Against the Artists. Jun'ichirō Tanizaki and the Man of Art.
This essay explores the concepts of "art" (gei) and "man of art" (geinin) in Tanizaki's works. These two notions belong to an ancient Japanese aesthetic tradition. The concept of 'gei' means "realization", "skill", but also "technique" and "ability". Traditional stage performances such as 'nō', 'kyōgen', 'bunraku', 'kabuki', are typical examples of 'gei'. On the other hand the concept of 'geinin' implies three pivotal aspects: 1) a strict and harsh aesthetic education; 2) an environment suitable to develop the man of art's sensitivity; 3) a long process of emotional maturation. This perspective, according to this paper, sheds light on the peculiar Japanese aesthetic "difference" in relation to the concepts of art and artist developed - on the contrary - in Western tradition.