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Transcript of Japanese
What is a Tanka?
A Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.
Japanese Literature and The Arts
The Pillow Book
In spring it the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud trail over them.
In summer the nights. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is!
In autumn the evenings, when the glittering sun sinks close to the edge of the hills and the crows fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos; more charming still is a file of wild geese, like specks in the distant sky. When the sun has set, one’s heart is moved by the sound of the wind and the hum of insects.
Characteristics of Japanese Literature
Brief - a long Japanese poem would be no longer than 100 lines
Novels read more as a series of short stories rather than modern novels
Leaves the reader with open-ended thoughts
Lack of protest
no distinction between nature and people
group and individual equality
mutual agreements between the author and the reader
no literary terms that were social class-based
Described as either ancient, medieval, or modern
What is a haiku?
How to Write a Haiku
There are no specific rules for writing haiku; however, the structure of haiku is always the same, including the following features:
Only three lines, totaling 17 syllables throughout
The first line must be only 5 syllables
The second line must be comprised of 7 syllables
The third line must be 5 syllables like the first
Punctuation and capitalization rules are up to the poet, and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences
Haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact many times it does not rhyme at all
Some haiku can include the repetition of words or sounds
The Heian Period
The Tale of Genji
This piece of literature is considered to be the world's first true novel by most. The intertwining story follows the lives of Genji and his descendents, and all of the emotions that come with life in Japan. It was written by
Murasaki Shikibu, a Japanese women, in the midst of the Heian Period, shortly after the year 1000.
The Pillow Book
The Pillow Book was written by Sei Shonagon while she was a Lady in waiting during the 900's. The book acts as a diary of her experiences and is broken up into six different parts. Sei was able to use her astounding sense of language to tell of all the problems of this time period. This piece of literature was seen as controversial at the time because other authors weren't
"One Lone Pine Tree" by Saigyo
-What is the meaning of this tanka?
What Is Zen?
The History of Zen
One lone pine tree
growing in the hollow-
and I thought
I was the only one
without a friend
using their works to delve into the political injustices of the world. The Pillow Book has
continued to inspire many writers
When is Zen?
The main purpose of Zen is to be fully aware.
Being in the moment.
The past and the future are both fantasies.
Because the future is unknown and the past is only memories.
Simplicity is often associated with zen.
Simple environments give one the ability to focus on the present moment.
Zen means that one is free from the distractions or temptations of the material world.
Synesthesia is an impression or opinion given off when one sense stimulates another sense.
Literature from the Book
throughout the years.
The Heian period was a critical time for Japan's rising independence. Starting in 794, Japanese authors and artists were beginning to break free from the Chinese influence and create their own style. This era, meaning "peace and tranquility", was centered around the nobility and prestige of the empire.
-connects and relates nature to self
-person feels lonely, but feels better knowing that they are not the "only one without a friend"- feel at peace
"One Lone Pine Tree..."
A parable is a brief story that teaches a lesson.
Parables are used in very famous works, including Christ in the New Testament.
Japanese literature traces its origin back to the early 8th century after a writing system was introduced from China
Many Zen stories use parables as the main theme that have intense truths about them.
Between 712 and 720 Kojiki and Nihon shoki were completed. In 713 Fudoki was started by officials
Originally, parables were used to teach monks about Buddhism. The teacher would initially trick the students, teaching them that there could always be contradictions in truth.
anthology of myths, legends, and other stories
chronological record of history
describes the history, geography, products, and folklore of the various provinces.
"Though I Go to You" by Ono no Komachi
Though I go to you
ceaselessly along dream paths, the sum of those trysts
is less than a glimpse granted in the waking world.
(Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves)
"Though I Go to You..."
"Zen" is a translation of the Chinese word "Chan".
In 500 A.D. the teachings of Zen were brought to China by a Buddhist named Bodhidharma.
The Japanese quickly adopted Zen from the Chinese.
Zen then became a traditional practice in Japan.
