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Showing posts with label - - - Literature - - -. Show all posts


Manyoshu Poetry Collection

- BACK to the Daruma Museum -
. ABC List of Heian Contents .

Man'yōshū 万葉集 / 萬葉集 Manyoshu Poetry Collection
Collection of Myriad Leaves

Manyoo-Shuu, Manyo-Shu, Manyoo'shuu, Manyōshyū
Gedichtsammlung Manyoshu

- quote -
The Man'yōshū  万葉集, literally "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves",
(see Name below) is the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime after 759 AD during the Nara period. The anthology is one of the most revered of Japan's poetic compilations. The compiler, or the last in a series of compilers, is today widely believed to be Ōtomo no Yakamochi, although numerous other theories have been proposed. The collection contains poems ranging from AD 347 (poems #85–89) through 759 (#4516), the bulk of them representing the period after 600. The precise significance of the title is not known with certainty.

The collection is divided into twenty parts or books; this number was followed in most later collections. The collection contains 265 chōka (long poems), 4,207 tanka (short poems), one tan-renga (short connecting poem), one bussokusekika (poems on the Buddha's footprints at Yakushi-ji in Nara), four kanshi (Chinese poems), and 22 Chinese prose passages. Unlike later collections, such as the Kokin Wakashū, there is no preface.
The Man'yōshū is widely regarded as being a particularly unique Japanese work.
- Translating the Name -
Although the name Man'yōshū literally means "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves" or "Collection of Myriad Leaves", it has been interpreted variously by scholars. Sengaku, Kamo no Mabuchi and Kada no Azumamaro considered the character 葉 yō to represent koto no ha (words), and so give the meaning of the title as "collection of countless words". Keichū and Kamochi Masazumi (鹿持雅澄) took the middle character to refer to an "era", thus giving "a collection to last ten thousand ages".
The kanbun scholar Okada Masayuki (岡田正之) considered 葉 yō to be a metaphor comparing the massive collection of poems to the leaves on a tree. Another theory is that the name refers to the large number of pages used in the collection.
Of these, "collection to last ten thousand ages" is considered to be the interpretation with the most weight.
- snip snip -
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


- quote - Michael Hoffman
‘It is I who rule’ — Japan’s ‘Manyoshu’ morning

What fun civilization is in its infancy! How bright and fresh the world looks at the dawn of consciousness! Listen:

Your basket, with your pretty basket,
Your trowel, with your little trowel,
Maiden, picking herbs on this hillside,
I would ask you: Where is your home?
Will you not tell me your name?

It was morning in Japan. Night — if night is a fitting metaphor for Neolithic prehistory — had been long, tens of thousands of years long. China, Egypt and Mesopotamia had thousands of years of civilization behind them; classical Greece had come and gone; classical Rome, long past its prime, was dying. Still, Japan slept on.

The pre-agricultural, preliterate, seemingly endless Jomon Period (circa 12,000 B.C. to circa 200 B.C.) evolved at last into the agricultural, still preliterate Yayoi Period (circa 200 B.C. to A.D. 250), without sparking a transformation dramatic enough to be called civilizing. Then, with startling abruptness, nudged by China via Korea, Japan awoke from its primeval slumbers.

The watershed event is the arrival, circa A.D. 405, of a Korean scholar named Wani. He brought to the imperial court the gift of letters — reading and writing. Chinese became the official language. Soon courtiers and nobles were steeped in Confucian and Buddhist learning. In 645, a palace revolution fused a multitude of independent clans into a quasi-Chinese-style state under the Emperor’s divine but tender sovereignty. Its tenderness we gather from the poem just quoted, for its author is the fifth-century Emperor Yuryaku — who proceeds, very tenderly indeed, to introduce himself to the maiden:

It is I who rule
Over this wide land of Yamato (an ancient name for Japan);
It is I who reign over all.

Thus opens the glorious “Manyoshu,” Japan’s first, many say its best, poetry anthology. “Best” — meaning what? Beauty, shimmering beauty; and innocence, a rare innocence — rare because generally a culture that has risen to this level of linguistic mastery has already lost its innocence. Japan, having risen so very fast, hadn’t.

“Manyoshu” (“Collection of Myriad Leaves”) consists of 4,000-odd poems composed over three centuries, Yuryaku’s being among the earliest, the latest dating to roughly 750, the height of Japan’s first great era, the brilliant Nara Period (710-794).

