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 Poetry anthologies

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Posts : 75
Join date : 2010-05-19
Location : Observatory

PostSubject: Poetry anthologies   Mon May 24, 2010 1:32 pm

For anyone interested in Japanese poetry.

The three most influential poetic anthologies in Japanese literary history are the Manyōshū (万葉集), the oldest collection of poetry, the Kokin Wakashū (古今和歌集), an early Heian waka anthology, and the Shin Kokin Wakashū (新古今和歌集).

Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves or Collection of Myriad Leaves/Ages. The Manyōshū collection was compiled sometime during the Narajidai (奈良時代), 710 – 794 by Otomo Yamamochi. The collection is divided into twenty books which include choka (ちょうか) [5-7-5… 5-7-7] and tanka たんか)[5-7-5 7-7]. People from all walks of life contributed to the Manyōshū. Apart from being an artistic interest, the Manyōshū is written in one of the earliest Japanese writing systems – Manyōgana.

Manyōgana is an ancient writing system that uses Chinese characters to write Japanese language. Manyōgana uses kanji for their phonetic value (借音 shakuon; "borrowed sound") rather than their meaning (借訓 shakkun; "borrowed meaning"). The name derives from the Manyōshū – the kana of the Manyōshū.

Kokin Wakashū:
Often abbreviated to Kokinshū (古今集) and can be translated as ‘Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poems’. Kokin Wakashū was the first of twenty one collections of Japanese poetry put together at Imperial request. It was the first anthology to divide seasons and love poetry, it also incorporated new poems. This trend was followed in later works.

Shin Kokin Wakashū:
Often abbreviated as Shin Kokinshū (新古今集) or Shin Kokin and can be translated as ‘New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poems’. The Shin Kokin Wakashū was the eighth volume – it wasn’t put together during the Heianjidai but presented in 1205. What sets this collection apart is that all the poems are linked through their words. Meaning that the entire collection can be read as one long poem. To keep with the intricate editing style older poems and less accomplished poets were used to maintain the correct links – this technique moved to the development of renga (れんが).
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