The two exquisite novellas in this edition are life stories drawn from the rich history and mythology of Japan.
These two short novels, published in the early 1930's ranked high in Tanizaki's own estimation of his work. The contrast is stark, but in their controlled complexities of tone, both bear the unmistakable stamp of Tanizaki's hand. MUSASHI deals with the dark sexual obsessions of a sixteenth-century warlord, accidentally initiated in his youth into the morbid rites attendant upon battle. ARROWROOT too touches on the pursuit of legend, but in a totally different mode. Cast in the uniquely Japanese form of the 'essay novel', the narrative blends the stories of two friends on an expedition into the mountains south of Kyoto, one of them haunting the traces of a medieval myth, the other in search of a more recent and more private past.