- 日本近代文学 (ISSN:05493749)
- vol.88, pp.65-80, 2013-05-15
Tanizaki Jun'ichiro is known to have owned a six-volume set of The Works of Plato (Bohn's Classical Library; London : George Bell and Son, 1848-54). There is some evidence that he was particularly familiar with the content of the second volume, which contained The Republic. It is in The Republic that the famous "Allegory of the Cave" appears. There are previous studies that point out the similarities between what the allegory describes and the mechanism of film projection. This paper argues that Tanizaki made use of the concept of the limitations of human perception described in the "Allegory of the Cave," as well as the concept of Idea, in those of his works that feature blindness, such as Shunkin sho (A Portrait of Shunkin,1933). The ultimate goal for Plato was for humans to see the light itself. Tanizaki seems to have wanted to warn against the danger of too much light, by transferring this allegory into the projection of films in modern times. In his time, films were made with nitrate, and they often caught fire while being projected, causing the destruction of the images on the screen. A Portrait of Shunkin and other stories with the theme of blindness can be understood as Tanizaki's expression of what may be called "the degree zero of representation" caused by excessive light.