The last novel by one of the best-known Japanese writers, Junichiro Tanizaki who died in 1965 at the age of 79. Tanizaki studied Japanese literature at Tokyo Imperial University and in his youth he was strongly influenced by Poe, Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde, but after the earthquake of 1923 he moved to the gentler, more cultured Kyoto region and there became absorbed in the Japanese past and abandoned his superficial Westernization. By 1930 he had gained such recognition that his "Complete works" were published. In spite of illness in the last years of his life, his mind remained as alert as ever, and during this period he wrote of unusual sexual and psychological problems in "The key" (published in this country in 1961) and "Diary of a mad old man". This book has been accepted in the Japanese Translations Series of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Tanizaki was awarded the Imperial Award for Cultural Merit in 1949 and was elected an Honorary Member of the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1964.