal.
He has experienced his country's crushing defeat and no doubt realizes what
the future demands in the way of industrial go-ahead spirit, tempo and vitality.
But in the postwar wave of violent Americanization, his novel is a gentle
reminder of the necessity of trying to save something of the old Japan's
beauty and individuality for the new. He describes the religious ceremonies
in Kyoto with the same meticulous care as he does the textile trade's choice
of patterns in the traditional sashes belonging to the women's dresses.
These aspects of the novel may have their documentary worth, but the reader
prefers to dwell on such a deeply characteristic passage as when the party
of middle-class people from the city visits the botanical garden - which
has been closed for a long time because the American occupation troops have
had their barracks there - in order to see whether the lovely avenue of
camphor trees is still intact and able to delight the connoisseur's eye.
With Kawabata, Japan enters the circle of literary Nobel Prize-winners for
the first time. Essential to the forming of the decision is the fact that,
as a writer, he imparts a moral-esthetic cultural awareness with unique
artistry, thereby, in his way, contributing to the spiritual bridge-building
between East and West.
The citation speaks of your narrative mastery, which, with great sensibility,
expresses the essence of the Japanese mind. With great satisfaction we greet
you here in our midst today, an honoured guest from afar, on this platform.
On behalf of the Swedish Academy, I beg to express our hearty congratulations,
and, at the same time, ask you now to receive this year's Nobel Prize for
Literature from the hands of His Majesty, the King.
From Les Prix Nobel en 1968, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation],