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The Makioka Sisters

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,456 ratings  ·  566 reviews
In Osaka in the years immediately before World War II, four aristocratic women try to preserve a way of life that is vanishing. As told by Junichiro Tanizaki, the story of the Makioka sisters forms what is arguably the greatest Japanese novel of the twentieth century, a poignant yet unsparing portrait of a family–and an entire society–sliding into the abyss of modernity. ...more
Paperback, 530 pages
Published September 26th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1948)
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Klaas Roggeman I don't know why he ended it so abruptly but in the afterword by the Dutch translator it says that the last sentence could signify that the marriage…moreI don't know why he ended it so abruptly but in the afterword by the Dutch translator it says that the last sentence could signify that the marriage will not be a lucky one. Apparently the whole book is highly autobiographical, if fictionalised, about the sisters of Tanizaki's second or third wife. The sister who compares to Yukiko apparently was married to the illegitimate son of a viscount. But after the war the gentry was abolished (all titles) and her husband died early. So it was indeed not a happy marriage. The book appeared in three stages so he might have known the end by the eh end.(less)
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Lynna Lei
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Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers to like to ponder on family relations
Let me hide at least a petal
In the sleeve of my flower-viewing robe,
That I may remember the spring.

Five years ago, we planted two trees in our enclosed garden, a gingko biloba, which bright yellow unique fan-shaped leaves beguile in autumn , and a cherry tree, for its refined and daintily colored blossoms in spring.


Although some of our relatives at first criticized the choice of the Gingko, skeptical and worried about its stature in our miniature garden, the mighty Gingko is now firmly established without further
Adam Dalva
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A sweeping, propulsive masterpiece, the story of four sisters with divergent paths in a Japan caught between two eras in the late 1930s. When I first read this, ten years ago, I was drawn to the setpieces, particularly the famous, dramatic flood scene. And those are indeed great, but the subtleties - the book's focus on the body decaying, on western mores seeping their way into a family that wants to hold on to traditional values, the steady humor - make this a masterpiece.

It is in some ways a
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: I prefer walking than running.
Recommended to Dolors by: Marina
Shelves: read-in-2015, asian, dost
The yearly peregrination to the natural spectacle of the cherry blossoming in Kyoto is a millenary tradition in Japan. The symbolism attached to that ritual renders the transience of beauty. The constant collision between the explosion of exuberant vitality and the withering that precedes the inevitable defoliation marks the unrelenting passage of time and the virtuous circle of life rekindled from the ashes.

It’s through the annual expeditions that The Makioka Sisters take to witness such a natural display that
ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)
My 'better late than never' review.

Several weeks ago, I put out a request for a recommendation of a good Japanese book to read. My good friend Marita immediately popped up with The Makioka Sisters. This recommendation was seconded by friend Silvia Cachia. I read their reviews and ordered the book, then forgot about it.

Then I became frustrated with the slowness of my current reading choices and complained on GR that I felt like I was stuck in a bog. Friend Travelin piped in with, "Go random." O
Deniz Balcı
Çok, çok güzeldi!

Ancak bir yanımda buruldu. Sebebi elbette Tanizaki'nin Türkçe'ye çevrilmiş eserlerinin hepsini okuduğum için. Umut ediyorum ki, H. Murakami'nin tüm dünyada yarattığı zelzele biraz daha sürer ve insanların Japon Edebiyatı'na ilgileri artar. Ayrıca Japon gelenekselliğine sırtını dönmüş bir yazarla bu istihdamın sağlanması ise ironik ve düşündürücü.

"Nazlı Kar" gelecek olursam öncelikle Esin Esen tarafından yapılan çeviri mükemmel ötesi. Kitabın kapak tasarım
It's been such a long time since I've read a translation of the Japanese language. I had completely forgotten how calm and subtle the prose is, how patient you have to be in probing it. It's true that enough happens on the surface to make for a lengthy story, but it is the hidden depths that make the story engaging.

