“Old Capital” Kawabata in summary

“Old Capital” Kawabata in summary

The receptionist of a wholesaler of ready-to-wear clothing, Takichiro Sada, observes that two bunches of violets have blossomed on an old maple tree growing near their house – they grow in two small hollows on the trunk of an old maple tree and blossom every spring as Tieko remembers herself. They seem like a girl to unhappy lovers who can not meet in any way. Tieko admires the flowers. Xinyichi Mizuki, with whom Tieko is friends since childhood, invited her to admire the blossoming cherries near the Heian Jingu Temple. Weeping cherries in the temple garden fill Tieko’s heart with a holy trembling, her lips whisper poetry by themselves. From there, Tieko and Sinichi walk to the pond, cross the stones to the other side, where the pine trees grow, and approach the “bridge-palace”, from which a wonderful view of the vast garden beyond the pond opens.

There Tieko suddenly tells Sinichi that she is a foundling. Stunned Sinyichi does not immediately understand her: he thinks that the girl is figuratively conveying her spiritual state. He knows that Tieko is the only beloved child. Tieko says that one day, when she was at school, the mother and father confessed to her that she was not their own daughter, but out of pity they did not say that she was a foundling, but said they had abducted her when she was a baby. But they did not agree in advance, so the father said that she was picked up under blossoming cherries in Gion, and the mother – that

on the bank of the river Kamogawa. Tieko does not know anything about her parents, the receptionists are so kind to her that she did not have a desire to look for them. Xinyichi thinks: why did Tieko decide to tell him about this? She, of course, realizes that the young man is in love with her. Her words sounded like this, as if she rejects his love in advance. Tieko obeys parents in everything. When she wanted to go to university, her father told her that this would be a hindrance to his only heiress, and advised me to take a closer look at his business dealings. When Xinyich asks Tieko what she will do if it comes to marriage, the girl answers without hesitation that she will obey the will of her parents, but not because she does not have her own feelings and opinions. For Xinyich, Tieko’s behavior is a mystery, but Tieko does not reveal his heart to him. if we are talking about marriage, the girl answers without hesitation that she will obey the will of the parents, but not because she does not have her own feelings and opinions. For Xinyich, Tieko’s behavior is a mystery, but Tieko does not reveal his heart to him. if we are talking about marriage, the girl answers without hesitation that she will obey the will of the parents, but not because she does not have her own feelings and opinions. For Xinyich, Tieko’s behavior is a mystery, but Tieko does not reveal his heart to him.

Father Tieko – Sad Takichiro – retired to the Saga in a nunnery where only the old abbess remained. There he takes a room and in seclusion he makes up sketches for the belts to the kimono. He all his life dreamed of being an artist. Tieko gave him the albums Klee, Matisse, Chagall, and now Takichiro examines them, hoping that this will push his imagination, will help to come up with a completely new drawing for the fabric. Tieko always wears a kimono, made according to sketches by Takichiro. His shop sells clothing designed for the ordinary buyer, and the clerk gives in the coloring only two or three kimonos, made according to sketches Takichiro – solely to maintain the prestige of the owner. However, Kimono Tieko always willingly takes herself, and not on duty, but because she likes her father’s work. The Takichiro bailey in the Nakage area was built in an old Kyoto style with painted Indian ocher grates and windows with frequent binding on the second floor. The business in the shop is getting worse every month.

Sad Takichiro comes to an old friend – Otomo Sousuke, the owner of a weaving workshop in the Nishijin area. He brings a sketch of the belt for ki mono, inspired by the works of Klee. Sousuke wants to entrust a belt for Tieko to his eldest son Hideo. Hideo weaves the belt on a tall weaving loom of takabata. His skill is known to the manufacturers and to the wholesale traders. Hand weaving gradually fades into the past, the younger generation prefers other occupations, but all three of Sousuke’s sons followed in the footsteps of their father and became weavers. Hideo is cold about Takichiro’s work, and the offended Takichiro slaps him in the face. Recovering, he apologizes for his quick temper. Hideo is humbly explained. He says that the drawing itself is very pleasing to him, but it lacks harmony, warmth. Takichiro wants to take the sketch. Hideo says that the drawing is excellent, and when he pulls out the belt, the colors and colored threads will give him a different appearance. But Takichiro takes the picture and throws it into the river.

