Yasunari Kawabata

Photo of Kawabata, c. 1946 - at work at his house in Nagatani of Kamakura

Photo of Kawabata, c. 1946 – at work at his house in Nagatani of Kamakura

I rediscovered this remarkable photograph of Yasunari Kawabata today, the Nobel Prize winning Japanese short story writer and novelist. It made a strong impression on me. Possibly because of the the atmosphere or his countenance, I don’t know. It just really struck me. Maybe it’s because I find myself struggling through the discipline of writing lately, and in this photograph Kawaabata appears to be in the flow of things as they are. He looks meditative and at home in the process of his writing, which is a place, or a state that I aspire to be in. I haven’t explored his work yet, so I don’t have much to offer, except a couple of pithy quotes that I find noteworthy:

“Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”

And secondly,

“Because you cannot see him, God is everywhere.”


  1. Hi Luke

    I noticed your Cohen quotation… Spike Milligan wrote a little poem which goes something like ‘isn’t it amazing that there are holes in the sky where the stars shine through?’

    I haven’t read Kawabata but I have worked on the idea of getting into flow in order to write. There are one or two things in colinblundell.wordpress.com that might be of interest. Might not!

    I do find the notion of ‘flow’ really interesting. How does one achieve it? Maybe getting into the silence and the nothingness which permits anything. I think that’s what I do. Then there’s so much that the task becomes to keep it under control and keep tabs on it.


    1. Hi Colin,

      That Mulligan quotation is great. “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” sayeth Oscar Wilde. I am following your blog, and I’m looking forward to exploring your work. I think your onto something with your remark about flow. I guess we are all in between the gutter and the stars, but I often forget that vertical dimension; that silence and nothingness that is totally unknown and, as a result is filled with life. One of my favorite writerly quotations by the French poet, René Daumal speaks to this, albeit indirectly. In a letter he asks himself: “How to write without becoming a writer.”

      All the best.

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