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Japanese Love

Anthony Thwaite, 14 June 1990

Childhood Years: A Memoir 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Paul McCarthy.
240 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 00 215325 4
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The Great Mirror of Male Love 
by Ihara Saikaku, translated by Paul Gordon Schalow.
371 pp., $37.50, February 1990, 0 8047 1661 7
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... the heavy-breathing prurience he was to exercise shortly in Diary of a Mad Old Man. The prolific Saikaku (1642-93) was equally self-confident. The first wholly professional writer in Japanese literary history, he poured out vast quantities of work – at first verse, then prose – at a time when a big new urban audience, keen to read, and new printing ...

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