In Praise of Shadows

By Junichiro Tanizaki
Recommended by
In Praise of Shadows is a contemplative essay by Junichiro Tanizaki that delves into the importance of shadows and the traditional Japanese aesthetic. Through his perceptive observations, Tanizaki explores the beauty found in the subtlety of shadows, the playfulness of dim lighting, and the art of concealment.

Tanizaki reflects on how modern advancements in technology and design have gradually stripped away the allure of darkness and replaced it with harsh, uniform illumination. He emphasizes the loss of intricate nuances that shadows provide, transforming our perceptions of beauty and eroding the traditional elegance of the Japanese culture.

The author discusses how traditional Japanese architecture, with its use of natural materials, sliding doors, and delicate paper screens, interacts harmoniously with shadows to create a sense of mystery and tranquility. Tanizaki believes that shadows add depth to spaces and objects, allowing the imagination to flourish and evoking a more profound emotional response.

Tanizaki praises the Japanese tea ceremony as an exquisite embodiment of the aesthetics of shadows. He describes the ritualistic preparation and presentation of matcha tea as a mesmerizing dance, where shadows cast by the flickering candlelight enhance the form and grace of the utensils and the gestures of the host, heightening the sensory experience.

Throughout this essay, Tanizaki reminds us of the importance of embracing shadows, cherishing the imperfections and impermanence they bring. By appreciating the elegance and subtlety of dimly lit spaces, we can reconnect with the profound beauty that lies in the shadows and rediscover the richness of our own cultural heritage.

In Praise of Shadows is a thought-provoking and poetic exploration of how shadows shape our appreciation of beauty and enhance our understanding of the world around us. Tanizaki invites readers to reexamine their relationship with light, darkness, and the overlooked wonders hidden within the shadows.
Share This Book 📚