Growth of Japanese Culture

A Golden Age of Literature and Drama-By Ellie Kennedy

Japanese Writing Systems

The Japanese writing system was another very important aspect that Japan adopted from the Chinese. The writing system was used to represent specific objects, actions, or ideas. Later on characters represented sounds. As time went on the Japanese writing system included both letters and characters. The most influential country into the process of the writing system was China even though the language was related to Korea.

Japanese Drama

A very important tradition of the Japanese was Drama which dates back to the 600's. Before the 1300's when a type of drama called noh was developed, the only drama consisted of people who performed Shinto dances at religious shrines. The drama that was developed in the 1300's was noh which were plays that retold legends and folktales. The ways that the actors showed emotion was by wearing painted wooden masks, using gestures, costumes, and music which told the whole story. Most actors who performed the roles in noh were only men and was performed to people in both upper classes, and common people. Another type of drama that was developed in the 1600's was called kabuki. Kabuki was a kind of drama that was more informal unlike noh, and also consisted of melodramatic singing and dancing, with elaborate costumes and heavy makeup to help get in character.
Kabuki (Japanese theatre)

The Tale of Genjii

As time went on the Japanese felt like they had learned enough from the Chinese and wanted to start developing there own cultural traditions. Even though the influences of the Chinese still remained Japanese wanted to do something original. One of their first developments was literature. One of Japan's finest writers was Lady Mursaki Shikibu. Murasaki was known for writing a book that lead to the further development into literature. The book she wrote was called The Tale of Gengi and it was different from all other books because her long story was based on one individual therefore making it the world's first important novel.

Japanese Poetry

Most Japanese poem themes were about poets sadness or rejection from someone they love, but one of the most common themes was writing about the beauty of nature. A short form of poetry is called Haiku. A haiku has 17 syllables and three lines of 5,7,5 syllables. One of the greatest haiku poets was Matsuo Basho, who's writing was reflected upon the quiet reflective spirit of Zen.

Review Question: What new forms of literature and drama did the Japanese develop?

The new forms of literature the Japanese developed are noh, kabuki, and, and a Haiku.

Essential Question:What is unique about about Japanese literature and drama?

What is unique about the Japanese literature and drama is that Mursaki wrote first story to focus on one individual which also made it the world's most important novel. Something unique about the Drama was that they had two different forms of drama that incorporates many different genres, from comedy dramas to romantic dramas.