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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embrace the dark side!
This book has a foreword from someone at UCLA's School of Architecture - so perhaps that is a clue to where it is aimed.
Tanizaki makes a good argument that Japanese art (eg, lacquerware, calligraphy, gold statues, no and kabuki, etc.) cannot be best appreciated in bright, white and shiny surroundings, which he characterizes as Western. He prefers a natural diffused...
Published on 11 July 2007 by stevieby

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars shadowy
I came across Junichiro through seeing 'Shunkin' at the Barbican (Bite2009) and wanting to know more as I loved the delicacy of the play, and am disappointed that I can't seem to locate a copy of 'Portrait of Shunkin'. I enjoyed 'In praise of shadows', although it is quite slight; I can appreciate that it is an artist's view of ancient and modern Japan, which fascinates...
Published on 5 Mar. 2009 by currer bell


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embrace the dark side!, 11 July 2007
This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This book has a foreword from someone at UCLA's School of Architecture - so perhaps that is a clue to where it is aimed.
Tanizaki makes a good argument that Japanese art (eg, lacquerware, calligraphy, gold statues, no and kabuki, etc.) cannot be best appreciated in bright, white and shiny surroundings, which he characterizes as Western. He prefers a natural diffused light, softer colours and the 'wear and tear' of wasi-sabi.
At this point in his life Tanizaki (1933) had turned against Western influence, so this is really "In Praise of All Things Japanese!" He does stray from his subject and ramble on like a 'Grumpy Old Man,' which he admits. Partly nostalgia - for he is really railing against the Japanese who had already embraced the 'bright lights' of the West, I'd say he crosses the politically correct line several times and made me feel uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, Tanizaki offers us a valuable link to a rich past, and there is still much we can learn from there. Like how a setting can enhance or destroy our appreciation of an object, a person or theatre. Or, why we should not be afraid of the dark!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating and Brilliant, 21 April 2004
By 
ZDDQ140770 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Recommended for anyone studying architecture, design, sculpture or art,but I've been giving it out as a general gift for years. Not a novel, butan elegant short essay regarding space, shadow, and light. Veryenlightening (pardon the pun) and will make you think about the space youoccupy in a new way, and may even encourage you not to switch the light sooften....charming and brilliant.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...and it's not just for designers, 10 Feb. 2009
This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Some reviewers were troubled by parts of the essay that are "weird" or politically incorrect. However, this work is a preservation of a disappearing era, and succeeds in pinpointing the roots of the beauty in the things it describes. Those things themselves, then, are not as relevant as the underlying lesson in appreciating and understanding spaces, moods, customs, and the day-to-day. Here is a subtly delivered train of thought, demonstrating the gentle delineation and enjoyment of nuances that are easily and commonly ignored.

Short, cheap, and easy to read, it can be recommended to almost any thoughtful person. It is well worth taking as a companion to Tanizaki's novels, too, as an elucidation of his style of thought. (In particular, 'Some Prefer Nettles' addresses related themes of culture, custom, enjoyment and appreciation.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rationale of the Senses, 10 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS (Paperback)
I found this book originally 4 years ago for $1 in a discount bin at a tiny, cheesy bookstore in a mall. Just for kicks I bought it and was delighted by the chance of finding it. It is a little gem that describes one man's view of Japanese culture and design as compared with our sterile Western ways. As a (then) student of an Interior Design degree, I found it to be a worthwhile read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic resume and down to earth approach to architecture, 6 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This is a wonderful account of the personal experience of the author with the interior architecture and the pleasure that the emplacement of objects and the light that they catch brings to him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book review, 18 May 2010
By 
G. A. Messina "giosi" (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Truly wonderful essay that depicts a nostalgic, yet attentive narrative of japanese cultural identity in modern society.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can change your mind, 14 July 2012
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This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
It is so true that we see with our brains! This book speaks to my senses, to my spirit and to my brain. The language is soft, homey yet so elegant and it describes a world that is foreign to us, where we enjoy each shade of the shadows, how they calm our senses. I will keep this in mind for when I will design my own home. I have read it twice because it kind of washes my brain from this westernism I am surrounded with
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into another culture, 29 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Interesting view into the traditional opinions of the eastern world in terms of architecture and culture.

From a designer's perspective it gives a good basis for context for this demographic and also provides an insight into thinking about things differently. Do not accept what is normal today as the best method, the way things were done in the past might equally have merit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A poem in prose, 18 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
The delicacy and insightfulness of Tanizaki's writing are a rare literary treat nowadays. It was like reading a poem in prose, I can't think of anything better to say about this book. Countless moments of revelation, small epiphanies, endless dark-sweet discoveries. It's a book to treasure. I'd recommend it to everyone -in fact, I already have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jump in, 27 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This is a great book with poetic language into which you can immerse yourself.

It is also full of fascinating insights into a lost Japanese way of life; rooms decorated with flecks of gold as the sole source of illumination, women blackening their teeth to accentuate their facial features. How about that for a beauty tip?
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In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics)
In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) by Junichiro Tanizaki (Paperback - 3 May 2001)
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