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Courtly Literature in MEDIEVAL JAPAN. Yamato or Kofun Period Chinese Influence ca. 300-710 ce  Yamato : “great kings”  Kofun: giant tomb mounds  Military.

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Presentation on theme: "Courtly Literature in MEDIEVAL JAPAN. Yamato or Kofun Period Chinese Influence ca. 300-710 ce  Yamato : “great kings”  Kofun: giant tomb mounds  Military."— Presentation transcript:

1 Courtly Literature in MEDIEVAL JAPAN

2 Yamato or Kofun Period Chinese Influence ca. 300-710 ce  Yamato : “great kings”  Kofun: giant tomb mounds  Military aristocracy  Capital at Naniwa (Osaka)  Imported Chinese culture via Korea:  Writing  Confucianism  Buddhism

3 Prince Shotoku 573-621  Regent during reign of Empress Suiko (r. 592-628)  Wrote the Seventeen Article Constitution, the earliest piece of Japanese writing and basis for Japanese government throughout history  Led Japanese court in adopting Chinese calendar and sponsoring Buddhism Prince Shotoku Kamakura period, early 14th century Gilt bronze

4 Asuka Period 645-710  Capital in the Asuka District  Establishment of Imperial Power under Taika Reform Edict  Temple building and sculpture introduced with Buddhism -- heavily influenced by Korean and Chinese models Relief Tile with Buddhist Triad Asuka period, 7th century Metropolitan Museum of Art

5 Taika Reform Edicts: 645 Fusion of Buddhism and Shinto  Influence of Chinese culture -- institutions, language, philosophy -- concept of national unity symbolized by Emperor's dual role:  Shinto religious leader with elaborate rituals, ceremonial functions  Chinese-like secular Emperor  Emperor ruled by Decree of Heaven with absolute authority and by descent from Amaterasu, the sun goddess Emperor Tenji (From Ogura Hyakunin Isshu) 626-672

6 Shinto: Ise Jingu: Grand Shrines of Ise

7  Ise Grand Shrine is Japan's most important Shinto shrine and serves as the center of all shrines nationwide.  Situated near the banks of the Isuzu River, the shrine is surrounded by 800-year-old Ise Grand Shrine cedars.  The smooth pebble-lined approach to the shrine lends the site a majestic air.

8 Ise Shrine, Geku (outer shrine), inner precinct showing outer fence

9 The Naiku  The most revered of all Shinto shrines, the Naiku, is located at Ise.  The Naiku enshrines Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestral goddess of Japan's imperial house and the great ancestral deity of the Japanese people.

10 Amaterasu Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865). Amaterasu Emerges from the Light. (colored woodcut, no date).


12 Nara Period: 710-794  710: first permanent capital established at Nara  Emperors embraced Buddhism leading to its rapid and dramatic expansion  784: Rise in political power of Buddhist monasteries led to capital being moved to Nagaoka

13 Nara Fashion During the Nara and the previous Asuka periods, techniques for dyeing silk were developed. Clothing consisted of many pieces including upper and lower garments, jackets, a front skirt, and a back skirt.

14 Buddha Sculptures Nara - Temple Chugu-ji 7th c. Nara - Temple Horyu-ji 7th c.

15 Umayasaka Temple at Nara

16 Earliest Japanese Literature  712 : The Kojiki ( Record of Ancient Matters ) -- an anthology of myths, legends, and other stories  713: The Fudoki ( Records of Wind and Earth ), compiled by provincial officials describe the history, geography, products, and folklore of the various provinces.  720 : Nihon shoki ( Chronicle of Japan ) -- a chronological record of history.

