The article is devoted to play forms in traditional Japanese poetry.
In medieval Japan, poetry was composed strictly according to certain rules and conventions, which were recorded mostly in the rulebooks (shikimoku 式目) and poetic treatises (rengaron 連歌論). In both of these kinds of works, the most important rules and norms were articulated. After several writings on the poetry of renga (“linked verses” 連歌) were created by prominent poets Fujuwara no Teika, Ichijyō Kanera etc (XIII c.), who considered renga to be just a literary play, a Buddist monk Shōhaku composed the most important and serious compendium of the rules of renga, “The New Rules of Renga” (連歌新式 Renga shinshiki, 1501), based on the works of several generations of poets, for the most popular poetic form hakuin renga (100 stanzas renga 百印連歌). The work by Shōhaku, designed for the poets and judges at poetic tournaments, deals mostly with the vocabulary of renga, usage, poetic technique, double meanings of words, traditional allusions. It is a practical guide to the composition of renga. One more profound work on poetics written in medieval Japan is a treatise by another Buddist monk and poet Shinkei, titled “Whisper” (ささめごと Sasamegoto, 1463–1464). Shinkei, on the contrary, is far from explaining rules, considering renga to be a part of the whole medieval poetic tradition. The treatise is written in the form of a vague dialogue between a sage, who comprehends all the secrets of poetry, and a provincial amateur of renga, who expresses the popular view on renga as a play and reduces this genre to the earthly level. The statements of Shinkei are made in metaphorical mode, with renga in his works becoming a serious art of the Muromachi era (1392–1568) and a significant part of Japanese poetry in general.
This article is devoted to one of the most well-known discussions in the literary circles of Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century, the dispute between Akutagava Ryunoske and Tanizaki Junichiro about the essence of prose, which was called the “plotless novel” debate. In 1927, when the discussion was published in the magazine “Kaizo”, literary life was concentrated in the circles of the creative elite or bundan, within which various associations and magazines were created. During the discussion, Akutagawa proposed the concept of “poetic spirit” in a prose work as the central category of his aesthetic theory, implying the dominant role of the hero’s lyrical mood over the storyline. Akutagawa considered the work containing the “poetic spirit” to be the pinnacle of prose creativity and called such a prose “a story without a story”, believing that the “interesting story” and interest in the story as such diminishes the quality of the work, bringing it closer to the mass, entertaining literature. Tanizaki, whose works Akutagawa criticized for “an interesting plot,” defended the story with many plot lines, arguing that this creates the “architectural beauty” of the work, which implies, firstly, its structural complexity, and secondly, provides internal energy. In contrast to Akutagawa, Tanizaki did not consider the general availability of literature as a quality that crossed out its artistic value. In essence, this discussion, in which the recognized classics of modern literature present the basis of their aesthetic views, is a dispute about the role of pure literature (junbungaku) and mass (taishu: bungaku) - a problem that will be most developed after Akutagawa’s death. This is the main significance of this dispute, which should be rather called a discussion, since there was no fundamental difference between the writers.
The discussion took place due to differences in attitude, character, aesthetic perception, psychological organization of the writers, as well as the polarity of their life moments at that time. For Akutagawa, prone to melancholy, rational analysis and intellectually perceiving the world, the end of his life and the end of the era of "pure" literature was nearing, and Tanizaki, demonstrating a sensual-mystical worldview and confidently gathering the fruits of glory, still had much to do in his literary career.
