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In Praise of Shadows

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  12,439 ratings  ·  1,100 reviews
An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight, and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.
Paperback, 56 pages
Published December 1st 1977 by Leete's Island Books (first published 1933)
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Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese, non-fiction
The preference for a pensive luster to a shallow brilliance.


My quiet, soothingly minimalist room seems of no consequence when juxtaposed with the unearthly beauty that Jun'ichirō Tanizaki described in this splendid essay on aesthetics.

A shōji. Lightning. Electric fans. The right heating system. Architecture. Food.
Every detail to avoid the disruption of harmony in a Japanese room.
An almost imperceptible line between an extremely refine taste and the subtlety of irony.

We delight in the mere
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china-japan-asia, art
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… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.

This is a fascinating, surprising, occasionally amusing essay that lauds and explains traditional Japanese aesthetics relating to light and its absence. It’s applied to architecture, music, writing, the costumes of theatres and temples, women, and food. It contrasts Japanese principles with the western ones
°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
Το εγκώμιο της σκιάς είναι ένα μικρό,περιεκτικό και ουσιώδες βιβλίο που θα μπορούσε να χαρακτηριστεί και ως εγχειρίδιο αισθητικής στα παραδοσιακά ιδεώδη της Ανατολής.

Ενα δοκίμιο απόρριψης κάθε επιφανειακής δυτικοποιημένης εξέλιξης.

Μια καλογραμμένη έκθεση πάνω σε ανατολίτικο μετάξι με σκούρες αποχρώσεις ιδεών και όνειρα μέσα σε ομίχλες σκιών,σκοτάδι,ασάφεια,παρωχημένη αισθητική αντίληψη και γοητεία νηφαλιότητας.

Η σκουριά και η μουντή παλαιωμένη πατίνα του χρόνου,παράλληλα με το αμυδρό και το μ
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dolors by: Cristina
Shelves: read-in-2015, asian
A delightful essay on the ethos of Japanese aesthetics, its “frigid elegance” and its ancestral raison d’etre. Thanks to Tanizaki’s unadorned yet carefully layered prose I start to grasp the importance of natural materials like worn-out wood or paper lanterns, or the preference for dim lighted rooms and tarnished tableware that lack the aggressive glitter of metal or the aseptic whiteness of tiles of modern houses. It’s in the musky darkness that shrouds the bare room, devoid of artificial ornam ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: にほん
“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.”

** Kage-e illustrations - Japanese shadow art from the Edo period (woodblock print)

Have you ever stomped on your shadow, trying to hold its torso with your feet? The subtle chase between you and the devious shadow; toughening with every stomp on the dried grey asphalt while queries of whether you have lost your marbles looming in the humid air. Deer pra
Steven Godin
In this delightful essay Junichiro Tanizaki looks at Japanese aesthetics, and selects praise for all things delicate and nuanced, everything softened by shadows, and the patina of age, anything understated and simply natural, for instance the patterns of grain in old wood, the sound of rain falling from leaves, or washing over the footing of a stone lantern in a garden, and refreshing the moss that grows around it, and by doing so he suggests an attitude of appreciation and mindfulness, especial ...more
Susan Budd
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Susan by: Akemi G
In this little book, Junichiro Tanizaki helped me understand why I ~ a thorough Westerner, NYC born & bred ~ am so drawn to the Japanese aesthetic. He begins his essay with an example I can totally relate to. Many Japanese people take pains to hide electrical wires because they don’t want to spoil the beauty of the traditional decor. I so get this. I wish I could hide all my electrical wires too. There are so many of them, not to mention all the LED lights from appliances that once were luxuries ...more
آبتین گلکار
کتابی عالی برای علاقه‌مندان به فرهنگ سنتی. نویسنده با نگاهی تیزبینانه نشان می‌دهد که چطور دریافت سنتی ژاپنی‌ها از زیبایی تحت تأثیر الگوهای غربی تغییر می‌کند. در حین خواندن کتاب مدام الگوهای فکری ژاپنی و غربی را با الگوهای خودمان هم مقایسه می‌کنید و به نکاتی درباره‌ی روان‌شناسی جمعی خودمان پی می‌برید که شاید پیش از آن هرگز به آنها توجه نکرده بودید. ترجمه و طراحی کتاب هم حرف ندارد

تکه‌هایی از متن

سال‌ها پیش یک بار در مقاله‌ای که برای مجله‌ی بونگی شونجو نوشتم، خودنویس را با قلم‌مو مقایسه کردم. آن‌جا
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
The quality that we call beauty 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

(If you don't have time to read the whole of my review, go ahead and skip the next two paragraphs)

There is a practice essay prompt in the US College Board's guide to the SAT book that goes something like "Do changes that make our lives easier always make them better?". This is o

The quality that we call beauty ... must always grow from the realities of life.