17 The Kojiki  The Kojiki ( Record of Ancient Matters ) is traditionally viewed as Japan's first book. It was written in 712 by the courtier Ono Yasumaro (? - 723) at the behest of Empress Gemmei (661-721) and is in three volumes.  The Kojiki recounts the history of Japan from its mythological origins to the era of the Empress Suiko (554-628) in the Yamoto era and includes myths, legends, Imperial genealogy, history, and poetry.  Ono Yasumaru's work was based on the oral recitations of Hieda no Are Kojiki – album cover Kitaro

18 Izanami and Izanagi, the creator kami

19 Language of The Kojiki  The writing in the Kojiki is based on Chinese characters and employs the kambun, the hybrid kambun (kanji), and the manyogana styles.  The kambun style is basically Chinese writing with a pure Chinese vocabulary and sentence structure: the preface of the Kojiki and the style of the majority of extant early Japanese works.  The largest portion of the Kojiki is written in the hybrid kambun -- kanji -- style where words are written phonetically or ideographically in Chinese writing, but read in Japanese. So, the Kojiki announced the adoption of a written form of the Japanese language.  Manyogana consists of Chinese ideographs used phonetically, devoid of their original meanings and used for the songs in the Kojiki – the only truly literary parts of the work.

20 Waka wa-Japanese ka-poetry  Waka were first composed orally to celebrate victories in battle and love, or for religious reasons  Around the 8th century the fixed forms Choka (long poem) and Tanka (short poem) emerged. These Waka are based on a set number of Mora (syllables).  During the first great age of written waka in the seventh and eighth centuries, nagauta or choka 'long poems‘ were composed for performance on public occasions at the imperial court.  At the same time, tanka 'short poems', consisting of five 'lines' in the pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables, became a useful shorthand for private communication between friends and lovers, and the ability to compose a tanka on a given topic became an essential skill for any gentleman or lady at court.  It was not uncommon for parties to be thrown just to recite waka. One ritual was the Utokai. At Utokai parties each guest would come with an original waka and recite it to the group. All of the waka would then be judged by the host and the winner would be welcomed to eat at the head table.

21 The Manyoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves)  Collected ca. 759  Anthology of over 4500 poems  Includes wide variety of poems: courtly, rustic, dialectical, military, travel  Identified and anonymous poets  Syllabic poetry: 5-7-5  Choka: indeterminate number of lines culminating in a 7-syllable (mora) couplet  Tanka: 31 syllable poem: 5,7,5,7, 7

22 Heian Japan

23  794-1185  Capital at Heian: present-day Kyoto  Highly formalized court culture  Aristocratic monopoly of power  Literary and artistic flowering  Ended in civil wars and emergence of samurai culture

24 The Kokinshu ( Collection of Ancient and Modern Times)  Anthology commissioned by Emperor Daigo (r. 897-930  1111 tanka poems in 20 books  Set the pattern for later anthologies  Books divided by subject: love, seasons, felicitations, parting, travel, names of things, etc.  Poetic sequences – linked narrations  Renga : 'linked verse' : pairs or groups of poets would compose jointly, with one poet supplying the initial 5-7-5 of a verse and another the concluding 7-7, often building up to hundred verse sequences.  The initial 5-7-5 of a renga became a poetic form on its own, the haiku A confused array of red leaves in the current of Tatsuta River. Were I to cross, I would break the fabric of a rich brocade

25 Lady Ise Ono no Komachi Ki no Tsurayuki Ariwara no Narihira Fun'ya-no-Yasuhide Otomo-no- Kuronushi Kokinshu Poets

26 Thirty- six Immortal Poets The Thirty-six Immortal Poets (detail), Edo period (1615-1868) Ikeda Koson (1802– 1867) Two-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk; 68 x 68 3/4 in. (172.8 x 174.6 cm) Property of Mary Griggs Burke


28 Heian Fashion


30  A culture more independent of Chinese influence  miyabi : courtliness makoto : simplicity aware : melancholy mono no aware :evanescence  Emphasis on the exquisite and evanescent  Literary: poems, letters, pillow books  Extreme sensitivity to nature  Nocturnal  Importance of convention and fashion Heian Style

31 Heian Society  Patriarchal but women inherited: matrilineal and matrilocal  Polygamous  Sexuality viewed as normal and necessary part of life  Men exercised political power, but marriages created political alliances and women could exercise significant political influence

