Japanese writers of the Meiji period (1868-1912) were fascinated by light, which through the development of technology had illuminated the country's dark cities. The 'city without night', Tōkyō, symbolised the transformation of Japan during the era of modernisation and westernisation. Light is an essential element in Tanizaki's early stories, it is the rays of the sun that bring out the brilliance of the tattoo in Shisei (The Tattoo) or the brightness of the whiteness of the skin of western women: white and beauty are synonymous. But what accentuates and gives value to white is darkness. White in itself does not create no aesthetic effect, except in the contrast with black. The beauty lies in that indefinite space, in that void where shadow thickens, which makes the beauty of Japanese art inseparable from darkness. A value that is not obvious, but can only be understood only in the light of classical Japanese aesthetics. In In'ei raisan (lit. In Praise of the Shadow) of 1933, this traditional Japanese sensibility is posited as antithetical to that of the modern West: it is not a reversal in the aesthetic tastes of the writer, nor an invective against modernity, but an awareness of how the country has changed following a model of westernisation that Tanizaki did not share. The author reflects on modernity in everyday life in the 1930s, starting with the architecture of the home and the problems faced by those who wanted to furnish a house maintaining Japanese tradition and style. In the conclusion he recognises that there is an area where the aesthetics of shadow can still materialise: That of art and literature.

Libro d'ombra

Luisa Bienati
2022

Abstract

Japanese writers of the Meiji period (1868-1912) were fascinated by light, which through the development of technology had illuminated the country's dark cities. The 'city without night', Tōkyō, symbolised the transformation of Japan during the era of modernisation and westernisation. Light is an essential element in Tanizaki's early stories, it is the rays of the sun that bring out the brilliance of the tattoo in Shisei (The Tattoo) or the brightness of the whiteness of the skin of western women: white and beauty are synonymous. But what accentuates and gives value to white is darkness. White in itself does not create no aesthetic effect, except in the contrast with black. The beauty lies in that indefinite space, in that void where shadow thickens, which makes the beauty of Japanese art inseparable from darkness. A value that is not obvious, but can only be understood only in the light of classical Japanese aesthetics. In In'ei raisan (lit. In Praise of the Shadow) of 1933, this traditional Japanese sensibility is posited as antithetical to that of the modern West: it is not a reversal in the aesthetic tastes of the writer, nor an invective against modernity, but an awareness of how the country has changed following a model of westernisation that Tanizaki did not share. The author reflects on modernity in everyday life in the 1930s, starting with the architecture of the home and the problems faced by those who wanted to furnish a house maintaining Japanese tradition and style. In the conclusion he recognises that there is an area where the aesthetics of shadow can still materialise: That of art and literature.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5004426
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