Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

The phrase palm-of-the-hand stories was coined by Yasunari Kawabata to describe more than 140 short stories he wrote over his long career. The earliest story was published in 1920 with the last appearing posthumously in 1972. The stories are characterized by their brevity – some are less than a page long – and by their dramatic concision.

Yasunari Kawabata 1938.jpg

My take on Palm-of-the-Hand Stories are that they can literally be held in the palm of the hand. Because of that criteria, these stories would not be titled.

Reading such stories contains the allusion of to palm reading. Sentences become like lines of a palm offering insights to something beyond itself, but to which it is connected. Looked at in this way, the reader has as much, if not more, of a role in the creation of these stories as the wrter.