Unlike later Japanese anthologies, the “Manyoshu” was not produced under imperial auspices. The editing process remains something of a mystery. Scholars speak of earlier poem collections that have not survived, so the “Manyoshu” may not have struck its contemporaries, as it does us, as genius bursting naked from a vacuum.

The poems are astonishing in their variety. There are short poems and long poems — a remarkable fact in itself, for the Japanese long poem, the choka, was soon afterwards to die out, leaving the short tanka to reign supreme. There are poems by emperors and courtiers, naturally, but also by ordinary people, the poor, the lowly

Cold and bitter is the night!
As for those poorer than myself . . .
how do you struggle through life?

— people whom later ages would scorn and ignore.

There are poems of joy and poems of grief, of travel and of domesticity, of love in all its myriad aspects and of nature — nature portrayed as only a newly awakened sensibility can portray her

You boatmen that come rowing ...
Ply not too hard your oars...
lest you startle into flight
the birds beloved of my dear husband!

— and we see here an impulse that over time came to seem inseparable from the Japanese consciousness, a reaching out to nature as the ultimate symbol of everything that makes life wonderful; or as the ultimate consolation when life turns sad past bearing

The cloud drifting over the brows
Of the hills of secluded Hatsuse —
Can it, alas, be she?

The poems span the emotional spectrum — or rather, not quite: Where, one wonders, is anger? Was “Manyo man” never angry? That seems unlikely. A better hypothesis is that he (and she, for many of the poets are women) thought anger unworthy of poetry — as was war, for though conscripted frontier guards march gamely to their distant postings

At the bidding of my great Sovereign
I set out as defender of the isle . . .

they sing no paeans to martial glory, lamenting instead the wrenching pain of leaving home

My mother picking up the hem of her skirt,
Stroked me with it and caressed me . .. 

A pity we have space only for snippets. Where to begin?

Today, taking my last sight of the mallards
Crying on the pond of Iware,
Must I vanish into the clouds!
- - - “Composed in tears,”
a marginal note laconically informs us, “when (a certain Prince Otsu) died by Imperial order on the bank of Iware Pond.”

I gather shells and pebbles
For my darling at home,

sings Fujiwara Kamatari, the guiding hand behind the revolution of 645 and founder of the prepotent Fujiwara clan, power behind the throne for centuries to come. And who was his “darling at home?” A palace attendant named Yasumiko. Hear Kamatari’s whoop of exultation when she consented to be his:

O, Yasumiko I have won!
Mine is she whom all men,
they say, have sought in vain.
Yasumiko I have won!”

Ranked among the greatest of the Manyoshu poets is Kakinomoto Hitomaro (late seventh, early eighth centuries):

Like the sea-tangle, swaying in the wave
hither and thither, my wife would cling to me . . .

His wife died:

I journeyed to Karu and searched the market place
where she was wont to go!
… But no voice of her I heard …
Alas, she is no more, whose soul
was bent to mine like the bending seaweed!

Grief makes happiness seem vain — or is it happiness that makes grief seem vain?

Instead of wasting thoughts on unavailing things,
it would seem wiser
to drink a cup of raw sake.

That’s the spirit! It’s one of the famous “Twelve poems in praise of sake” by Otomo Tabito (665-731). Have we room for one more?

Grotesque! When I look upon a man
who drinks no sake, looking wise —
how like an ape he is!”

- source : Japan Times, 2016 -

. Kakinomoto Hitomaro 柿本人麻呂 Hitomaru 人丸) .


Manyo Daisho-Ki 万葉集代匠記 / 萬葉代匠記 Man'yō Daishōki

. Keichuu, Keichū 契沖 阿闍梨 Keichu Ajari .
(1640 - 1701)


- Reference in Japanese 万葉集 -
- Reference in English -

. Legends - Heian Period (794 to 1185) - Introduction .

. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .


. Join the friends on Facebook ! .

- #manyoshu #manyooshuu -




Heian Literature

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. ABC List of Contents .

Literature of the Heian Period 平安時代の文学
before and later

平安時代の日記文学 / 寺田透 The Nikki Diary Literature of the Heian Period

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Heian literature (平安文学 Heian-bungaku) or
Chūko literature (中古文学 chūko-bungaku, literally, "mid-ancient literature")

refers to Japanese literature of the Heian period. This article summarizes its history and development.

