THE SLIVER FIFTY-SEN
Clayton Dunnaway Yasunari Kawabata
Yoshiko, a 17 year old girl living in pre-WW2 Japan leads a simple life. Every month,
she gets a 2-yen allowance, & once a week, she will go to the department store and buys (for
10sen) a loaf of French bread, but other than that, she saved all of her money. One day, she saw a
small paperweight, a hexagonal dog that was 40sen. She debated about whether or not to buy it
for 10 days. Finally, she decided that she is going to buy it. Later, she visits a bargain basement
with her mother. They go around searching for things to buy together, and they eventually they
find an umbrella that they want to buy for “someone” but when they finally push through the
crowd, she finds that there are no umbrellas left. 7 years later, in 1946 (for them), Yoshiko is
living in poverty in Tokyo, her mother having died in a firebombing and her house having burned
1. Her family must place a lot of value in custom and
tradition for her mother to give her the allowance herself.
2. Yoshiko must be very good with money if she spent ten
days working out if she was going to buy something that she
could easily afford.
3. It is amazing how prices will skyrocket during wars and
other times when good quality items are even more
1.Did she spend her money on anything other than the bread
and the paperweight? If so, what and why?
2.What made he like the things like the paperweight so
“It [the paperweight] was her one remembrance of life in her
This quote makes the reader wonder if I could get one item
to remember my life by what would it be?
Her buying the paperweight is like deciding to get married,
you know you can afford it, but do you really want to?