The Poetry Contest in Six Hundred Rounds

A Translation and Commentary

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Thomas E. McAuley

For the monumental Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds ( Roppyakuban uta’awase), twelve poets each provided one hundred waka poems, fifty on seasonal topics and fifty on love, which were matched, critiqued by the participants and judged by Fujiwara no Shunzei, the premiere poet of his age. Its critical importance is heightened by the addition of a lengthy Appeal ( chinjō) against Shunzei’s judgements by the conservative poet and monk, Kenshō. It is one of the key texts for understanding poetic and critical practice in late twelfth century Japan, and of the conflict between conservative and innovative poets.
The Competition and Appeal are presented here for the first time in complete English translation with accompanying commentary and explanatory notes by Thomas McAuley.

Edited by Galen Amstutz

Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. However, its range, inconsistency, variability, and complexity have tended to be misevaluated. The pieces reproduced in this set, organized both chronologically and thematically, have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity of what evolved under this heading of Buddhism. Special attention is given to the traps into which Western observers may fall, the role of the large True Pure Land ( Jōdoshinshū) school, and the richness of Tokugawa and twentieth-century developments. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting-point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.

Edited by Galen Amstutz

Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. However, its range, inconsistency, variability, and complexity have tended to be misevaluated. The pieces reproduced in this set, organized both chronologically and thematically, have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity of what evolved under this heading of Buddhism. Special attention is given to the traps into which Western observers may fall, the role of the large True Pure Land ( Jōdoshinshū) school, and the richness of Tokugawa and twentieth-century developments. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting-point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.

Edited by Galen Amstutz

Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. However, its range, inconsistency, variability, and complexity have tended to be misevaluated. The pieces reproduced in this set, organized both chronologically and thematically, have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity of what evolved under this heading of Buddhism. Special attention is given to the traps into which Western observers may fall, the role of the large True Pure Land ( Jōdoshinshū) school, and the richness of Tokugawa and twentieth-century developments. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting-point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.

A History of Russo-Japanese Relations

Over Two Centuries of Cooperation and Competition

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Edited by Dmitry Streltsov and Nobuo Shimotomai

This publication is the result of a three-year research project between eminent Russian and Japanese historians. It offers an an in-depth analysis of the history of relations between Russia and Japan from the 18th century until the present day. The format of the publication as a parallel history presents views and interpretations from Russian and Japanese perspectives that showcase the differences and the similarities in their joint history. The fourteen core sections, organized along chronological lines, provide assessments on the complex and sensitive issues of bilateral Russo-Japanese relations, including the territory problem as well as economic exchange.

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Molly Vallor

Not Seeing Snow: Musō Soseki and Medieval Japanese Zen offers a detailed look at a crucial yet sorely neglected figure in medieval Japan. It clarifies Musō’s far-reaching significance as a Buddhist leader, waka poet, landscape designer, and political figure. In doing so, it sheds light on how elite Zen culture was formed through a complex interplay of politics, religious pedagogy and praxis, poetry, landscape design, and the concerns of institution building. The appendix contains the first complete English translation of Musō’s personal waka anthology, Shōgaku Kokushishū.

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Zev Handel

In the more than 3,000 years since its invention, the Chinese script has been adapted many times to write languages other than Chinese, including Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Zhuang. In Sinography: The Borrowing and Adaptation of the Chinese Script, Zev Handel provides a comprehensive analysis of how the structural features of these languages constrained and motivated methods of script adaptation. This comparative study reveals the universal principles at work in the borrowing of logographic scripts. By analyzing and explaining these principles, Handel advances our understanding of how early writing systems have functioned and spread, providing a new framework that can be applied to the history of scripts beyond East Asia, such as Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform.

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Ronald P. Toby

In Engaging the Other: “Japan and Its Alter-Egos”, 1550-1850 Ronald P. Toby examines new discourses of identity and difference in early modern Japan, a discourse catalyzed by the “Iberian irruption,” the appearance of Portuguese and other new, radical others in the sixteenth century. The encounter with peoples and countries unimagined in earlier discourse provoked an identity crisis, a paradigm shift from a view of the world as comprising only “three countries” ( sangoku), i.e., Japan, China and India, to a world of “myriad countries” ( bankoku) and peoples. In order to understand the new radical alterities, the Japanese were forced to establish new parameters of difference from familiar, proximate others, i.e., China, Korea and Ryukyu. Toby examines their articulation in literature, visual and performing arts, law, and customs.

No Moonlight in My Cup

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

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Edited by Judith N. Rabinovitch and Timothy R. Bradstock

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.

Edited by Robert Pekkanen

This work collects decades of the best published scholarship in English on the unequivocally most successful political party in Japanese history: the Liberal Democratic Party (the LDP). Governing Japan for almost the entirety of the post-war period, the LDP also has a claim to be the most successful political party in any post-war democracy. Seminal articles in this collection explore the key aspects of the LDP: the party’s evolution since its founding in 1955; key facets of the LDP’s internal organization including factions and koenkai; the LDP in policy-making, including its relationship with the bureaucracy and interest groups, as well as its policy-making committee apparatus; and, party leadership, including the premierships of Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe.