“Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965) Japanese novelist. Tanizaki’s works are characterized by skillful storytelling and by a deep concern with the psychic forces rooted in human sexuality. This is especially evident in his last two novels, Kagi (1957; tr The Key, 1960) and Futen rojin nikki (1961; tr Diary of a Mad Old Man, 1965), but is also true of his earliest stories, such as Shisei (1910; tr Tattoo, 1961). The works of his middle period, notably Tade kuu mushi (1928; tr Some Prefer Nettles, 1955). Shunkin sho (1933; tr A Portrait of Shunkin, 1965), and Sasame yuki (1943-48; tr The Makioka Sisters, 1957), reveal Tanizaki’s fascination with classical Japanese culture and its unique code of sensuous, feminized bearuty. His admiration for traditional aesthetics is expounded in a famous essay, In’ei raisan (1933; tr In Praise of Shadows, 1977). Many critics consider Tanizaki to be Japan’s greatest modern author.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.