In Praise of Shadows,
written by the well known Japanese novelist Tanizaki Jun'ichirō (1886-1965) in 1933, is a particularly charming and discursive rumination on the differences between Japanese (indeed, East Asian) and occidental aesthetics (among other matters). It is also an illustration of the differences between the Japanese tradition of zuihitsu ("to follow the brush"), of which In Praise of Shadows is a mo
ατζινάβωτο φέγι.
Ένα άκρως γοητευτικό δοκίμιο ή καλύτερα ένα εγκώμιο της σκιάς που παίζει καθοριστικό ρόλο στην ιαπωνική κουλτούρα. Ο Τανιζάκι εκθέτει την άποψη του για την φύση της ομορφιάς, για την αρχιτεκτονική, την διακόσμηση, τα σκεύη καθημερινής χρήσης, το θέατρο (ήξερα μονο το θέατρο Καμπούκι αλλα έμαθα και για το θέατρο Νο που διατηρεί την ατμόσφαιρα και τα μέσα παλαιότερων εποχών εστιάζοντας στην ααποτύπωση της πραγματικότητας χωρίς φτιασίδια).

‘’ Η ομορφιά δεν βρίσκεται μέσα στο ίδιο το πράγμα, αλλα γεν
howl of minerva
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art-architecture
Sort of a Japanese Grandpa Simpson. Kids these days, no respect. Art these days, total crap. Food these days, inedible. It's all go go go. It's all electric lights and gramophones. What happened to sitting in the dark, poking yourself in the eye with a stick? Kids are too good for that now. Things were so much better before refrigeration and antibiotics. People used to have time for things, people used to care, people used to have pride. Bla bla bla. Said every generation ever. Bonus star for br ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بسیار جذاب! پر از ایده‌های معماری و زیبایی‌شناختی بر اساس فرهنگ ژاپن!
خوندنش بسیار لذت‌بخش بود.
“Gölgeye Övgü” adından da anlaşılacağı gibi gölgeye, gereği kadar olan ışığa ve bunların bulunduğu ortamı adeta bir sanat eseri haline getirişine dair yazılmış bir deneme. Geleneksel bir Japon evinin yapılışında ışığın - gölgenin dengelenmesinden tutun, basit bir evdeki dekorasyonel oyukların nasıl gölgelendirilmesi - ışıklandırılması gerektiğine kadar, No Tiyatrosundan Kabuki Tiyatrosuna gölgenin önemine kadar daha birçok konuda Tanizaki’nin görüşlerini okuyoruz. Tanizaki’nin bu konuyu yıllarca ...more
Σε έναν κόσμο που έχει ανάγει τη Δύση και τις συνήθειές της σε πρότυπο και αναζητεί την πολυτέλεια και την ομορφιά στα φανταχτερά αντικείμενα και στις γυαλάδες τους, που προσπαθεί να εξαλείψει κάθε σκιά και να αποφύγει με κάθε τρόπο το σκοτάδι, ο Τανιζάκι φανερώνει τη μαγεία των σκιών. Ο Ιάπωνας συγγραφέας πραγματεύεται τις αμέτρητες ποιότητες που μπορεί να προκαλέσει το παιχνίδι του ελάχιστου φωτός μέσα σε έναν σκοτεινό χώρο και τις αισθήσεις που μπορεί να αφυπνίσει, ενώ ταυτόχρονα νοσταλγεί ει ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sonra kapak çabucak açılır ve bu siyah kabın içine yığılmış, her tanesi inci gibi parlayan, saf beyaz yeni haşlanmış yemek dışarı sıcak buharlar yayar -işte bu her Japon'u etkileyen bir görüntüdür. Yemek pişirme sanatımız gölgeye bağlıdır ve karanlıktan ayrılamaz."

