Japanese Aesthetics and Culture

A Reader

Edited by Nancy G. Hume

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Asian Studies Development
Paperback : 9780791424001, 398 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791423998, 398 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents


Historical Periods

Notes on Language, Pronunciation, Names

1. Japanese Literature: Four Polarities
J. Thomas Rimer

2. Japanese Aesthetics
Donald Keene

3. The Vocabulary of Japanese Aesthetics, I, II, III
Wm. Theodore De Bary, Ed.

4. Ways of Japanese Thinking
Graham Parkes

5. Feminine Sensibility in the Heian Era
Donald Keene

6. "Approach to Haiku" and "Basic Principles"
Kenneth Yasuda

7. Basho on the Art of the Haiku: Impersonality in Poetry
Makoto Ueda

8. Zeami and the Art of the No Drama: Imitation, Yugen , and Sublimity
Makoto Ueda

9. The Social Environment of Tokugawa Kabuki
Donald H. Shively

10. The Wabi Aesthetic through the Ages
Haga Koshiro

11. Bushido: Mode or Ethic?
Roger T. Ames

12. Culture in the Present Age
H. Paul Varley


Annotated Bibliography


This anthology is intended to supplement courses in which Japanese aesthetics and culture are taught. The essays assume little background knowledge; they do represent seminal thought in literary, cultural, and aesthetic criticism, and are well known to scholars for their clarity and straightforward exposition, making them especially useful to the Westerner who does not speak Japanese.

Some of the essays provide a general introduction to the basic theories of Japanese aesthetics, others deal with poetry and theater, and a third group discusses cultural phenomena directly related to classic Japanese literature. The text includes notes on historical periods and language, a glossary of the most significant literary and aesthetic vocabulary, and an extensive, annotated bibliography that guides the reader to primary materials, critical studies, general histories, anthologies, encyclopedias, and lists of films and audio-visual materials.

Nancy G. Hume is Associate Professor of English at Essex Community College, Baltimore, Maryland.


"I like the range and variety of essays, drawn from the best authorities in the field, covering all of the fundamental facets of Japanese aesthetics and culture. It is an invaluable sourcebook for students and teachers of Japanese studies. " — John W. Conner, Leeward Community College, Honolulu