Takichiro invites his wife Shige and Tieko to go to Omuro to admire the flowers. From there they go to the botanical garden and meet there Sousuke and Hideo. Looking at the field of tulips, Takichiro says that the western flowers are too bright, and he likes the bamboo grove more. Hideo asks about the tulips that they live, and let their flowering time be short, but in this fleeting moment – the fullness of life. Hideo is not going to weave belts that will remain for granddaughters and great-granddaughters, he wants the girl to say: this is for me – and would gladly wear them today, now that she is in the prime of youth. Hideo compares Tieko to the beautiful statues of the miracle buddha Miroku in the temples of Koryuji and Tigudzi and claims that it is more beautiful than them. Takichiro is alarmed: is he in love with Tieko? What will happen, if Tieko married him? After all, although the affairs of Takichiro have recently been shaken, he is still a wholesaler from the Nakage quarter, can you compare his trading house and the workshop of Otomo, where there are only three weaving looms and there is not one hired weaver? But then Takichiro comes to the idea that it’s not necessary for Tieko to go to Otomo’s house, you can take Hideo into their family, because Sousuke has two more sons. Takichiro asks Shige what she thinks of Hideo. Takichiro likes it, and a wholesaler is ready to take him to his family. But Shige believes that in the first place, one should take an interest in Tieko’s opinion; Although she is an obedient daughter, one can not insist on such matters. where there are only three weaving looms and there is not one hired weaver? But then Takichiro comes to the idea that it’s not necessary for Tieko to go to Otomo’s house, you can take Hideo into their family, because Sousuke has two more sons. Takichiro asks Shige what she thinks of Hideo. Takichiro likes it, and a wholesaler is ready to take him to his family. But Shige believes that in the first place, one should take an interest in Tieko’s opinion; Although she is an obedient daughter, one can not insist on such matters. where there are only three weaving looms and there is not one hired weaver? But then Takichiro comes to the idea that it’s not necessary for Tieko to go to Otomo’s house, you can take Hideo into their family, because Sousuke has two more sons. Takichiro asks Shige what she thinks of Hideo. Takichiro likes it, and a wholesaler is ready to take him to his family. But Shige believes that in the first place, one should take an interest in Tieko’s opinion; Although she is an obedient daughter, one can not insist on such matters.

A friend invites Tieko to go to Takao to admire the maples. During the walk the girls reach the village on the Northern mountain, where cryptomeria grows. Local women chop off branches on the cyphermeria and polish their trunks. A friend draws attention that one of the village girls like two drops of water is like Tieko. These words sink into Tieko’s soul. She often travels to a village on the Northern mountain, explaining this by the fact that there are very beautiful cryptomeria growing there. Tieko always thinks about the secret of his birth. In fact, she was thrown to the entrance of Takichiro’s shop, and neither he nor his wife knew who the real parents of the girl were.

Hideo brings the belt, which he wove according to the drawing of Takichiro. Takichiro is at a loss: after all, he threw a sketch into the river. But it turns out that Hideo remembered the drawing, and now he brought the belt for Tieko. The girl really likes the belt: both the drawing and the work. She tries on him, he is very good at it.

The Gion holiday is approaching. Tieko remembers how in her childhood, when she and Xinyich were seven or eight years old, he portrayed a novice on this feast and sat on the festive ark, and she followed him everywhere. Tieko goes for a walk. The statues of the gods were moved from the temple of Yasaka to the place of temporary parking of ark, she buys a candle and puts before the deity. She notices the girl who is doing the sevenfold prayer. Tieko seems as if she had already seen her somewhere. Tieko also begins to create a sevenfold prayer. Seven times departing from the statue of the deity and seven times approaching it, the girls end the prayer simultaneously and converge face to face before the statue of the deity. The girl says she prayed to God to tell her where her sister was. Now she knows: here is her sister. God wanted them to meet here. Tieko recognizes the girl:

The girl tells that her parents died when she was just a baby. She knows that she had a twin sister, but does not know what became of her. The girl’s name is Naeko, she lives in the village and invites Tieko to visit her. She calls her “lady”, feeling the difference in their situation, and does not want to go to Tieko’s house. At the bridge the crowd pushes Tieko, and she lags behind Naeko. Near the bridge Naeko calls Hideo: he took her for Tieko. He asks if the lady really liked the belt he wore. Naeko does not know how to behave and what to answer, but still does not ask for help from Tieko: because if Tieko wanted to meet with the youngster, she would now come to them. Hideo asks permission to wipe the belt according to his own drawing for the twenty-year old lady. Naeko thanks him embarrassed. She decides that Tieko has not approached,

On the bridge of the fourth avenue, Tieko meets Sinyichi. He introduces her older brother Ryusuke. Tieko and Xinyich remember how Xinyich portrayed a novice on the Gion holiday. Xinyichi notices that Tieko is very agitated. Believing that she was unwell, the young people escorted her home. Mother also notices that Tieko has an unhealthy appearance. The girl again looks at two bunches of violets that have blossomed on the trunk of the old maple – now it seems to her that it is she and Naeko. She goes to bed, but she can not sleep.

