Similar in form to the well-known, more serious haiku, the satirical-and often humorous-poems known as senryu have received little scholarly attention because most were written by anonymous amateur poets and were therefore considered popular literature unworthy of serious study. Senryu are interesting, however, precisely because they reflect the thoughts and feelings of ordinary townspeople in a way that other more orthodox types of Japanese literature do not. In his introduction on the nature and historical background of the form, Makoto Ueda explores the elements of humor and satire contained in senryu, highlighting the mores that lie behind the laughter the poems evince.
Collecting 400 eighteenth- and nineteenth-century poems-with the romanized Japanese verse presented at the bottom of each page-Light Verse from the Floating World is divided into thematic sections, each preceded by a short introduction: * satirical senryu, aimed at people of the ruling warrior class and civilians of various professions; * senryu on human relationships-between young lovers, husband and wife, parent and child, or family members of different generations; * poems on townspeople enjoying themselves in the "amusement" district; * ridicule of well-known historical figures; * and poems on the poets' general outlook on life. Replete with keen observations on the human world rather than the natural one, this first comprehensive anthology in English translation of this major genre of Japanese literature will appeal to scholars and students of Japanese culture, as well as general readers of poetry.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 440 g
Dimensions: 234 x 132 mm
"A must for any teacher or student of Japanese poetry." -- "CHOICE Magazine"