Essay about Comparing Tosa Nikki and Oku No Hososmichi

Essay about Comparing Tosa Nikki and Oku No Hososmichi

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A habit found in travelers is that when documenting the journeys taken, there will be the use of many poems in the travel journals. While nearly 800 years separated the time between when Tosa Nikki was written by Ki no Tsurayuki and Oku no Hosomichi by Matsuo Bashō, they both are very detailed in their accounts of their travels. One similar aspect that should be noted about the journals is that Tosa Nikki was written in 936, following Ki no Tsurayuki’s finishing in his duties as the governor of the Tosa province (Keane, 82) and that Matsuo Bashō wrote Oku no Hosomichi almost five years prior to his death. The respective timing of their writings is that they both have already had a lifetime of experiences and over that time had become very skilled writers. The only significance about this that should be considered from this is that the time that they wrote their journals is that with their acquired skill in writing has allowed for Tosa Nikki to survive and remain very relevant for over a millennium and Oku no Hosomichi comparable in its survival, although it comes from a time where literacy was much more widespread and would have been likely to have been read by a larger audience. The journeys that are depicted in these accounts are told in from various perspectives such as Ki no Tsurayuki writing Tosa Nikki as a supposed account from one of the female members of his travelling party, while Oku no Hosmichi is Matsuo Bashō’s personal account. While both of these journals portray different people, such as the different poems attributed to various authors, Tosa Nikki is contained on a boat as the party returns to Kyoto and is about the journey as the party experiences it all together. Oku no Hosmichi is about the journey taken over la...


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...tion from observations of nature. Also there are rituals practiced in order make the journey much more pleasant and less eventful. They do differ in that Matsuo Bashō acknowledges where exactly many of the poems used come from while Ki no Tsurayuki does not and it leads to the possibility he created all of the poems himself in the voice of a person he was trying to represent. In end the feelings in the two journals are also very different, as Tosa Nikki is about a party travelling together, all of the poems and descriptions feel as if they were part of a shared experience. In Oku no Hosomichi, although Matsuo Bashō is with his companion Sora much of the time, it feels like he is by himself quite a bit and the only company he has is his thoughts which lead into his poems and prose. Overall, both detail very incredible journeys that are in their own ways quite epic.

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