By Shuichi Kato (auth.)
Shuichi Kato's two-volume historical past of eastern literature is extraordinary for its severe and comparative take hold of in addition to for its old scholarship. it's also a different contribution to the topic insofar because it contains the monstrous unfold of kambun (classic chinese language) literature written through eastern authors. through relocating past the dialogue of literary kinds and magnificence into the social historical past which has formed the works, Professor Kato offers the 1st genuine heritage of eastern literature in its context; in reality, given the significance of literature in eastern cultural historical past often, Professor Kato's paintings may well both be considered as a examine of Japan's highbrow historical past via literature.
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Additional resources for A History of Japanese Literature: The First Thousand Years
Professional writers became so integrated into their bundan that they knew nothing of what went on in the outside world. An author who is thoroughly integrated into society cannot truly criticize that society's system of values, nor, through criticism, can he transcend those values, but taking those given values as a basis, he is at least able to refine his perception of them. Sei Shonagon, for example, did not in any sense transcend the court society of the Heian period, but she did succeed in portraying its trivialities with remarkable insight.
The stress on the worldly benefits of Buddhism continued in the Heian period, and a kind of Shinto-Buddhist philosophical amalgam emerged so that Buddhism, which may have had a distinct identity at the end of the sixth century, lost its exclusive identity through being Japanized. In China it was during the Sung period that the idea of 'Three in One' (Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism) emerged, but in Japan from very early on in the Heian period, the joint existence of indigenous beliefs and Buddhism was accepted as not being mutually contradictory.
The warrior class may have seen in Zen a means of controlling their emotions and fears even on the battlefield, but this is an ethical, not a religious question. By the beginning of the Tokugawa period, three centuries after INTRODUCTION 23 its rise, Kamakura Buddhism which in the thirteenth century had been a transcendental religion, had become completely secularized and was no more than a cultural phenomenon. The religion of Dogen had developed simply into a secular scholarship of Chinese classical literature and art and Tokugawa political power ushered in a new age in which Buddhism was abandoned as a value system in favour of Sung Confucianism.
A History of Japanese Literature: The First Thousand Years by Shuichi Kato (auth.)