Growth of Japanese Culture

A Golden Age of Literature and Drama

Japanese Writing Systems

Japan was known for adopting its writing system from China. In about 400, Japan began using Chinese characters to write in Japanese. Later into the 400s, they started using them for specific objects and sounds. Though the Japanese language was mainly influenced by China, it is also partly influenced by Korea.

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Japanese Drama

Japanese drama has dated all the way back to the 600s. But in the 1300s, actors developed a type of drama called noh. Noh plays were usually retellings of old stories and folk tales. These were often acted out with wooden masks and costumes to show emotion. Then in the early 1600s, another style of drama was developed called kabuki. This included melodramatic singing and dancing with intricate costumes and bold makeup. Where noh was mostly for the higher classes, kabuki was more for common people. both of these drama styles remain popular today.
Kabuki Theatre

The Tale of Genji

In the early 800s, Japan ended diplomatic relations with China. Most Japanese leaders thought that they had learned enough from China. The present Chinese influence remained, but Japan continued to develop their own traditions. This was especially in literature and arts. one of the most important writers from Japan at the time was Lady Murasaki Shikibu. She lived in the 1000s. one of her most well known books was The Tale of Genji. this is focused on one main individual, making one of the worlds first important novels.
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Japanese Poetry

Japanese poetry was usually about sadness of love or nature. Most popular poems were usually quite short compared to the poetry of other nations. A shorter form of poetry is called haiku. It is three lines with 5, then 7, then 5 syllables. One great Japanese poet was named Matsuo Basho, who usually had a quiet zen spirit to them.
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