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Thursday, 25 January 2007

Junichiro Tanizaki photographJunichiro Tanizaki, whose 1924 novel Naomi I'm currently reading (up to page 117 out of 186), is ill-served by biographers. At least in English.

Eager to find out more about this author, whose The Makioka Sisters (1948) I once started then put down, I searched on Abebooks.com and Amazon.com — to no avail. Gleebooks, my local independent, did a search for me but came up equally bereft of leads. So I telephoned Sydney Uni and spoke to Yasuko at the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies.

There's nothing in English, apparently. I did find some multi-author biographies and one critical monograph. But what I want is a thick, heavy, single-author biography that really gets into the nitty-gritty. Surely there must be something in Japanese that some enterprising translator could bring out in English?

I'll just have to buy a Japanese edition and translate it myself!

As a motto, I may be advised to adopt the word-for-word translation of the book title Chijin no ai (in print translated as Naomi): 'A Fool's Love'.

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