Japan Between the Eras and Nature in Japanese Literature

Japan between the eras and nature in Japanese literature

When we talk about Japan we talk about more than 2000 years of literature. Chinese literature was the main influence of the early Japanese works, and so was the Indian through the diffusion of Buddhism. Japan didn’t get rid of these influences until the end of the Edo era.
Despite the beauty and charm of the Japanese literature, it was not very known in the west, and that is due to its complicated language, only a handful of foreigners took the risk of approaching it. There were some good translations like those of Arthur Waley who won some good admirers, but many western readers remain unwilling and hesitant to extend their interests in the direction of Japanese literature, and that’s because it is thought that it is just a copie from Chinese literature.
Japan is very indebted to china for the enormous role they played in the development of Japanese civilization.   The method of writing , the philosophy, much of the religion, and certain literary genres had their origin in china, and Japanese have all times given the greatest admiration for the older culture, frequently paying it the supreme compliment of imitation.
Japan’s history was marked with many eras, like the nara era (710-794) when the Japanese literature was only transmitted orally until the introduction of a writing system from china.
The most brilliant literary product of this period was the Man'yoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), an anthology of 4,500 poems composed by people ranging from unknown commoners to emperors and compiled around 759.
Between 794 and 1185 was the Heian Era, when the use of hiragana alphabet that was derived from china has become widespread. Court ladies were the ones who played the big role in literature development. One of them, Murasaki Shikibu wrote the 54-chapter novel Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji), while another, Sei Shonagon, wrote Makura no soshi (The Pillow Book), a diverse collection of jottings...