Japon kültürü hakkında ilginç şeyler öğrendim...
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 20th-century
A backward, reactionary, nationalistic prose piece disguised as an essay on aesthetics, which engages in strange speculation and musing that is not at all well supported. But it gets better towards the end when its cantankerousness and hyperbole get amusing, and it does ultimately manage to express a mournful nostalgia for a dying aesthetic, even if that aesthetic is more of a personal aesthetic than the author admits, rather than being an expression of national character.


The aesthetic can b
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tanizaki Gölgeye Övgü'de, geleneksel Japon estetik anlayışının her alanda gölgenin o tatlı loşluğuna gizlenerek nasıl çekici nüanslar yarattığını muhteşem bir üslûpla tasvir etmiş. Zaman zaman abartılı ya da aykırı bulunabilecek karşılaştırmalar ya da anlatımlar olsa da gölgenin sunduğu hoş loşluğun, serinliğin özlemini tümüyle hissettiriyor.
Modern aydınlatmanın Doğu'ya, Japonya'ya özgü o güzel loşluğu yavaş yavaş nasıl erittiğini hissetmek hüzün veriyor.
Tanizaki kelimelere hâkim usta bir yazar.
Maria Lago
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asombroso ensayo, lleno de fuerza evocadora y muy carente de objetividad: es todo pasión. No se miden estas cuestiones con la bara de la Ciencia, sino con la de Humanidades. El por qué sí y el por qué no de la belleza o de su ausencia están aquí muy bien argumentados, sin ser concluyentes. Una increíble lectura.
George K.
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Ο Τανιζάκι είναι ένα από τα μεγαλύτερα ονόματα της Ιαπωνικής λογοτεχνίας και το μικρό αυτό βιβλιαράκι είναι μάλλον το πιο πολυδιαβασμένο έργο του. Η Ιαπωνική κουλτούρα είναι μια από αυτές που σέβομαι και εκτιμώ και είναι πάντα απόλαυση να διαβάζω απόψεις και αντιλήψεις γύρω από αυτήν, πόσο μάλλον όταν εκφράζονται από έναν μεγάλο Ιάπωνα συγγραφέα.

Εδώ ο συγγραφέας παραθέτει ουσιαστικά την αντίληψή του για την ομορφιά της γιαπωνέζικης και κατ'επέκταση της ανατολίτικης αισθητικής στις τέχνες αλλά κ
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Micha and Desi
Shelves: read-2009, asian
In the west people tend to emphasize light in their environment... big windows, skylights. Shiny, gleaming surfaces are important and appear clean and fresh. Tanizaki wrote this short book to explain the importance of shadow and darkness in oriental culture... shadows that have been chased away with the welcomed technology of the west.

This is an essay on the aesthetics of shadows, on some of the differences between the west and the east. Tanizaki's text flows from one topic to another almost dre
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Eskimeyenin karşısında bir tür korku duymadınız mı hiç; zamanın geçtiğine dair bilincinizi kaybedeceğiniz, sayısız yılların geçeceği ve kendinize geldiğinizde kendinizi yaşlanmış ve saçlarınızı beyazlamış bulacağınız korkusunu?”
Tanizaki demek tutku demek benim için. Bir tiyatroda oyuncunun uzun, dökümlü elbisesinden ellerini görüp hayran kalabilecek kadar tutkulu. Yaşadığı evin her santimini düşünüp, kullandığı mürekkebin dokusunu duyumsayacak kadar tutkulu..
Roman ve öykülerindeki ele avuca s
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
roman sandığım kitap denemeymiş :) sürpriz oldu ama iyi oldu. tanizaki’nin romanlarında izini sürdüğümüz pek çok konudaki fikirlerini okuyoruz. doğu ülkelerinin ışıkla ilişkisinin batıdan ne kadar farklı olduğunu hayretle okudum. evdeki gümüş ya da çelikleri cilalayan hizmetçilerin azarlanması bahsi var. batıdakinin tam zıttı. her şeyin loş, karanlık ve kararmış olmasını seviyorlar.
kadınların dudaklarını yeşile dişlerini siyaha boyayıp kaşlarını tıraşlamaları ise... yani 🙄
elektrik ve fuzuli aydı
Ahmed Almawali
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
من حسناتِ الكتبِ وما أكثرَ حسناتُها أنها تسحبُ بعضَها بعضًا وكلُّ واحدةٍ تدلُّ على الأخرى وتقودُ إليها، عرفتُ هذا الكتابَ بل وتعرفتُ على الروائي الياباني الفذ تانيزاكي من كتابِ الديب "عصيرُ الكتبِ" وتعمدتُ أن أتجاوزَ مقالتَه ومراجعتَه حولَ مديحِ ظل تانيزاكي كي لا يفسدَ عليَّ متعةَ اكتشافِ الكتابِ. للظل قدسيتُه ومكانتُه، بل وللذوقِ الياباني تفردُه، العمرانُ بكل تفصيلاتِه الدقيقةِ إضاءاته وخفوتها، كذلك لونُ البشرة وسحنتُها، المسرح ... يبحث عن الأصالةِ اليابانيةِ في مختلفِ مفرداتِ الفردِ حتى لا يخت ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Eğer Japon evinin çatısı bir şemsiye ise Batı'daki evin çatısı bir şapkadan öteye geçmez". Tanizaki için Doğu-Batı sorunsalı çok büyük bir dert. Bunun üzerine bütün bilgi birikimini de dahil edip bu denemeyi yazmış. Ancak bu kitaba deneme deyip geçmek de çok büyük haksızlık olur. Pek çok konuda(gerek tuvalet mimarisi gerek Japon kadınları üzerine) gölge ve karanlıktan bahsetmiş.
Japonların dünya çapında hayran olunan bir millet olmasının başında "güzelliği şeyin kendisinde değil karanlığın içind
مروان البلوشي

