The book consists of articles of Japanese and Russian researches devoted to humanities.
The article is dedicated to the travel records in the diary of «Izayoi nikki» written by the nun Abutsu (1222? –1283), which reflected the great literary era. Abutsu describes his journey in dark colors, a drizzling rain, a traveling dress that does not dry out of tears, and endless fear for the future of poetry, for the lives of children and her own are the leitmotifs of the diary. By this diary, Abutsu declares her readiness to become an adherent of the poetic tradition of the house of Mikohidari after the death of her husband, the famous poet Fujiwara-no Tameie, and transfer this knowledge to their son Tamesuke. The travel records are the central part of the diary, small in volume, but containing an impressive number of quotations and allusions to the most significant works of predecessors. The diary is written in the travel diary paradigm, which formed by the second half of the Kamakura period, and is similar in composition to the diaries «Kaidōki» and «Tōkan kikō» written in the same 13th century. For 14 days, Abutsu takes notes on her forced journey from Heian to Kamakura: short prose sketches frame 55 poems of tankа that she composes while visiting or passing by famous places on the way Tōkaidō. The article also provides a commented translation of the travel records in Russian.
The prose of the Japanese writer Shiga Naoya (1881–1972), the author of I-novel (shisho:setsu), is popular in Japan, but for the Western reader the value of his texts remains unclear. In order to solve this problem we suggest applying the methodology of the phenomenological school to analyzing the Shiga’s texts. The vast layer of the Japanese experience in studying the texts of Shiga, where the researchers unintentionally resorted to the methodology of the phenomenological school, leads to the thought of this. In particular, we consider it promising to apply this methodology to the analysis of the “rhythm” concept, which we suppose is the key concept to understanding Shiga’s texts. “Rhythm” as the main artistic principle of Shiga, apparently, means the maximum proximity of the rhythmic organization of the text to the physiological rhythm of the writer himself. The suitability of phenomenological criticism, in particular, of the Geneva school, to Shiga’s texts is explained by the following features: the critique of consciousness considers only phenomena revealed in the mind, which for literary studies means studying only the world of the work, its structures and meanings; lack of reference to the society surrounding the author, or any ideological premise; the study of the individual consciousness of the writer, his experimental series, the selection of repetitive motifs, images (“patterns”) of consciousness, unique to a particular author, the interpretation by E. Steiger of “rhythm” as one of such patterns. Following are some preliminary conclusions obtained in the analysis of Shiga’s works based on the above methodology. In Shiga’s prose, recurring motifs or “patterns” of consciousness are “mood” (kibun), as well as a pleasant or unpleasant feeling (yukai-fuyukai), since it is obvious that the actions of most of his characters are explained precisely by the factor of sensation and mood. Also, recurring motifs can be called “emptiness”, that is, the absence of one’s own inner world and “harmony”, that is, the correspondence of one’s own “rhythm” and “rhythm” of the surrounding nature. If the “rhythm” itself is also considered to be the “pattern” of Shiga’s consciousness, repeated from work to work, it becomes possible to explain why the beauty of Shiga’s texts is so dependent on the original language. In general, we believe that the application of the methodology of phenomenological critique of consciousness to the works of Shiga Naoya is a promising direction that requires further research.
This edition consists of two parts.
The first part includes the monograph Ancient Japan: Culture and Text. In this study Meshcheryakov made an attempt to present the main types of written forms of creativity in ancient Japan (history, poetry, prose, religious writings) as components of a single informational text flow. This is the first attempt of this kind made in the domestic Japanese studies.
The chronological framework covers the period from the 8th to the 13th century, that is, from the bottom of the appearance of Japanese literature, framed by the creation of mythological, chronicle and legislative vaults, to the decline of aristocracy, accompanied by the displacement of the center of power from the imperial palace to the shogun's headquarters.
The second part consists of literary translations of old Japanese prose, made by A. N. Meshcheryakov. This includes such famous monuments as Japanese legends about miracles (selected Buddhist legends from Nihon Ryoiki, Ojo Gokurakki and Hokke Kenki), diary by famous writer Murasaki Shikibu (11th century) and Notes on the leisure time of a Buddhist monk Yoshida Kaneyoshi (14th century).
The publication uniquely combines the publication of outstanding monuments of old-Japanese prose with an attempt to study and comprehend them and will be useful to anyone interested in traditional Japanese culture.
The Kara monogatari is a collection of 27 stories of various size. All stories are devoted to China. The plots are matched in a number of Chinese sources, including historical works, Tang and Sung novels, and the poems by Bo Juiyi. The time of the creation of Kara Monogatari has long been the subject of discussion, the issue has not been finally resolved even now. According to the version that is considered to be the most convincing today, the author of the work is Fujiwara no Shigenori, and the text dates back to the end of the Heian period (the second half of the 12th century). Kara monogatari is written in literary Japanese and contains allusions not only to Chinese sources, but also to Japanese poetic and prose texts. The story of the tragic love of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei occupies almost a quarter of the entire text of Kara monogatari. The interpretation of the events and characters is based on Bo Juyi’s poem Song of Everlasting Sorrow. The text of the story includes eight Japanese waka poems, which serve as a means of adaptation of the plot to the canons of Japanese literature. Despite the fact that Kara Monogatari is generally secular, the conclusion of the text is Buddhist, and does not have similarities in any of Chinese sources. It appears due to the fact that Buddhism had greater influence in Japan than in China.