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The marriage of Kaname and Misako is disintegrating: whilst seeking passion and fulfilment in the arms of others, they contemplate the humiliation of divorce. Misako's father believes their relationship has been damaged by the influence of a new and alien culture, and so attempts to heal the breach by educating his son-in-law in the time-honoured Japanese traditions of aesthetic and sensual pleasure. The result is an absorbing, chilling conflict between ancient and modern, young and old.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099283379
ISBN-10: 0099283379
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 10mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Feb-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » The dilatory dilemma of Kaname and Misako serves to point up not only the disaffection of a marriage - but of a culture, in which the new ways of the western world, in contemporary Japan, have intruded on the old traditions of the East. For Kaname and Misako have acquired a modern outlook and for some time have equivocated and deliberated over the divorce they should secure since Kaname has found that his passion has cooled, and, with his encouragement, Misako has taken a lover. Visits with Misako's father only confirm the discrepancies between the generations for the old man has taken a young girl as a concubine and groomed her to minister to his inclinations, with the traditional, submissive rituals, and it is he who attempts to return Kaname and Misako to an acceptance of each other and also of an established and unquestioning pattern. A satiric fable which, if diffident, is poised and precise. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Jun'ichiro Tanizaki

Junichiro Tanizaki was born in 1886 in Tokyo, where his family owned printing establishment. He studied Japanese literature at Tokyo Imperial University, and his first published work, a one-act play, appeared in 1910 in a literary magazine he helped to found. Tanizaki lived in the cosmopolitan Tokyo area until the earthquake of 1923, when he moved to the gentler and more cultivated Kyoto-Osaka region, the scene of The Makioka Sisters. There he became absorbed in the Japanese past and all his most important works were written from this point, among them Some Prefer Nettles (1929), Arrowroot (1931), The Secret History of the Lord Musashi (1935), several modern versions of The Tale of Genji (1941, 1954 and 1965), The Makioka Sisters (1943-48), Captain Shigemoto's Mother (1949), The Key (1956) and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961). By 1930 he had gained such renown that an edition of his complete works was published and he was awarded an Imperial Award for Cultural Merit in 1949. In 1964 he was elected an honorary Member of the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the first Japanese citizen ever to recieve this honour. Tanizaki died in 1965.

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In Praise of Shadows

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