لعل هاروكي موراكامي، وياسوناري كاواباتا، ويوكيو ميشيما هم أشهر أدباء اليابان في العالم العربي. ولكن الفرصة لم تسنح للقارئ العربي للتعرف على جانيتشيرو تانيزاكي وهو روائي ياباني لا يقل في مكانته أو مستواه عن الآخرين. بل إن الكثيرين من عشاق وخبراء الأدب الياباني يختارون روايته "الأخوات ماكيوكا" كأفضل رواية يابانية في القرن العشرين.

أما الكتاب الذي بين ايدينا والمعنون بـ"مديح الظل" فهو عبارة عن مقال مطول (48 صفحة) كتبه تانيزاكي عن موضوع أثار اهتمامه لفترة طويلة وهو: الفارق بين مفهوم الجمال عند اليابا
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Το εγκώμιο της σκιάς ή η ελεγεία της Ομορφιάς στην Ιαπωνία

Ένα μικρό μπιζού καλαισθησίας και γούστου που χώρεσε στη μικρή μου τσάντα για μια μέρα και ο νους μου έτρεχε συνεχώς εκεί, να το ανοίξω με κάθε ευκαιρία και να συνεχίσει την επίδραση της γοητείας του πάνω μου. Η σημερινή μου Δευτέρα δεν έμοιαζε με μια απλή Δευτέρα. Ήμουν απλά κάπου αλλού. Ένιωσα κάπως αλλιώς.

Αν ποτέ βρεθώ στην Ιαπωνία, θα έχω σίγουρα μαζί μου αυτό το βοήθημα. Γιατί για βοήθημα πρόκειται. Αυτό που θα συμπληρώσει την οποια
Sep 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mas o que raio foi isto?
Eu a 10 páginas de ter iniciado o livro só pensava "não! Este livro tem de ser mais que isto. Não pode, não pode continuar assim!"
Mas não. O livro continuou na mesma veia desinteressante.

Basicamente o autor compara a importância que a sombra ou as sombras possuem na sua cultura com a importância quase inexistente que as mesmas possuem no mundo ocidental moderno.

Chegou ao ponto de falar em RETRETES! E comparar as retretes orientais com as ocidentais.
Não estou a enganar-me.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it did not like it
If Tanizaki had written this book from a Westerner's perspective, the essay would be regarded as retrograde and pessimistically nostalgic. To be sure, only a highly-evolved culture is capable of a reciprocal relationship between production and appreciation. A wholesale dismissal of progress, however, is no way to get there. Tanizaki's rejectionist attitude is a perfect one to adopt if you're interested in sabotaging your potentially sensitive, agreeable, harmonic future.
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Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actually I read this book in Japanese (originals) and in Finnish. Although the essay was written in 1930s, it is still fresh, attractive and cross-cultural enough, describing the features of not only traditional but also modern Japanese culture correctly. Was fun to read.
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A long essay, written in 1933. At times interesting, at other times if feels quite dated. There is no real expertise here, rather an author offering his opinions & observations "in praise of shadows". ...more
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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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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
28 likes · 7 comments
“Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.” 85 likes
“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.” 48 likes
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