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The Gothic Novel

The Gothic Novel

Izumi Kyōka and Tanizaki Jun’ichirō

(p.97) Chapter 4 The Gothic Novel
The Alien Within
Leith Morton
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the Japanese version of the gothic. The territory of the gothic—a wild, exotic landscape populated by ghosts, demons, and unreasoning fear—is the territory of the unconscious. Japanese gothic authors were among the first to explore this territory in literature, and thus the first to create a vital stage in the evolution of modernism in Japan. The chapter presents two writers emblematic of gothic concerns: Izumi Kyöka and Tanizaki Jun'ichirö, authors who have been regarded as among the finest in the twentieth century. While the same dark elements found in the works of Kyöka can be seen in Tanizaki's fiction, they differ in many respects. Tanizaki's use of the gothic mode of narrative is a more self-conscious working of the tradition, as he was much more familiar with it than Kyöka was.

Keywords:   Japenese gothic, modernism, Izumi Kyöka, Tanizaki Jun'ichirö, gothic narrative, ghosts, demons, unreasoning fear

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