Questions tagged [japanese-literature]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the Japanese language, regardless of whether they were written or published in Japan or elsewhere.

23 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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11
votes
2answers
203 views

Does this passage in “I Am a Cat” reference a real Western novel?

In Chapter 2 of I Am a Cat (full text of this and preceding chapters available here), the cat makes reference to a particular "western novel" in order to draw an analogy with his master: “Ah, and ...
9
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0answers
197 views

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”: English vs. Russian translation?

I recently started reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami in English and I'm quite enjoying it. However, I learned that the English version — although well-translated — omits ...
5
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0answers
44 views

Trying to locate source of a story about Japanese storyteller's apprentice who is mistaken for a master

I'm trying to locate the source of a story I remember, for an essay I'm writing. Not sure if the story is fact, fiction, or legend. It concerns an apprentice to a master storyteller in Japan (Rakugo I ...
5
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0answers
77 views

What does the teacher's clothing choice say about him?

In chapter 2 of I Am a Cat we see this chunk of text: He continues to wear his black cotton crested surcoat and, thereunder, a quilted kimono of hand-woven silk which, supposedly a keep-sake of his ...
4
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0answers
54 views

How many “Little People” are in the story-in-the-story in 1Q84?

In Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84, there is a novella, Air Chrysalis, that plays an important role. It describes some apparently supernatural beings called "the Little People". When the "Little People"...
4
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0answers
60 views

What was her wish in Haruki Murakami's “Birthday Girl”?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. The first-person ...
4
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0answers
34 views

A break in the 5-7-5-7-7 meter?

So I was reading about Waka poetry and then about the tanka meter, when I came across several poems by Ono no Komachi and Narihira. The ついにゆく poem from Narihira has 8 syllables rather than 7 in the ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

How did the cat become well known?

In the second chapter of I Am a Cat, we see this: SINCE New Year’s Day I have acquired a certain modest celebrity: so that, though only a cat, I am feeling quietly proud of myself. Which is not ...
3
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0answers
43 views

Source of the Japanese story Joseph Campbell tells of a samurai spat upon in The Power of Myth

I'm searching for the source of the Japanese story of a samurai spat upon which Joseph Campbell relates in The Power of Myth. (Oddly, the book has no citation on this). . . . there is a story . . . ...
3
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0answers
31 views

Where did the idea of mono no aware come from?

Piggybacking on this question, I am still curious about the mono no aware (物の哀れ) reading of The Tale of Genji. According to Wikipedia: Norinaga's most important works include the Kojiki-den (...
3
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0answers
32 views

Buddhist interpretation of The Tale of Genji

The search for literary sources has been inspired largely by the difficulty scholars have experienced in imagining that a work of the magnitude of The Tale of Genji could have been created without ...
3
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0answers
26 views

What exactly does Murasaki Shikibu say about The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter?

Donald Keene comments: [Murasaki Shikibu] dismissed as old-fashioned the kind of unreality present in The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter—the birth of a little girl inside a stalk of bamboo, or Kaguyahime’...
3
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0answers
35 views

Why did Waley choose to transcribe the titles of some chapters as opposed to translating them in The Tale of Genji?

Arthur Waley seems to be a champion, practitioner, and repeat offender of domesticating translation. This Q&A tells us his translation of Journey to the West significantly abridges the original ...
3
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0answers
13 views

Did Akutagawa Ryunosuke influence others?

Akutagawa Ryunosuke's suicide is considered the end of the literary tradition of the Taisho period (see the article "The Disintegrating Machinery of the Modern: Akutagawa Ryūnosuke's Late Writings"), ...
2
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0answers
32 views

Freudian/psychoanalytical interpretation of the triangular relationship in Toradora!

The central theme in the Japanese light novel/manga Toradora! (とらドラ!) around which the entire story unfolds is the love triangle between the male protagonist Takasu Ryuji and his two girl friends, ...
2
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0answers
18 views

What is the nature of the differences between the Kawachi-bon and the Aobyoshi-bon lines of the Tale of Genji manuscripts?

The original manuscripts of The Tale of Genji no longer exist. Royall Tyler writes in the introduction to his translation (Penguin 2003, page xviiii) that by the 13th century, the manuscripts of the ...
2
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0answers
23 views

Where in the Tale of Genji does it say Genji's affair offends Amaterasu?

From Doris Bargen, The Search for Things Past in the Genji monogatari: The beginning of the Genji, as established by literary tradition, is indeed deceptively matter-of-fact about events of grave ...
2
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0answers
24 views

What manuscript or manuscripts was the first printed edition of the Tale of Genji based on?

The original manuscript of the 11th-century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji has been lost. According to the Wikipedia article Textual tradition of The Tale of Genji, "the number of manuscript ...
2
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0answers
61 views

Who is the second narrator character in Haruki Murakami's “Birthday Girl”?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. Much of it is written ...
1
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0answers
37 views

How do the lyrics of “上を向いて歩こう” relate to its English title “Sukiyaki”?

The English title of the Japanese song 上を向いて歩こう is a head scratcher. The lyrics: 上を向いて歩こう 涙がこぼれないように 思い出す 春の日 一人ぽっちの夜 上を向いて歩こう にじんだ星をかぞえて 思い出す 夏の日 一人ぽっちの夜 幸せは 雲の上に 幸せは 空の上に 上を向いて歩こう 涙がこぼれないように 泣きながら ...
1
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0answers
85 views

Need help in appreciating the significance of The Tale of Genji

While spending one complete year each on the study of Japanese and Chinese literature (in translation), it was a pleasure to experience the cultural differences among the Western body of writings and ...
1
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0answers
78 views

What is happening in the scene with Coldmoon and the geisha?

In chapter two of I Am a Cat, we see this scene:  As we turned at Hotan’s corner another geisha appeared. She was slim, well-shaped and her shoulders were most beautifully sloped. The way she wore ...
-2
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1answer
34 views

Dramatis Personae of Beauty and Sadness

Beauty and Sadness (美しさと哀しみと Utsukushisa to kanashimi to) clearly isn't an easy read. I had started it some 5 years ago, read till the middle and abandonned it. Now, I picked it up again and found a ...