Most of the story is occupied with the lives of the Makioka sisters, focusing on the third sister who even at her advanced age has not yet been married. The book starts wi
Marie Saville
Simplemente maravilloso. No olvidaré nunca estas semanas pasadas en compañía de la familia Makioka. El tiempo parecía suspendido durante la lectura y solo existía para mi la vida entre las paredes de la casa familiar de Ashiya, los vagones de tren conectando Osaka y Tokio y, por supuesto, la cita anual para ver la floración de los cerezos en los jardines de Kioto. Cinco estrellas más que merecidas.
Gracias, gracias y gracias por descubrírmelo mi querida Magrat <3
Sep 16, 2007 rated it liked it
I really wanted (and fully expected) to love this book. I loved Tanizaki's Naomi but for reasons that I can't properly express I never found myself engrossed in this as I'd hoped to be. I'd get into for a bit, get bored, put it down for a few weeks and then pick it up again.

I can however understand why this book is so well regarded and I really keep vacillating on how to rate it. Set in Japan, it's an intimate look at a family of four sisters, their husbands, lovers or lack thereof and im
Sinem A.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nippon
1930 ların Japonyası nasıldı, Japonya o yıllarda dünyaya nasıl bakardı, Japonyada insanlar nasıl yaşar ,hem gelenekçi hem yenilikçi nasıl oluyorlar gibi sorulara cevap bulduran, bu sitede bir arkadaşın yorumunda gördüğüm tavsiyeye uyarak bir harita ve not defteri ile japon müzikleri eşliğinde okurken orada yaşıyormuş gibi hissettiğim ama birtakım sorunlar nedeniyle uzuunn vadede okuduğum güzel japon kitabı
Magrat Ajostiernos
Una novela maravillosa, que me ha recordado en su estilo a otras grandes historias como 'La edad de la inocencia', 'La saga de los Forsyte' o a las de Jane Austen. Eso sí, al más puro estilo oriental, pausado y extremadamente bello, poniendo atención a cada sentimiento.
De las novelas japonesas que he leído, sin duda se encuentra ya entre mis preferidas.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016, classics
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“The cherries in the Heian Shrine…of all the cherries in Kyoto, were the most beautiful. Now that the great weeping cherry in Gion was dying and its blossoms were growing paler each year, what was left to stand for the Kyoto spring if not the cherries in the Heian Shrine?”

I really enjoyed this Japanese classic. In it, four Kyoto sisters attempt to navigate the waves of change that are rapidly engulfing Japan prior to WWII. The Makiokas are an old, wealthy Osaka family, that soon find themselves back
Michael Finocchiaro
This is one of Junichiro Tanizaki's major novels covering a family of women in early 20th C Japan. It is beautifully written with extremely well fleshed out characters and an entrancing plot. It is probably my favourite Tanizaki book.
A quiet book that portrays Japan at a time of great change, the late 1930s to early 1941, through the story of one family and their interactions with provincial and larger Japanese world. The Makioka sisters represent a culture on the brink, struggling to retain it's traditional identity in the face of change both internal and international. The modern world is coming whether this family wants it or not.

