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Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing The Wakan Roei Shu cover
  • ISBN: 9780231107020
  • ISBN10: 0231107021

Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing the Wakan Roei Shu

by Stephen Addiss

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1997
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Among the diversions enjoyed by the courtesans of Heian Japan (794-1185) was singing poetry to musical accompaniment. The most popular source of poetic passages was the bilingual poetic anthology, known as the Wakan roei shu (or Collection of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing). Compiled by the early eleventh-century poet Fujiwara no Kinto, it contains Chinese poems by great Chinese poets, Chinese poems by Japanese courtiers (kanshi), and Japanese poems (waka). In combining the three types of poetry, Kinto wished to couple the most revered Chinese works with native poetry that evoked the Chinese masters and equaled their elegance.

For centuries Poems to Sing served as an inspiration for Japanese artists and calligraphers, who created some of their most beautiful masterpieces using texts selected from this book. The poems are arranged in accordance with the four seasons as well as more than forty topics, ranging from celestial bodies to ministers of state. It includes poems by some of the most beloved Chinese and Japanese masters, including Po Chu-i (772-846) and Sugawara no Michizane (845-903).

This first translation of the Wakan roei shu includes two introductory essays, insightful commentaries on each passage, and three expositions, which discuss the Wakan roei shu's influence on Japanese literary history, music, and calligraphy. It will delight all lovers of Asian poetry and art.

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