Tanizaki's masterpiece is the story of four sisters, and the declining fortunes of a traditional Japanese family. It is a loving and nostalgic recreation of the sumptuous, intricate upper-class life of Osaka immediately before World War Two. With surgical precision, Tanizaki lays bare the sinews of pride, and brings a vanished era to vibrant life.
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(198mm x 129mm x 32mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
On the eve of war the Makioka family, representative of an old merchant class, found themselves on the financial and social decline. Their initial refusal to recognize this is proclaimed by a finicky attitude to the marriage proposals for the hand of Yukiko, now thirty. She is the epitome of Japanese womanhood-fragile, silent and obedient. She rejects the Western mannerisms and ideals of the youngest sister, Tacko, who is waiting impatiently for Yukiko's marriage so that her own secret, unacceptable, liaison might be acknowledged. The two live at the house of Schiko, the third sister, whose concern and love prevent her from forcing them to abide by tradition and live at the house of the eldest sister, Tsuroko, who has now moved to Tokyo- away from the pressure of pretense, away from tradition and away from the responsibility of ruling the collateral branches of the Makioka family. As the nubility of Yukiko, and therefore her younger sister, decreases, desperate recuperative measures are taken at the expense of protocol and honor. A suitable man is found just as Taeko's illegitimate pregnancy threatens to invalidate the preparations. All ends well, however. Poised and perceptive, the book expresses similar themes of the previous book Some ?? Nettles - dying tradition and dying aristocracy. (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 of 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.