Practiced not only by Buddhists, but by the majority of the Japanese population.
anthology of 4,500 poems
written by unknown commoners to emperors
- the dreamer dreams about somebody all the time
- "the sum of those trysts is less than a single glimpse granted in the waking world" could mean two things:
-all those dreams are equal to just one glimpse of that person in real life- its all they need to feel happy
- the single glimpse in real life does not compare to seeing that person in their dreams- seeing them in the dreams is better
Example: Sweet Laughter
written early in the eleventh century
use of the hiragana alphabet (chinese writing system) had become widespread
court ladies played the central role in developing literature
Typically used in Haikus and appeal to the senses.
"A Parable" (The Tiger and the Strawberry) translated by Paul Reps
Buddha told a parable in a sutra:
A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away at the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!
-What is the meaning of this parable?
(Tales of a Time That Is Now Past)
created around 1120
collection of more than 1,000 Buddhist and secular tales from India, China, and Japan
descriptions of the lives of the nobility and common people in Japan at that time
"The Tiger and the Strawberry"
latter half of the twelfth century warriors of the Taira clan seized political power at the imperial court
Heike mono-gatari (The Tale of the Heike) describes the rise and fall of the Taira
- Living in the moment- not thinking about the past or future- living life to its fullest
-He was about to die, but in that moment he was only thinking about how amazing that strawberry tasted
Imagery is language that appeals to the senses. However, most do appeal to the sense of sight.
Imagery is used in all types of writing but is most important in poetry.
many works demonstrated spiritual salvation
Kamo no Chomei 's Hojoki (An Account of My Hut) and Yoshida Kenko 's Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness)
Jade Flower Palace
The stream swirls. The wind moans in
The pines. Gray rats scurry over
Broken tiles. What prince, long ago,
Built this palace, standing in
Ruins beside the cliffs? There are
Green ghost fires in the black rooms.
The shattered pavements are all
Washed away. Then thousand organ
Pipes whistle and roar. The storm Scatters the red autumn leaves.
His dancing girls are yellow dust.
Their painted cheeks have been crumbled
Away. His gold chariots
And courtiers are gone. Only
A stone horse is left of his
Glory. I sit on the grass and
Start a poem, but the pathos of
It overcomes me. The future
Slips imperceptibly away,
Who can say what the years will bring?
"A Drift of Ashes..."
"A Drift of Ashes" by
A drift of ashes
from a burning field,
wind sighing away...
- What is the meaning/purpose of this poem?
composed renga (successive linked verses by several people forming a long poem)
formed from renga was haikai (a sort of jocular renga) in the sixteenth century
seventeenth century poet Matsuo Basho perfected the hiaku
- There is more of a sense of imagery to this poem more than there is a meaning
-"A drift of ashes from a burning field" makes me imagine ash quietly falling to the ground like snow and a field fire that nobody is aware of
-"a wailing wind sighing away" makes me hear the eerie sound of the wind and fire
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Come on girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her into his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"
"I left her there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"
"Such a Moon" by
Such a moon-
pauses to sing.
- What is the irony of this haiku?
"Such a Moon..."
-The irony of this haiku is that one would think a thief would not care about what the moon looks like
- Thieves do not seem like the kind of people who would stop to appreciate the moon
A snowy mountain
"The Golden Era of Art and Literature"
A new system of Kana Phonetic writing emerged during the Heian era, and was widely used by female authors.
Zen in Japanese Literature
Meditation is one of the most common ways to practice zen.
Zen philosophy is often practiced in Japanese literature.
The Tiger and the
Even though the man was about to die, he enjoyed his strawberry by focusing on the exact moment and not being distracted by an outside force.
Zen and the Haiku
A poem called The Renga was extensively practiced by Zen Monks
The Renga then evolved into The Haiku.
Basho was the Zen Monk who discovered The Haiku
Basho traveled the world for the last ten years of his life. As he traveled, he wrote down every feeling he experienced and turned them into Haiku's.
Basho is one of the main reasons Haiku's are so popular.
"A wild sea-
In the distance over Sado
The Milky Way."
"On Buddha's deathday,
wrinkled tough old hands pray –
the prayer beads' sound"
"so clear the sound
echoes to the Big Dipper
the fulling block"