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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
One of Tanizaki’s m...
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- Spring '13