Japan Poetry and Drama

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Poetry. – While the classical tanka continues to be cultivated, a new meter, even shorter (5-7-5), the haikai or epigram, arises in this era. Its parent is the renga or chain poem, in vogue especially in the century. XIV, long poem, sometimes of more than a thousand lines, composed of the two hemistiches that form a tanka (that is: hokku, the first three lines, shimono – ku, the last two), put together alternately by several people who improvised it. From this, to consider a hokku as a whole in itself, the step was short, and since these tiny poems had a playful character, they were called haiku(comic verses) or haikai (comic poems). This new art, begun in the century. XVI by Yamazaki Sōkan (1465-1553) and continued by Arakida Moritake (1473-1549), by Matsunaga Teitoku (1571-1653) and others, it was perfected by Matsuo Bashō (1643-1694), and his pupils, especially by Enomoto Kikaku (1661-1707) and by Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707). The haibun (comic script) is connected to the haikai, which is for prose what the former is for verse, and which was especially illustrated by Yokoi Yayū (1702-1783). The hy ō ka (crazy poem) which is a comic tanka and the ky ō ku is more clearly burlesque and also vulgar in character.which is a comic hokku, the first to be born in the century. XII, the other, from the hokku, in this era, but both in vogue especially in the mid-century. XVIII. The ky ō ka was perfected by Shokusaniin (1749-1823) and by Ishikawa Gabō (1753-1830) and Katsube Magao (1753-1829). The ky ō bun (crazy script), corresponding to the haibun, was cultivated by authors of kokkei – bon. Special mention still deserves the senry ū, from the name of Karai Sennyū (1717-1790) who inaugurated it, the true witty epigram that, in a good-natured tone and in the guise of a nokku, ridicules the absurd and vulgar side of human life, and rakushu (lit. “poetry dropped”), the real satire, sarcastic, biting and personal, often political and written in the ky ō ka meter.

Drama. – According to diseaseslearning.com, the people who had created a prose for their tastes, also created the drama (kabuki) for their shows. The Kabuki originated from the dances that O-Kuni, a priestess (miko) of Izumo temple fled in Kyoto, began there in 1603. His art, limited at first to the sacred dances to her family, when she became worldly, invaghitasi d ‘ a certain Nagoya Sanzaburō, ex-samurai, joined him and formed a company that began to recite the songs and perform the fashion dances. Subsequently, Nagoya drew inspiration from n ō and ky ō gen, known to him since he was a samurai. The new art found enthusiastic acceptance and companies sprang up everywhere, in which many prostitutes participated. The resulting abuses led the government to ban (1629) women from the stage; their part was then played by men in women’s costumes, but, despite a more energetic intervention by the authorities (1645), morality had to suffer even worse outrages. Over time, however, things improved and the passion for shows became more and more widespread.

Overall, this ancient kabuki lacks the characteristics of a true art. These are compositions at first short, then very long, but poor in situations and made not by writers of vocation, but by the artists themselves, who aimed more at the technical needs of the stage than the artistic ones aimed at elevating the drama into a form of d ‘ art.

A new fact came to change its address. The famous story of Jōruri, loved by the hero Yoshitsune (J ō ruri j ū – ni – dan n ō shi, “Story of J.”, in 12 chap., 16th century), recited, with other stories, in public, first without music and with a kind of cadence marked by a fan (ō gi – by ō shi, “fan bars”), then with lute accompaniment, finally, by shamisen. Around 1600, Menukiya Chōzaburō, the singer of these stories, had the idea of ​​combining his art with that of the Hikita puppeteer in vogue; result was the ayatsuri -j ō ruri ” j ō ruri of puppets” (from ayatsuru, “to maneuver the puppets”), which suddenly became popular. In Ōsaka, Takemoto Gidayū, owner of the Takemoto-za theater, rose to such fame that giday ū and oruri ended up becoming synonyms. But his name and the success of the j ō ruri were mainly the work of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, the greatest Japanese playwright. It is with him that the j ō ruriacquires true expression of art. He found the drama rudimentary, unreal, adrammatic. His pen brought him closer to life, imprinting him with the spirit of the time, filling him with dramatic situations, giving importance to dialogue and unity to action, linking the various scenes together and harmonizing their development until the final catastrophe. With him the drama is divided into idai – mono (historical dramas), dull and fantastic re-enactments of the ancient, and sewa – mono(social dramas), drawn from chronicle facts of the time, in which his skills as an acute observer and insuperable character delineator were manifested. His language is always extremely flowery and expressive and he handles it like a very expert man who knows all its resources; his style, however, also for the very needs of the puppet theater, is pompous and pompous, often at the expense of that effective incisiveness of which it can be said that it is almost always the daughter of brevity.

Of his successors, none, not even Takeda Izumo (1646-1726), the famous author of Ch ū shingura (Warehouse of the faithful vassals), dramatization of the famous revenge of the 47 r ō nin, had his talents, hence the j ō ruri lost the public favor, despite the efforts, aimed at rehabilitating it, of Chikamatsu Hanji (1725-1783) and others. Its dedecadence coincides, at the end of 1700, with the rebirth of kabuki, which uses the best characteristics of its fallen rival to its advantage. The new kabuki, rich in scenic resources, was born with the substitution of man for puppets, which explains how the movements of the actors too often resemble their movements due to their mechanical nature. Fueled by valuable writers, such as Tsuruya Namboku (1755-1829), Furukawa Mokuami (1816-1893) and others, it maintained popular favor until the Restoration, after which it had to undergo the modifying influence of new currents of thought.

Japan Drama

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