Tanizaki's Essay In Praise Of Shadows

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Why does Jun'ichirō Tanizaki label his compilation of essays as an appraisal of shadows? What influenced his writing choices and inspired his word choice? The title is originally 陰翳礼讃 which in Japanese translates to Shadow of Praise and in Chinese translates to Shine. However, when one explores into the anatomy of those original words in Chinese; 陰 translates to Yin which is a Chinese philosophy characterized as feminine, sustaining, earthly, dark, cold, and opposite to the Yang philosophy; 翳 translates to shade; 礼 translates to ceremony for the confirmation of religion; and 讃 translates to praise. Although appropriate, the title In Praise of Shadows does not reach to emphasis that Tanizaki’s original title displayed. Tanizaki’s original title encompassed religiously devout feelings towards the beauty of shadows, and when the title was translated, the strength of his wording and emotions were lost. However, this discovery provides an explanation for the intensity and passion of Tanizaki’s voice across every …show more content…
The beauty and natural awe of shadows are the unwavering focal point of Tanizaki’s selected work. Despite any miscommunications through translating Tanizaki’s essays, his point still gets through because of his intense voice. His writing and voice are particularly felt by a western audience because of the western fear of anything dark and shadow surrounded. Reading Tanizaki’s perspective on the natural darkness in the world is an eye-opening experience for someone who has been raised to strive for brightness and lightness. The metaphors, persuasion, and examples Tanizaki uses in his work are all factors of him emphasizing why the book was written and titled In Praise of Shadows. Tanizaki labels his essays this because it is accurate of his perpetual words throughout 42 pages that pronounce that shadows are beautiful and inescapable forces of nature that are destined to be

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