The Same Moon Shines on All: The Lives and Selected Poems of Yanagawa Seigan and Kōran (Hardback)
  • The Same Moon Shines on All: The Lives and Selected Poems of Yanagawa Seigan and Kōran (Hardback)
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The Same Moon Shines on All: The Lives and Selected Poems of Yanagawa Seigan and Kōran (Hardback)

(translator), (translator), (author)
£100.00
Hardback 312 Pages
Published: 23/07/2024
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Yanagawa Seigan (1789–1858) and his wife Kōran (1804–79) were two of the great poets of nineteenth-century Japan. They practiced the art of traditional Sinitic poetry—works written in literary Sinitic, or classical Chinese, a language of enduring importance far beyond China’s borders. Together, they led itinerant lives, traveling around Japan teaching poetry and selling calligraphy. Seigan established Edo-period Japan’s largest poetry society and attained nationwide renown as a literary figure, as well as taking part in stealthy political activities in the years before the Meiji Restoration. Kōran was one of the most accomplished female composers of Sinitic poetry in Japanese history. After her husband’s death, she was arrested and imprisoned for six months as part of a crackdown on political reform. Seigan and Kōran’s works at once display mastery of a poetic tradition and depict Japan on the brink of monumental change.

The Same Moon Shines on All explores the world of Seigan and Kōran, pairing an in-depth account of their lives and times with an inviting selection of their poetry. The book features eminent Sinologist Jonathan Chaves’s translations of more than 130 poems by Seigan and more than 50 by Kōran, each annotated and followed by the original Chinese text. An introduction by Matthew Fraleigh, a specialist in Japan’s Sinitic literature, offers insight into the historical and literary context as well as the poems themselves. Approachable and delightful, this book makes the riches of Japanese Sinitic poetry available to a range of readers.

Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231213707
Number of pages: 312
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

This remarkable collection gives a new richness and depth to our understanding of traditional Japanese poetry, revealing the significance, both aesthetic and political, of the learned poetry written in Chinese by two late Tokugawa poets. Yanagawa Seigan and Kōran’s poems, here rendered into elegant and forthright translations by Chaves, are accompanied by a masterful essay by Fraleigh concerning their lives and the increasingly tumultuous times in which they lived. To read and enjoy these poems is a fresh and bracing experience, filled with a sense of a larger poetic and philosophic world that belongs to all of East Asia. - J. Thomas Rimer, University of Pittsburgh

Fraleigh’s meticulous introduction engagingly frames the lives and work of this unusual husband-and-wife pair of Sinitic poets. Chaves’s translations bring the freshness, authenticity, and originality of their poems to life. Anyone with a heart for poetry will find two new and wonderful friends here. - Sonja Arntzen, University of Toronto

This volume, along with Burton Watson's classic kanshi translations, constitutes the finest translations of poetry written in classical Chinese by Japanese poets. The introduction and preface immerse the reader in the cultural history surrounding the lives of Seigan and Kōran—perfect preparation for the literary feast that follows in the form of 195 exquisite poems. A profound aesthetic experience. - David K. Schneider, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

In many ways the culmination of early modern Sinitic poetry in Japan, Yanagawa Seigan’s and his wife Kōran’s works are finally made accessible to readers of English. Chaves and Fraleigh have done a masterful job in unlocking a rich and mesmerizing poetic universe that is at once a guide to traditional Japanese literature and a timeless treasure trove of two talented poets. - Ivo Smits, Leiden University

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