The nimble feet glide effortlessly to the choreographed beats, smooth flowing movements inviting the grace of the translucent skin embracing the rhythmic spin, the soft camellia lips flutter in coquettish whispers,the extravagance of the feline eyes prosper in the richness of the silk delicately stretched on the supple breasts swaying the vile sensuality on the genteel dance floors of El Dorado. The music stops. The moist palm slips away from the slender waist. To the One To the shrill of an encore, the music begins again. My Mary Pickford
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Not a bad book, but merely overrated. Well, I still say Lolita is still an overrated book. In fact, I am baffled that more Westerners are not familiar with it. Many of the ideas within Modern Japanese literature involve the shift from the old traditions of the East, to the more Westernized cultural influence one finds in Japan today.
Tanizaki is one of the most well-known writers addressing this shift from old to new, for in Naomi, we have not only an insular, unhealthy relationship between a young girl and an older man, ala Lolita , but there is also an obsession for the shallow aspects of Western culture that both characters share. Joji offers to educate her, in exchange for having her live with him. His intention is to shape Naomi into his fantasy and someday make her his wife, while also watching her grow into a woman.
With no other opportunities presented to her, Naomi accepts his offer. Joji and Naomi play silly, childish games that are not only creepy, but also incredibly unhealthy by any cultural standard. For one thing, initially Naomi has no friends outside of the house, and she soon grows into a lazy, spoiled brat.
She orders maids to wait on her, she purchases expensive kimonos and shoes well beyond their means. Slowly Joji begins to drain his savings just so he can support her lavish lifestyle, until there is nothing left.
Eventually, Joji comes to believe his future wife is not that smart. Continually messing up her English lessons, he is often left publicly embarrassed by her loudness and demands. Naomi is not without humor, for Tanizaki does not hesitate in poking fun of this Western obsession of youthful beauty and vanity. I gathered that Mrs.
Brown was taking piano lessons from Miss Sugizaki. Naomi and Joji are both doomed, for by the end, neither one has grown up or changed. Tanizaki deliberately italicizes the word lady since their relationship only seems to work when she is playing the role of the child.
Junichiro Tanizaki's 'Naomi' Than Vladimir Nabokov's 'Lolita'
The physical representation of everything Western is embodied in a girl named Naomi. She turns out to be a very willing pupil. He pays for her English-language lessons, and though she has little skill with grammar, she possesses beautiful pronunciation. He funds her Westernized activities, including her love of movies, dancing and magazines. However, his plan to foster Western ideals such as independence in her backfires dramatically as she gets older. He wishes to break from tradition and moves to the city to work as an electrical engineer. He meets Naomi when she is 15, and takes her under his wing to educate her.