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.