Growth of Japanese Culture
A Golden Age of Literature and Drama- by Miya Chinn
These plays were often retellings of legends and folktales.
Kabuki combines melodramatic singing and dancing with elaborate costumes and heavy makeup.
Lady Murasaki Shikibu
Murasaki wrote The Tale of Genji.
The Tale of Genji
Lady Murasaki Shikibu was one of Japan's finest writers because she contributed to the development of Japanese literature by writing the first important novel. She is famous for her book, The Tale of Genji, because it is a long, realistic story focused on one person. Like this book, Japan continued to start its own traditions.
Japanese poetry was often written about sadness or the beauty of nature and remained short compared to other countries. Matsuo Basho is famous for his haikus (5-7-5 syllables), a short form of poetry.
Example of a haiku-
An old silent pond...
Into the pond a frog jumps,
splash! Silence again.
Essential and Review Questions
Essential- What is unique about Japanese literature and drama?
Japanese literature is unique because the Japanese wrote the first important novel, developed a new language that blends both Chinese and Korean concepts, and started to write shorter poems different to other civilizations. Not only is their literature unique, but also their dramas. Noh and Kabuki only use male actors and have become two traditions known for their makeup/masks and costumes.
Review- What new forms of literature and drama did the Japanese develop?
The literature that the Japanese created was The Tale of Genji and short forms of poetry. The Japanese developed two new forms of drama-- noh and kabuki. Noh plays are retellings of legends and folktales and kabuki is uses singing, dancing, elaborate costumes, and makeup to tell stories often about common people.