Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Naomi” as Want to Read:
Naomi
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Naomi

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,256 ratings  ·  173 reviews
Junichiro Tanizaki’s Naomi is both a hilarious story of one man’s obsession and a brilliant reckoning of a nation’s cultural confusion.

When twenty-eight-year-old Joji first lays eyes upon the teenage waitress Naomi, he is instantly smitten by her exotic, almost Western appearance. Determined to transform her into the perfect wife and to whisk her away from the seamy unde
...more
Paperback, 237 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1924)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Naomi, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Naomi

Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
46th out of 448 books — 1,924 voters
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiSputnik Sweetheart by Haruki MurakamiOut by Natsuo KirinoThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
An Unusual Japanese Book List
7th out of 77 books — 86 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jeffrey Keeten
”It is often said that ‘women deceive men.’ But from my experience, I’d say that it doesn’t start with the woman deceiving the man. Rather, the man, without any prompting, rejoices in being deceived; when he falls in love with a woman, everything she says, whether true or not, sounds adorable to our ears…. I know what you are up to, but I’ll let you tempt me.”

 photo Naomi_zpsg2isarer.jpg
Jōji’s Lolita.

Jōji is a salaryman. He grew up on a wealthy farm in the country and has no desire to return. He enjoys the benefits of liv
...more
Praj

One... two...three..... The nimble feet glide effortlessly to the choreographed beats, smooth flowing movements inviting the grace of the translucent skin embracing the rhythmic spin, the soft camellia lips flutter in coquettish whispers,the extravagance of the feline eyes prosper in the richness of the silk delicately stretched on the supple breasts swaying the vile sensuality on the genteel dance floors of El Dorado. The music stops. The moist palm slips away from the slender waist. To the shr
...more
Hadrian
What is Naomi? Is it a story of Japanese obsession over European customs? A mad obsessions with a constructed image instead of the actual breathing thing? Is it a story about attempts to 'liberate' women by giving them new outfits and money yet still posing them as dolls? The real power of said dolls who use their position on a pedestal to dominate and throw away men? The question of whether fools can grapple with their own folly?

Naomi is all of these.

This is a short, crisp novella about a mou
...more
Evan
Joji is a 28-year-old salaryman, a former country gentleman now in Tokyo, who becomes smitten with a 15-year-old "Eurasian"-looking cafe waitress, Naomi, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks whose neglectful parents seem to be involved in shady dealings. Her "western" features draw him. As it happens -- and like a lot of their contemporaries in 1920s urban Japan -- the two find themselves under the spell of western cultural influences; the clothes, the movies, the products and the mores and ...more
Eddie Watkins
Two of the last few novels I’ve read revolve around a man in his 30’s becoming erotically obsessed with a much younger woman - obsessed to the point of self-destruction: Boredom by Moravia and Naomi by Tanizaki; so I can’t help but compare the two.

Boredom, as I mentioned, thrilled me. Naomi bored me somewhat. Both are of course predictable in their larger strokes; you know the men will get further and further enthralled in the languid chaos of their consorts’ sex, and that they will be effective
...more
AC
4+ stars. This is, indeed, a charming book. Told in a straightforward naturalistic style, it translates well, and reads easily, effortlessly. A story of sexual obsession, but a tender story. This is early Tanizaki (1925). A very nice book.
Brian
This book is one of the elite few on my Shelf Of Pain, which contains the books that sucker-punch me, that hurt, that make me cry, and make me like it. Tanizaki is a frigging genius, and I need to read more of his books, and maybe check out some Natsume while I'm at it. The central questions -- how powerful is female allure? what does it mean to be enslaved? -- are questions with a lot of resonance for me.
Tosh
On one level it's a story of a slightly older man in love with a young girl. But being Tanizaki, it is also about old Japan in love with the modern (early 20th Century) world. Either way this book has it all: eroticism, obsession, and smart as well.
Meredith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dixie Diamond
I think this is probably a difficult book for modern Western readers to really get into because it's just so different from so many things about our culture. If F. Scott Fitzgerald had written this, there would have been an ending with a cruel twist and at least an abstract sense of comeuppance for Naomi. For both characters, probably.

