A Synopsis of Japanese Poetry Since the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE), a flourishing cultural period throughout Asia, written Japanese poetry has existed as an art form. The earliest known examples of Japanese poems are kanso songs composed during the Heian period (794–1185). The actual term "Japanese poem" is a modern one that arose in the late 19th century as Japan-based scholars translated and introduced European ideas about poetry into their country.
Heian literature is considered to be the first major phase of Japanese writing from which we can still study today's Japanese language. During this time, many different types of texts were being produced including stories, essays, and poems. One particular genre that emerged around 880 CE was court poetry directed at upper-class patrons. This style of poetry incorporated new words and phrases into old styles of verse (for example, ten-syllable haiku) and used more sophisticated metaphors and images than what had been seen before. It also included references to things such as ancient wars and battles that could only have been known by those who had actually taken part in them.
Later developments include the monotheistic religion called Japonese Buddhism, which began in the 6th century. Its influence can be seen in the writing of many later poets such as Basho (1644–94).
Japanese poetry is poetry written, sung, or chanted in the Japanese language, including Old Japanese, Early Middle Japanese, Late Middle Japanese, and Modern Japanese, as well as poetry written in the Chinese language, or ryuka, from the Okinawa Islands: It is feasible...
During this time, Filipino poetry flourished. Most poetry written under the Japanese occupation had a common topic of nationalism, patriotism, love, and life in the barrios; faith; religion; and the arts. During this time, three styles of poetry evolved. The most popular was the tanka, which has nine lines with five syllables in each line. The next most popular style was the choka, which has seven lines with three or four stresses on each line.
In music, dance, and theater, many new inventions and techniques were introduced to Japan from the Philippines. These activities also helped build up the community spirit among the people.
Filipino writers during this time included José Rizal, who is considered the father of modern literature in the Philippines; and Marcelo H. del Pilar, one of the founders of modern poetry in the Philippines.
Rizal was born on April 20, 1872, in Santo Tomas, Manila. He finished high school but did not go to college because there were no courses available at the time that interested him. Instead, he worked as an editor for a newspaper and wrote poems and essays to earn money. One of his famous essays is "Noli me tangere", or "Not to be touched". It is a critique of colonialism published just before he was sentenced to death for treason.
Although it is debatable whether poetry was the catalyst for the formation of aesthetics and conceptions of beauty in Japan, poetry affected and reflected the society in which it existed, as well as mirrored the art form's past. Poetry was highly influential in its time, playing an active role in shaping Japanese culture.
Japan's pre-modern history was one of constant change and turmoil. The country was invaded by foreign powers including China, Korea, and Russia - all of whom had a significant impact on Japanese culture.
Poetry played an important role in dealing with these changes. It offered a way for people to express themselves freely as they explored their perceptions of life.
Furthermore, poetry helped shape Japanese culture by influencing the arts. For example, poets such as Basho developed a new style of poetry known as "senshu" that influenced the rise of modern Japanese literature. Modern artists also looked to poems for inspiration, for example, Toriyama Sekien created woodblock prints based on poems written by his friend Yamamoto Tsuguharu.
Finally, poetry was essential in creating a unified nation identity. Before World War II, Japan lacked a common language, but now has over 120 different languages spoken across the country.