32 Heian Style  A culture more independent of Chinese influence  miyabi : courtliness makoto : simplicity aware : melancholy mono no aware :evanescence  Emphasis on the exquisite and evanescent  Literary: poems, letters, pillow books  Extreme sensitivity to nature  Nocturnal  Importance of convention and fashion

33 Heian Painting: Yamato-e  Onna-e  rich colors and subtle outlines.  the medium for courtliness, appropriate to the literature of miyabi, such as The Tale of Genji.  "cutaway" painting, in which interior scenes are painted by "cutting away" the roof.  primarily concerned with the Japanese life that goes on inside the court or house  Otoko-e  strong calligraphic outlines on figures with washed colors so that these strong lines would not be overwhelmed by the color  the medium for action subjects involving war or conflict;  primarily concerned with the public life outside the court or house.

34 Onna-e style from Genji- monogatari

35 Otoko-e style

36 Heian Literature  Men continued to write Chinese-style poetry  Women began to write in Japanese prose  First novel: Genji Monogatari by Lady Murasaki Shikibu  Diaries:  The Pillowbook by Sei Shonagan  As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams by Lady Sarashina

37 Japanese Writing  Adapted from Chinese calligraphy, but a totally different language  Kanji: ideogrammatic use of Chinese characters  Manyo-kana: ideogrammatic and syllabic  Kana: syllabic  Hiragana: onna de or “women’s writing” -- cursive, does not require knowledge of Chinese  Katakana -- cursive, derived from Chinese

38 Murasaki Shikibu Katsukawa Shunsho 18 th c. From a series of the 36 Immortal Poets

39 The Tale of Genji

40 The Tale of Genji Lady Murasaki  Picture of life at the 10 th c. Heian court  Relates the lives and loves of Prince Genji and his children and grandchildren  Unesco Global Heritage Pavilion: The Tale of GenjiUnesco Global Heritage Pavilion: The Tale of Genji

41 The Tale of Genji  The Tale of Genji has 54 chapters and over 1,000 pages of text in its English translation.  The novel has three gradual stages:  1. The experience of a youth (Chapters 1-33): Love and romance  2. The glory and the sorrow (Chapters 34-41): A taste of power and the death of Genji’s beloved wife  3. The descendants (Chapters 42-54): After the death of Genji  The Tale of Genji depicts a unique society of ultra-refined and elegant aristocrats whose indispensable accomplishments were skill in poetry, music, calligraphy, and courtship.  The novel is permeated with a sensitivity to human emotions and the beauties of nature.

42 Artist Unknown, Chapter 12 Suma, Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji). About mid-18th century, Color on paperGenji Monogatari (Tale of Genji)

43 Family Relationships in The Tale of Genji

44 Prince Hyobu Fujitsubo--Lady of the --Kokiden--Emperor Princess Omiya---Minister Paulownia Court of the Left Former Emperor Minister of the Right Murasaki Crown Prince Genji Crown Prince Aoi To no Chujo Reizei Emperor Suzaku Emperor Members of the Emperor’s Family

45 Genji’s Families Genji --- Aoi To No Chujo Suzaku Emperor--Lady Shokyoden Yugiri --- Kumoinokari --- Murasaki ~~ Akashi Lady Akashi Empress ---Emperor Prince Niou -- Rokunokimi --- Third Princess ~~ Kashiwagi Kaoru

46 Genji’s Liaisons Genji ~ Lady at Rokujo---late Crown Prince Akikonomu, High Priestess of Ise  consort of Reizei Emperor ~ Yugao (Evening Faces) ~ To no Chujo daughter, Tamakazura ~ Fujitsubo -- Emperor Crown Prince (Reizei Emperor) ~ Lady of the Locust Shell -- Governor of Iyo ~ Naishi ~ Safflower Lady ~ Oborozukiyo, Kokiden’s sister -- consort of Suzaku Emperor ~ Lady of the Orange Blossoms, Reikeiden’s sister ~ Gosechi dancer ~ Akashi Lady Akashi Empress

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