„I have an essay with the title "Eyes in their Last Extremity".
The title comes from the suicide note of the short-story writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke… It is the phrase that pulls at me with the greatest strength.“
— Yasunari Kawabata Japanese author, Nobel Prize winner 1899 - 1972
Japan, the Beautiful and Myself (1969), Context: I have an essay with the title "Eyes in their Last Extremity". The title comes from the suicide note of the short-story writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke... It is the phrase that pulls at me with the greatest strength. Akutagawa said that he seemed to be gradually losing the animal something known as the strength to live, and continued: "I am living in a world of morbid nerves, clear and cold as ice... I do not know when I will summon up the resolve to kill myself. But nature is for me more beautiful than it has ever been before. I have no doubt that you will laugh at the contradiction, for here I love nature even when I am contemplating suicide. But nature is beautiful because it comes to my eyes in their last extremity." Akutagawa committed suicide in 1927, at the age of thirty-five. In my essay, "Eyes in their Last Extremity", I had to say: "How ever alienated one may be from the world, suicide is not a form of enlightenment. However admirable he may be, the man who commits suicide is far from the realm of the saint." I neither admire nor am in sympathy with suicide.