Keywords

Japanese poetry, reclusion, Saigyo, medieval Japan, Buddhist poetry, Jakunen, Jakuzen

Abstract

Examining a set of poems exchanged by the monks Saigyō and Jakuzen, the author argues for their importance as records of a crucial moment in the development of religious reclusion imagery in waka. The author focuses on Saigyō, demonstrating how he created a new poetic space marked by a deepening of the tropes of sōan and yamazato, yielding a previously unarticulated realm of expression for his rigorous ideal of mountain seclusion. As “grass huts” and “mountain homes” became more commonly associated with hermits monks such as Saigyō, many of whom in fact spent the majority of their lives in the remote and indigent circumstances of mountain reclusion, the imagery relating to these spaces both shifted and expanded. Saigyō was a key figure in this development in Japanese poetics, and his yama fukami poems played an important role in the deepening and expansion of these topoi in the medieval period.

Original Publication Citation

Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 68.2

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2008-12

Publisher

Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University

Language

English

College

Humanities

Department

Asian and Near Eastern Languages

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

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