S now Country (Yukiguni, 1935-47) is often regarded as the first major work marking Kawabata's return to a more traditionally Japanese style of writing after his experiments with a Western-style modernism in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Certainly, if we compare it to a radically experimental work like Crystal Fantasies, that study of impotence and alienation among the urban intelligentsia, written partly in a stream-of-consciousness style and replete with up-to-the-minute scientific terminology, then Snow Country's more traditional Japanese flavour is obvious: with its setting in the mountainous 'snow country', far away from any modern urban centre - an area redolent of fairy tales, folk arts and traditional country lifestyles, the beauty of the scenery lending itself well to lyrical descriptions using haiku-like imagery - and with its ostensibly traditional story of the tragic love affair between a wealthy Tokyo dilettante and a poor hotspring geisha, the work seems to revive the timeless world of traditional Japanese poetry, romantic fiction and kabukt theatre. Coming after such eccentric and even misanthropic works as Of Birds and Beasts, Snow Country seems determinedly designed to ingratiate itself with the Japanese reading public at large, to achieve the same kind of popularity and even mass cultural icon status as The Dancing Girl of Izu. If that was its purpose, it succeeded brilliantly: like Izu, it has become a standard fixture of modern Japanese popular culture, inspiring films, songs, tourist booms in the snow country, and other such epiphenomena.