Tanizaki, Junichiro (jŏnēˈchērō tänēˈzäkē) [key], 1886–1965, Japanese writer. A prolific writer whose popularity extended through the reigns of three emperors, Tanizaki is perhaps best known for Sasameyuki (1943–48, tr. The Makioka Sisters, 1957). A detailed account of an Osaka family that embraces a tradition-bound way of life, it was the first major Japanese work of the post–World War II period. Tanizaki's other novels include a modern version of The Tale of Genji ; Some Prefer Nettles (1928, tr. 1955); Quicksand (1928–30, tr. 1994); The Key (1956, tr. 1961), and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961, tr. 1965). A witness to the Tokyo earthquake of 1923, which destroyed half the city, he moved to the Kansai region (the greater Kyoto-Osaka area), where a more traditional lifestyle still prevailed. The new environment influenced his outlook, and many of his works carry an implied condemnation of excessive interest in Western things. Tanizaki often writes of women, taking as his themes obsessive love, the destructive forces of sexuality, and the dual nature of woman as goddess and demon. His other work includes the selected short stories of Seven Japanese Tales (tr. 1963) and The Gourmet Club (tr. 2001) and the novellas The Reed Cutter (1932, tr. 1994) and Captain Shigemoto's Mother (1949–50, tr. 1994).
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