A HUNDRED VERSES FROM OLD JAPAN: the Hyaku-nin-isshiu or 'Single Verses by a Hundred People' written in the Tanka style

Abela Publishing Ltd
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The Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or 'Single Verses by a Hundred People', were collected together in A.D. 1235. They are placed in approximate chronological order, and range from about the year AD 670. Perhaps what strikes one most in connection with the Hyaku-nin-isshiu is the date when the verses were written; most of them were produced before the time of the Norman Conquest (AD 1066), and one cannot but be struck with the advanced state of art and culture in Japan at a time when Europe was still in a very elementary stage of civilization. The Collection consists almost entirely of love-poems and what the editor calls picture-poems, intended to bring before the mind's eye some well-known scene in nature; and it is marvellous what effect little thumbnail sketches are compressed within thirty-one syllables. Some show the cherry blossoms which are doomed to fall, the dewdrops scattered by the wind, the mournful cry of the wild deer on the mountains, the dying crimson of the fallen maple leaves, the weird sadness of the cuckoo singing in the moonlight, and the loneliness of the recluse in the mountain wilds; while those verses which appear to be of a more cheerful type are rather of the nature of the 'Japanese smile', described by Lafcadio Hearn as a mask to hide the real feelings. Japanese poetry differs very largely from anything we are used to in the West. It has no rhyme or alliteration, and little, if any, rhythm, as we understand it. The verses in this Collection are all what are called Tanka which has five lines and thirty-one syllables, arranged thus: 5-7-5-7-7 which is an unusual metre for Western ears. For this translation the editor has adopted a five-lined verse of 8-6-8-6-6 metre, with the second, fourth, and fifth lines rhyming, in the hope of retaining at least some resemblance to the original form, while at the same time making the sound more familiar to English readers. A percentage of the net sale will be donated to charities specialising in educational scholarships. YESTERDAY'S BOOKS for TOMORROW'S EDUCATIONS
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About the author

William N. Porter, 1849-1929, translated the Hyaku-Nin-Isshiu, or, A Hundred Verses from Old Japan, one of Japan's most famous anthologies of poetry.

 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Abela Publishing Ltd
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Published on
Nov 30, 2009
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Pages
222
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ISBN
9781907256196
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / Ancient & Classical
Poetry / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Poetry / Asian / General
Poetry / Asian / Japanese
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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