"Were it not for shadows there would be no beauty."
In Praise of Shadows is an eloquent tribute to the austere beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics. Through architecture, ceramics, theatre, food, women, and even toilets, Tanizaki explains the essence of shadows and darkness, and how they are able to augment beauty. He laments the heavy electric lighting of the West and its introduction to Japan, and shows how the artificial, bright, and polished aesthetic of the West contrasts unfavorably with the moody and natural light of the East. Dreamy, melancholic, and mysterious, In Praise of Shadows is a haunting insight into a forgotten world.
The popular translation by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker is essential listening for anyone interested in Japan and Japanese culture.
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