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Hitomaro and the Birth of Japanese Lyricism

Hitomaro and the Birth of Japanese Lyricism

Ian Hideo Levy
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 186
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvth9
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  • Book Info
    Hitomaro and the Birth of Japanese Lyricism
    Book Description:

    Professor Levy explores the ritual origins of Japanese verse, the impact of Chinese and Korean literary influence on the seventh-century Court, and the rhetorical deification of the imperial family as the condition under which Hitomaro would begin his career as a Court poet.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5583-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-1)
  4. Map of Yamato and Environs
    (pp. 2-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-9)

    Kakinomoto no Hitomaro is the name by which we know the most important poet of early Japan, the author of the most celebrated poems in theMan’yōshūanthology. Hitomaro’s work, composed mostly in the last decade of the seventh century, has had a lasting—some would say supreme—place in the canon of classical verse. A thousand years have ratified Ki no Tsurayuki’s epithet of 905 declaring Hitomaro “the saint of japanese poetry” (“uta no hijiri”).

    The poems of Hitomaro present us with the enigma of a mature opus coming at the beginning of literary history, of a powerful lyrical...

  6. ONE YAMATO TAKERU: THE MAGICAL METAPHOR
    (pp. 10-32)

    In the world before poetry, in the myths that constitute Japan’s earliest extant literature, we find various examples of magical thought. The archaic Japanese vision of the world reveals a profound indifference to the distinction between spirit and matter that is so important to Western thought, an indifference whose philosophical import has been discussed by Ernst Cassirer. What Cassirer described as a “totality” without “dissociation” of subject and object is a consistent characteristic of the archaic Japanese texts. It is found in the creation myths, in Shinto ceremony, and inkotodama,the “spirit of words”—the archaic belief in the...

  7. TWO ŌMI: THE LYRICAL VOICE
    (pp. 33-65)

    TheNihonshoki,theChronicles of Japancompiled in 720, offers us a few fragmentary passages that suggest a possible awareness of Chinese literature in the earliest centuries of japanese history. By the early 600s we can clearly discern a pattern of influence in which continental teachers—most often Koreans—are engaged in instructing the Japanese Court in the forms of foreign culture. And by the middle of the seventh century the content of this instruction has come to include poetry as well as religion, philosophy, and the visual

    One result was the beginning ofkanshi,poetry written by the Japanese...

  8. THREE HITOMARO: THE ICONIC IMAGE
    (pp. 66-116)

    The career of Princess Nukada, and the vigor of the new lyricism of the Ōmi Period, would lead us to expect Japanese poetry after it to develop in the direction of an aesthetic treatment of nature, a secular exploitation of myth, a deritualized voice that would be individual and subjective rather than collective and ceremonial. This might indeed have been the case, had it not been for a new demand on literature that was social and political in nature: the conscious deification of the imperial family in verse. This extrinsic neccesity, which grew out of the historical events known as...

  9. FOUR HITOMARO: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL METAPHOR
    (pp. 117-165)

    In the previous chapters we examined Hitomaro’s work in terms of the process by which a lyrical voice developed from out of the ritual framework of early Japanese poetry. Before going on to examine Hitomaro’s greatest achievements in the chōka form, we must consider the relationship between this evolving lyrical structure of Japanese verse and the narrative element that is so important in Western poetry. We may begin with an early poem that illustrates the relative place of lyrical and narrative elements in the Man’yō chōka, and illustrates it specifically through the differing meta phorical functions of the pillow words...

  10. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 166-168)
  11. INDEX OF POEMS
    (pp. 169-170)
  12. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 171-174)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 175-175)