No Moonlight in My Cup

Sinitic Poetry (Kanshi) from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries


This work is an anthology of 225 translated and annotated Sinitic poems ( kanshi 漢詩) composed in public and private settings by nobles, courtiers, priests, and others during Japan’s Nara and Heian periods (710-1185). The authors have supplied detailed biographical notes on the sixty-nine poets represented and an overview of each collection from which the verse of this eminent and enduring genre has been drawn. The introduction provides historical background and discusses kanshi subgenres, themes, textual and rhetorical conventions, styles, and aesthetics, and sheds light on the socio-political milieu of the classical court, where Chinese served as the written language of officialdom and the preeminent medium for literary and scholarly activity among the male elite.

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Judith N. Rabinovitch, Ph.D. (1981, Harvard University), is Karashima Tsukasa Professor Emerita of Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Montana. Her publications include monographs and other works on premodern kanshi (Sinitic verse), early war tales, and courtier diaries. Timothy R. Bradstock, Ph.D. (1984, Harvard University), is Professor Emeritus of Chinese at the University of Montana. His published works range from studies and translations of premodern kanshi to the investigation of Chinese craft guilds of the Qing dynasty.
Notes to the Reader
List of Poems by Title
Title Abbreviations for Kanshi Anthologies

 1 An Overview of Sinitic Verse in the Japanese Court
 2 The Rise of Sinitic Verse Composition and the Establishment of the Academy
 3 The Early Anthologies: From Kaifūsō through the Age of Emperor Saga
 4 Sinitic Verse Practice: Mid- to Late-Heian
 5 Allusion and Appropriation in Historical Verse and Kudaishi, and Technical Aspects of Social Verse Practice
 6 Natural Motifs in Sinitic Verse: Some Observations

Poem Translations

Kaifūsō 懐風藻 (Poetic Gems Cherishing the Styles of Old, 751)

Ryōun shinshū 凌雲新集, (The New Cloud-Soaring Collection, 814)

Bunka shūreishū 文華秀麗集 (Anthology of Splendid Literary Flowerings, 818)

Keikokushū 經國集 (A Collection of Works for Bringing Order to the Realm, 827)

Denshi kashū 田氏家集 (The Shimada Poetry Collection, ca. 892)

Kanke bunsō 菅家文藻 (The Sugawara Literary Works, 900) and Kanke kōshū 菅家後集 (The Second Sugawara Collection, 903)

Kikeshū 紀家集 (The Ki Family Collection, ca. 911–19)

Fusōshū 扶桑集 (An Anthology of Poetry from the Land of Fusang, ca. 995–98)

Honchō reisō 本朝麗藻 (Poetic Masterpieces from Our Court, ca. 1010)

Chūyūki burui shihai kanshishū 中右記部類紙背漢詩集 (A Collection of Kanshi Written on the Reverse Side of the Classified Edition of the Chūyūki Diary), Twelfth Century

Hosshōji-dono gyoshū 法性寺殿御集 (A Collection of Poems by the Lord of Hosshōji, 1145)

Honchō mudaishi 本朝無題詩 (Poems from Our Court Without Allusive Titles, 1162–64)
Students and scholars of Japanese and Chinese literature as well as specialists in premodern Sino-Japanese studies. Lay readers interested in Japan will also find it readable and illuminating.