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Pre-Modern Japanese Text Bibliography

Stumbled on an awesome find today. It’s a list of Pre-modern Japanese texts and what translations (if any) have been done. Dated 2013, but it looks like they are trying to keep it updated. So if you are trying to track down a particular early Japanese primary source, this can tell you if it has been translated and where you can find said translation.

You can find it here: Pre-modern Japanese Texts and Translations.

Note: It is a bibliography, so the translations are not hosted. They try to link to articles and such, but how this helps is finding out if some of these primary sources have been translated into English (or other western languages) and finding out where those translations can be found.

小鳥の歌 54

spring_apple_blossoms_john_everett_millais_1859

Blossoming orchard
Humble apple trees preening
For once in beauty
Welcoming soft spring rain like
An innocent girl in love

Link: orchard in blossom to blossoming orchard

I chose apple trees because they are commonly seen in the Midwest and when we lived in Iowa, we lived near an orchard. Kigo 季語 in Japanese poetry are words and phrases associated with seasons. They are often gathered in collections called saijiki 歳時記. However, because the climate where I live in Kansas is far different from that of Japan, I sometimes choose kigo that apply to what I see in my everyday life. The most common flowering trees that were used in medieval tanka were the plum (early spring) and the sakura (middle spring).

Apples actually were not widely cultivated in Japan until the Meiji period (1868-1912), although they are quite popular there now. Here is an interesting list about some Japanese fruits and when they were first cultivated there.

Due to the popularity of the haiku form of poetry, there are some saijiki lists online for English speakers. There is a good one heretranslated by William J. Higginson that focuses on Japanese kigo. There is also an interesting one here called the World Kigo Dictionary that has links to lists for kigo in other parts of the world. However, while they have some for North America, there doesn’t seem to be one specifically for the Midwest. (One for Oklahoma, though, and one for the Northern prairie–but from the descriptions I was reading, that sounds like Minnesota or the Dakotas? Not quite the same thing as here.) There are a number of other lists online as well.

However, while kigo developed out of tanka poetry, some of the traditions were established in the Edo period and are particular to haiku, so if you are writing tanka for SCA (medieval reenactment) purposes, double-check.

Painting by John Everett Millais 1859. (c) Lady Lever Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Waka Poetry Site, plus three new books!

I was so pleased to come across the Waka Poetry site again after several years. It has changed a lot and has a lot to look at!

Doctor Thomas McAuley of the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield (UK) runs the site. He announced the publication of 3 Japanese poetry e-books today for Kindle. They are:

McAuley, Thomas E. (2016) An Anthology of Classical Japanese Poetry: From Man’yōshū to Shinkokinshū (ASIN: B01MTUKF9K)

McAuley, Thomas E. (2016) Sanekata-shū: The Personal Poetry Collection of Fujiwara no Sanekata (ASIN: B01N47WSOL)

McAuley, Thomas E. (2016) Two Hundred Poem Sequences: The Entō Onhyakushu and Keiun Hyakushu (ASIN: B01N9BKS6A)

I gave them a look-over. Simply and nicely done. VERY reasonable prices compared to what poetry translations usually cost! The Anthology is $8, Sanekata Shu is $3, and Two Hundred-Poem Sequences is $2.99. Considering what Japanese literature books tend to sell for (unless you find them used, and even then! It’s a small market, after all…), these are an incredible bargain!

I was especially excited to see the Two Hundred-Poem Sequences book, since I am researching that topic now, and am trying my hand at a hundred-poem sequence myself.

Pictopedia of Everyday Life in Medieval Japan

I found this resource last year and thought I’d linked it here, but I guess I only had the link on Facebook.

Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan has done a lot of work on Nonwritten Cultural Materials. As part of a project, they put together a focus group which translated an important Japanese-language resource that identified daily items as presented in Emaki scrolls.

So far, 3 volumes of 5 have been translated. Volumes 1 and 3 are available, FOR FREE and PERFECTLY LEGALLY, as PDFs online. For some reason, Volume 2 was not put online, but is available in the US via Inter-Library Loan. Here are the links to the other two:

Volume 1: http://www.himoji.jp/jp/popup/publication/seika_010101.html
Volume 1 Glossary: http://www.himoji.jp/jp/popup/publication/seika_010102.html

Volume 3 and its glossary can be found at this page (they are pop-up links, so no direct linking!)

http://himoji.kanagawa-u.ac.jp/en/publication/research_result_report.html#pbox1_2_1

Rare Japanese Books Course

I’m taking a course on Rare Japanese Books via Futurelearn. It’s a lot more intensive than I had originally thought, but also a LOT of good information. I have a book on Japanese bookbinding that shows how some of this is done, but it was incredibly useful to see videos of these various types of books and how they work.

Some Sources on Imayo Songs

Looked this up to answer a question about imayo songs on the SCA:Japanese FB page. Noting here for future reference:

Yung-Hee, Kim Kwon. Songs to Make the Dust Dance: The Ryojin hisho of Twelfth-Century Japan (Berkeley, Univ. of California Press, 1994) ISBN: 9780520080669 Link is to LEGAL electronic copy of full book. (via Lisa Joseph/Mistress Saionji no Hana)

Konishi, Jin’inchi _A History of Japanese Literature, Volume 2: The Early Middle Ages_ (edited by Earl Miner, trans by Nicholas Teele) (Princeton, NJ; Princeton University Press, 1986) ISBN 978-0691101774 has some good discussion on the subject. Konishi had some interest in the subject and devotes a chapter to it. Note–be sure and get the SECOND volume. The first one just has a few lines on imayo, and while the third does has some bits and pieces on it, the 2nd volume is where most of the information is.

Malm, William _Japanese Music and Musical Instruments_ (Tokyo; Tuttle Publishing, 1990) ISBN 978-0804816489 devotes a little time to the subject and is also just good reading about Japanese musical structure anyway, although I suspect he got his imayo info from Konishi’s work? Neither of these works are recent, however.

Miller, Stephen D. _The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period_ (New York, Cornell East Asia Program, 2013) ISBN 978-1933947662 has some translated imayo and looks some at structure.

I found some cites on a JSTOR search–mostly articles by Yung-Hee Kim Kwon (who wrote _Songs to Make the Dust Dance_ that Lisa Joseph already mentioned), but there were two articles that looked like they might have be of interest to you based on conversations we’ve had in person (this was to the original poster, who lives here in Calontir): Meeks, Lori. 2011. “The Disappearing Medium: Reassessing the Place of miko in the Religious Landscape of Premodern Japan”. History of Religions 50 (3). University of Chicago Press: 208–60. doi:10.1086/656611.

Goodwin, Janet R.. 2000. “Shadows of Transgression: Heian and Kamakura Constructions of Prostitution”. Monumenta Nipponica 55 (3). Sophia University: 327–68.

Online article about a lecture in 2015 by Dr. Elizabeth Markham, who is currently researching imayo Songs of Peace: On Japanese Imayo of the 12th Century.