Hideo brings Tieko the sketch of a belt for a kimono to choose from. On one of them a pattern of flowers and leaves of chrysanthemum, on the other – red maple leaves. But Tieko asks him to weave a belt with mountains overgrown with cryptomeria and red pines. She explains to Hideo that then, on the eve of the Gion holiday, he indicated himself and promised to weave the belt not to her, but to her sister. She tells Hideo about Naeko and asks him when the belt is ready, go to the village on the Northern mountain and hand it to Naeko. Tieko comes to Naeko and tells her about Hideo and that he’s going to give her a belt. But Naeko does not want to accept the gift, because Hideo wanted to weave the belt not for her. Tieko insists: ultimately she asked the young man to weave a belt for his sister. Naeko promises to accept the gift. Returning home, Tieko tells his parents about Naeko. Parents are amazed,

Takichiro wants to buy a small cheap house. Shige is wondering if he wants to sell the shop and retire, or simply wants to live separately from the shop. Takichiro, Shige and Tieko go to look at the Camphor laurel, with which they have many memories. After inspecting the house near the Nanjenzi Temple and admiring the flowers of the hagi growing in front of it, all three come to the Tatsumura store, where besides the fabrics sell Sonya portable radios and other goods that can attract tourists.

Tatsumura’s affairs go well, not like Takichiro, who does not want to break with tradition. In the living room of the store they meet Ryusuke. He invites Tieko to look at the striped carp in the pond. Young people go for a walk. Ryusuke advises Tieko to be built with the clerk and offers his help. He says that his father is adept at leading his grandfather, they have two reliable clerks, and if the clerk working for Takichiro leaves, they will be able to send one of their shop assistants Takichiro. Ryusuke says that he is ready and at any time to give up his postgraduate studies and enter the service in the Takichiro shop to set things right. In addition, Ryusuke promises to ask his father to find a suitable house for Takichiro, who decided to retire from business.

Hideo weaves the belt for Tieko’s order. The images of Tieko and Naeko merge in his eyes. Having finished work, he goes to the village on the Northern mountain and gives Naeko’s belt. She promises to keep it all her life, as the most precious treasure. “Why? I will gladly roll you out,” Hideo said. He invites the girl to the Feast of the Era, which takes place in memory of the transfer in 794 of the capital in Kyoto. During the holiday, Hideo looks at the green pines, on the procession, but at the corner of his eye he watches Naeko all the time.

Xinyich calls Tieko and says that he saw her at the Feast of Era with a young man. Tieko immediately realizes that in fact he saw not her, but Naeko, and guesses that with her was Hideo. Xinyich hands Ryusuke’s pipe, and he asks permission to go to Takichiro’s shop and get acquainted with their steward. Coming to the shop Takichiro, Ryusuke talks with the clerk. Ryusuke’s father is a large wholesaler who has many influential friends. Ryusuke himself, although engaged in science, shows an interest in the business of his father. Ryusuke invites Tieko to have dinner with him and Sinyichi in the restaurant. After visiting the restaurant, Tieko admits that at the Feast of the Epochs, Sinyichi confused her with her sister. “We are twins with her… But from the two of us they threw me,” Tieko said. Ryusuke regrets that the baby was thrown not to their house, he would gladly take up the education of little Tieko.

Naeko calls Tieko and says that she would like to see her. She still refuses to come to her house, so Tieko promises to come to her in the village. Parents tell Tieko that they are ready to adopt Naeko. Twenty years ago, twins were treated with prejudice, considering their birth as a bad sign, a sign that evil forces are gravitating over the house, but now they look at it differently. Tieko is touched by the kindness of her parents. Naeko tells Chieko that Hideo has proposed to her, but she has not yet given an answer. Her pride keeps: Naeko seems that Hideo sees in her not her, but the image of Tieko. In addition, Hideo’s workshop deals with Takichiro’s shop, and Naeko’s appearance will not be too convenient for Tieko, and Naeko does not want to inconvenience her sister. In response, Tieko says that her parents are ready to adopt Naeko. Naeko is moved to tears.

Returning home, Tieko remembers his conversation with Naeko. Naeko is sure that, in fact, Hideo dreams of marrying Tieko, but, realizing that he is not her, offered Naeko’s hand.

Mizuki – the father of Ryusuke and Sinichi – asks Takichiro to take Ryusuke to his shop. Mizuki understands that Ryusuke just wants to be closer to Tieko. He asks if Takichiro will agree to take Ryusuke to his family if Tieko someday turns his attention to him. In this case, Mizuki is even ready to abandon him as an heir, because wealth is not happiness. Takichiro believes that young people themselves must decide their own destiny. Ryusuke starts working right from the next day. In the evening, after the shop is closed, Naeko comes to Tieko. Tieko introduces her sister to her parents. The girls go upstairs to talk calmly. Tieko asks Naeko to stay in their house forever, but Naeko refuses. The girls talk for a long time, then they fall asleep next to each other. At night a light snow falls. Early in the morning Naeko leaves. Tieko invites her to come again, But Naeko shakes his head. Tieko watches the retiring figure of her sister for a long time.


“Old Capital” Kawabata in summary