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Japanese Literature in translation - Essay Example

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Koya’ written by the author Izumi Kyoka (1873 – 1939) is a popular story involving mystery, fantasy and romance, that is very well knitted together to make it appealing and interesting. The central theme of this tale revolves around the journey of a…
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Japanese Literature in translation
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Download file to see previous pages The heart of the story tells of how a mountain seductress attempts to lure the monk from his holy path and make him forsake his holy vows and tries her best to make him stay with her.
The story begins with the wandering of a Buddhist monk who was going on a pilgrimage to Shinshu from Mt. Koya. He takes the road less traveled that leads him into a mountainous wilderness that seems quite unsafe. He soon encounters a whole field of
slimy snakes that seemed to form waves as they sun-bathed themselves. The monk’s next eerie encounter was a dark forest where three inch long blood-sucking leeches rained down upon him. His journey takes him to a beautiful secluded cottage among the mountains, where he meets with an alluring woman who possesses mystical powers and who tries hard to make him leave his path of righteousness and stay with her in the mountains. The woman is lonely and looking after her disabled husband who is almost bedridden. It is at this point in the story, that the monk faces a dilemma of whether to stay with the woman, leaving his righteous path or to just move on by ignoring her. Most of Kyoka’s tales are a definition of Japanese Gothic filled with spirits, superstition and fantasy, where he sheds light on the Japanese way of life and culture and their fear of the unknown.
“The Narrow Road to Oku” was written by haiku master Basho Matsuo himself about the long journey he made with Sora, his apprentice, to visit the places of poets and their poems. This brilliant travelogue is quite similar to that Izumi Kyoka’s “The Holy Man of Mt. Koya” because it also narrates the experiences of a long journey taken. “The Narrow Road to Oku” though not an actual pilgrimage, is a journey with a sublime purpose and could be taken as a spiritual pilgrimage, which was about 2,400 km and was also made on foot, just as in the tales of Kyoka and took 150 days to complete.
Published in 1702, “The Narrow Road to Oku” is also a Japanese ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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