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Comparative Analysis of Classical Japanese and Chinese Poem

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March 29, 2016

Classical Chinese and Japanese Poetry

        Classical Chinese poetry embodies the essential characteristics of traditional forms, or modes, and certain traditional genres. It also has an intense inter-relationship with other forms of Chinese art, such as Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy. Eventually, Classical Chinese poetry has proven to be of immense influence upon poetry worldwide. Japanese poetry, on the other hand, tended to be intimately associated with pictorial painting, partly because of the influence of Chinese arts, and the tradition of the use of ink and brush for both writing and drawing. The Chinese introduced writing, literature, Buddhism, Taoism, and the teachings of Confucius to Japanese.  Early poetry in Japan was written in Chinese, and later in Japanese.  Chinese and Japanese poetry are somehow related to each other. They have similarities and differences.

        Chinese and Japanese poetry both relate human emotions to images of nature. These images are appointed by tradition. Complex word and sound play is also common, that little of it translatable into other languages. Poetry in China tended to be brief lyrics written on a variety of themes, including the beauty of nature, rural life, family relationships, romantic love, and friendship. Japanese poets also excelled in short lyric forms, the briefest being the haiku, in which seventeen syllables, are arranged in three lines (5-7-5). Both of them cover the same topics about life connecting it to arts and tradition. Various typical forms are shown in writing Chinese poetry. These include the shi, the ci, and qu. While the Japanese poetry have haiku, waka, tanka, collaborative verses and kanshi, which shows strong influence from Chinese literature and culture.

        Chinese and Japanese poetry are the same in terms of the images they make through poetry. They both touch tradition through art. Though they both have short lyrics, they somehow differ in forms. Japanese tradition is mainly influenced by the Chinese even in literature, including poetry. This is the reason why they somehow have similar characteristics.




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