The Role of Poetry in Narrative Prose of the Heian Period

argumentative Essay
1249 words
1249 words

The role of poetry in narrative prose of the Heian Period (794-1185) has impacted Japan`s culture by the improvement and blossoming of Japanese arts and literature. Japan was greatly influenced by the Chinese during the Heian Period due to imported things from China; example include Buddhism, poetry, art techniques, methods of organizing government, even the plan for the city of Heian-kyô itself.“The Heian period was named after this city, the country really was at peace, and the aristocrats of the Imperial Court spent much of their time creating a classical culture that still lives today”( The Heian Period: 794-1185). The term kanbun was used to describe how Chinese script or writing was adopted and was the official language of this period. During this period though, kana started to break-through in literature, but was only to be used in Japanese poetry. Women were known for creating the best works during this period due to kana being left to the ladies. There were many influential pieces of work that made an impact to shape and build Japanese literature; monogatari, nikki, and setsuwa are some example types.

The Heian Period is known for its Japanese literature and poetry due to the great amount of usage. During this aristocratic period, poetry was romantic and often a way men and women would exchange their love for each other. “For a Heian-era aristocratic man, poetry was a necessity of romantic competition for the affections of young, impressionable Heian women” (Gerber 2). Poetry was normally exchanged in letters and it was rare for a man to see the women until after he slept with her. With this, attributes such as personality and looks was fulfilled by poetry, women simply had to be able to represent herself has a desira...

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Works Cited

Gerber, Matthew. The Importance of Poetry in Japanese Heian-era Romantic Relationships. Ohio State University, 2007. Print.

"The Heian Period: 794-1185." Contemporary Japan: A Teaching Workbook. Asia for Educators. Web. .

"Monogatari - Encyclopedia." Online English Encyclopedia UK ( Web. 14 Feb. 2011. .

Moriyasu, Junko. "The World of the Tale of Genji." Faculty Web Server - City Colleges of Chicago. May 1999. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. .

"Writers in the Heian Era." Women in World History. Center for History and New Media, 2006. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. .

In this essay, the author

  • Compares monogatari to a lengthy narrative poem, and setsuwa, which focuses on oral tradition.
  • Analyzes how the tale of genji by murasaki shikibu is the most classic work in japanese literature and is best known as the first novel written.
  • Explains that poetry's role in the narrative prose during the heian period gave this time period an abundance of different works.
  • Explains gerber, matthew, the importance of poetry in japanese heian-era romantic relationships.
  • Explains the role of poetry in narrative prose of the heian period.
  • Cites moriyasu, junko. "the world of the tale of genji." faculty web server - city colleges of chicago.
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