The story of the interactions between a young male student from Tokyo, and a small group of travelling performers from nearby Oshima island whom he meets while touring the Izu Peninsula. The student sees the group several times and focuses on the beauty of the youngest looking dancer carrying a large drum. He considers how being on the same road as these travelling performers was exciting. Later, he encounters them again at a tea house, but upon hearing that they were leaving for the next town, he struggles with the thought of chasing after them. Upon catching up with the group, he acts inconspicuously as he passes them on the trail.
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I can not like many of his works which drilled into ugly reality of life. But I like the Izu Dancer uniquely as fresh as refreshing drinks. I thought it strange, however, that express trains between Tokyo and Izu are "Dancer Trains", that there are "Dancer Halls", "Dancer Dumplings" and so on, and that Izu Dancer is treated as a big sight-seeing resource of Izu.
After some contemplation, I reached an hypothesis. Probably most people have never read Kawabata. But I think that the reasons for popularity must be 1 the memory of the study for entrance examinations to connect Kawabata and the Izu Dancer by a line, 2 popular movies, 3 influential power of the Nobel Prize, and 4 sight-seeing strategy and effort by Izu to pitch the Izu Dancer.
Y" lives in Nashimoto community of Kawadu Town, where the Izu Dancer is supposed to have passed, living on water diverted from the spring for Wasabi horseradish fields. He believes that movies are the most important reason for popularity.
It is a shame of me that I have never seen any of the Izu Dancer movies except that I remember advertisements of the movie played by Miss Momoe Yamaguchi. Y says that a series of the most popular actresses of the time played the dancer.
Since no movie has been shot but if it were done today, a popular girl like Hiroko Shimabukuro or Takako Uehara must play the dancer. He says that the scene of the heroine in full nude has been always the highlight of attraction.
The hero of the story is a student of the First National College, reflecting the own figure of Kawabata, who makes a trip together with a group of performers in a provincial tour including a cute girl dancer.
In one night near Nashimoto, he was very afraid with much discontent that the girl dancer might be bought that night by a guest. Next morning still with discontent and apprehension he was in the open sky out-door bath. The girl dancer, also in another out-door bath across a river, found him with much excitement and jumped naked onto the bank and waved hands to him.
He thought that she looked adult but actually still a child. He laughed quietly and suddenly felt much at ease. He was later told that she was The main theme in this scene is description of psychology of the hero, 19 years old. I find this description very clever and beautiful. But if a moving picture of a popular actress is concerned, I must understand that this scene can be the highlight. I wondered, however, whether this short novel was appropriate for a movie, and bought a book to read it again.
Following is a hypothetical example; Several words are enough to describe "chopsticks have rolled out of the hand". Thus the Izu Dancer is indeed a wonderful moving work, but beautiful sentences and psychological description can not be presented in moving pictures. Only the time passes slowly and peacefully. After reading, I confirmed my earlier impression that the Izu Dancer as well as Makura no Soshi, a famous essay around AD, is the least appropriate work for a movie.
This time I am interested how this work could ever be a movie. I wonder if there is any video or DVD of this movie. In the Izu Dancer, the hero and heroine started their trip by climbing south to Amagi pass, walked down south-east from Mt.
Amagi to Yugano, took a mountain trail south to Shimoda, and parted at Shimoda. The theme is the platonic private love between them raised during the trip. These days, love like this based on the class difference can not exist between a popular actress in provincial tour and a college student.
Even the social rules to suppress love has changed. No wonder that a movie played by Takako Uehara can not be shot. Probably I did too much by purchasing from Amazon an English book, "The Izu Dancer" translated by Edward Seidensticker, only to my great disappointment.
First of all, the cover was decorated by a photo of a dancing adult woman. Some portions of the original work were abbreviated. Any translation requires understanding of the original work, and then expression in the translated language.
I found the second point of this book excellent that the beautiful original sentences are successfully conveyed to the readers. But the first point is not quite satisfactory. If the translator were to have assigned a Japanese reviewer with understanding of the Japanese culture at least in my level, to add cultural background to the book, it could have been a good book to convey excitement in the original work.
With translation of this level, how could Kawabata get the Nobel Prize? Or are there many better translations elsewhere?
The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
Plot[ edit ] The old Amagi tunnel, setting of the opening of the story. The student sees the group several times and focuses on the beauty of the youngest looking dancer carrying a large drum. He considers how being on the same road as these travelling performers was exciting. Later, he encounters them again at a tea house, but upon hearing that they were leaving for the next town, he struggles with the thought of chasing after them. Upon catching up with the group, he acts inconspicuously as he passes them on the trail. Much to his relief, the only male in the group, Eikichi, suddenly strikes up a conversation with the student, giving him a reason to keep pace with the travellers. He quickly befriends Eikichi, and follows the group until they arrive at an old inn.
The Dancing Girl of Izu
The story: The nineteen year old narrator, an introspective student on a holiday from an upper class school in Tokyo, is hiking the Izu Peninsula attempting to escape his feelings of loneliness and depression. He meets and becomes infatuated with a young dancer in a traveling family of entertainers. At first he feels a vague erotic attraction to her. But when he sees her in the nude in a public bath, he realizes that she is still a child, still pure and innocent. This changes his feelings for her to a loving brother-like protector. He is accepted by and becomes close to the family. Although they are, as traveling entertainers, considered to be social outcasts, they, in their few days together, are able to help him to accept himself and to respond to others in a warm, open way.