It may help readers to better understand the story of Snow Country by Kawabata Yasunari. The novel tells the tale of a love interest that occurs at a remote hot springs onsen in Yuzawa, though the author doesn’t actually ever give the town a name in the book itself. Men traveling to the town would often go to inns at the hot springs, and eventually paid female companions became something of an economic driving force.
The geisha themselves ended up not having the cultured life that Kyoto based geisha might. Instead, they were quickly becoming embroiled in acts of selling themselves and their careers ended up going downhill fast.
Eventually though one of the geisha falls in love with a wealthy man who has a background in the performance of ballet. The two individuals both seem to be involved in career paths that have taken them to the brink of failure. Indeed, this concept of failure and the parts that others play in a specific failure are very important when it comes to the central themes of the book.
Some people have come to see the book as something that incorporates themes of anti-modernization, but it’s more complicated than this as is often the case with Kawabata’s novels. The text actually could be viewed in any number of ways. For that matter, the title of the book is fairly important in terms of its correct interpretation.
The name describes the area that the story takes place in. The region gets a large amount of snow, largely as a result of northern winds that take water off of the Sea of Japan. It can isolate towns from the other villages in the region, and this adds to the feeling of loneliness in the book. More than anything this feeling of loneliness pervades the entire text, and derivatives works based on it focus on this fact.
Those who might come to see calligraphy that’s been based on his novel might come to appreciate Kawabata’s feeling of despair in this respect. Critics often debate back and forth about whether or not his texts are intended to offer readers any sense of hope. Regardless of any assumptions, it’s still important to ultimately view derivative works as their own due to the fact that each individual is totally entitled to view a work through their respective lenses and this tempers how they interpret that work.