It is now precisely a quarter of a century since I published my first tribute to Kawabata, a rather naïvely gushing review in the Toronto Globe and Mail of The Sound of the Mountain (in Edward Seidensticker's award-winning translation, of course), to which an equally gushing editor had given the headline: 'Secret Riches in Paraphrased Haiku'. 1 A brash young reviewer who had not yet been to Japan or made any formal study of the country, its culture or its language, and who was reading a modern Japanese novel for the first time in his life, I was nonetheless captivated by the 'haiku' quality of Kawabata's prose and by the obvious depth and subtlety of his art of fiction. Indeed, even if I were asked today for a quick, on-the-spot account of the reasons for my appreciation of his work, I doubt that I could improve much on that first 'innocent', 'intuitive' response to his greatest novel. (Did not an ancient wit say that most of us are geniuses at twenty and mediocrities at fifty?) But the study which follows represents a more extended response, at least, and hopefully a more informed and considered one. Although undoubtedly inadequate to its subject, it is, after all, a product of the intervening quarter century's reading of and rumination on Kawabata's work. My enthusiasm for that work has only deepened, even if now I am somewhat less gushing in my expression of it.