Instead, we're faced, actually, with two unflattering stereotypes of opposing cultures: The vulgarity of American popular culture and the timidity of Japanese trad
...more
Youngki.bear
I think this is one of my favourite novels about the nature of "true love"... I think Tanizaki might have been my kind of person in this respect, a person who was willing to entertain the possibility that there is no such thing as "love" beyond how people rationalize manipulation in their relationships.
Caroline
Joji Kawai, a young salaryman nicknamed the 'gentleman' by his colleagues becomes interested in Naomi, an exotic looking teenage hostess, and thinks to rescue her from a seedy life. He offers to support her if she will come and live with him, doing the housework and cooking. He pays for her English and music lessons and plays silly games with her at home. After a time, he proposes marriage and she accepts.

But Naomi isn't all that she appears to be and gradually Joji realizes the depth of her man
...more
أثير
هل الحب يُعد مسوغا كافيا للتصرف بغباء؟!

يأخذك الكتاب إلى اليابان بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى على لسان بطل الرواية جوجي - 27 عاماً -المنبهر بالغرب، يحكي فيها قصة وقوعه في شراك ناوومي - 14 عاماً - لاعبة ملامحها ذات المسحة الغربية دورا كبيرا في ذلك، انتشلها جوجي من محيطها الوضيع واعتنى بها كدمية ليعيد تشكيلها كما يشاء بهدف جعلها الزوجة الذكية، الجميلة والأنيقة ليفخر بها مستقبلاً.

لكن تنقلب الآية وتخرج الدمية عن السيطرة لتسيطر بدورها على جوجي، وتدخل القصة في دوامة الخداع والكذب والغباء.

أسلوب الكاتب ا
...more
Alor Deng
Joji Kawai, a 28yr old man, finds himself irresistibly drawn to a 15yr old waitress, Naomi. At first, he convinces himself that it's not love so much as it is a desire to cultivate this girl that has him entranced. And so, he begins his project to add refinement to this girl by having her move in with him and learning all about the western ways. However, never in his wildest dreams could he have envisioned what would happen next. This is by turns a love story, but also a poke in the face of Occi ...more
Massimiliano
This book develops on two levels. On one level it's the story of Joji, a "sarariman" living in Tokyo in the 1920s who falls for Naomi, a 14 years old country girl. At first he takes her in his house and creates a plan to turn her to his ideal woman, according to his fascination for western vogue. They eventually get married, but she gradually develops in an unexpected way, rebels to his dreams and becomes a woman as beautiful as vulgar, as far away from the japanese woman esthetic canon of the t ...more
Shane Avery
A strange novel, set in post-WWI Tokyo. The author uses the metaphor of sexual seduction as a way to explore modernity, and the effects of Western culture on Japanese traditions. The main character is a hopelessly weak, and at times comically passive, businessman, who develops a masochistic fetish for the eponymous seductress, whom he considers both his daughter and his wife. Naomi, in turn, manipulates the man through sex, to gain material things. In the process she becomes a cruel and sadistic ...more
Andrew
When I say "this is like a Japanese version of Lolita," that probably sounds like it could be the perviest shit on the planet. It's really not. So I'll preface this by saying that while it is a Japanese version of Lolita, there's no schoolgirl tentacle rape or anything like that.

Rather, what you get is a narrator who is a more pathetic version of Humbert. And the titular Naomi, unlike the light of Humbert's life and fire of his loins, takes on superhuman layers as the symbol for a whole society
...more
Greg Talbot
Na-om-i

Similar to Nabokob's "Lolita", an older man is allured by a young maiden and seeks to tame her in his shaping. The tone of the novel is not predatory or manipulative as H.H. in Lolita. Tanizaki's romance is of a more bitter, longing, sad man's lament that woman is just not that into him.

Tanizaki's writing is simple, and has a tastefulness that is more suggestive than explicit. Passages focus on what it means to suffer, to long for emotional intimacy, and he describes this grasping for th
...more
Anna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe
Naomi works much better as an allegory about the changes that Japan was facing after WWI and their obsession with all things western and youth-oriented, than it does as a tale of obsessive love (lust, really) between Joji and Naomi, who is thirteen years Joji's junior.

As noted, when read as an allegory, it is interesting to see the interplay and tension between old-school, reserved, "older" Japan and the new movement towards Western influences in dress, music, movies, and attitudes. Traditional
...more
Jeong-Won Lee
I don't know why, but I just could not concentrate on reading this book for some reason. The plot did not really appeal to me, and it got to the point where I just did not want to see the cover of this book on my desk. However, I finally got through it, and I'm glad I gave it a second chance.

This book is about a man in this thirties named Joji and a teenage girl he meets at a cafe named Naomi. Just like how foreign her name is, her appearance, too, is similar as that of a Western girl, which ca
...more
meeners
the 2 stars are for the translation, which is horrible. it's not inaccurate per se, but it totally flattens out tanizaki's style and all the fascinating textual stuff going on. argh, so frustrating.