漢詩 Kanshi (poetry written in Chinese) and 漢文 kanbun (prose in Chinese) had remained popular since the Nara period, and the influence of the Tang poet Bai Juyi (Haku Kyoi in Japanese) on Japanese kanshi in this period was great. Even in the Tale of Genji, a pure Japanese work composed entirely in kana, particularly in the chapter "Kiritsubo" 桐壺巻, the influence of his Song of Everlasting Regret has been widely recognized. Sugawara no Michizane, who taught at the Daigaku-ryō before becoming Minister of the Right, was known not only as a politician but as a leading kanshi poet.

In 905, with the imperial order to compile the Kokinshū, the first imperial anthology, waka poetry acquired a status comparable to kanshi. Waka were composed at utaawase and other official events, and the private collections of well-known poets such as Ki no Tsurayuki (the Tsurayuki-shū 貫之集) and Lady Ise (the 伊勢集』 Ise-shū) became well-known.

During this period, since the language of most official documents was Chinese, most men of the nobility used Chinese characters to write poetry and prose in Chinese, but among women the kana syllabary continued to grow in popularity, and more and more men adopted this simpler style of writing as well. Most of the works of literature from the Heian period that are still well-regarded today were written predominantly in kana. Diaries had been written by men in Chinese for some time, but in the early tenth century Ki no Tsurayuki chose to write his Tosa Nikki from the standpoint of a woman, in kana. Partly due to the Tosa Nikki's influence, diaries written in Japanese became increasingly common.

Timeline of notable works

797 - Shoku Nihongi by Fujiwara no Tsuginawa, Sugano no Mamichi et al. (history)

814 - Ryōunshū, compiled by Ono no Minemori, Sugawara no Kiyotomo et al. (kanshi anthology)
815 - Shinsen Shōjiroku by Prince Manda (万多親王 Manda-shinnō?), et al. (genealogy)
818 - Bunka Shūreishū, compiled by Fujiwara no Fuyutsugu, Sugawara no Kiyotomo et al. (kanshi anthology)
822 - Nihon Ryōiki by Kyōkai (景戒, also pronounced Keikai) (setsuwa anthology)
827 - Keikokushū, compiled by Yoshimine no Yasuyo, Sugawara no Kiyotomo et al. (kanshi anthology)
835 - Shōryōshū by Kūkai (kanshi/kanbun anthology)
841 - Nihon Kōki by Fujiwara no Otsugu et al. (history)
869 - Shoku Nihon Kōki
879 - Toshi Bunshū

900 - Kanke Bunsō by Sugawa no Michizane (kanshi/kanbun anthology)
905 - Kokin Wakashū 古今和歌集 - compiled by Ki no Tsurayuki, Ki no Tomonori, Ōshikōchi no Mitsune and Mibu no Tadamine on the orders of Emperor Daigo (chokusen wakashū)
Before 910 - . Taketori Monogatari 竹取物語 Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (Princess Kaguyahime かぐや姫) .
935 - Tosa Nikki 土佐日記 by Ki no Tsurayuki (diary)
(date unknown) - Ise Monogatari (uta monogatari)

1002 - The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon (随筆 zuihitsu)
1008 - The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (tsukuri-monogatari)

1120 - Ōkagami (author unknown; rekishi monogatari)
1120 - Konjaku Monogatarishū 今昔物語集 (compiler unknown; setsuwa anthology)
1127 - Kin'yō Wakashū, compiled by Minamoto no Toshiyori (chokusen wakashū)
1151 - Shika Wakashū, compiled by Fujiwara no Akisuke (chokusen wakashū)
1170 - Ima Kagami by Fujiwara no Tametsune (rekishi monogatari)
1188 - Senzai Wakashū, compiled by Fujiwara no Shunzei on the command of Emperor Go-Shirakawa (chokusen-wakashū)

- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


female writers 女流文学

. Manyooshuu, Man'yōshū 万葉集 Manyoshu, Manyo-Shu
Poetry "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves" .


- quote -
Although written Chinese (Kanbun) remained the official language of the Heian period imperial court, the introduction and wide use of kana saw a boom in Japanese literature. Despite the establishment of several new literary genres such as the novel and narrative monogatari (物語) and essays, literacy was only common among the court and Buddhist clergy.

