Poetry has a long history in both Western and Eastern literature. As an art form, it is thought to even pre-date the written word (“Poetry,” n.d.). Some argue that the role of Eastern poetry, specifically Japanese, differs from that of the West because in Japan it is meant to capture a moment of emotion whereas Western literature is meant to describe an emotion. Nonetheless, poetry plays an extensive role in new and old Japanese society—some of the earliest written texts and the most important were poem anthologies. In the Heian period, the role of poetry reflected its real life matchmaking role; that is, it was a reflection of the romanticism an individual, which was considered an important factor in their suitability for marriage.
Writing poetry was a social necessity in Heian period Japan. Even those outside of the prestigious and highly literary Heian court needed a cursory understanding of how to interpret and compose poetry in order to be socially successful. (Tale of Genji Introduction, Royall Tyler) During the Heian period Japanese literature expanded to include works other than the traditional forms of poetry exemplified in the manyoshu and kokinshu. In the court of Heian Japan, two additional forms of literature were developed and produced: the nikki and monogatari. Nikki can be translated as dairy or journal and indeed some examples of nikki are rather methodical daily records of feelings and events.
Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Mills, D.E. "Japanese Poetry." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1975): 35-53.
Keene, Donald, ed. Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid- nineteenth Century. Grove Press, Inc. New York: 1955. Rexroth, Kenneth, ed and trans. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese.
However, when he was in Tosa, he lost ... ... middle of paper ... ...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.
Ki no Tsurayuki’s Tosa Nikki and Matsuo Bashou’s Oku no Hosomichi are one such example. Tosa Nikki, written in 936, and Oku no Hosomichi, finished in 1694 are both examples of kikou, or travel diaries. (Keene p.82) (Encyclopedia of Japan) Known more formally as kikou bungaku, or travel diary literature, kikou are compositions recording and describing a journey. The length of kikou vary considerably and can be episodic, but go nowhere near the length of a work like Genji Monogatari. The diary ‘entries’ also vary in form and can be organized by date, by event, or may simply be free flowing with no formatted division in the prose.
Print. Ki, Tsurayuki. "The Tosa Diary." Anthology of Japanese Literature. 'Comp' .
The prose of the Ise Monogatari was used to describe an amalgam of situations such as the glimpsing of love in two beautiful sisters while passing a hole in a hedge. Others include the affairs of married men and women, secret courters of the night, loss of love and despair, as well as the environment. (Keene 67-75) The prose then is used to adequately detail ... ... middle of paper ... ... interpretation from the reader. Poetry of the Heian period was full of intense imagery and metaphors that were used for many different purposes. In both the Ise Monogatari and the Tosa Nikki there are a multitude of ways that the poetry is utilized in order to enhance the work as a whole.
An example of this is when Genji is exiled and Murasaki writes a poem for him: “I would soon give up this unhappy life of mine if that might just stay a little while the farewell now suddenly upon us” (The Tale of Genji, 233). This poem gives an example of the emphasis on lo... ... middle of paper ... ...s what was found beautiful during that time, and shows how the political world was changing. It is through examples of literature such as these, that people are given an insight into the medieval world of Japan, and what was occurring during that time. Works Cited Huey, Robert N. “The Medievalization of Poetic Practice.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 50.2 (1990): 17. Harvard-Yenching Institute.