Saturday, May 12, 2007

Kobayashi Hideo, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, and the "Nihon e no kaiki"

I've been corresponding with my old professor on this Kobayashi-Tanizaki issue, and here's what he said:

If "Ushinawareta kokyou" is sort of an attack on Tanizaki's "Nihon e no kaiki," then Kobayashi got it all wrong. My Tanizaki seminar has concluded that T's "kaiki" is a myth--his 1930s "neo-classical" writings are subversive (as is 細雪). Look at how he lampoons the samurai class in 武州公秘話, and raises them up only to tear them down in 盲目物語. It's a wonder these books got past the censors. It's hard to take 陰翳礼讃 seriously, either.

I think the good professor might be right about Kobayashi misunderstanding Tanizaki's "Nihon e no kaiki." Nowhere in Kobayashi's essay is there any evidence that Kobayashi sees past the surface of Tanizaki's neo-classicalism. Or is there?