Japanese culture, when compared to what’s generally passed off as Western culture, seems to be a little off. That’s not a value judgement, but an observation that compared to what Western Canon readers are used to, there’s more dissonance, and a willingness to examine topics which (at least in the time Tanizaki was writing) were either not covered in polite society, or were swept under the rug in bowdlerised editions.
It’s not the case here. Incest and fetishes, and the annihilation of the self in the service of one’s object of desire are the cornerstones of these works. (more…)