This is not a novel for those looking for adventure or action. It's for those who
Behzad Sadeghi
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
رمان «خواهران ماکیوکا» یه کلاسیک کم و بیش پر حجم از ادبیات ژاپنه که به زندگی چهار خواهر خانوادۀ ماکیوکا و مسائل و فراز و نشیب ها و سرنوشت هر کدوم می پردازه.
رمان علی رغم اینکه روایت زندگی روزمرۀ خانوادۀ ماکیوکا رو در بر داره، حوصله سر بر نیست و کشش کافی داره. دلیلش هم اینه که پیرنگ منطقی و فکر شده ای داره که شروع و پایان منطقی داره و خواننده رو میکشونه دنبال رسیدن به یه نتیجه.
شخصیت های رمان، مخصوصن سه خواهری که بیش از بقیه در مرکز روایت قرار میگیرن، به یاد ماندنی هستن و نزدیک به زندگی
Phillip Kay
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Makioka Sisters (Sasame Yuki, Light Snow), first published in 1948, was written by Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965). Tanizaki wrote The Makioka Sisters after translating the Tale of Genji into modern Japanese and the Murasaki novel is said to have influenced his own. It tells of the declining years of the once powerful Makioka family and their last descendants, four sisters. It has been translated by Edward G. Seidensticker in 1957. Powerfully realistic, it mourns the passing of greatness whil ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki... Genelde Japon edebiyatı, yazarları pek tanınmıyor. Ki çok büyük bir kayıp. Jun'ichirō Tanizaki muhteşem bir yazar.
Nazlı Kar ya da orijinal adıyla "Sasameyuki" geleneksel dünyadan çağdaş dünyaya geçişi yansıtan ve dönemine ışık tutan gerçek bir başyapıt. Tanizaki 1930'ların Japonyasını, çağdaş dünyaya ayak uydurmaya çalışırken geleneklerinden de kopamayan Japon insanını çok güzel yansıtmış. Makioka kardeşlerin bir erkeğin gözünden yansıyan ve hayatın ta kendisi olan h
Al Bità
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this masterpiece many years ago, and still retain a great fondness for it. Set in Japan in the early 20th century in the period before World War II, it's concern is the 'fate' of the Makioka sisters who still cling to the old aristocratic attention to detail and the minutiae of life while trying to survive the period they are living in. The pace is leisurely, meditative, and beautifully written. Its overall impact, however, belies the quiet exterior: the internal emotional drama builds up ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tanizaki has a delicate sensibility all his own, and his ability to make the incredibly complex, sensitive world of upper class Japanese courtship and sibling relations not only comprehensible but also engaging, is remarkable. I became weirdly hooked on the lives of the four sisters and everyone in their social orbit. Everything from their petty dramas to their sincere attempts to navigate a complicated social order as the specter of WWII gets closer and closer is rendered with a slow, confident ...more
Maria Thomarey
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Το διάβασα σε 5 μέρες . Αυτό .
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at

The Makioka Sisters is one of the most lovely things I’ve read in a long time. That is, if one can put it out of one’s mind that life in Japan in the late 1930s and early 1940s was not a fantastic time for women. This was my first Junichiro Tanizaki book and I was rather surprised at how well he wrote these women. It is odd especially as Tanizaki has a reputation for writing about characters with erotic obsessions and desires.

I may have read this book so
Libros Prestados
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poco a poco me ha ido convenciendo este libro. Durante mucho tiempo pensé en darle tres estrellas, pero ya hacia el final me había encariñado con los personajes y sus anécdotas, y ha terminado por ganarme. Las tres hermanas Makioka son extrañas y peculiares, con sus raras manías y su forma de ser a veces extravagante, pero al final no puedes evitar sentir cariño por todas ellas.

Es de desarrollo muy lento, incluso para ser una novela japonesa. Algo parecido a una ceremonia del té: largo y en aparie
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in traditional Japanese culture
Recommended to Laura by: Ruth Moore
A bit long but still interesting story of four aristocratic Japanese sisters in the late 1930’s, which I thought would be fun as that’s one of my favorite periods in English literature. However, these ladies might as well be living in a different century as well as a different hemisphere — their daily rituals and cultural traditions were out of another world. While the various relationships among the sisters seem familiar (probably everyone with sisters has to negotiate the bossy, the overly sen ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
A wonderful and at times whimsical exploration of the Makioka family in pre-WW2 Japan, the slow, somnambulistic pace and prose fit well with the exploration of the day-to-day lives of the Makioka sisters and their husbands and maids. Nothing much really happens in the novel and something as quotidian as a character catching the flu is treated as a major event in the novel-but therein lies the beauty and uniqueness behind this novel. In part an exploration of the emotional inter-play between four ...more
My, what a subtle, graceful thing this is. Tanizaki wrote The Makioka Sisters in the late '40s, amid the rubble and chaos of postwar Japan. The world Tanizaki describes has been destroyed, utterly and irrevocably. You can sense that this is a somewhat decadent society... the Makiokas live a life of idle wealth and appearance-keeping, constantly fretting about the youngest sister's Westernized ways and the loss of respect for old Osaka families. Throughout the book, we get glimpses that war is on ...more
Dioni (Bookie Mee)
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mee's rating: 4.5/5

First published at:

