This article draws on the cultural history of the medium of paper and presents a new interpretation of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's novel Yoshino Kuzu [Yoshino Arrowroot, 1931], which he published after moving to the Kansai region during what is known as the period in his career when he returned to “classical literature”．
Tanizaki believed that literary works are completed through book design. In accordance with Tanizaki's own belief, I conducted an exhaustive survey of bibliographic information about Tanizaki's works and examined the characteristics of Tanizaki's literature. I provide an overview of the process of completing and publishing Yoshino kuzu, how it was evaluated at the time of publication, and questions about the work that have been raised in previous studies. I also provide an overview of the history of washi, or Japanese paper (with which Tanizaki was obsessed), in relation to the expressive form of Yoshino kuzu. Finally, based on this analysis of what might appear to be peripheral research, I offer a new interpretation of kakekotoba (play on words and double meanings) in the novel to offer a new interpretation of it.
This paper connects the theme of Hahakoi (Longing for Mother) depicted in Yoshino kuzu with the motif and material of "paper", and examines the characteristics of Tanizaki's literature in terms of both content and form.