Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Tadashi Ogawa - A Short Study Of Japanese Renga: The Trans-Subjective Creation Of Poetic Atmosphere

Tadashi Ogawa - A Short Study Of Japanese Renga: The Trans-Subjective Creation Of Poetic Atmosphere

Ratings: (0)|Views: 212|Likes:
Published by Haiku News
A short article on Japanese haikai no renga and its relation to trans-subjectivity, with specific reference to the Basho school.
A short article on Japanese haikai no renga and its relation to trans-subjectivity, with specific reference to the Basho school.

More info:

Published by: Haiku News on Apr 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

04/03/2012

pdf

text

original

 
TA D A S H I O G AWA
A SH O R T S TU D Y O F J A P A N ES E
REN G A
: TH ETR A N S -S U B J EC TIV E CR EA TIO N O F P O ETICA TM O S P H ER E
 It is good that the Japanese are willing to study Goethe and Shakespeare. They are, however, not qualified to compete with the Germans unless the former are willing to study Basho and other Japanese thinkersin the first place.
1
A B S T R A C T
 Renga
is a form of the traditional Japanese poetry which first appeared in a Japanesemythology. Renga isinatrans-subjectiveway withpluralpeoplecreating onepoetryin the same place. Unlike a wide-spreading belief, Matsuo Basho (1644–1694) wasin fact a master of 
Renga
rather than being a haikist. It was Masaoka Shiki whoinvented both the term and the concept of haiku in the Meiji Era.
Renga
is a kindof ‘linked poems’ (
tsurane-uta
) collaborated by plural subjectivities. Linking twostrophes is called
tsuke-ku
. Basho admitted that there are a number of followers whocould create a
hokku
as skillfully as he could, but that he had no rivals when it cameto the art of linking and judging. We elucidate this linking (
tsuke
) by applying thepassive synthesis theory of Husserl’s phenomenology in terms of identity, similarityand contrast. On top of that,
renga
makes use of certain cinematic methods likemontage, focus, zoom, overlap and so forth. This essay is written in collaborationbetween Tadashi and Kiyoko Ogawa which may deserve an essay on
renga
in itstrue sense.In the modern age the Western literary arts contain forms such as poetry, novels, andnarratives. These literary arts are usually rooted in the subjectivity of their respectiveauthors. In this essay I intend to discuss another literary form. Generally speaking,the literary work represents the expressions of an individual artist, as one can see byway of example in Goethe’s work. With a few exceptions, it is clear who the authorof the respective work is. However, when we regard poetry as a literary art, shouldwe grasp it absolutely and exclusively as an artist’s self-expression? This point mustbe seriously discussed. Is it fair to say that Western literary categories can speak forall literary production?In Japan there was once a long tradition of 
renga
of 
haikai.
This tradition haslargely been forgotten because poets like Masaoka Shiki (1867–1902) created thegenre of 
haiku
after the Meiji ERA (1868–1912), but it was Kuwabara Takeo(1904–1988) who dealt
renga
a fatal blow when he called it “a kind of Edo ditty”in his famous essay, “The Second Rate Art.”
2
Curiously enough,
renga
was notsomething totally unknown in the Western world, possibly reflecting a budding257
 A.-T. Tymieniecka (ed.), Analecta Husserliana CIX 
, 257–274.DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-0773-3_19,
C
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
 
