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Edition of the Kokin Wakashū anthology of classic Japanese poetry with wood-carved cover, 18th century. Japanese poetry is poetry of or typical of Japan, or written, spoken, or chanted in the Japanese language, which includes Old Japanese,Early Middle Japanese, Late Middle Japanese, and Modern Japanese, and some poetry in Japan which was written in the Chinese language or the ryūka written in Ryukyuan: it is possible to make a more accurate distinction between Japanese poetry written in Japan or by Japanese people in other languages versus that written in the Japanese language by speaking of Japanese-language poetry. Much of the literary record of Japanese poetry begins when Japanese poets encountered Chinese poetry during the Tang Dynasty (although the Chinese classic anthology of poetry, Shijing, was well known by the literati of Japan by the 6th century). Under the influence of the Chinese poets of this era Japanese began to compose poetry in Chinese (kanshi); and, as part of this tradition, poetry in Japan tended to be intimately associated with pictorial painting, partly because of the influence of Chinese arts, and the tradition of the use of ink and brush for both writing and drawing. It took several hundred years to digest the foreign impact and make it an integral part of Japanese culture and to merge this kanshi poetry into a Japanese language literary tradition, and then later to develop the diversity of unique poetic forms of native poetry, such as waka, haikai, and other more Japanese poetic specialties. For example, in the Tale of Genji both kinds of poetry are frequently mentioned. The history of Japanese poetry goes from an early semi-historical/mythological phase, through the early Old Japanese literature inclusions, just before the Nara period, the Nara period itself (710 to 794), the Heian period (710 to 1185), theKamakura period (1185 to 1333), and so on, up through the poetically important Edo period (1603 and 1867, also known as "Tokugawa") and modern times; however, the history of poetry often is different than socio-political history. Japanese poetry forms
Since the middle of the 19th century, the major forms of Japanese poetry have been tanka (the modern name for waka), haiku and shi or western-style poetry. Today, the main forms of Japanese poetry include both experimental poetry and poetry that seeks to revive traditional ways. Poets writing in tanka, haiku and shi may seldom write poetry other than in their specific chosen form, although some active poets are eager to collaborate with poets in other genres. The history of Japanese poetry involves both the evolution of Japanese as a language, the evolution of Japanese poetic forms, and the collection of poetry into anthologies, many by imperial patronage and others by the "schools" or the disciples of famous poets (or religion, in the case of the Bussokusekika). The study of Japanese poetry is complicated by the social context within which it occurred, in part because of large scale political and religious factors such as clan politics or Buddhism, but also because the collaborative aspect which has often typified Japanese poetry. Also, much of Japanese poetry features short verse forms, often collaborative, which are then compiled into longer collections, or else are interspersed within the prose of longer works. Older forms of Japanese poetry include kanshi, which shows a strong influence from Chinese literature and culture. Kanshi
Main article: Kanshi (poetry)
kanshi literally means "Han poetry" and it is the Japanese term for Chinese poetry in general as well as the poetry written in Chinese by Japanese poets. Kanshi from the earlyHeian period exists in the Kaifūsō anthology, compiled in 751.
Main article: Waka (poetry)
is a type of poetry in classical Japanese literature. Waka are composed in Japanese, and are contrasted with poetry composed by Japanese poets...
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