Synopses & Reviews
Junichiro Tanizaki’s Seven Japanese Tales
collects stories that explore the boundary at which love becomes self-annihilation, where the contemplation of beauty gives way to fetishism, and where tradition becomes an instrument of voluptuous cruelty.
A beautiful blind musician exacts the ultimate sacrifice from the man who is both her disciple and her lover. A tattooist turns the body of an exquisite young girl into a reflection of her predatory inner nature. A young man is erotically imprisoned by memories of his absent mother. Shocking in its content and lyrical in its beauty, these stories represent some of the finest work of one of Japan’s greatest modern writers.
In these seven stories, the author of The Makioka Sisters explores the territory where love becomes self-annihilation, where the contemplation of beauty gives way to fetishism, and where tradition becomes an instrument of refined cruelty.
About the Author
Junichiro Tanizaki was born in Tokyo in 1886 and lived in the city until the earthquake of 1923, when he moved to the Kyoto-Osaka region, the scene of one of his most well-known novels, The Makioka Sisters (1943-48). The author of over twenty books, including Naomi (1924), Some Prefer Nettles (1928), Arrowroot (1931), and A Portrait of Shunkin (1933), Tanizaki also published translations of the Japanese classic, The Tale of Genji in 1941, 1954, and 1965. Several of his novels, including Quicksand (1930), The Key (1956), and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961) were made into movies. He was awarded Japan’s Imperial Prize in Literature in 1949, and in 1965 he became the first Japanese writer to be elected as an honorary member of the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Tanizaki died in 1965.