Growth of Japanese Culture

A Golden Age of Literature and Drama-Summary by Natalie K.

Japanese Writing Systems (日本書記体系)

Japan took up China's characters and used them for Japanese words. The characters stood for sounds (the equivalent to English letters), objects, actions, and ideas. Now, Japan's writing system has letters and characters. Despite China having an impact on Japan's writing, their language is related to Korea's.

Japanese Drama (日本ドラマ)

Japan's drama started with Shinto dances at religious shrines. Over time, a type of drama called noh developed. These plays are about legends and folktales that upper classes and common people both watched. Around 300 years later, in the 1600s, kabuki formed. Kabuki plays included singing, dancing, fancy costumes, and a lot of makeup. Both types of drama are performed by men, and are still popular today.
Kashu-Juku Noh Theater

The Tale of Genji (源氏の彼の物語)

In the 1000s, Lady Murasaki Shikibu wrote The Tale of Genji, which tells the story about a prince. The characteristics of this book--long, realistic, and about a single person--differed from earlier writings that were old myths or collections of shorter stories. These qualities made The Tale of Genji the world's first significant novel and a critical development in literature.
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Japanese Poetry (詩歌)

Japanese poems were usually about the sullenness of rejected love and the appreciation of nature's beauty. They are short in comparison to other countries' poems. One of the types of Japanese poetry is called a haiku and has 17 syllables (first line: 5, second line: 7, third line: 5) altogether.
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Essential Question: What is unique about Japanese literature and drama?

Although Japan had many influences from China, the Japanese still developed heir own culture. Noh and kabuki, two types of their drama, have very unique qualities to them including their costumes, and are still popular today. Lady Muraski Shikibu's book was different than other earlier ones, causing it to become important. Japanese poetry, such as haikus, were really shorter than other countries'.

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

Literature-- Murasaki's The Tale of Genji was, unlike other books, long and realistic. Short poems like haikus told of heartbreak and nature, whereas poems from elsewhere were longer.

Drama-- Noh and kabuki were types of Japanese drama with costumes, music, and male actors. Both are still popular today.