Growth of Japanese Culture

A Golden Age of Literature and Drama - By: Quinn Day

Japanese Writing System

Japan adopted China's writing system that used characters to represent objects, actions, ideas, and later sounds. Today Japan uses letters and characters in their writing. Even though Japan used Chinas ideas for writing, their language is closely related to Korea.

Japanese Drama

Japan started performing shinto dances that were done at religious shrines around the 600s. Then, During the 1300s they developed a type of drama called Noh. Noh plays retold legends and folktales where the actors wore painted wooden masks to show their emotions. After this a different type of drama called the Kabuki developed. Kabuki actors wore heavy makeup and complex costumes, they would sing and dance to entertain and all dramas were preformed by men.

The Tale of Genji

During the early 800s, Japan felt like they had leaned enough from China and began to create their own traditions. Lady Murasaki Shikibu was a writer who wrote The Tale of Genji, which was about the life of a prince. This was a very important part in developing their literature because it was Japan's first relalistic novel, while other writing was collections of stories or retold myths.

Japanese Poetry

Japan wrote short poems about the beatuy nature and the sadness of love. They often wrote these poems in the form of a haiku, which was made up of three lines with the syllable count of 5, 7, 5. A man named Matsuo Basho, who lived during the 1600s, wrote haikus that showed the gentle, quiet spirits of Zen.
Matsuo Basho - Haiku - Stillness, Cicadas - Japanese Literature and Poetry

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What is unique about Japanese literature and drama?

REVIEW QUESTION: What new forms of literature and drama did the Japanese develop?