258
TA D A S H I O G AWA
renga
Renaissance in Japan. Octavio Paz, for example, urged three other poets toparticipate in “rolling” (i.e., composing)
renga
.
3
Moreover, it is simply incorrect tosay that Matsuo Basho (1644–1694) was a great seventeenth century
haiku
master,despite the prevalence of this view in the West. Basho was a master of 
renga.
Hewrote
hokku
(an initial strophe of 
haikai
roll), but he never composed
haiku
, whichwas not even a concept until Masaoka made it one.(1) I will attempt to rescue
renga
from oblivion by attempting to clarify its meaningas a literary art produced by collaborating subjectivities.(2) I will then elucidate the uniqueness of 
renga
amidst the vast amount of poeticforms, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western.(3) I will then interpret and appreciate some exemplars of classical
renga.
(4) Finally, in light of the fact that the essence of 
renga
lies in linking, I will try toilluminate this by applying the theory of passive synthesis from my structuralphenomenology.
I
Because
renga
is now largely forgotten, I will begin with a brief description of itsstructure.
Renga
is a form of linking poetry in which many participants collaborate.A single
renga
is like a picture scroll, consisting of many strophes called
ku
, whichare the minimum unit of 
renga
. By creating
ku
, the collaborators (
renju
) participatein the formation of 
renga
. A
ku
is roughly equivalent to a strophe (stanza) in Westernpoetry. Furthermore, there are two kinds of 
ku
: a longer
ku
consisting of alternatinglines of 5-7-5 syllables, and a shorter
ku
possessing alternating lines of 7-7 syllables.
 Renga
also follows rules of succession: in many cases the longer
ku
is followed bythe shorter
ku
, in an alternating succession that recurs until the end of the poem.When a longer
ku
and a shorter one are combined, it constitutes what we call thetraditional Japanese
tanka
(
waka
) poems.In this light, let us first examine the
renga
called “Watching Cherry Blossoms”in “Hisago [The Gourd],” an essay found in the famous
Basho Shichibu-shu
[theso-called
Seven Major Anthologies of Basho
].
4
Basho himself composes the initialstrophe (
hokku
).
Under the treesboth the soup and the fishmelt into cherry blossoms
In response to this
ku
, the poet Chinseki attaches the shorter
ku
:
the setting sun sereneit’s a fine day
These two
ku
combine to share the same form as
tanka
, but unlike the latter,it is the joint work of two poets, who collaboratively create a
renga
in the formof a
tanka
. Typically they end up producing a combination of thirty-six alternat-ing longer and shorter strophes, which is called “rolling a thirty-six
renga.
” Sittingtogether for about three hours, the collaborators link eighteen longer and shorterstrophes.
 
A S H O RT S T U DY O F JA PA N E S E R E N G A
259Traditionally the main guest initiates a
renga
, whose first strophe is called a
hokku
. When a
hokku
is independently created without any connection to
renga
it is called
haiku. Hokku
, just like
haiku
, requires a season word (
kigo
) and a divi-sional auxiliary (
kireji
). Moreover, the initiator must try to choose a strophe thatmatches the current atmosphere or mood. In this sense, the
hokku
tries to articulatethe whole world of the
renga
meeting. This sensitivity to the present world com-pels
renga
poets to sing of their surroundings quite objectively. As Nijo Yoshimotoclaims in
Hekiren-sho
: “If you intend to host a party, you had better first choosethe right time and the right natural view. If you look at the scenes transformingthemselves according to the time, such as the time before the snow or the moon, orthe season of fresh green, your mind may be moved deeply and words come out.You should visit a floral arbor for a splendid view.”
5
In short, we should choose alovely place in the beautiful season of cherry blossoms or of the moon, a beautifulrestaurant, etc.
 Hokku
consists of 5-7-5 syllables, which are followed by a shorter strophe, called
wakiku
, consisting of 7-7 syllables. This is followed by another line of 5-7-5 syl-lables, forming the third strophe (
daisan
).
Renga
also follows the important ruleof “giving up
uchikoshi
,” which is essential to making linked strophes a genuineform of 
renga
. “Giving up
uchikoshi
” means to link directly to the previous stro-phe with no regard to the one immediately preceding the previous strophe, even if it happens to be the master’s
hokku
. In other words,
renga
proceeds by continuallyexpressing a new image, word, or depiction of scenery. We must not stick to thesame image.
Renga
avoids repetitions, ceaselessly seeking new images, becomingan open system of songs.
Rinne
or
kannonbiraki
, meaning the repetitions of images,is considered detestable in
renga
.When an ordinary poet writes a poem, they control the poetic system from start tofinish. In direct contrast, the openness of 
renga
depends on the participants (
renju
)working together. Moreover, an element of alterity that could not be anticipated inadvanceentersthesystemoftheparticular
renga
duetothecollaborativepresenceof the other participants. When another participant links to a strophe in an unexpectedway, an element of alterity is introduced. No strophe of the
renga
can stand alone forit is always complemented by a strophe composed from another participant’s per-spective. This complementarity, rooted in an individual strophe’s incompleteness,renders each strophe of the
renga
idiosyncratic. Utilizing a phenomenological con-cept,onecansaythatthissenseofincompletenessopensupafreelymovingspaceorthe possibility of a horizon of satisfaction. This horizontality opens up a possibilitythat could be variously interpreted and, in this sense, it makes possible the com-plementarity between strophes. Nose Asaji notices “the exchange of moods” and“how each strophe should be, being made alive in the wholeness,” that originates inthe opening present in each individual strophe’s incompleteness. In a fundamentalsense, one could call this complementarity a “hermeneutical circulation.” That is tosay,therespectivepoetscreateandinterpreteachstropheinlightofthepoemstotal-ity while at the same time attempting to understand each individual strophe withinthe contextual atmosphere of the particular
renga
as a whole. The exchange of moods is exactly the exchange of atmosphere called “Wind-as-living-flesh,” which

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->