ABSTRACT

The strong response of such major writers of modern Japanese literature as Tanizaki Junichiro, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Hagiwara Sakutaro and Mishima Yukio to Western writers of dark romanticism (such writers as Poe, Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde) can be readily understood in the light of their shared artistic concerns. Like their Western counterparts, the Japanese writers were concerned with the question of evil, the role of the grotesque and the ugly in art, and the relation of art to life, and they pursued these questions even after they moved away from the obvious influence of the Western writers. This is most evident in the Japanese writers of decadence and aestheticism, whose writing formed a major literary current from the late Meiji period (1868-1912) onward.