Junichiro Tanizaki

From Academic Kids

Junichiro Tanizaki (谷崎潤一郎 Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, July 24, 1886 - July 30, 1965) was a Japanese author. Leetes Island Books, which published the translation of his In Praise of Shadows, romanizes his name correctly as Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, while other publishers have simplified the romanization of his given name to Junichiro, Jun'ichiro, or Junichir.

Tanizaki was one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, and remains perhaps the most popular Japanese novelist after Natsume Soseki. He was born to a merchant family in the center of Tokyo. In his early years he was infatuated with the West and all things modern, living briefly in a Western-style house in Yokohama, the foreign expatriate suburb of Tokyo, and leading a decidedly bohemian lifestyle. He was first published in 1910 but his reputation really began to take off when he moved to Kyoto after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The move triggered a change in his enthusiasms, as he tempered his youthful love for the West and modernity with a greater emphasis on his long-held interest in traditional Japanese culture, particularly the culture of the Kansai region comprising Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. The change in his attitudes can be seen in his multiple translations into modern Japanese of the eleventh-century classic The Tale of Genji and in his masterpiece "Sasameyuki" ("A Light Snowfall", published in English as The Makioka Sisters), a tale about four daughters of a waning Osaka merchant family. Though his early novels paint a rich atmosphere of 1920s Tokyo and Osaka, during the 1930s Tanizaki turned away from contemporary affairs to write about Japan's feudal past, perhaps as a reaction to the growing mood of militarism in society and politics. After World War II Tanizaki again emerged into literary prominence, winning a host of awards and until his death regarded as Japan's greatest living author. Most of his works are highly sensual, a few particularly centering around eroticism, but they are laced with wit and ironic sophistication. Though he is remembered primarily for his novels and short stories, he also wrote poetry, drama, and essays. He was, above all, a masterful storyteller.

His works include:

  • Naomi (Japanese: 痴人の愛 Chijin no Ai) (1923)
  • Quicksand (Japanese: 卍 Manji) (1928-30)
  • Some Prefer Nettles (Japanese: 蓼喰ふ蟲Tade kuu mushi) (1929)
  • Arrowroot (Japanese: 吉野葛 Yoshino kuzu) (1931)
  • The Reed Cutter (Japanese: 蘆刈り Ashikari) (1932)
  • A Portrait of Shunkin (Japanese: 春琴抄 Shunkinsh) (1933)
  • In Praise of Shadows (Japanese: 陰翳礼讃 In'ei raisan) (1933) [an essay on aesthetics]
  • The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi (Japanese: 武州公秘話 Bushk hiwa) (1935)
  • A Cat, A Man, and Two Women (Japanese: 猫と庄造と二人のをんな Neko to Shz to futari no onna) (1936)
  • The Makioka Sisters (Japanese: 細雪 Sasameyuki) (1943-1948)
  • Captain Shigemoto's Mother (Japanese: 少将滋幹の母 Shsh Shigemoto no haha) (1949)
  • The Key (Japanese: 鍵 Kagi) (1956)
  • Childhood Years: A Memoir (Japanese: 幼少時代 Ysh jidai) (1957)
  • Diary of an Old Man (Japanese: 瘋癲老人日記 Ften rjin nikki) (1961)

There are two collections in English of his short fiction:

  • Seven Japanese Tales (1963)
  • The Gourmet Club (2001)

Recommended secondary sources:

  • Adriana Boscaro, et al., eds., Tanizaki in Western Languages: A Bibliography of Translations and Studies
  • Adriana Boscaro and Anthony Chambers, eds., A Tanizaki Feast: The International Symposium in Venice
  • Anthony Chambers, The Secret Window: Ideal Worlds in Tanizaki's Fiction
  • Van Gessel, Three Modern Novelists
  • Ken Ito, Visions of Desire: Tanizaki's Fictional Worlds
  • Donald Keene, Dawn to the West


Template:Openhistoryfr:Junichir Tanizaki it:Tanizaki Jun'ichirō ja:谷崎潤一郎 zh:谷崎潤一郎

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