(side note: the book i have is one i bought in college, with all my old notes scribbled in the margins. it appears i really, really hated jouji back then. XD now i find him kind of hilarious.)
Lucas
"Now do you see how frightening I can be?"

No tengo mucho que decir de este libro así que sera una reseña corta. En si el libro es aburrido, la historia no es ni original ni entretenida, si, me engancho tal vez la ultima parte pero eso en el todo de la novela es bastante poco. Los personajes son desagradables, Joji, el supuesto hombre engañado por las artimañas femeninas es mas un idiota, estúpido y sin contenido hombre que por alguna razón gana demasiado dinero. Naomi la puta, arpía y mala es
...more
DoctorM
Oct 21, 2008 DoctorM rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of dark comedies of manners and cultural fantasies
A scathing satire of Japan in the early 1920s. A slightly older and "Westernised" young man with pretensions to education and culture finds a younger, naive, poor girl to re-mold into his image of the perfect "Western" and "modern" girl. The novel tracks his obsessions...and how when Naomi grows into being far more than what he wanted, his fantasies collapse...
Putri
It just didn't work out for me. At first it was interesting, then gradually collapsed until the middle part. After that, everything seems like walking on a straight path going nowhere. I ended up skipping a lot of pages. But this novel successfully made me hate Naomi herself and feel pity for Mr. Kawai.
Dru Pagliassotti
This Japanese novel predates Nabokov's Lolita by about 31 years but covers similar territory, although ultimately Joji is more tragic a figure than Humbert Humbert.

In 1918 Tokyo, 28-year-old Joji finds 15-year-old Naomi in a cafe and falls in love with her vaguely Western appearance and cross-culturally apt name. He spends time and money grooming the girl into a cultured, Western-style wife only to discover that he's created a selfish, manipulative monster.

I don't agree with the cover reviewer
...more
Robert Wechsler
Feb 05, 2015 Robert Wechsler marked it as unfinished
Shelves: japanese-lit
What I enjoyed most of what I read of Tanizaki's first novel was the tension between East and West, which tied it in well with the last novel I read, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book. The subtleties and absurdities of this tension are wonderful.

But progressively the novel becomes too much the old story of a man trying to remake and yet preserve a young woman, spoiling her into a monster. With prosaic prose, this story line couldn’t keep me interested.
Cagne
Evolution of a daddy/little relationship.
The introduction by Moravia is concise and useful, puts the book against the historical background of the globalization of Japan and the effects on its culture, although for the reader it might be a stretch, but I've found interesting the link between the theme and Stendhal's theory of crystallization, and the concept of "innocence due to historic-social causes".
<>
Evoluzione di una relazione daddy/little.
L'introduzione di Moravia non è male, inq
...more
Sara
“The record of our marriage ends here. If you think that my account is foolish, please go ahead and laugh. If you think that there's a moral in it, then, please let it serve as a lesson. For myself, it makes no difference what you think of me; I'm in love with Naomi.”

Well I've opted for Option C- just be afraid. I started out thinking I was more like Naomi- prior to Naomi's terrible nature being revealed in full- but I realized I'm way closer to being the poor fool Jouji. Too close for comfort.
...more
Gertrude & Victoria
It seems that the most fascinating stories are those we can clearly and unmistakably see ourselves in. This is what captured my imagination. Not by mere coincidence then, did my life reflect the life of Joji, the main character, at the very time I was reading his story - our story. His words echoed in my mind, provided thought, and guided my actions, which rippled uncontrollably and manifested into a private tragedy of suffering and loss, so in this way, our lives overlapped and fused together a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Waiting Years
  • The Wild Geese
  • The Setting Sun
  • The Three-Cornered World
  • The Lake
  • After The Banquet
  • Black Rain
  • Kappa
  • Rivalry: A Geisha's Tale
  • Secret Rendezvous
  • The Silent Cry
6263
Jun'ichiro Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎) was a Japanese author, one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, and perhaps the most popular Japanese novelist after Natsume Sōseki.

Some of his works present a rather shocking world of sexuality and destructive erotic obsessions; others, less sensational, subtly portray the dynamics of family life in the context of the rapid changes in 20th-century Japa
...more
More about Jun'ichirō Tanizaki...
The Makioka Sisters In Praise of Shadows Some Prefer Nettles The Key Diary of a Mad Old Man

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »