Japanese Literature

Topic: CultureSubculture
Sample donated:
Last updated: December 14, 2019
Collaborative poetrymany poets write different parts of a long poem during Medieval Ages chains of interlocking verses Hokku= opening verse developed into haiku

Basho developedno titles almost never rhyme rarely use metaphor or simile direct/ simple languageclear image to show emotionprovoke thought sometimes contain kigo

seasonal words- ideas that the reader associates with the seasonEx.- Winter: cold, dark, lonliness

contains contrasting imagesExplicit and implicit comparisons

clearly stated


haiku form
arranged in vertical lines5,7,5 (sound syllables)

-1st great haiku poet-dramatic, exaggerate humor or depression haiku-awareness of items; death-from samurai (guards of land)-left and became Buddhist-traveled a lot/ relied on others for hospitality-taught and judged poetry contests- poems= observations of nature-wants reader to experience the same thing he did

– 2nd greatest poet-fine painter- romantic view of landscapes-mystery of nature in haiku- wrote many poems about 1 topic -ex.

30 about spring rain

– Haiku poet- recognized after his death-born into poverty- wrote about hardships people face- writes about less fortunate

Heian Period
– peace and tranquility- “Golden Age” in Japanese literature-aristocracy and court flourished-power in the hands of samurai

Sei Shonagon
-female poet; name means “minor counselor”-lady in waiting- involved in court and then left the palace- not much known about her- writings about the women in classical time- originator of the zuihitsu genre (writer puts together personal essays that relate to surroundings)-wrote in Japanese; men thought that Chinese was better-wrote Pillow Book

Pillow Book
-free and random structure-essay and diary-written by Sei Shonagon in Japanese-service in court-form= zuihitsu; free flowing, whatever inspires you-name from something women rest head on

-short poem-aka “waka” or “uta”- waka only referred to in this- haiku developed from this-Choka= long poem

-pause in poem indicated by punctuation in English- main point

common topics of Tanka
-love and nature-clear, powerful imagery to evoke emotion-suggest higher reality-imagery is more important than structure

tanka form
– 5 segments-31 syllables-5,7,5,7,7- translation causes the form to be off-focus on content

Ki Tsurayuki
– tanka poet-wrote during Heian period-leading poet, critic, and diarist of his time-Tosa diary helped establish Japanese tradition-chief aid of Emperor Daigo-his tradition led to Pillow Book

Ono Komachi
-tanka poet-female-poems contain passion and energy-many legends about her- not much known about life

Priest Jakuren
-religious figure/ Buddhist faith-tanka poet-traveled for inspiration-poems contain sad and beautiful images; melchonlic tone-Senzaishu- wrote poems for this collection-Jakuren Hoshi Shu- personal poems

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