Tanizaki, Junichiro

Tanizaki, Junichiro jo͝onēˈchērō tänēˈzäkē [key], 1886–1965, Japanese writer. A witness to the devastating Tokyo earthquake of 1923, he moved to the Kansai region (the greater Kyoto-Osaka area), where a more traditional lifestyle still prevailed. This environment influenced his outlook, and many of his works carry an implied condemnation of excessive interest in Western things. A prolific author, 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. He 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 Japanese version of The Tale of Genji; the darkly humorous murder mystery In Black and White (1928, tr. 2018); Some Prefer Nettles (1928–29, tr. 1955); Quicksand (1928–30, tr. 1994); The Key (1956, tr. 1961), and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961, tr. 1965). Other works 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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