Japanese Poetry of Heian Period: Mibu no Tadamine and China

Japanese Poetry of Heian Period: Mibu no Tadamine and China

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The entrenchment of Chinese culture continued unabated throughout the Heian Period (794-1185) in Japan. This followed on from the flows of the Middle Kingdom (China) that developed highly during the Nara Period (710-794).

Hence the life of Mibu no Tadamine – who served the Heian court – fused the rich cultural traits of China and Japan. Korean culture influenced Japan prior to the Nara Period. Therefore, many Koreans had settled in the environs of the cultural city of Nara in the eighth century.

It is known that Mibu no Tadamine was especially active between 898 and 920. In one delightful poem he wrote:

The white snow
Has fallen, drifted high around
The mountain home;
Might even he who lives there
Be buried in melancholy?

The Tokyo National Museum says, “Wakatai jisshu is a treatise on poetry which is said to have been written by Mibu no Tadamine, a poet who was active around the 10th century, during the mid-Heian period. It discusses waka poems by categorizing them into ten styles according to the norm in China. For each style, five example poems were provided, accompanied by short explanations in Chinese. The work on display is the oldest extant copy of this treatise. Its highlight is the splendid harmony created by the elegant kanji and kana characters written on the decorated paper featuring a tobikumo, or “flying cloud,” pattern in indigo and purple.”

In another poem, concerning the gradual bleakness of Autumn, he wrote:

In a mountain village
The autumn, especially,
Is lonely.
The braying of the deer
Continually awakens me.

One can only imagine how Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and classical literature emanating from China impacted this esteemed poet. Equally, the continuity of Shintoism and the undercurrents of ideas from Korea also ran through the environs he shared.

Art by Sawako Utsumi – http://sawakoart.com

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/art-of-buddhism-and-shintoism-and-two-paths-in-the-snow-sawako-utsumi.html Art of Buddhism and Shintoism and Two Paths in the Snow

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/exiled-buddhist-cleric-nichiren-in-the-snow-sawako-utsumi.html – Exiled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in the Snow

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/buddhist-cleric-nichiren-in-exile-and-homage-to-yoshitoshi-sawako-utsumi.html Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in Exile and Homage to Yoshitoshi

http://www.wakapoetry.net/kks-iv-214/

http://www.wakapoetry.net/gss-xvi-1178/

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