Early Japanese Poetry

Haiku
-Very short poem
– The essence of Haiku is “cutting”
-Represented by Juxtaposition of two lines or ideas and a kireji (cutting word) between them, a kind of verbal punctuation mark

Haiku’s traditionally consist of
17 syllables, three phrases or 5,7 and 5

Example of Haiku
The old pond–
a frog jumps in
sound of water

The four principles of Man yoshu
1. Power of suggestion
2. Asymmetry
3. Simplicity
4. Perishability

Where can these principles be studied
Donald Keene’s The Pleasures of Japanese Literature and Yoshido Kenko’s Essays of Idleness

Man yoshu
Collection of Japanese poetry, Equivalent to the Chinese book of songs, includes folk songs, farming songs, poetic voices, has woman’s pieces since Japanese was the language (official language of men was Chinese)

How many poems are in the Man yoshu
4,516 by 400 named poets, hundreds of anonymous ones

Power of suggestion shows up in
Love poems

Asymmetry appears in
Japanese verse forms

Essential verse form is the Tanka
5 lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7

Japaneses poetry never
Rhymes, it is defined in terms of the number of syllables and line length

Longer forms are called
Choka , but has since died out after the publication of the Man yoshu

Simplicity is
The very nature of Japanese poetry

Perishibility occurs in
Principal themes

Most poems in the the Man yohsu are
Tankas

What is the final image in Hitomaro
Drowned man lying on the shore of an island of a lot of beauty, suggest the fragility of the human condition

Kokinshu has a much
Narrower range of voices than the Man yoshu