The lyrics of the modern Japanese national anthem, Kimi ga Yo, were written in the Heian period, as was The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, one of the first novels ever written. Murasaki Shikibu's contemporary and rival Sei Shōnagon's revealing observations and musings as an attendant in the Empress' court were recorded collectively as The Pillow Book in the 990s, which revealed the quotidian capital lifestyle.
The Heian period produced a flowering of poetry including works of Ariwara no Narihira, Ono no Komachi, Izumi Shikibu, Murasaki Shikibu, Saigyō and Fujiwara no Teika.
The famous Japanese poem known as the Iroha (いろは), of uncertain authorship, was also written during the Heian period.

The Japanese Names of Medical Herbs (本草和名 Honzō Wamyō), written in 918 was also written in this perio.
- source : Wikipedia -


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- quote -
. . . Also shifting gradually was Japan's priorities, especially in the cultural field. Contact with China gradually petered off while native arts began to experience a state of great refinement, especially in literature. The great women writers of the later 10th century dominate the Heian Period's literary landscape, from the anonymous composer of the Kagero Nikki (the longest of the 'court diaries', ca. 975) to the famed 'Pillow Book' of Sei Shonagon and the monumental 'Tale of Genji' by Murasaki Shikubu. While reasonably well known outside Japan, the latter, composed around 1022, has yet to receive the recognition it deserves as possibly the world's 1st true novel. In most cultural pursuits -and in the realm of architecture- Chinese extravagance began to give way to a more thoughtful and conservative approach.
. . . The Heian period is considered the classical period in Japanese history because during that period, the development of the Japanese culture flourished. Japan had an explosion of artistic and literary expression during that time.
It was during the period from 794 to 1185 that this explosion took place. During that period the aristocracy ruled the country from a lavish city called Heian-kyo. There the aristocracy practiced writing literature, poetry, music, and art. They wore elaborately decorated clothing (Leonard 35). The aristocracy developed a court culture of values and rituals. The Japanese writing system "kana" was developed during this period. Many of the classical writings of poems and stories were developed during this time like, "The Tales of Genji," "Kagero Nikki" court lady's diary and others. This was a period of peace and tranquility in which the aristocratic Japanese, of that time, were able to create a unique culture.
- source : Brad Shows -



Professor in the Imperial University, Tokio

Introduction by Amy Lowell xi
I. The Sarashina Diary 1
II. The Diary of Murasaki Shikibu 69
III. The Diary of Izumi Shikibu 147


- Read the stories here :

- source : -


小林とし子『ひめぎみ考 王朝文学から見たレズ・ソーシャル
Himegimikō: Women's World Seen Through the Heian Court Literature

Kobayashi Toshiko 小林とし子


Fujiwara no Michinaga 藤原道長 (966 – 1028)
Regent Michinaga left a diary, Mido Kanpakuki (御堂関白記), that is one of our prime sources of information about Heian-era court life at its height.
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Wamyō Ruijushō 倭名類聚抄 Dictionary of Chinese Characters .
Minamoto no Shitagō 源順 (911-983) began compilation in 934.


. Nihon Ryōiki 日本霊異記 Nihon Ryoiki - Record of Miraculous Events in Japan .
"Ghostly Strange Records from Japan"

Kkokon choomonjuu 古今著聞集 Kokon Chomonju - A Collection of Notable Tales Old and New
a Kamakura-period collection of setsuwa. It was compiled by Tachibana Narisue (橘成季) and completed in 1254. The twenty volumes are divided by subject into thirty chapters: chapter 16 concerns art and painting and 17 kemari or "kickball". Of the 726 tales, nearly two-thirds are set in the Heian period. In a note between tales 721 and 722, Narisue states that "the original aim of this collection was to collect fine stories about music and poems, and depict them as if in paintings".
- wikipedia -

今昔物語集 Konjaku Monogatarishu
宇治拾遺物語 Uji Shui Monogatari


The Association for the Study of Japanese Heian Literature - 中古文学会
- source : -

What are Kotenseki 古典籍 (Wahon) classical books/publications dating back to the Nara period, mid-8th-century block printed sutra to the Meiji period publications,
- source : -

- source : 日本古典籍総合目録データベース -

- Reference in Japanese -

- Reference in English -

. Persons of the Heian Period .


. Join the friends on Facebook ! .

- #heianliterature #heianbungaku #literatureheian -