Japanese Literature Essay

Japanese Literature Essay

Length: 1726 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Medieval Japan proceeded the Heian period and spanned the years of 1185 to 1600. In contrast to the relatively peaceful times in the Heian period, medieval Japan was marked by changes of the government system into feudal structures and warfare, although the capital and imperial court culture still continued to exist. Political factions, such as the feud between the Taira and Minamoto clans, and the emergence of the warrior class of the medieval period clashed with the elegant imperial court of the Heian period, resulting in the gradual transition of political power to the military and samurai classes. This era of great turmoil and change was reflected in the literature of the time. In prose, new subjects that were never mentioned before emerged, such as physical descriptions of bodies and grotesque, gory war scenes. In Heian literature, the closest physical descriptions were only of women’s long, black hair and fair skin tone; detailed characteristics, especially those of unappealing taste, did not show up. However, in the feudal medieval period, writers depict war scenes in which warriors get beheaded and people commit seppuku, painting images of vivid crimson gore for the reader. Such descriptions show up in works such as Heike monogatari and Kamo mo Chōmei’s Hōjōki. However, the world of poetry at this time showed many distinct and interesting changes and innovations as compared to those of earlier times, which can be analyzed in more detailed aspects. Poetry is how Japan initially gained recognition and respect in the literary world; it was and continued to be the central cornerstone of classical Japanese literature through many centuries, which is why the focus of this paper will be the poetic anthologies of Kokinshū...


... middle of paper ...


...s, it also demonstrates both changes and innovations, such as sources from which poems were gleaned, topics of poems, poetic devices, and evaluative notions. Shinkokinshū is not completely separate from Kokinshū; it is a different, broader in scope anthology with many different, new aspects and is thought to be a better compilation than Kokinshū, to which I must agree.




Works Cited


"Introduction to Medieval Japan." Asia for Educators | Columbia University. Web. 16 June 2011. .
2. Keene, Donald. Anthology of Japanese Literature, from the Earliest Era to the Mid-nineteenth Century. New York: Grove, 1955.
3. Reading: Shinkokinshū Shirane
4. Reading: Huey “Medievalization of poetic practice”
5. Reading: Huey “The making of SKKS” intro
6. Reading: Heike monogatari
7. Handout 10 in class.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Tosa Nikki and Oku no Hoso Michi: Japanese Literature

- With many forms of literary work, there is bound to be similarities among them. The Japanese in particular are no exception. For example, they honor past literary works by commissioning literary pieces in their name. To the Japanese, imitation is regarded as a form of flattery. In particular, it is no surprise that Matsuo Basho’s traveling diary, Oku no Hoso Michi, shows any resemblance to Ki no Tsurayuki’s Tosa Nikki. Unlike any other works of its time, Tosa Nikki is a fictional travel diary written by Ki no Tsurayuki’s point of view as a woman....   [tags: Japanese Literature]

Powerful Essays
1010 words (2.9 pages)

Medieval world reflected in Japanese literature: Examples of Changes and Innovations in Literature (Poetry and Prose)

- Even without knowledge of the history in Medieval Japan, one can easily learn that Kamakura era was right in the transition period of the government and that of worldviews among people. The warrior class was gradually and surely coming to power, only by looking into the literature works of the era. Perhaps Emperor Gotoba was one of the aristocrats who were threatened with declination of their status and culture, which could have been his motives to command of the anthology: Shinkokinshū. This power rotation was vividly described in Heike monogatari....   [tags: Japanese Literature]

Powerful Essays
1459 words (4.2 pages)

Modern Japanese Literature and Theater: Betsuyaku Minoru Japanese Essay

- Japanese modern theater has gone through several changes during the years. From the early attempts of 1870 to reform the Kabuki, which resulted in the new form of shin-kabuki to the creation in the 1960s of shugekijo undo (Little theatre movement). One of the individuals that made an impact in Japanese modern theater is Betsuyaku Minoru. The following essay would be talking about Betsuyaku and his contribution to modern theater in Japan. In the Japanese state of Manchukuo on April 6, 1937 Betsuyaku Minoru was born....   [tags: japanese modern theater]

