Japanese Literature Essay

Japanese Literature Essay

Length: 1022 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

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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. It became a way to preserve oral histories, myths of the creation of the world and everything else in between.
The progression of writing and text can serve as a commentary of the happenings of the times in which they were written. In the Heian period, writing was predominantly poetry progressing into the earlier, cruder version of prose. Heian writing began using the Chinese kanji writing system that eventually morphed into the use of hiragana and katakana through the introduction of Man'yōgana. Hiragana allowed women to make their way into the world of literature, since kanji, the only form of writing for a long time, was mostly known to men only. Because of this, women were able to enter the world of literature and works such as Genji Monogatari by Murasaki Shikibu and Izumi Shikibu Nikki by Izumi Shikibu, and became some of the most influential writers of their time.
The medieval period of Japan took place during the Kamakura period in which the Kamakura shogunate maintained power over Japan. It was during this time that Buddhism began to spread throughout the country. Before the change between the Heian period and the Kamakura period, Buddhism was predominantly observed by monk...


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...major challenge that took place, the poets involved were displeased with the judgment and eventually achieved a re-judgment on their poems by completely different judges.
As explicitly stated by many sources, the medievalization of Japan was not something achieved in a single night, rather a slow process that took over 700 years during the Kamakura period. Japan’s government went through drastic changes with the fading out of the government and the take-over of the samurai, which, in turn, caused changes in religion and Japan’s overall way of living.




Works Cited

Keene, Donald. Anthology of Japanese Literature. New York, New York: Grove Press, 1955.
Huey, Robert N. “The Medievalization of Poetic Practice.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies Dec. 1990, Vol. 50.
Introduction to Medieval Japan.

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