Ki no Tsurayuki and Matsuo Basho

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Even though these two authors, Ki no Turayuki and Matsuo Bashō lived in different times, they made a great travel diaries. Tosa Nikki was the first well-written travel diary in Japan and showed how to write a diary. Oku no Hosomichi was developed from the diary style of the first Tosa Nikki. In this essay, I would like to discuss about the lives of Ki no Tsurayuki and Matsuo Bashō. Then, I will show how their diaries were different. Finally, I will discuss how these diaries are similar, and although these diaries are very different, they were both written to help the people of Japan.

The author, Ki no Tsurayuki, lived from 884 to 946. He was a great poet and one of four compilers of the Japanese anthology called Kokinwakashu, or Collection of Ancient and Modern Poetry. He wrote Tosa Nikki around 936. It was the first written travel diary which describes returning to Kyoto, the capital of Japan, from Tosa Province (now Kōchi Prefecture on Shikoku Island) after finishing his duty as provincial governor.

Matsuo Bashō, on the other hand was a great Japanese poet. He wrote Oku no Hosomichi which is a travel diary based on a journey he took with his disciple Kawai Sora in 1694. It was 1500-mile long journey into the rugged country side of northern Honshu which took 156 days ( Handout 15, n.d.).” He visited many shrines and places where Saigyo visited and every stop, he left poems.

Both were travel diaries, however, they were very different. During Ki no Tsurayuki’s time, only men wrote diaries and wrote them in Chinese, mostly about the affairs of state or the imperial court, not about their personal lives. As for his traveling, to go home to Kyoto is usually a happy experience. However, when he was in Tosa, he lost ...

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...ravel to northern Honshu like him.

Both, Ki no Tsurayuki and Matsuo Bashō were great Japanese writers. They had different things to talk about. They had different stories and wtiting styles. However, they both tried to show Japanese people a different way to live their lives. Tosa Nikki tried to help in a way that many people were inspired and wrote diaries. Bashō tried to help Japan stay connected to nature and be humble. They both influenced Japan and Japanese literature a great deal.

Works Cited

1. Keene D. (1955). Anthology of Japanese Literature (Tosa Nikki)

2. Handout 15 - Matsuo Bashō.

3. Reading – Oku no Hosomichi

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