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Sample Autograph Signature: Yasunari Kawabata

Japanese novelist and winner of the 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature. Yasunari Kawabata (1899 1972) was born into a prosperous and cultured family in Osaka. His father, a prominent physician, died when Kawabata was only two, and his mother the following year. He was then taken in by his maternal grandparents while his older sister came under the care of an aunt. His grandmother died when he was seven, and his sister when he was ten. When his grandfather died in 1914, Kawabata briefly lived with others in his mother's family before moving into a boarding house near his junior high school. He graduated from junior high school in March 1917 and then moved to Tokyo where he attended the elite First Higher School from 1917 to 1920 and received a degree in English Literature from Tokyo Imperial University in 1920. He earned a degree in Japanese Literature from the University in 1924. While at the university he revived its defunct literary magazine where he published his first short story. In October of 1924 Kawabata and several other young writers founded a new literary journal, Bungei Jidai (The Artistic Age), which espoused a philosophy of "art for art's sake". Kawabata gained his first success in 1925 with the novella The Izu Dancer, but it was the novel Snow Country, first published in installments from 1935 through 1947, that secured Kawabata's position as one of the leading authors in Japan. In receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the committee cited Snow Country along with Thousand Cranes (serialized 1949 - 1952), and The Old Capital (1962) which probably had made the deepest impression in both Japan abroad. In addition to fiction writing, he was also employed as a newspaper reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun of Osaka and Tokyo. He became a member of the Art Academy of Japan in 1953, and four years later he was appointed chairman of the P.E.N. Club of Japan. Kawabata received the Goethe Medal in 1959 in Frankfurt, and was awarded Japan's highest recognition for a man of letters, the Order of Culture, in 1961. He was was the first Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kawabata died by suicide in 1972.

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