My last book of 2017 is The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (if you want to be pedantic, it's Jun'ichirou - which implies him being the first born son, but I couldn't find much information on this). At 530 pages it's no mean feat for me, and actually took me 2 months to finish. But I'm very happy to have finally read it. This is only my second book by Tanizaki. I really liked The Key, which I read aeons ago, and I had been meaning to read mor
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this book tells the story of 4 sisters growing up in Osaka, Japan. In the thirties, in the eve of the second world war, the four sisters are struggling to cope with their day to day life, trying to live up to the standards of their prestigeous family. Each of them has their own struggles, problems and faces and deals with them in very different ways. Although this book is very slow paced, and in fact not much happens, I was immeresed into the story of these four sisters throughout the whole, qui ...more
Emm the Bookmunculus - Half Human, Half Library
A capturing in words of a lost way of life, as well as the struggles and serenity unique to it.
The Makioka Sisters unfolds gently like a bud on a tree. Tanizaki tells these women's stories in thoughtful, observant prose while making no assumptions of the reader, creating a beautiful but isolated world with a tinge of sadness to its edges.

You have to be prepared with patience for this drama, as it is slow-paced, but that doesn't detract from its admirable beauty as a piece of fiction. It is/>The
Jennifer Hale
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes fiction
Recommended to Jennifer by: A school teacher whom I met on a plane
The English version of this book is absolutely engrossing and beautifully written - I am extremely tempted to seek out Tanizaki's original manuscript and read the Japanese and English versions side by side. It's difficult to preserve the poetry of Japanese literature once it's translated - probably true for any language - but Seidensticker is a master at making the most of what the English language has to offer. To me, the story of the four Makioka sisters in early 20th century Japan is as addic ...more
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a masterpiece.
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans del Japón ancestral
Las hermanas Makioka es una novela decimonónica escrita en pleno siglo XX. De ritmo pausado, requiere una lectura atenta.

Lo bueno:

- estampas japonesas costumbristas descritas con detallismo que logran crear atmósferas de destacable belleza: la observación de los cerezos en flor, la caza de las luciérnagas, el gusto por la caligrafía, el arte de tocar el samisén, la importancia otorgada al acto de vestirse y maquillarse por las mujeres japonesas.

- exposición de
Elizabeth (Alaska)

Tanizaki provides a wonderful insight into a pre-war way of life, a culture that was changing even then. There is no sense of foreboding about war, even though the China Incident is mentioned several times and later in the book the women have knowledge of war in Europe.

What is important is getting the two younger sisters married, and doing so in such a way that the family status is recognized and honored. Told primarily from the viewpoint of Sachiko, the married second daughter, each of the sis
Yuko Shimizu
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Right after the war, my guess is, this huge best seller must have been an equivalent of vinge watch of a Netflix show. Massive book where many climax happens, things gets resolved, and then move onto more climax, then next...
It is a precious time capsule of a life in Osaka/Kobe right before WW2. The author in the afterword wrote that he made sure small details, such as the movies they go see, restaurants they go out to eat, when exactly the flood happens, etc, are as accurate as possible.
Israel Montoya Baquero
Un libro para degustar al mismo ritmo que la prosa de Tanizaki: suavemente, despacito, paladeando los ambientes, las palabras...
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
I found this lengthy novel by Junichiro Tanizaki relatively interesting with lots of dialogs as well as seemingly endless descriptions. From its 530 pages, just imagine, there are totally 18 pages each having 39 lines without any indented paragraph. However, there are innumerable pages each having only one paragraph. Some might not mind reading these but, psychologically, I preferred reading it with usual paragraphs. Thus, I amusingly regarded it as a kind of sleeping medicine and it sometime di ...more
Gabrielle Dubois
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
First, I put this novel in my 20th century authors bookshelf, even though Jun'ichirō Tanizaki was born in 1886, because he wrote in the 20th century about the 20th century.
Second, I read this book in French, the transaltion was good.
In this big novel (900 pages or so), in an old family of well-to-do traders which everyone knows the name in Osaka, four girls led a luxurious life until the death of their father. His death and the life changes in Japan between the two world wars (late 1
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who liked Jane Eyre, even though I didn't
Shelves: fiction
If you're hesitant, or have only read even a couple hundred pages, hear me out. I had to read this book for class. Otherwise, I don't think I would ever have pushed through it. It has a tendency to go on and on about fairly mundane matters, then unexpectedly rocket into an exciting event. This can make it difficult to read, and I know the unfamiliar Japanese names don't help.


