Essay on Oku no Hosomichi and Tosa Nikki: Compare and Contrast

Essay on Oku no Hosomichi and Tosa Nikki: Compare and Contrast

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Comparing Oku no Hosomichi and Tosa Nikki within reason is very difficult because of the many factors that must be taken into account. The authors were from different time periods, the writing style is different, the subject is different, and many other things all contribute to its difficulty. While there are many differences there are perhaps an equal number of similarities between the two works, which offers a converse view of the relationship between them.
In regards to the authors of Oku no Hosomichi and Tosa Nikki, Matsuo Bashō and Ki no Tsurayuki respectively, there are several points of interest when comparing them. One of the main points is that the authors lived in completely different times, which shows in their style of writing. Another main point is that the authors depict different routes of travel in their compositions.
Ki no Tsurayuki lived during the Heian period which becomes obvious when reading his work. As a result of this there are a lot of typical Heian tendencies such as the use of seasonal words and themes of beauty, as well as the depiction of Heian aristocracy. On the other hand, Matsuo Bashō lived during the Edo period hundreds of years after Ki no Tsurayuki. In a similar way there are more Edo and modern type tendencies like more vulgar context and less of the traditional imagery. However this is not to say that Oku no Hosomichi lacked any remains of literary tradition as it borrows upon other famous works including the Tosa Nikki.
In addition to the time period there is the question of the physical direction of the works. Ki no Tsurayuki had the main character travel from lower to higher in a linear fashion through Japan. Conversely, Matsuo Bashō had his character travel in somewhat of ...


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...ear that Oku no Hosomichi is more greatly detailed, perhaps not in terms of time but in terms of every other aspect that the main character encounters.
These are of course just a few of the many ways one can begin to compare the two great literary works. From the arguments above it is clear how difficult it is to compare the two works because of how different they are especially in terms of the lack of elements in each. And while they are indeed different they maintain a baseline of similarity in influence of past Japanese and Chinese culture and idealisms. It is perhaps then unfair and unjust to compare these two works as they are significant in their own ways.




















Works Cited

Keene, Donald. Anthology of Japanese Literature. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1955.

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