The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi, Paperback

The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi Paperback

2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


These two short novels, published in the early 1930's ranked high in Tanizaki's own estimation of his work.

The contrast is stark, but in their controlled complexities of tone, both bear the unmistakable stamp of Tanizaki's hand.

The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi deals with the dark sexual obsessions of a sixteenth-century warlord, accidentally initiated in his youth into the morbid rites attendant upon battle.

Based on invented documents that overlap with historical reality, the story unfolds a masterly balance of irony and melodrama, elegance and brutality, civilised ritual and vengeful barbarity.

Arrowroot too touches on the pursuit of legend. The narrative blends the stories of two friends on an expedition into the mountains south of Kyoto, one of them haunting the traces of a medieval myth, the other in search of a more recent and more private past.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Anthologies (non-poetry)
  • ISBN: 9780099283171



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One decent novella and one awkward short story.<i>The Secret History of the Lord of Musash</i> is a good story except for the section where the lord first encounters the severed heads. I found that section rather slow and tedious. Thankfully the rest of the story is more lively and enjoyable.<i>Arrowroot</i> is sadly rather tedious the entire way through. The mock history Tanizaki engages in here is just rather dull. There's none of the interesting segments that peppered TSHOTLOM and made that story enjoyable, instead there's only an uninspiring account of a region's history. It just never grabbed me and the style doesn't work very well in a novel. Even the first story, decent as it is, would be far more better if it were a regular, straight story.Perhaps these were more a sort of higher, academic exercise for Tanizaki and that's why he thought highly of them? For the average reader they're just a frustrating experience.