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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.

English-language Tensho Exemplar

My shodo teacher Tony Skeen just published a couple of reference books that will help those looking to make inkan (seals). Both are intended to be used in tandem with the New Nelson’s Japanese-English Character Dictionary.

The first volume is to help people sound-out their (non-Japanese) names in Kanji. There are choices–you can go by meaning, but then the pronunciation will be completely different, or you can go by pronunciation and find comparable kanji–THEN you have to watch for the meaning and also double-check to make sure it doesn’t have some slang meaning in Japanese that might be embarrassing. So this first volume is a list of kanji by sound, in English alpha-order. Choosing Kanji for Use on a Seal Stone

The second volume has brushed tensho-script examples of the kanji from the first volume, both as normal and also in reverse (which is how you would carve it to make a seal). As far as I know, there is no other English-language resource on tensho-script that is this detailed. Tensho Kanji for Making a Seal Stone

Both of these are meant to be used in tandem with the New Nelson’s Japanese/English Character Dictionary. Nelson’s is one of the best J/E Kanji Dictionaries available. Here is the Goodreads link to it. They have it listed new on Amazon for $44 dollars, but seriously, shop around. I found mine new on Ebay for $18, and sometimes you can find it for even less! The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary. NOTE: Be sure and get the latest version, so the numbers match up. Also, it’s much larger than the original.

I’ve been studying shodo with Tony Skeen for over a year now. He’s a certified instructor through Nihon Shuji Kyoiku Zaidan and has been practicing shodo for over 20 years. The books are pricey, but he’s not making much of a profit–the cost is mainly due to the books being self-published on small print runs.

He let me look at the proofs when he was working on the book and the books are very to-the-point. He just wants to make it easier for people to make better inkan. The online sites that offer to create tensho often use a computer font. These are HAND BRUSHED examples.

GODS of Japan, A to Z Photographic Dictionary

I had seen this page linked on the SCA Japan FB page a while back, but ran across the author in another forum today, so wanted to share the link here as well. Exhaustive list of Japanese statuary, mostly Buddhist with some Shinto. There’s a lot to go through on this site, but very useful AND all in English!

GODS of Japan, A to Z Photographic Dictionary of Japanese Religious Statuary and Art