Powerful Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)

Japanese Literature Essay

- The Japanese medieval age consists of the Kamakura and Muromachi periods (from approximately 1185 to 1600). During this time, the political power was switching from the imperial family to a militaristic government. In addition, civil wars (from 1156 to 1568) were increasing throughout Japan. This change of centrality in society’s focus from court to warriors shifted the perception and style of Japanese literature. As we learned during the first half of the course, the Heian period focused their attentions on elegance, aesthetics (of actions or objects), and relationships (specifically the feelings of love, longing, and waiting)....   [tags: Medieval Japan, Heian Period]

Powerful Essays
1043 words (3 pages)

Japanese Literature Essay

- Literature has always reflected the perceptions, ideals, and environments of its authors; Japanese waka and prose during Japan’s transition from the “classical” Heian period (794-1185) to a more turbulent medieval period (1100-1500) is a fascinating window into this cultural metamorphosis. Japan was irrevocably changed during this period both politically and ideologically, and Japan’s literature followed suit. Several characteristics of the “classical” Heian period of Japan were the introduction and sophistication of several schools of Buddhism, literature focusing on court life and the associated intrigue, and a fascination with Chinese culture and its emulation....   [tags: Medieval Japan, Heian Period]

Powerful Essays
1192 words (3.4 pages)

Japanese Literature Essay

- Literature from any day and age can reflect any time period from any perspective, some books are written as if they are in the past, some are written in theoretical futures. Some are autobiographical or totally factual and some make things up to make something seem better than it really is, or to teach a moral. But by looking at the content of literature, one can see a part of the world the author lives in as well. You can see what is important to them and general beliefs they hold that are transferred through their work....   [tags: Medieval Japan, Heian Period]

Powerful Essays
1158 words (3.3 pages)

Japanese Literature Essay

- Medieval Japan proceeded the Heian period and spanned the years of 1185 to 1600. In contrast to the relatively peaceful times in the Heian period, medieval Japan was marked by changes of the government system into feudal structures and warfare, although the capital and imperial court culture still continued to exist. Political factions, such as the feud between the Taira and Minamoto clans, and the emergence of the warrior class of the medieval period clashed with the elegant imperial court of the Heian period, resulting in the gradual transition of political power to the military and samurai classes....   [tags: Medieval Japan, Heian Period]

Powerful Essays
1726 words (4.9 pages)

Japanese Literature Essay

- It is only a recent occurrence that the human race has become obsessed with preserving history. We tirelessly attempt to dig up any of trace of past civilizations to learn how they lived. But in the past, they weren’t as concerned with things such as time capsules, records and preservation—rather they just lived their lives accordingly and left traces of their existence. Although not all civilizations were complex enough to create their own writing systems, the ones that did developed it until it progressed from purely informational to the creative....   [tags: Medieval Japan, Heian Period]

Powerful Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Japanese Literature

- Japanese Literature Japan has provided the world with some of the greatest novelists, poets and essayists ever known. Starting with the writings of the Nara period during the mid-eighth century and continuing until today, great writers have blossomed from the islands of this small eastern nation. Although influenced heavily by China, where the Japanese are believed to have migrated from approximately 3000 years ago, Japanese writers have come to develop a truly unique style (Albert 504). Otomo Yakamochi is credited with compiling the finest collection of poems ever in Japan....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
552 words (1.6 pages)

Japanese literature Essay

- Vernon McCalla Japanese Literature Question #2 2. Individualism has been seen as a characteristic feature of the modern world. How do we see the issue of individualism being dealt with in the works we have read. Discuss examples of individualism in both modern and pre-modern texts. In the works we have read, the characteristic of individualism has played a strong role in the lives and decisions of three characters in particular. The characters Basho, Chockichi, and Okada all display similar acts of individualism in their own stories as they depart not only from their homes but also the traditions that have helped shape their lives for many years....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1040 words (3 pages)