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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,919 ratings  ·  431 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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Jordan I attempted to read this and gave up at around 25%. It's definitely the translation. For anybody reading this contemplating the free Kindle edition. D…moreI attempted to read this and gave up at around 25%. It's definitely the translation. For anybody reading this contemplating the free Kindle edition. Don't waste your time. Unless you're reading the Japanese half of the book it's absolute unintelligible trash. I wouldn't be surprised if it were a machine translation. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,919 ratings  ·  431 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-japanese
”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
Jr Bacdayan
Feb 27, 2017 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 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
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-tbr
I write this with my experience as an Asian woman and my connection to South Korea in mind; but the broader fascination of the West that presents itself in Naomi is something that piqued my interest in this novel. A cursory examination of Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s Naomi will undoubtedly perturb readers: a novel that centres on the protagonist Joji’s unhealthy obsession with 15-year-old Naomi. Yes, people have likened it to Lolita. This is, thematically, an easy way to draw parallels between the two ...more
Eddie Watkins
Apr 14, 2010 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
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
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
Akemi G.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
J.M. Hushour
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not without its charms, this is the deflating story of a sad-sack fellow who takes a 15-year old "Westernish"-looking Japanese girl under his wing, cultivates her into ambiguously Westernizing Japanese culture of the 1920s-30s, marries her, and then watches helplessly as she screws pretty much everyone she meets.
"Naomi" is curious and not a little infuriating, which is part of the fun. The narrator, obviously an idiot who knows it well, is so obsessed with his "Eurasian" plaything that he is bli
Sep 18, 2007 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.
Feb 16, 2014 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.
May 27, 2007 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.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whoever said that strong female characters were not a concept in older pieces of literature needs to read this book.

Naomi is a fantastic novel that shows manipulation to its full extent. It infuriates you as the reader but you also can't help but be in awe at the magnitude that makes up this character. What the real teaser is that you never see anything from Naomi's pov.

So what is this novel about? What is Tanizaki trying to say? Beats me. I have a few theories but these are based on my own in
David Stewart
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Naomi, Naomi — I don’t know how many times the name was repeated between us. It was the appetizer that accompanied our sake. We relished its smooth sound, licked it with our saliva, and raised it to our lips, as though it were a delicacy even tastier than beef.”

It is almost impossible in modern times to talk about Junichiro Tanizaki’s Naomi without mentioning Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita; even if Naomi was written half a century before Lolita. The above quote could easily be a passage in Nabokov’s
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan
Acclaimed as "a literary masterpiece" (back cover), Junichiro Tanizaki's "Naomi" might presumably be written with his sense of humor in mind since, I think, we could enjoy reading his narrative of the 28-year-old Joji's love affairs with a 15-year-old girl named Naomi when he first met her at the Cafe Diamond and the story set in post-World War I in Tokyo.

Interestingly, we could only read a few romantic love settings subtly described, that is, not too explicit in some we may read in the late 20t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2010 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
Jill Hughes
Nov 04, 2015 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
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: intranslation
If you can get past the blistering misogyny -- the title character is a hybrid of Lolita, Eliza Doolittle, and perhaps Mme. Bovary -- this is an enjoyable book. Joji's efforts to control Naomi are often comical, and the tension between traditional and westernized aspects of Japanese culture in the 1920's was fascinating.
Patrick Sherriff
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, japan
I gave this four stars but just because it's probably worth that for historical importance or something, but here's my personal take on it: ...more
Sep 21, 2014 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
Dixie Diamond
Nov 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, my_books, asian, 1920s
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 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
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Robert Wechsler
Feb 04, 2015 marked it as tasted
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.
Dec 14, 2009 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.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Tanizaki book, and what a great start! I had high expectations, and this definitely delivered!

This made me feel a whole palette of emotions, and that in itself is a wonderful achievement!
Connor Foley
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Scandalous and delightful to read. Really enjoying Tanizaki’s prose
Justin Kadi
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really funny read. Interesting POV of how the Western culture influences others in the world.
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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 life in the context of the rapid changes in 20th-century Japa

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