Essay on The Quest for Beauty in The Tattooer by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
In Jun'ichirō Tanizaki’s short story “The Tattooer”, Tanizaki features an ambitious tattoo artist who yearns to create a masterpiece on the skin of his ideal woman. Initially, this woman is anticipated as the one who holds the potential to achieve the status of a twisted goddess. Moreover, the artist’s process of forging his masterpiece on this particular woman acts as a stepping-stone to his imminent demise; she is a lethal double-edged sword. The tattoo, which takes the form of a black widow, metaphorically transforms the woman into a Japanized “black widow” herself. Accordingly, the dual nature of woman is portrayed as timeless beauty and infinite destruction.
The main interest in this short story is further elucidated when …show more content…
The emphasis on the artist’s imminent demise is further seen during the process of forging the masterpiece on the woman’s skin. The first sign of this demise is seen when the artist is metaphorically tattooing his “soul” into the woman, as evidenced by the passage, “He felt his spirit dissolve into the charcoal-black ink that strained her skin” (Tanizaki