A Hundred Verses from Old Japan: The Hyakunin-isshu (Forgotten Books)

 
9781606200940: A Hundred Verses from Old Japan: The Hyakunin-isshu (Forgotten Books)

This is a collection of 100 specimens of Japanese Tanka poetry collected in the 13th Century [AD], with some of the poems dating back to the 7th Century. Tanka is a 31 syllable format in the pattern 5-7-5-7-7. Most of these poems were written about the time of the Norman Conquest and display a sophistication that western literature would not achieve for a long time thereafter. These little gems are on themes such as nature, the round of the seasons, the impermanence of life, and the vicissitudes of love. There are obvious Buddhist and Shinto influences throughout. Porter's notes put the poems into a cultural and historical context. Each poem is illustrated in this edition with an 18th century Japanese woodcut by an anonymous illustrator. (Quote from sacred-texts.com)

About the Author

Richard Gordon Smith (1858 - 1918)
Richard Gordon Smith (1858-1918) was an English animal hunter who earlier had spent time in France, Canada, and Norway. He had a falling out from his wife of eighteen years and, as divorce at the time was neither desirable nor respectable, he left to travel full-time, first-class. Throughout his travels he kept a series of eight large leather-bound diaries emblazoned with exotic illustrations and filled with mementoes from all over the world. After Ceylon and Burma, he arrived in Nagasaki harbor on Christmas Eve 1897. He left Japan in February 1900, heading back to England via New Guinea and Fiji, but he came down with a fever and abandoned the trip, returning to Japan instead. Gordon Smith did go back to England briefly in 1903, returning to Japan that year via Singapore and China. Later he left from Kobe, again to England via Ceylon, in early 1905. He was back in Kyoto by the year's end. Transcribing folktales and myths ever more in his diaries, he also collected some

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