In Praise of Shadows
Author: Junichiro Tanizaki | Paperback
Translated from the Japanese, In Praise of Shadows is an essay on aesthetics, which describes the collision between the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors and the dazzling light of the modern age. It covers architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of lacquer ware under candlelight and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.
"Tanizaki captures in an amusing, flowing commentary on beauty, architecture, drama, food, feminine beauty, and many other aspects of Japanese life the uneasy mixing of two clashing esthetic traditions." --Edwin O. Reischauer, Harvard University
Author Bio: Junichiro Tanizaki was a major writer of modern Japanese literature who wrote numerous books, including The Makioka Sisters and Naomi: A Novel.
**Mariko's Staff Pick**
This essay on Japanese aesthetics was written in 1933 by one of Japan's great novelists, Junichiro Tanizaki. He meanders through topics such as the traditional use of gold to reflect light indoors, makeup and masks in Kabuki versus Noh theater, and miso soup swirling in lacquered bowls. He even goes on at length about toilets and now I think differently of that whole experience! What would Tanizaki say about today's Mjui aesthetics and obsession with whiteness? Good comparison read for Kenya Hara's White or 100 Whites.
P.S. The character on the cover is "mu" which means "nothingness."