ASIA212Varley

One of his daughter in laws dresses was hanging

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Unformatted text preview: ich junior branches of the family might live. Not long before his death, Sachiko’s father had moved his family there from Semba; it had become the fashion for merchant families to have residences away from their shops. The younger sisters had therefore not lived in the house long. They had often visited relatives there even when they were young, however, and it was there that their father had died. They were deeply attached to the old place. Sachiko sensed that much of her sister’s love for Osaka was in fact love for the house, and, for all her amusement at these oldfashioned ways, she felt a twinge of pain herself—she would no longer be able to go back to the old family house. She had often enough joined Yukiko and Taeko in complaining about it—surely there was no darker and more unhygienic house in the world, and they could not understand what made their 312 Culture in the Present Age sister live there, and they felt thoroughly depressed after no more than three days there, and so on—and yet a deep, indefinable sorrow came over Sachiko at the news. To lose the Osaka house would be to lose her very roots.10 The military authorities objected to The Makioka Sisters primarily because it was given over so completely to a portrayal of the private (i.e., selfish) affairs of a single family at a time of international crisis, when all citizens were expected to devote themselves wholeheartedly to the nation. Nevertheless the book, with its delicate handling of the nuances and shadings of human relations, was based on a venerable native tradition —the tradition of mono no aware (a sensitivity to things)—that dated back at least to the literature of the middle Heian period and such masterpieces as Kokinshû, The Tales of Ise, and The Tale of Genji. Tanizaki, who, as noted in the last chapter, became more and more absorbed from mid-life on with the Japanese past, translated The Tale of Genji into modern Japanese in the late 1930s, during the time when he began writing The Makioka Sisters. In many ways, The Makioka Sisters is a “tale of Genji” set in the present age. One of Tanizaki’s m...
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