In Praise of Shadows

Throughout the modern period various cultural critics in Japan have attempted to articulate their country’s relationship with its own traditions in the face of transformations by outside forces. The first was Okakura Kakuzō’s The Book of Tea, the most recent, Murakami Takashi’s “Superflat Manifesto.” In the 1930s the novelist Tanizaki Junichirō described his own unease with Westernization in In Praise of Shadows. In a paper not to exceed five pages, please comment on Tanizaki’s attitude toward Japanese culture and Westernization and discuss whether or not his perspective is convincing or grounded in a wholly romantic notion of Japan’s cultural past. You may want to compare Tanizaki’s view with that of Okakura.

Due November 28