The problem of the classification of numerous characters in Jippensha Ikku’s Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige, one of the prominent works of kokkeibon (“funny books”), a genre of entertaining literature gesaku, is raised in the article. Typical features of the characters, whose comical interaction is the main motive of the narration, altogether with their primary functions are the objects of the research. The system of the characters is perceived here as one of the most significant factors of the literary work’s popularity, taking into consideration the fact that Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige was one of the first gesaku bestsellers of such scale. All the characters are divided into three groups, namely, the protagonists, the “wandering” characters, and the “provincial” characters, among which smaller categories are pointed out. The protagonists are typical edokko, the citizens of the capital, who despise provincial traditions and are concentrated on sensuous pleasures. A narration developed around the journey of two male characters is a typical literary device for the traditional Japanese travel literature, however, compared to his literary predecessors, Ikku shows some new tendencies as well. The comical interaction of the main characters varies and takes place mainly in the form of “situational comedy”, or kyōgen. The “wandering” characters are presented by such categories as transportation sphere’s characters, swindlers, travelers, religious characters, warriors. Each category has its own features and functions, for instance, swindlers stimulate the narration’s flow as well as cause comical situations, whereas religious characters smooth out the conflicts between the protagonists and other characters. The same is also relevant for the “provincial” characters, who are represented by the staff of post station inns, traders, owners of tea houses, and provincial residents. Girls from the inns create the special atmosphere of Hizakurige and introduce new locations into the narration, while traders present the famous products of various provinces. The main points of analysis are illustrated with the fragments of the original text, translated by the author of the article.
The article discusses the modan gāru phenomenon, which existed in Japan for about ten years, from 1920 to 1930. During this time, many intellectuals, writers, and critics contemplated this phenomenon, as it was completely unprecedented and incomprehensible in Japanese society. In Japan, between the First and Second World Wars, due to technological progress, industrial development, and the accelerated process of urbanization, the way of everyday life was rethought and redefined. Urbanization in Japan in the late 1910s and 1920s occurred with Europeanization. After the First World War, a new wave of fascination with the West rushed into Japan. Social changes of this time caused the dynamization of the image of the Japanese woman. This is how liberated, self-confident, strong-willed, energetic women appeared. In the media, women began to appear in the images of cafe waitresses, dancers, and saleswomen. Having become icons of a modern city, they walked around the shopping malls, had conversations in cafes, went to the cinema, did various sports, and traveled in buses and trams. The modern lifestyle of the 1920s30s dictated new changes in the appearance of young girls: their clothes and hairstyle changed. Modan gāru, often compared to American flappers, wore colorful European outfits, high heels, short haircuts, and various accessories. Japanese society, trying to preserve the concept of ryo:sai kenbo (良妻賢母, «good wife, wise mother»), did not want to see young girls who were independent and free from family obligations and who spent their free time in the cinema, cafes, and dancefloors. Modan gāru never stood for women's rights, never belonged to the number of suffragists. But, despite this, they did not want to stay oppressed under male control. Modan gāru liberated themselves from age-old conventions and traditions, achieved financial independence, and were no longer inferior to men.
The Japanese described Okinawa as “external land” (gaichi), believing that they themselves live on “internal land” (naichi). Yanagita Kunio played a very significant role in the integration of Okinawans into Japanese life. Having visited Okinawa only once (in 1921) and closely communicating with Iha Fuyu (1876–1947), an Okinawa native, for the rest of his life he was of the opinion that the Okinawans were the ancestors of the Japanese. At first, this idea was not very popular. However, after the end of World War II, when Okinawa came under the control of the American military administration, a widespread movement was launched in Japan to return Okinawa to Japanese jurisdiction. At this time, Yanagita became a scholar recognized by the state and enjoyed its support. Yanagita rehabilitated the concept of an "island country" (shimaguni) and gave it a positive meaning. Against the background of heated discussion about the ethnogenesis of the Japanese people, the last book by Yanagita, “Kaijo-no Michi” (“Sea Route”, 1961), which justified his hypothesis about Okinawa as the ancestral home of the Japanese, became widely known among non-professionals (for instance, it was highly praised by Oe Kenzaburo) primarily for political and emotional reasons, although the scientific basis of this work has always caused serious objections in the academic world. The popularity of the book declined after Okinawa was returned to Japan. Nevertheless, the role of this book in the history of social and political thought in Japan is hard to overestimate.
