The Kawabata Yasunari Collection: His Passion for Fine Arts

Tokyo Station Gallery

poster for The Kawabata Yasunari Collection: His Passion for Fine Arts
[Image:Yasunari Kawabata]

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Yasunari Kawabata was a leading Japanese author known for his classics such as The Dancing Girl of Izu and Yukiguni. His collection – including earthen figures of the Jomon Period (around 12,000 to 300 BC) and haniwa (hollow unglazed terracotta figures) of the Tumulus Period (5th-6th Century) , as well as early modern paintings (e.g. Frozen Clouds, Sifted Snow [National Treasure] by Urakami Gyokudo and Ten Advantages (of Country Life) [National Treasure] that was made by Ike no Taiga and Yosa Buson) and handicrafts by Tatsuaki Kuroda and Tokuro Kato – reveals Kawabata’s exquisite taste toward traditional beauty and his deep understanding toward the world of fine arts. At the same time, Kawabata also showed a profound understanding toward modernism and avant-garde art. He held an interest from a young age toward the sculptures of Rodin and the sketches of Picasso, as well as pieces by Harue Koga, Yayoi Kusama and Hideo Murakami. These were also included in his collection.

The same can also be said for the literary works of Yasunari Kawabata. His novels in which traditional Japanese art works appear (e.g. the Shino water jugs and hand-molded earthenware teacups in Thousand Cranes and Buddhist art in The Dancing Girl) are too numerous to mention. We can say the same for modern and contemporary arts, for example, his writing extended to include abstract paintings as well as Klee, Matisse and Chagall in The Old Capital. Moreover, another point of interest is that these art works are treated as a motif concerning the essential parts of his novels.
This exhibition, focused on his collection that indicated interest in both tradition and modernism, the development of attempts to approach Kawabata’s exquisite taste with a view to the development of his literature like those mentioned above and his interactions with literary persons.


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from April 23, 2016 to June 19, 2016
Open on 5/2.



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