Basho and the Dao
The Zhuangzi and the Transformation of Haikai
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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It used to be quite normal in countries of the West when discussing Japanese literature or art to point out the enormous indebtedness to Chinese predecessors and to imply that the Japanese lacked creativity or imagination. When I first began to teach Japanese literature at...
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I would like to express my deep gratitude to Donald Keene, who led me to this topic and whose guidance and encouragement made this book possible. I am indebted to many people for assistance in writing this book, and it is impossible to mention them all here. Selecting from that...
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Haiku’s popularity is worldwide today, comparable even to the modern Western realistic novel. Indeed, Japanese haiku verses are now translated into many languages, haiku variants are being composed in different tongues on all the major continents, and a quick Internet search on...
Chapter 1: Encountering the Zhuangzi
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Haikai, a Japanese poetic form that is roughly translated as comic linked verse, evolved from renga, or classical linked verse, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From renga to haikai no renga (or haikai), and then to the independence of the opening verse of...
Chapter 2: From Falsehood to Sincerity
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The Danrin’s gûgen style prevailed in the world of haikai in the middle of the Enpô era (1673–1681). By the end of the 1670s, some of the Danrin poets were pushing “the free exaggerations” and “the most deluding falsehoods” to an extreme, promoting a style that some critics described as...
Chapter 3: Bashō’s Fūkyō and the Spirit of Shōyōyū
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With his move to Fukagawa, Bashô’s thematic emphasis shifted from explicit philosophical truth to poetic truth, or to use his own term, fûga no makoto. Yet the truth of poetry Bashô and his school pursued was infused with Daoist ideas, particularly the spirit of carefree wandering...
Chapter 4: Bashō’s Fūryū and Daoist Traits in Chinese Poetry
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Oku no hosomichi, the best-known piece of Bashô’s travel journal, contains the following passage: After having arrived at the post station of Sukagawa, I called upon a man named Tôkyû, who insisted that we stay at his house for a few days...
Chapter 5: Following Zōka and Returning to Zōka
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After Bashô’s journey, which he recorded in The Narrow Road to the Depths (Oku no hosomichi), the Shômon haikai witnessed a stylistic change in the 1690s, as Bashô’s disciple Kyorai observed...
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Index of Haikai Verses Cited
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Publication Year: 2005