Title: Japanese literature of the Shōwa period : a guide to Japanese reference and research materials / Joseph K. Yamagiwa.
Author: Yamagiwa, Joseph K. (Joseph Koshimi), 1906-
Collection: Center for Japanese Studies Publications
22 A GUIDE TO JAPANESE REFERENCE AND RESEARCH MATERIALS 36. The Araragi School in Its Earliest Years Also asking for a revivifying of the tanka but opposed to the excesses of the Myojo school was Masaoka Shiki, who formed the Negishi Tankakai or Negishi Tanka Society. Favoring the straightforward style of the Man'y6shu, he wrote poems which were made up of tightly knit images. Masaoka's poetry was not completely unmarked by the influence of the Myojo school, but his preference for nature as a subject matter, and soberer technique, distinguishes him from poets like the Yosanos. Like Masaoka in faithfully picturing the scenes of the countryside were Katori Hotsuma, Oka Fumoto, Ito Sachio, Nagatsuka Takashi, and Morita Yoshir. Masaoka' s emphasis on shasei, the portrayal of nature by means of a sketch-like technique, was later changed by Ito, who spoke of shajitsu, "truth to reality," and sakebi, "a shoutingness." Nagatsuka, on the other hand, believed that hie,"a coolness," was proper to the poet. Ashibi,Akane and Araragi, named after various trees, were the journals in which this group of poets published their work. Associated with It6, who was editor of Araragi from 1908 till his death in 1913 were Saito Mokichi, Shimagi Akahiko, Koizumi Chikashi, Ishihara Jun, Nakamura Kenkichi, and Tsuchiya Bummei. 37. Naturalistic Tanka Onoe Saishiu's Obakosha (Greater Plantain Society), which was founded in 1905, nurtured the naturalist poets Maeda Yugure and Wakayama Bokusui, and soon began to reflect impressionistically the fin de siecle feelings that were then current. Onoe himself wrote an article in the journal Sosaku (Creation), entitled "Tanka metsub5 shiron (Private thoughts on the decline of the tanka), in which he declared that the tanka should no longer be composed as an independent poem but only as a unit in a series of poems, that its thirty-one syllables were too restrictive for the needs of the modern age, and that a more modern idiom should be used in place of the older literary language. Ishikawa Takuboku and Kitahara Hakushu felt that the tanka was a means more suitable for the expression of some genteel taste than of one's individuality. The influence of naturalism is found in Maeda's earliest work; later he cultivated a more impressionistic and sensuous style. Wakayama passed from high lyricism to a description of life's hardships. Especially in Ishikawa's work is found the sensitive reactions of a poet subjected to a lifetime of poverty. Toki Zemmaro and Ishikawa anticipate the rise of the Seikatsuha or Life School, which numbered Kubota Utsubo, Matsumura Eiichi, and Handa Ryohei among its members. 38. Decadent Trends Decadent ideas in the tanka are next found in the works of Yoshii Isamu and Kitahara Hakushu. From the self-abandonment first characteristic of his poetry, Yoshii passed on to a somewhat more subdued insistence on the right of a man to enjoy himself. The pleasure quarters of Gion in Ky6to were a favorite subject matter for Yoshii. Kitahara, more delicate, imaginative, and pessimistic, borrowed from the theories of Arthur Symons and from the French symbolists and decadents, and used the newer words of the day in creating a modernistic poetry. 39. The Araragi School as the Dominant School of the Tanka Following It5 Sachio's death in 1913, the editorship of Araragi passed to Shimagi Akahiko, who swiftly made Araragi the central school of the tanka in the Taish6 and Showa periods. In this he received the full support of Koizumi Chikashi and Sait6 Mokichi. The emphasis on imagism and a style based on that of the Man'yoshiiu, stressed by Masaoka, were now combined with a deeper reflectiveness. Among the poets gathered in Araragi were Nakamura Kenkichi, Tsuchiya Bummei, Oka Fumoto, Shaku Chokui, Hirafuku Hyakusui, Nagatsuka Takashi, and Ishihara Jun. Nakamura insisted that true imagism came when the poet was able to see into the inner "life" of whatever he observed and was able to sing automatically about it. Shimagi too looked for a process of refinement, a gathering of "life's power in one point" whenever any subject matter for poetry was being observed. An "Oriental" quietude appears to settle in his later works. Shimagi's pupils included Moriyama Teisen, Tsuchida Kohei, Takata Namikichi, Imai Kuniko, Tsukiji Fujiko, and Kubota Fujiko; Saito's included Yuki Ais6ka, Kan6 Akatsuki, and Sugiura Suiko; and Koizumi's numbered Migashima Yoshiko and Hara Asao. The Araragi school was the dominant one by 1917 or 1918. Although it was attacked by the symbolist Ota Mizuho, Shimagi and Saito argued effectively in its defense. Leaving for the magazine Nikko (Sunlight) in 1924 but still retaining a cooperative association with Araragi were the poets Ishihara, Koizumi, Shaku Chokuii, Kitahara Hakushfi, Toki Zemmaro, Maeda Yugure, Kawada Jun, and Kinoshita Toshiharu. 40. Poems in the Spoken Language (Kogoka IP c - ) Among those who felt that the modern tanka should be written in the modern spoken language were the following poets at the beginning of the twentieth century: Aoyama Kason, Nishide Chofu, and Narumi Y6kichi. Later poets of the same persuasion included Yasunari Jiro, Yashiro Toson, Nishimura Y6kichi, and Watanabe Junzo. Kinoshita Toshiharu, who began as a disciple of Sasaki Nobutsuna and was the only tanka poet of the idealist Shirakaba or White Birch group, also is known for his use of everyday language, and even slang forms, in his poetry. Nishimura, on the other hand, was a socialist and poked fun at the Shirakaba school.