“Snow country” Kawabata in summary

“Snow country” Kawabata in summary


Japan of the thirties. Someone Simamura, a middle-aged man, travels by train to a snowy country – this is the name of the harsh mountainous region in the north of Honshu, which is famous for its heavy snowfalls. For the first time he came there to admire the northern nature a year ago in the early spring, and now he is traveling again: to see a young woman whom he met with. Shimamura grew up in Tokyo, he is a wealthy person and if he does something, it’s for his own pleasure. So, he first became interested in folk dances, then European ballet, which he had never seen; he writes articles about him. On the train, he sees a beautiful young girl sitting obliquely across the aisle from him. The girl is local, and from her conversation with the head of the station of Simamura learns that her name is Yoko. Her voice seems to him painfully beautiful. He watches her face, which is reflected in the window glass, as in a mirror, and is delighted when her eye is combined with some distant light and the pupil flares up. The girl is not alone: ​​she is a sick man, whom she cares carefully. Simamura can not understand who they are to each other. The girl and her companion leave the train at the same station as Shimamura. The hotel agent is taking Simamura by car past the houses drowning in snow. Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…” When her eye is combined with some distant light and the pupil flares up. The girl is not alone: ​​she is a sick man, whom she cares carefully. Simamura can not understand who they are to each other. The girl and her companion leave the train at the same station as Shimamura. The hotel agent is taking Simamura by car past the houses drowning in snow. Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress



of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…” When her eye is combined with some distant light and the pupil flares up. The girl is not alone: ​​she is a sick man, whom she cares carefully. Simamura can not understand who they are to each other. The girl and her companion leave the train at the same station as Shimamura. The hotel agent is taking Simamura by car past the houses drowning in snow. Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…” for which she cares carefully. Simamura can not understand who they are to each other. The girl and her companion leave the train at the same station as Shimamura. The hotel agent is taking Simamura by car past the houses drowning in snow. Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…” for which she cares carefully. Simamura can not understand who they are to each other. The girl and her companion leave the train at the same station as Shimamura. The hotel agent is taking Simamura by car past the houses drowning in snow. Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…” Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…” Simamura asks the agent about the girl who then, in the spring, lived in the dance teacher’s house, and he hears in response that she was also at the station: she met the sick son of the teacher. Simamura is not surprised by the coincidence: “then in the mirror, against the background of the evening landscape, he saw Yoko, caring for the sick son of the mistress of the house where the woman lives, for which he came here…”

They meet in the corridor of the hotel. She does not reproach him for not coming for a long time, writing to her, or even sending the promised dance manual. She is silent, but Simamura feels that she not only does not accuse him, but is full of tenderness, reaches out to him with the whole being. Shimamura remembers how he met her. At the beginning of the mountaineering season, he came to these places and, descending from the mountains after a week’s trip, asked to invite a geisha. He was told that all the geishas were invited to a banquet on the occasion of the end of the road construction, but there is also a girl living in the house of the dance teacher, maybe she will agree to come. She is not that of a real geisha, but when there are big banquets, she is willingly invited: she dances, and she is greatly appreciated. The girl came, and on Simamura it was amazingly clean. She told about herself: she was nineteen years old, she was born here, in the snow, at one time worked as a lodger in Tokyo, but then she was bought out by the patron: he wished that she would start teaching national dances and become independent. But soon he died, and since then she has lived truly, in her own way. Simamura talked to her about the Kabuki Theater – it turned out that the girl is well versed in the art of this theater. Simamura began to feel for her something like a friendly participation. The next day the girl went to his room to visit. Simamura asked her to recommend him a geisha, he wanted them to be friends only. Perhaps in the summer he will come here with his family, she could make up a company for his wife, and the physical closeness may end with the fact that he does not want to look at her in the morning. But the girl still refuses to help. When the maid sent the geisha to Simamura, he immediately became bored, and he delicately escorted her. When he met the girl in the cryptomeric grove, he informed her that he had changed his mind and dismissed the geisha: it seemed to him unfortunate to spend time with another girl, not as beautiful as she. But something between them has changed, everything was not the same as before the arrival of a geisha. In the evening the girl came to Shimamura’s room. She was at the feast, and she was given a drink, so she could barely stand on her feet. Shimamura embraced her, but she remembered his words that it was better for them to remain just friends, and struggled with the desire to surrender to him. And yet she yielded. She left him before dawn, before the hotel servants got up, and on the same day Shimamura returned to Tokyo. When he met the girl in the cryptomeric grove, he informed her that he had changed his mind and dismissed the geisha: it seemed to him unfortunate to spend time with another girl, not as beautiful as she. But something between them has changed, everything was not the same as before the arrival of a geisha. In the evening the girl came to Shimamura’s room. She was at the feast, and she was given a drink, so she could barely stand on her feet. Shimamura embraced her, but she remembered his words that it was better for them to remain just friends, and struggled with the desire to surrender to him. And yet she yielded. She left him before dawn, before the hotel servants got up, and on the same day Shimamura returned to Tokyo. When he met the girl in the cryptomeric grove, he informed her that he had changed his mind and dismissed the geisha: it seemed to him unfortunate to spend time with another girl, not as beautiful as she. But something between them has changed, everything was not the same as before the arrival of a geisha. In the evening the girl came to Shimamura’s room. She was at the feast, and she was given a drink, so she could barely stand on her feet. Shimamura embraced her, but she remembered his words that it was better for them to remain just friends, and struggled with the desire to surrender to him. And yet she yielded. She left him before dawn, before the hotel servants got up, and on the same day Shimamura returned to Tokyo. In the evening the girl came to Shimamura’s room. She was at the feast, and she was given a drink, so she could barely stand on her feet. Shimamura embraced her, but she remembered his words that it was better for them to remain just friends, and struggled with the desire to surrender to him. And yet she yielded. She left him before dawn, before the hotel servants got up, and on the same day Shimamura returned to Tokyo. In the evening the girl came to Shimamura’s room. She was at the feast, and she was given a drink, so she could barely stand on her feet. Shimamura embraced her, but she remembered his words that it was better for them to remain just friends, and struggled with the desire to surrender to him. And yet she yielded. She left him before dawn, before the hotel servants got up, and on the same day Shimamura returned to Tokyo.

And now, a few months later, Simamura, not afraid of the cold, came to a snow country to see again a girl whose name he would soon find out: Komako. She believes how many days they have not seen: one hundred and ninety-nine. Simamura is surprised that she remembers exactly the date of their love meeting: the twenty-third of May. She explains that she has been keeping a diary for a long time. Moreover, it turns out that she looks at the stories and novels she has read since she was fifteen, and now she has accumulated about a dozen notebooks with such abstracts. The abstracts are simple: the author’s name, the title of the book, the names of the characters and their relationship. It seems to Simamura that this is a meaningless occupation, a vain work. However, if Shimamura began to reflect on his own life, he, perhaps, would come to the conclusion that his life is also meaningless. Komako invites Shimamura to her home. He says that he will stop by if she shows him her diaries, but she replies that she will burn them. Shimamura tells Komako that he was traveling in the same car with the son of her teacher and the girl accompanying him. He tries to find out who she tells him, but Komako does not want to answer. She speaks only of the teacher’s son: he is twenty-six years old, he has tuberculosis of the intestine and he has returned to his homeland to die. Komako lives in the attic, where previously bred silkworms, in a cozy, clean room. Going out of the teacher’s house, Simamura encounters Yoko and remembers how on the train Yoko’s eyes reflected in the glass combined with a distant fire in the field and her pupil flushed and the herd inexpressibly beautiful. “He remembered his then impression, and it in turn recalled Komako’s bright cheeks burning in the mirror against the background of the snow.” Simamura rises to the top of the hill and meets there a blind masseuse. He learns from her that Komako went to geisha this summer to send money for treatment to the teacher’s son, whom she was rumored to have engaged. Simamure again comes to mind the words “vain labor” and “vanity” – because he, apparently, found himself a new lover – Yoko, and he is on the verge of death. To the questions of Simamura Komako answers that she was not engaged to the teacher’s son. Probably there was a time when the teacher dreamed of marrying her son, but she did not say a word about it, and young people could only guess about her desire. But there was never anything between them, and Geisha Komako did not go because of him. She mysteriously says that she needs to do her duty, and remembers that when she was sold in Tokyo, her only son saw her teacher. Komako avoids talking about Yoko in every possible way, and Simamura can not understand why. And when Simamura notices that it is not right when Komako does not spend the night at home, Komako objects that she is free to do what she wants, and even a dying person can not forbid it. Komako plays Shimamura on the shamisen. Shimamura understands that Komako is in love with him, this thought makes him sad and ashamed. Now Komako, staying with Simamura for the night, no longer tries to return home before dawn. On the eve of departure on a clear moonlit evening, Simamura again invites Komako to her place. It’s bitter for him that he leaves. She is desperate for her own helplessness: she can not change anything. The hotel employee brings the account to Simamura, where everything is taken into account: when Komako left at five, when five, when at twelve the next day. Komako goes to see Simamura to the station. Yoko resorts there, which calls her home: the teacher’s son is ill. But Komako does not want to go home, and neither Yoko nor Simamura can persuade her. “No, I can not look at the dying man!” “says Komako. This sounds at the same time both the coldest heartlessness and the warmest love. Komako says that now he can not keep a diary, and promises to send all his diaries to Simamura – he’s a sincere person and will not laugh at her. Shimamura is leaving. Komako says that now he can not keep a diary, and promises to send all his diaries to Simamura – he’s a sincere person and will not laugh at her. Shimamura is leaving. Komako says that now he can not keep a diary, and promises to send all his diaries to Simamura – he’s a sincere person and will not laugh at her. Shimamura is leaving.