The article discusses two texts: Chinese 8th century Meng Qiu, and early 13th century Japanese text called Mōgyū Waka, based on Meng Qiu. Both monuments perform primarily an educational function, they introduce events from the Chinese past, and have a structure convenient for remembering stories. The biography of Li Han, the author of the Chinese text, is unknown. The Chinese text is a long rhyming poem, consisting of 596 four-character lines, each of which refers to a commentary that tells a corresponding historical anecdote. Pairs of four-character lines are connected by subject. Four eightcharacter lines with one rhyme are structural units of the text of the poem. The heroes of the work are people of different social status, men, women, and children, as well as mythological characters. Events from ancient times to the Tang period are presented. The first commentary is supposed to be written by the author of the poem himself. The text was popular during the Tang era, but was later forgotten in China. Meng Qiu is a textbook that is still used in Japan to learn Chinese and get acquainted with the stories from Chinese past. Japanese text Mōgyū Waka is created in 1204 by Minamoto no Mitsuyuki (1163-1244). Mōgyū Waka includes 250 stories from Meng Qiu. Mōgyū Waka has a structure similar to Japanese poetic anthologies. The stories are grouped by topic in 14 scrolls. Each block of the text includes a line from the Chinese poem (four characters), the story in vernacular and the Japanese waka poem. All poems are written by the author specifically to be included in this text. Four first scrolls (four seasons) are provided with poetic themes. Two prefaces are attached, one in classical Chinese and another in the vernacular. Texts of the prefaces differ slightly in content, but significantly in the style of presentation. Сhange of the structure of the work and the presence of waka poems is a strategy for the „Japanization‟ of the Chinese text.
This paper undertakes a comprehensive historical analysis of modern Japanese historiography debates over the territorial delimitation between Russia and Japan, an issue that is extremely important for understanding the course and consequences of bilateral relations in the near and medium term future. The author highlights and evaluates the main arguments in the Japanese historiography on the territorial demarcation issue and carries out a comparative analysis of Japanese historians' approaches and assessments of the documented legal aspects of the Soviet-Japanese border problem.
The article deals with the problem of revealing the exact composition of one of the earliest Japanese collections of the Kunstkamera museum and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts – namely, the collection acquired by Dr. Johan Arnold Stützer, a Swedish doctor in the service of the Dutch East India Company, who stayed in Japan in 1787–1788. J.A. Stützer, a graduate of the University of Uppsala, was a student of Professor Carl Peter Thunberg, who largely determined his interests both as a researcher and a collector of Asian rarities, and these interests were reflected in the composition of his collection. In 1794, Stützer sent a part of his collection to St. Petersburg, addressing it to the name of Empress Catherine II. The Empress ordered to transfer the collection to the Imperial Academy of Sciences and Arts in St. Petersburg. The collection by J.A. Stützer was viewed as extremely valuable for the Russian academic and museum Japanese studies, for it provided unique materials on the Japanese culture of the late 18th c., when the Tokugawa Shogunate pursued a policy of self-seclusion, and Japanese items were considered particular rarities in Europe. The J.A. Stützer’s collection substantially enriched the Academic Museum (Kunstkamera) and the Library with a selection of very rare Japanese books, maps, and various Japanese pieces (works of various traditional and “export” arts and crafts, rare coins, samples of weapons, items introducing some of the traditional healing methods, some special items characterizing the state of Japanese sciences, etc.). Unfortunately, in the course of storing, the pieces constituting the original collection were separated and placed in different museum and archival repositories – that of Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (MAE RAS), Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IOM RAS), St. Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A significant part of the original composition of the collection has been preserved until nowadays, but the fate of many pieces remains unknown. The purpose of this article is to determine how many items of the original collection by Dr. J.A. Stützer are currently in the collection of the MAE RAS (Kunstkamera) and IOM RAS; what part of the items from the original collection has not been received by the Academy; what items are now considered lost. The article is the result of the research of the items composing the J. A. Stützer’s collection in the MAE RAS and IOM RAS repositories and its comparison with archival and museum documents describing the collection