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Jun'ichirō Tanizaki Jun'ichirō Tanizaki > Quotes


Jun'ichirō Tanizaki quotes Showing 1-30 of 83

“Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“The older we get the more we seem to think that everything was better in the past.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
“If I know from the start that I'm going to be alone, I'm not lonely. It doesn't bother me.”
Junichirô Tanizaki, Naomi
“The heart of mine is only one, it cannot be known by anybody but myself.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
“With lacquerware there is an extra beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth, when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its colour hardly differing from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapour rises from within, forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapour brings a delicate anticipation ... a moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance.”
Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.”
Junichiro Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters
“If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“There are those who say that when civilization progresses a bit further transportation facilities will move into the skies and under the ground, and that our streets will again be quiet, but I know perfectly well that when that day comes some new device for torturing the old will be invented.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“We Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce, then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the progressive Westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light—his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow.”
Junichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“but once you start doubting,it's hard to know what to believe.”
Junichirô Tanizaki, Naomi
“The quality that we call beauty ... must always grow from the realities of life.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“In the mansion called literature I would have the eaves deep and the walls dark, I would push back into the shadows the things that come forward too clearly, I would strip away the useless decoration. I do not ask that this be done everywhere, but perhaps we may be allowed at least one mansion where we can turn off the electric lights and see what it is like without them.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“[…] we can’t make a decision between being sad for a little while and being wretched for the rest of our lives. Or rather we’ve made the decision and have trouble finding the courage to carry it through.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles
“Each worm to his taste;
some prefer to eat nettles.”
Junichiro Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles
“For a woman who lived in the dark it was enough if she had a faint, white face —a full body was unnecessary.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“After looking at myself in the mirror, I looked at Satsuko. I could not believe that we were creatures of the same species. The uglier the face in the mirror, the more extraordinarily beautiful Satsuko seemed. If that ugly face were only uglier, I thought regretfully, Satsuko would look even more beautiful.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, The Key & Diary of a Mad Old Man
“But does a decent man make promises just to please a woman? Isn't it more honest to refuse to?"
"I don't like that sort of honesty. It's not honesty, it's lack of steadiness.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles
“It’s odd, but even when I am in pain I have a sexual urge. Perhaps especially when I am in pain I have a sexual urge. Or should I say that I am more attracted, more fascinated by women who cause me pain?”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, The Key & Diary of a Mad Old Man
“For someone who writes as slowly as I do, each installment is a full day's work. Newspaper novels are painful... Whether I like what I'm writing or not, whether I'm feeling inspired or not, I have to write an installment every day.”
Junichirô Tanizaki, Naomi
“When I lived on the Bluff in Yokohama I spend a good deal of my leisure in the company of foreign residents, at their banquets and balls. At close range I was not particularly struck by their whiteness, but from a distance I could distinguish them quite clearly from the Japanese. Among the Japanese were ladies who were dressed in gowns no less splendid than the foreigners’, and whose skin was whiter than theirs. Yet from across the room these ladies, even one alone, would stand out unmistakably from amongst a group of foreigners. For the Japanese complexion, no matter how white, is tinged by a slight cloudiness. These women were in no way reticent about powdering themselves. Every bit of exposed flesh—even their backs and arms—they covered with a thick coat of white. Still they could not efface the darkness that lay below their skin. It was as plainly visible as dirt at the bottom of a pool of pure water. Between the fingers, around the nostrils, on the nape of the neck, along the spine—about these places especially, dark, almost dirty, shadows gathered. But the skin of the Westerners, even those of a darker complexion, had a limpid glow. Nowhere were they tainted by this gray shadow. From the tops of their heads to the tips of their fingers the whiteness was pure and unadulterated. Thus it is that when one of us goes among a group of Westerners it is like a grimy stain on a sheet of white paper. The sight offends even our own eyes and leaves none too pleasant a feeling.”
Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“When she treads on my grave and feels as if she’s trampling on that doting old man’s bones, my spirit will still be alive, feeling the whole weight of her body, feeling pain, feeling the fine-grained velvety smoothness of the soles of her feet. Even after I’m dead I’ll be aware of that. I can’t believe I won’t. In the same way, Satsuko will be aware of the presence of my spirit, joyfully enduring her weight. Perhaps she may even hear my charred bones rattling together, chuckling, moaning, creaking. And that would by no means occur only when she was actually stepping on my grave. At the very thought of those Buddha’s Footprints modeled after her own feet she would hear my bones wailing under the stone. Between sobs I would scream: “It hurts! It hurts! … Even though it hurts, I’m happy—I’ve never been more happy, I’m much, much happier than when I was alive! … Trample harder! Harder!”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, The Key & Diary of a Mad Old Man
“Our cooking depends upon shadows and is inseparable from darkness”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
tags: japan
“If I've changed, I've changed."
"Have you really changed, or are you only making a show?"
"Making a show?"
"Yes."
"...I don't really know.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles
“There are those who hold that to quibble over matters of taste in the basic necessities of life is an extravagance”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“The quality that we call beauty, however, must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows towards beauty’s ends.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“If indeed "elegance is frigid," it can as well be described as filthy. There is no denying, at any rate, that among the elements of the elegance in which we take such delight is a measure of the unclean, the unsanitary.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“I wanted to boast to everyone,"This woman is mine. Take a look at my treasure.”
Junichirô Tanizaki, Naomi
“When I saw the illustration a new idea came to me. Might it not be possible to have Satsuko’s face and figure carved on my tombstone in the manner of such a Bodhisattva, to use her as the secret model for a Kannon or Seishi? After all, I have no religious beliefs, any sort of faith will do for me; my only conceivable divinity is Satsuko. Nothing could be better than to lie buried under her image.”
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, The Key & Diary of a Mad Old Man

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In Praise of Shadows In Praise of Shadows
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The Makioka Sisters The Makioka Sisters
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Naomi Naomi
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Some Prefer Nettles Some Prefer Nettles
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