Arriving in a year, Simamura asks Komako what happened to the teacher’s son. “He died, what else,” she replies. Shimamura promised Komako to come on February 14, on the holiday of expelling the birds from the fields, but did not come. Komako is offended: she left her job and in February she left for her parents, but on holiday she returned, thinking that Simamura would come. Now Komako lives in a shop where she sells cheap sweets and tobacco, there she is the only geisha, and the owners are very concerned about her. Komako asks Simamura to come to her at least once a year. Simamura asks what happened to Yoko. “Everything goes to the grave,” Komako replies. While walking Simamura sees Yoko: sitting on the side of the road, she harrows the beans and sings “crystal clear, painfully beautiful voice.” Komako spends the night with Simamura and leaves only in the morning. The next day, Simamura goes to bed early to pass the time, for his hope that Komako will come herself, without his call, was not justified. At half past seven in the morning, he discovers Komako sitting at his desk and reading a book. He can not understand anything: did Komako spend the night with him, but he did not notice? But Komako laughingly confesses that she hid herself in the closet, when the maid brought coals to the hearth. Shimamura and Komako go for a walk. Simamura suggests walking in the direction of the cemetery. It turns out that Komako has never been to the grave of the teacher and her son. At the cemetery they meet Yoko. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk. that Komako would come herself, without his call, was not justified. At half past seven in the morning, he discovers Komako sitting at his desk and reading a book. He can not understand anything: did Komako spend the night with him, but he did not notice? But Komako laughingly confesses that she hid herself in the closet, when the maid brought coals to the hearth. Shimamura and Komako go for a walk. Simamura suggests walking in the direction of the cemetery. It turns out that Komako has never been to the grave of the teacher and her son. At the cemetery they meet Yoko. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk. that Komako would come herself, without his call, was not justified. At half past seven in the morning, he discovers Komako sitting at his desk and reading a book. He can not understand anything: did Komako spend the night with him, but he did not notice? But Komako laughingly confesses that she hid herself in the closet, when the maid brought coals to the hearth. Shimamura and Komako go for a walk. Simamura suggests walking in the direction of the cemetery. It turns out that Komako has never been to the grave of the teacher and her son. At the cemetery they meet Yoko. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk. did Komako stay overnight with him, but he did not notice? But Komako laughingly confesses that she hid herself in the closet, when the maid brought coals to the hearth. Shimamura and Komako go for a walk. Simamura suggests walking in the direction of the cemetery. It turns out that Komako has never been to the grave of the teacher and her son. At the cemetery they meet Yoko. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk. did Komako stay overnight with him, but he did not notice? But Komako laughingly confesses that she hid herself in the closet, when the maid brought coals to the hearth. Shimamura and Komako go for a walk. Simamura suggests walking in the direction of the cemetery. It turns out that Komako has never been to the grave of the teacher and her son. At the cemetery they meet Yoko. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk. Embarrassed by her piercing gaze, Komako says that, in fact, went to the hairdresser… Both Simamura and Komako feel uneasy. At night, Komako comes to Simamura drunk.

Yoko now works at the hotel. Her presence for some reason constrains Shimamura, he even begins to hesitate, whether to invite Komako to himself. Shimamura is drawn to Yoko. Komako sometimes transmits notes with her to Simamura, and Simamura talks to the girl. Yoko says that Komako is good, but unhappy, and asks Shimamura not to offend her. “But I can not do anything for her,” Shimamura replies. He believes that it is better for him to return to Tokyo as soon as possible. It turns out that Yoko is also going to Tokyo. Simamura asks if Komako advised her to go there, but Yoko replies: “No, I did not consult with her and I will never consult.” She is negative… “Simamura offers Yoko to go together, the girl agrees. When she lived in Tokyo earlier, she was a sister of mercy. But she cared only for one patient, and now every day he goes to his grave. She does not want to be a sister of mercy anymore, she does not want to take care of anyone. Simamura asks if it’s true that the teacher’s son was the suitor Komako. Yoko responds hotly that this is not true. “Why then do you hate Komako?” – Shimamura is surprised. In response, Yoko asks Simamura to take care of Komako’s good, and runs out of the room. Autumn is over, the first snow falls. Simamura reflects on the crepe – the fabric that is made in these parts and bleached in the snow. In ancient books it is written that “there is a crepe, for there is snow.” Snow should be called the father of the crepe. ” Simamura has a desire to go around the places where the crepe is made. Visiting one of these towns, he on the way back meets Komako. She scolds him because he did not take her with him, but then the sounds of the alarm are heard; burning building for fattening silkworms. It is full of people: in this room the cinema is shown. Komako cries, she worries about people. Everyone is running to a fire. “The Milky Way began where they came from and flowed in the same direction.” Komako’s face seemed to float in the Milky Way. ” Shimamura and Komako look at the fire. Suddenly the crowd, let out a cry of horror, stops: a woman’s body falls from above. Komako screams heartbreakingly. The fallen woman is Yoko. “For some reason, Shimamura did not feel death, but only the accomplishment of some transition, as if the life of Yoko, coming out of her body, entered his body.” Komako rushes to Yoko, takes her in his arms and carries, “as if his victim and his punishment.” Shimamura wants to rush to her, but he is pushed back, and when he looks up, he sees the Milky Way, crashing down, coming straight at him.



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“Snow country” Kawabata in summary