Dreamlike immediacy. You have entered that place between realms, where the novelist Junichiro Tanizaki so comfortably dwells.

John Biscello, Riot Material

Junichiro Tanizaki

Junichiro Tanizaki was born in Tokyo in 1886. He was “the outstanding Japanese novelist of the century” (Edmund White, The New York Times Book Review). His numerous works include The Makioka Sisters, Some Prefer Nettles, and In Praise of Shadows.

cover image of the book Devils in Daylight

Devils in Daylight

One morning, Takahashi, a writer who has just stayed up all night working, is interrupted by a phone call from his old friend Sonomura. Barely able to contain his excitement, Sonomura claims that he has cracked a secret cryptographic code based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” and now knows exactly when and where a murder will take place—and they must hurry if they want to witness the crime, because it will be committed later that very night! Sonomura has a history of lunacy and playing the amateur detective, so Takahashi is reluctant to believe him. Nevertheless, they stake out the secret location, and through tiny peepholes in the knotted wood, become voyeurs at the scene of a shocking crime…

Atmospheric, erotic, and tense, Devils in Daylight is an early work by the master storyteller who “created a lifelong series of ingenious variations on a dominant theme: the power of love to energize and destroy” (Chicago Tribune).

More Information
cover image of the book The Maids

The Maids

The Maids, Tanizaki’s final novel, sparkles like a jewel. Over the years—before, during, and after WWII—many young women work in the pampered, elegant household of the famous author Chikura Raikichi, his wife, and her younger sister. Though the family’s quite well-to-do, the house is small: the proximity of the maids helps perhaps to explain Raikichi’s extremely close, and somewhat eroticized, observation of all their little ways.

In the sensualist patrician Raikichi, Tanizaki offers a richly ironic self-portrait, but he presents as well an exquisitely nuanced chronicle of change and loss: centuries’ old values and manners are vanishing, and here—in the evanescent beauty of all the small gestures and intricacies of private life—we find a whole world passing away.

More Information
cover image of the book A Cat, A Man, and Two Women

A Cat, A Man, and Two Women

The three pieces in this collections—the novella “A Cat, A Man, and Two Women” and two shorter pieces, “The Little Kingdom” and “Professor Rado”—are lighthearted and entertaining variations on one of Tanizaki’s favorite preoccupations: dominance and submission in relationships, complicated here by customs, public opinion, and comic grotesqueries.

In the title piece, the bumbling Shozo is caught in the middle of an ongoing struggle between his ex-wife and her younger successor. Shozo would prefer to stay out of it and be peacefully left alone with his elegant tortoiseshell cat, Lily, but he keeps getting dragged back into the battles and arguments. The result is an oddball love triangle centered around Lily, the only true object of Shozo’s affections—“one of the finest pieces of literature concerning cats ever written” (Choice).

More Information

Dreamlike immediacy. You have entered that place between realms, where the novelist Junichiro Tanizaki so comfortably dwells.

John Biscello, Riot Material

Devils in Daylight, from 1918, reads like a breathless snuff film cowritten by Poe and Simenon.

Pico Iyer, The New York Review of Books

A writer of wicked subtlety and grace.

Sunday Times (London)

What unfolds is a murder mystery that is an homage to the classic American writer Edgar Allen Poe, and a meditation on the art of fiction. The author, Junichiro Tanizaki, was arguably Japan’s greatest twentieth-century novelist.


A rumination about the nature of fiction itself.


Tanizaki is a very brilliant novelist.

Haruki Murakami

Tanizaki is one of my favorites. His books are about love and very often perverse aspects of love.

Henry Miller

Tanizaki was a great writer. He understood the fetish-making fecundity of love, and the satisfactions it offers even while giving pain, and its perverse, inverse accountings.

John Updike

The outstanding Japanese novelist of this century.

Edmund White
Scroll to Top of Page