The Key (Tanizaki novel)

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First edition

The Key (Kagi, 鍵) is a novel written by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki in 1956. The book was translated into English by Howard Hibbett and published by Vintage International Books.


The entire story is written in diary form, alternating between the entries of an elderly man who decides to spice up his ailing marriage with a series of intrigues and that of his much younger wife, who complies with her husband's desires without letting him know she is aware of his schemes.

Film Adaptations[edit]


  • The Husband
  • Ikuko, his wife
  • Toshiko, their daughter
  • Mr. Kimura, the daughter's (potential) fiancé.


  • Hibbett, Howard, trans. "The Key". Tanizaki Junichiro. New York: Vintage, 2004
  • McClellan, Edwin (1960). "Review of The Key". Monumenta Nipponica. 16 (1/2): 205–211. doi:10.2307/2383364. ISSN 0027-0741. JSTOR 2383364 – via JSTOR.
  • "Visions of Desire: Tanizaki's Fictional Worlds". Ito, Ken. Stanford University Press, 1991