Yasunari Kawabata was born in 1899 in Osaka , Japan. He was the son of a physician. After the death of his parents he was raised by his maternal grandmother in the countryside. He attended Tokyo Imperial University 1920 to 1924. He made his debut as a writer with the short story "The Izu Dancer". In 1937 he published the novel "Snow Country" which secured his reputation as one of Japan's great writers. In 1953 he became a member of the Art Academy of Japan. In 1957 was named the chairman of the P.E.N. club of Japan. At several international writers conferences, Kawabata was the national representative for Japan. He recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1968.
He was also the founder of the publication "Bungei Jidai", a magazine which became the medium for many new emerging Japanese writers who were part of a new movement in Japanese literature. One of these new writers was Yukio Mishima.
Kawabata was a close friend of Yukio Mishima. He was the official host at his wedding reception. Kawabata and Mishima met for the first time at Kawabata's home in the town of Kamakura on New Year's day 1946 when Mishima brought Kawabata some samples of his writing. Kawabata was then 46 years old and Mishima had just recently graduated from college. Kawabata liked Mishima's stories and he recommended them for publication in a magazine that he had founded with some other writers from his home town of Kamakura called "Ningen"(Man). Kawabata was the vice-president of a small company called the Kamakura Library and so his decision to support Mishima was very decisive in the magazine's decision to publish Mishima's work.Kawabata later became Mishima's mentor and remained his official mentor throughout the remainder of Mishima's life.After a long illness, Kawabata commited suicide in 1972.