Medieval Japanese literature - Wikipedia

 

literature of japan

This school of literature, as represented by Shimazaki Toson, is noted for the "I novel," a style of novel typical of Japan. A number of pre-World War II literary currents, such as proletarian literature and neo-sensualism, petered out during the war but later regained strength, generating a diverse range of works. Japan's medieval period (the Kamakura, Nanbokuchō and Muromachi periods, and sometimes the Azuchi–Momoyama period) was a transitional period for the nation's literature. Kyoto ceased being the sole literary centre as important writers and readerships appeared throughout the country, and a wider variety of genres and literary forms developed accordingly, such as the gunki monogatari and. Japanese literature, literary works produced in the language of the islands of Japan. See also Asian drama. Earliest Writings Although Japanese and Chinese are different languages, the Japanese borrowed and adapted Chinese ideographs early in the 8th cent. in .


Japanese literature - Wikipedia


Japanese literaturethe body of written works produced by Japanese authors in Japanese or, in its earliest beginnings, literature of japan, at a time when Japan had no literature of japan language, in the Chinese classical language. Both in quantity and quality, Japanese literature ranks as one of the major literatures of the world, comparable in age, richness, literature of japan, and volume to English literaturethough literature of japan course of development has been quite dissimilar, literature of japan.

Not only do poetrythe novelliterature of japan, and the drama have long histories in Japan, but some literary genres not so highly esteemed in other countries—including diariestravel accountsand books of random thoughts—are also prominent.

A considerable body of writing by Japanese in the Chinese classical language, of much greater bulk and importance than comparable Latin writings by Englishmen, testifies to the Japanese literary indebtedness to China. Even the writings entirely in Japanese present an extraordinary variety of styles, which cannot be explained merely in terms of the natural evolution of the language.

Some styles were patently influenced by the importance of Chinese vocabulary and syntaxbut others developed in response to the internal requirements of the various genres, whether the terseness of haiku a poem in 17 syllables or the bombast of the dramatic recitation. The difficulties of reading Japanese literature can hardly be exaggerated; even a specialist in one period is likely to have trouble deciphering a work from another period or genre, literature of japan.

Japanese style has always favoured ambiguityand the particles of speech necessary for easy comprehension of a statement are often omitted as unnecessary or as fussily precise. In many cases, ready comprehension of a simple sentence depends on a familiarity with the background of a particular period of history. Despite the great difficulties arising from such idiosyncrasies of style, Japanese literature of all periods is exceptionally appealing to modern readers, whether read in the original or in literature of japan. Because it is prevailingly subjective and coloured by an emotional rather than intellectual or moralistic tone, its themes have a universal quality almost unaffected by time.

Just as English borrowed words such as moralityhonestyjusticeand the like from the Continent, the Japanese borrowed these terms from China ; but if the Japanese language was lacking in the vocabulary appropriate to a Confucian essayit could express almost infinite shadings of emotional content.

For the most part, however, Japanese writers, far from feeling dissatisfied with the limitations on expression imposed by their language, were convinced that virtuoso perfection in phrasing and an acute refinement of sentiment were more important to poetry than the voicing of intellectually satisfying concepts.

These codes of poetic dictionaccompanied by a considerable body of criticismwere the creation of an acute literary sensibility, fostered especially by the traditions of the court, and were usually composed by the leading poets or dramatists themselves.

These codes exerted an inhibiting effect on new forms of literary compositionliterature of japan, but they also helped to preserve a distinctively aristocratic tone. The Japanese language itself also shaped poetic devices and forms. Japanese lacks a stress accent and meaningful rhymes all words end in one of five simple vowelstwo traditional features of poetry in the West.

By contrast, poetry in Japanese is distinguished from prose mainly in that it consists of alternating lines of five and seven syllables ; however, if the intensity of emotional expression is low, this distinction alone cannot save a poem from dropping into prose. The difficulty of maintaining a high level of poetic intensity may account for the preference for short verse forms that could be polished with perfectionist care.

Instead, Japanese poets devoted their efforts to perfecting each syllable of their compositionsexpanding the content of a tanka by suggestion and allusionand prizing shadings of tone and diction more than originality or boldness of expression.

The fluid syntax of the prose affected not only style but content as well. The longer works accordingly betray at times literature of japan lack of overall structure of the kind associated in the West with Greek concepts of literary form but consist instead of episodes linked chronologically or by other associations.

The difficulty experienced by Japanese writers in organizing their impressions and perceptions into sustained works may explain the development of the diary and travel accountgenres in which successive days or the successive stages of a journey provide a structure for otherwise unrelated descriptions.

Japanese literature absorbed much direct influence from Chinabut the relationship between the two literatures is complex. Although the Japanese have been criticized even by some Japanese for their imitations of Chinese examples, the earliest Japanese novels in fact antedate their Literature of japan counterparts by centuries, and Japanese theatre developed quite independently. Because the Chinese and Japanese languages are unrelated, Japanese poetry naturally took different forms, although Chinese poetic examples and literary theories were often in the minds of the Japanese poets.

Japanese and Korean may be related languages, but Korean literary influence was negligible, though Koreans served an important function in transmitting Chinese literary and philosophical works to Japan.

Poetry and prose written in the Korean language were unknown to the Japanese literature of japan relatively modern times. From the 8th literature of japan the 19th century Chinese literature enjoyed greater prestige among educated Japanese than their own; but a love for the Japanese classics, especially those composed at the court in the 10th and 11th centuries, gradually spread among the entire people and influenced literary expression in every form, even the songs and tales literature of japan by humble people totally removed from the aristocratic world portrayed in classical literature.

Japanese literature. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Written By: Donald Keene. See Article History. The enduring appeal of Japanese literature The difficulties of reading Japanese literature can hardly be exaggerated; even a specialist in one period is likely to have trouble deciphering a work from another period or genre.

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Japanese Literature Books

 

literature of japan

 

Japan's medieval period (the Kamakura, Nanbokuchō and Muromachi periods, and sometimes the Azuchi–Momoyama period) was a transitional period for the nation's literature. Kyoto ceased being the sole literary centre as important writers and readerships appeared throughout the country, and a wider variety of genres and literary forms developed accordingly, such as the gunki monogatari and. This school of literature, as represented by Shimazaki Toson, is noted for the "I novel," a style of novel typical of Japan. A number of pre-World War II literary currents, such as proletarian literature and neo-sensualism, petered out during the war but later regained strength, generating a diverse range of works. Indian literature also had an influence through the diffusion of Buddhism in Japan. Eventually, Japanese literature developed into a separate style in its own right as Japanese writers began writing their own works about Japan, although the influence of Chinese literature and Classical Chinese remained until the end of the Edo period.