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West Visayas State University

Janiuay, Campus
Janiuay, Iloilo
School of Teacher Education

Prepred by: Mary Rose Pugao Nancy A. Arellano


Benita Malones Adviser
Maridel Vestidas

Japanese Literature

Japan

Also known as THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN.


Capital city of Tokyo
NARA PERIOD (710-794)
Japanese literature traces its beginnings to oral traditions that were first recorded in written
form in the early eighth century after a writing system was introduced from China.
The Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and Nihon shoki ( Chronicle of Japan) were completed in
712 and 720, respectively, as government projects.

ANCIENT LITERATURE (until 894)


Before the introduction of Kanji from China, there was no writing system in Japan.
At first , Chinese characters were used in Japanese syntactical formats, and the literary language
was classical Chinese; resulting in sentences that looked like Chinese but were phonetically read
as Japanese.
Chinese characters were used,not for their meanings, but they had a phonetic sound which
resembled a Japanese word.

CLASSICAL LITERATURE (894-1194; the Heian period)


Classical Japanese Literature generally refers to literature produced during the Heian Period,
considered as the golden era of art and literature

MEDIEVAL LITERATURE (1195-1600)


Medieval Japanese Literaure is marked by the strong influence of Zen Buddhism, and many
writers were priests, travelers, or ascetic poets.
Also during this period, Japan experienced many civil wars which led to the development of a
warrior class, and a widespread interest in war tales, histories,and related stories.
Works from this period is notable for its insights into life and death, simple lifestyles, and
redemption through killing.
Examples :
TALE OF THE HEIKE (1371)
HOJOKI (1212)
TSUREZUREGUSA (1331)

EARLY MODERN LITERATURE or the EDO PERIOD (1600-1868)


West Visayas State University
Janiuay, Campus
Janiuay, Iloilo
School of Teacher Education

The literature of this time was written during the generally peaceful Tokugawa Period (commonly
referred to as the Edo Period).
Due in large part of the rise of the working and middle classes in the new capital of Edo (modern
Tokyo), forms of popular drama developed which would later evolve into kabuki.

MEIJI, TAISHO, and EARLY SHOWA LITERATURE (1868-1945)


The Meiji period was when Japan under Western influence, took the first steps toward
developing a modern literature.
It marked the re-opening of Japan to the West, and a period of rapid industrialization.
In the Meiji era unification of the written and spoken language was ad vocated , and Futabatei
Shimeis Ukigumo (Drifting Clouds)[1887] won acclaim as new form of novel.

POST-WAR LITERATURE
Japan's defeat in World War II influenced Japanese literature during the 1940's and 1950's. Many
authors wrote stories about disaffection, loss of purpose, and the coping with defeat.

CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE
Popular fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature all flourished in Urban Japan during the
1980's.
Many popular works fell between "pure literature" and pulp novels, including all sorts of
historical serials, information- packed, docudramas, science fiction,mysteries, detective fiction,
business stories, war journals and animals stories.

HAIKU HISTORY
Haiku is one of the most important form of traditional Japanese poetry.
Haiku is both a type of poetic pattern and a way of experiencing the world.
A well-executed haiku is rooted in the physical world of our sense, yet suggests, something
deeper, often evoking the mysterious, transitory nature of all existence.
Haiku is, today, a 17 syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.
The term hokku literally means "starting verse", and was the first starting link of a much longer
chain of verses known ashaika.
Example:
JAPANESE VERSION
Furulke ya
Kawazu tobikumo
Mizu no oto
ENGLISH VERSION
Old pond. . .
A frog leaps in
Water's sound

TANKA
West Visayas State University
Janiuay, Campus
Janiuay, Iloilo
School of Teacher Education

Tanka was often written to explore religious or courtly themes and had a structure of five lines
with 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure.

JAPANESE DRAMA'S
Japanese Drama commenced around the 7th century and to date has evolved a wide variety of
genres characterized generally by the fusion of dramatic, musical, and dance elements.
The music and dance as well as the subjects, settings, costumes, and acting styles, were rigidly
stylized and, until recent times, offered relatively few realistic or naturalistic qualities.
Example:
THE MADMAN ON THE ROOF by Kikuchi Kan

Characters:
Katsushima Yoshitaro- the madman, twenty-four years of age.
Katsushima Suejiro- his brother,a seventeen-year-oldseventeen-year-old high-school student
Katsushima Gisuke- his father
Katsushima Oyoshi-their mother
Tosaku- their neighbor
Kichiji- a manservant, twenty years of age
A Priestess- about fifty years of age
Place:
A small island in the Inland Sea
Time: 1900
THE SPIDER'S THREAD by Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Characters:
Kandata- a great robber who had done many evil things
Buddha
Thousands of Sinners
Place: Hell & Brink of the lotus pond of Paradise