This book is amazing. The sensibility of the characters in general; the logical way in which they work th
Katie Lumsden
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, fascinating melancholy novel, examining marriage, family and sibling relationships on the eve of the Second World War. Poignant and solemn and complicated throughout. I will definitely be reading more Tanizaki in the future!
Ayşe Saruhan
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kitap bittiği için hüzünlendim.Bir de ağır ağır ve aylardır okuduğum için kitaptaki karakterlerle iç içe geçmişim sanki.Ayrılması zor oldu.Bu kitaptan çok çok çok fazla şey öğrendim.Yazarın anlatım tekniği çok samimi ve bizden gibiydi (tabi ben goodreads a uye olmadan önce çeviri-çevirmen durumlarına önemine dikkat etmezdim ama bu kitapta iyi çeviri ne demekmiş iyice anladım).Ayrıca yazar japon kültürüne dair ben okuyucularıma ne aktarmalıyım diye bilgileri bir kağıda alt alta sıralamış ve o güz ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bu kitabı anlatmaya nasıl başlasam bilemiyorum. Kitap sanki okuyucusunu alıp 1930’ların Japonyasına götürüyor ve bir ailenin yanına konuk ediyor. Bu insanların mutlu ve güzel anlarına tanık olup dertlerine ortak oluyorsunuz. Kısaca hikâyeden bahsedecek olursam dördü de birbirinden farklı olan kız kardeşlerin hikâyesi bu. Japonlar o yıllarda kurallarına sıkı sıkıya bağlıymış bunu öğreniyoruz. Kitapta pek çok kez bunun vurgusu yapılıyor. Bu kitabın o dönem Japonyasını tanımak için harika bir kayna ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel left me speechless, out of breath. I spent such a long time going through it, getting to know the characters and now as I have finished, I can't believe that those characters are out of my life. That is a sign of a new favourite, I think. The Makioka Sisters follows a group of Japanese sisters living in Osaka and Tokio. It takes it place just before the Second World War. Japan is between two cultures; traditional Japanese culture and dominating Western culture. It can be seen how the ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A novel of utmost serenity contradicting the turmoil brewing within the Makioka family and Japan at the onset of WWII. What seemed to be a tale of sister bonding on the surface jeopardised by different, clashing personalities turned out to be a complicated family affair built upon reputation, pride, and long-gone wealth. This was often fraught with tension — taking shape in forms of jealousy, insecurity, ill-health, and submissiveness — and was a deep reflection of Japanese tradition especially ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, my-must-read
Esta maravilla de Junichiro Tanizaki transcurre entre 1936 y 1941, una época de cambio en Europa y en Asia con una guerra mundial a las puertas y en un momento en que los cambios sociales que se avecinaban en un pais como Japón, iban a ser cruciales para la desaparición del viejo mundo tradicional y rígido. La novela nos cuenta la historia en estos años de las cuatro hermanas Makioka pertenecientes a la alta clase burguesa de Osaka sin embargo a la muerte del padre, su influencia y prosperidad e ...more
Sophie VersTand
Selten ein dermaßen langweiliges Werk gelesen.

Wie man dieses Buch als die "japanischen Buddenbrooks" betiteln konnte, ist mir ein Rätsel.
Die Sprache ist absolut schlicht gehalten, die Dialoge kreisen um die immer selben Themen, die Figuren entwickeln sich so gut wie gar nicht und sind zu Einsichten oder Reflexionen kaum fähig.
Alles dreht sich (in den ca. 5 Jahren der Handlung) nur darum, dass für die 3. (Yukiko) der 4 Makioka-Schwestern ein Mann gefunden werden muss, wir
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was ok
This is the first early 20th century Japanese novel I couldn't finish and didn't love unconditionally. I kept pushing through it waiting for something to happen. . .ANYTHING to happen but after over 300 pages nothing really did. . .sorry. . .but this is just not my fault.
Gokce Atac
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎) was a Japanese author, and one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, 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 lif
“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.” 22 likes
“Teinosuke preferred not to be too deeply involved in domestic problems, and particularly with regard to Etsuko's upbringing he was of the view that matters might best be left to his wife. Lately, however, with the outbreak of the China Incident, he had become conscious of the need to train strong, reliant women, women able to support the man behind the gun.” 1 likes
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