Author(s): Jun'ichiro Tanizaki
Tanizaki's masterpiece is the story of four sisters, and the declining fortunes of a traditional Japanese family. It is a loving and nostalgic recreation of the sumptuous, intricate upper-class life of Osaka immediately before World War Two. With surgical precision, Tanizaki lays bare the sinews of pride, and brings a vanished era to vibrant life.
'The outstanding Japanese novelist of the century...The Makioka Sisters is his greatest book' Edmund White, New York Times Book Review
Exquisite craftsmanship Guardian An exquisite novel about four sisters living though a turbulent decade, during the Forties and Fifties, I'd put it in the 10 greatest books of the 20th century Daily Express A subtle, moving novel The Times A classic novel of a whole country about to turn on the terrible hinge of the war into modernity; its tone is elegiac and bleak Observer The work of Tanizaki offers to us in the West one of the most valuable keys to understanding the Japanese crisis of identity Independent A complex, detailed and agreeably gossipy book...The author's obvious nostalgia for this vanished world does not prevent him from looking objectively at its darker side and this, together with his artful blend of the exotic and the mundane, creates an absorbing and richly textured story Sunday Times An extraordinary book which can truly be said to break new ground New Yorker
Junichiro Tanizaki was born in 1886 in Tokyo, where his family owned printing establishment. He studied Japanese literature at Tokyo Imperial University, and his first published work, a one-act play, appeared in 1910 in a literary magazine he helped to found. Tanizaki lived in the cosmopolitan Tokyo area until the earthquake of 1923, when he moved to the gentler and more cultivated Kyoto-Osaka region, the scene of The Makioka Sisters. There he became absorbed in the Japanese past and all his most important works were written from this point, among them Some Prefer Nettles (1929), Arrowroot (1931), The Secret History of the Lord Musashi (1935), several modern versions of The Tale of Genji (1941, 1954 and 1965), The Makioka Sisters (1943-48), Captain Shigemoto's Mother (1949), The Key (1956) and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961). By 1930 he had gained such renown that an edition of his complete works was published and he was awarded an Imperial Award for Cultural Merit in 1949. In 1964 he was elected an honorary Member of the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the first Japanese citizen ever to recieve this honour. Tanizaki died in 1965.