Michael P. Cronin

Michael P. Cronin

Michael P. Cronin is an associate professor of Japanese studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He is the author of Osaka Modern (Harvard East Asian, 2017), a study of Japan’s merchant capital as imagined in literature, cinema, and popular culture of the transwar period, from the 1920s to the 1950s. Born and raised in greater Boston, he lived in Western Japan for eight years.

The Maids

Fiction by Junichiro Tanizaki

Translated by Michael P. Cronin

The Maids concerns all the young women who work—before, during, and after WWII—in the pampered, elegant household of the famous author Chikura Raikichi. Though quite well-to-do, Raikichi has a small house: the family and the maids (usually a few, sharing a little room next to the kitchen) are on top of one another. This proximity allows Raikichi to observe the maids and their daily lives extremely closely, and while the house may be straight from The Makioka Sisters, his interest carries with it more than a dash of the erotic, calling to mind Tanizaki’s raciest books, such as Diary of a Mad Old Man and The Key.…
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