In the wake of Japan's total and catastrophic defeat in the Pacific War, with most of the major cities levelled, the populace facing starvation and the country occupied by a foreign army for the first time in its history, the general mood of the nation seemed to favour a wholesale rejection of Japanese values and traditions. Not since the early Meiji period had there been such a general enthusiasm for Westernization and modernization and such a corresponding lack of enthusiasm for all that belonged to the country's own past. Despite his 'modernist phase' in the 1920s and early '30s, in the public mind Kawabata was by now thoroughly identified with those traditional values which seemed slated for early extinction. Though he was by no means an old man (he was still in his forties), and though he was still to write some of his greatest works, to many of the younger, more 'realistic' postwar writers, he already seemed to belong to the past. Fortunately, however, Kawabata did not succumb easily to the fashions or pressures of the moment. Perhaps we may regard this as the compensating positive aspect of his 'solipsism'. Or perhaps we should simply say that he had the confidence and maturity to go his own way.