The Lake (Yasunari Kawabata novel)

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The Lake
First English-language edition
AuthorYasunari Kawabata
Original titleMizuumi (みづうみ)
1974 (Kodansha) (in English)
Media typePrint (paperback)

The Lake is a short 1954 novel by the Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata. This book tells the story of a former schoolteacher named Gimpei Momoi.


Beginning in Karuizawa, the novel alternates between the now middle-aged Momoi and recurring memories of a lake from his hometown, and his interactions with a number of women, beginning with a relative and the uncomfortable circumstances surrounding a death in his family; the novel then explores his connection to a woman who loses a purse full of several years' worth of money earned as a lover to an older man as well as a relationship with a student, Hisako, when Momoi is a teacher, a relationship that begins with a somewhat odd-request for a good cure for a foot condition Momoi suffers from and then examines the circumstances of Hisako's family, who are well-off in the immediate post-war era. Finally, the now middle-aged Momoi follows a young girl during a summer period leading up to a festival and crosses path with a woman closer to his age.