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3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  3,104 Ratings  ·  231 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 und
Paperback, 237 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1924)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 18, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”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
Jr Bacdayan
Feb 27, 2017 Jr Bacdayan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Naomi is Junichiro Tanizaki’s stunningly evocative work exhibiting a man’s romantic-erotic obsession with his unfaithful wife.

“I wanted to boast to everyone, “This woman is mine. Take a look at my treasure.”

This is a tale of agony, emotionally and sexually. Joji, a successful professional almost in his thirties, is bewitched by a modest and innocent eurasian waitress of fifteen so much so that the he propositions her and takes her guardianship as his own. Initially unsure of what he wanted, th
Jan 28, 2015 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: にほん

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
Oct 01, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan
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
Eddie Watkins
Apr 14, 2010 Eddie Watkins rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese-fiction
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
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

If one wishes to render a portrait of an egotistical tantrum, one simply needs to tell a grown man no, and only no. Various demographical and self-reflexive factors interact with this situation, of course, but the gist of it for a long time now has been that normality is artificial, and the obsession with demonizing the used stems from nothing more than said calcified reality of whose word becomes law. Men gave rights to women; men never should have been in the position to give rights in th
monica ♪
1 foolish star

What the hell did I just read??
No. Why the hell did I even bother to read this book at all???!!!

God seriously I hated everything about this book!
This book was exactly like what the original title said『痴人の愛』 or often translated as 'A Fool's Love'.

Jōji was a lunatic masochist. I don't understand what the hell did he see on Naomi.
He would just do anything Naomi asked for, although she really was so lazy, useless, ungrateful bitch.

Naomi was an ungrateful, shameless, useless, selfish, g
Feb 16, 2014 AC rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 18, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing
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.
Uyuyan Adam
1920'lerin Japonya'sında geçen, Lolita'ya ve Tanzimat dönemi romanlarına göz kırpan (Evet, Tanzimat!) bir roman. Körü körüne batılılaşmanın getirdiği ahlaki çöküntü, genç bir kıza duyulan yıkıcı bir tutku hikayesi ile anlatılıyor. Dönem Japonya'sına tanıklık etmek açısından ilginç. Bir yandan dans kulupleri, batı tarzı restoranlar, müzik dükkanları varken, bir yandan da elle çekilen arabalardan, kimonolardan, takunyalardan bahsediliyor.

İbret olması amacıyla yazılsa da didaktik tonun baskın olmam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Akemi G
Jul 14, 2015 Akemi G rated it it was amazing
The literal translation of the original 痴人の愛 would be "Idiot's Love" but this might not sound very attractive to English-speaking people; "Idiotic Love" or "Foolish Love" might work, but using the main female character's name is an acceptable alternative.

I read this in Japanese, and I am not familiar with any of the English translation. It looks like there are several translations, but I don't see translator's name on some editions here on GR, so it's hard to tell.

I guess it's hard to apprecia
May 27, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: made-me-cry
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.
Sep 21, 2014 Joe rated it it was ok
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
Dec 01, 2010 Kimberly rated it it was ok
A businessman finds a 15 year old girl working in a cafe, takes her to live with him, teaches her, bathes her, buys her tons of clothes and marries her. What part of that tripped you up? The 15 year old? The bathing? Yeah, me too.

Naomi by Junichiro Tanizaki is the third book on my brother’s Japanese Literature syllabus. Joji, the creeper who discovers Naomi in the cafe, narrates the novel. He’s so head-over-heels crazy in love with her that as the novel progresses, the reader sees that Naomi is
Dixie Diamond
Nov 20, 2007 Dixie Diamond rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 1920s, asian, my_books
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
Shane Avery
Jan 05, 2009 Shane Avery rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Jill Hughes
Nov 04, 2015 Jill Hughes rated it liked it
Shelves: japan
Three stars because it's well-written, I just didn't like it. I have no doubt that Junichiro Tanizaki is a brilliant author, I just don't like uncomfortable stories. The two main characters are both awful people in an increasingly strange and honestly gross and abusive (on both sides) situation, but what kept me going was knowing the author did it all intentionally. I don't think you're supposed to like this story. It's critique and satire and flat-out meant to make you uncomfortable. The story ...more
Fulya İçöz
Jan 19, 2017 Fulya İçöz rated it liked it
Aslında 3,5. Yine sado-mazo ilişkinin anlatıldığı bir Tanizaki romanı bu. Tuhaf bir şekilde şu ana kadar okuduğum tüm Tanizaki romanlarında erkekler haddinden fazla acı çekiyor. Yıllar yıllar önce Tanizaki'nin Anahtar romanından aldığım tadı aldım bundan da. Peki neden beş yıldız veremiyorum? Yazarın böyle bir karakter yaratabilme yeteneği aslında takdire şayan ama ben Naomi'den daha fazla Joji'den nefret ettim. Joji'nin bu derece acı çekme arzusu midemi bulandırdığı gibi uzun zamandır bir roman ...more
Jan 24, 2017 Morgan rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed the story. I really liked the writing, but I didn't like the characters. They were complex, but I don't think as a reader I was suppose to like them. I would say this was almost like the Japanese version of Lolita, but less disturbing. At times this reminded me of Osamu Tezuka's Ayako as well. A lot of this book as to to do with Westernization in Japan as well. I don't know much about Junichiro Tanizaki to talk more about the book, but found out about him watch ...more
Dec 14, 2009 Youngki.bear rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, fiction
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.
Yajnaseni Roy
Oct 15, 2016 Yajnaseni Roy rated it really liked it
The narrator in the story is indescribably masochistic. The story tells beforehand exactly what is going to pan out. And then takes us point by point through it all, on a sadistic joyride. Highly recommended if you'd like to read depressive Japanese literature.
This book reminded me an awful lot of Lolita in the beginning. It's about a young Japanese electrical engineer, Joji, who brings a teenage girl, Naomi, to live with him. His goal is to groom her to be his perfect wife. He chooses her for her unusual Western-sounding name and her somewhat Western appearance and beauty.

Early on, Naomi is like a child. They play games and he spoils her with gifts and pays for her education. Eventually, they begin a sexual relationship and marry. It is at this poin
Dec 20, 2012 S. rated it it was amazing
much English-language commentary about this book including the description right here on GR, focuses on the aspects of this book dealing with Japan's embrace of the West. this phenomenon is only exaggerated by the English title of 痴人の愛 , which is "a fool's love." unfortunately, Tanizaki's preoccupation in his writing is not so much the West-Japan thing (which Western scholars have extended even to 細雪 --clearly about the decline of the upper class in Japan, rather than 'reaction to Westernzation' ...more
Feb 06, 2010 Massimiliano rated it really liked it
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
Moby F.
Jan 01, 2017 Moby F. rated it liked it
I honestly dislike Naomi. I have no idea why I keep on reading about her. Joji spoiled her too much, like really much. His desire and affection and those- I have to turn her into a perfect wife- is getting on my nerves.

I was really annoyed when Naomi goes and spend all of Joji's money, declining to do all the house chores, cooking and stuff but was so into buying good stuff, making new kimonos and Joji-- being Joji just couldn't bear the side of 'pitiful' Naomi just go it's-okay-you-can-spend-m
Alor Deng
Oct 14, 2014 Alor Deng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Greg Talbot
Aug 30, 2014 Greg Talbot rated it it was ok

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
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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 about Jun'ichirō Tanizaki...

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“If I know from the start that I'm going to be alone, I'm not lonely. It doesn't bother me.” 21 likes
“but once you start doubting,it's hard to know what to believe.” 9 likes
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