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On the Significance of “Nature” on “Self” in Bokusui Wakayama’s Tankas– From His Early-Stage Work Betsuri to His Middle-Stage Work Minakami
life,harmonizing with nature,confinement,soul and body,self-assurance/criticism,self-exploration/construction,true self,
|Publication Year :||2016|
Bokusui Wakayama is a significant modern Japanese tanka poet. His literary works are commonly considered “Naturalistic,” and yet his tankas combine characteristics of both Naturalism and Romanticism. This is particularly exhibited in his early-stage through middle-stage works, wherein with the changes in his life, his style transitions from a romantic, celebration of youth towards a Naturalistic, self-analysis voice.
Nevertheless, in such transition, Bokusui’s works have remained consistent in their themes – an exploration of “nature” and “self.” Bokusui has said that his literary philosophy is “self is poetry,” in which poems embody the true image of life; he has also mentioned in his tanka theory that the “nature” he praises is symbolic of the “heart,” and that the “life” of self is rooted in “nature.” This is why if we analyze the connection between “self” and “nature” in Bokusui’s tankas, we can see how it reflects the poet’s journey of self-exploration and how it conforms with the essence of his writing. The aforementioned transition process from early to middle stage in particular reflects the continuous changes in the poet’s self-recognition, and given the constant change in his image of nature, such dynamic relationship is even more deserving of close analysis.
Therefore, this paper focuses on his works Betsuri and Rojo, from his early stage, and Shi ka Geijutsu ka and Minakami, from his middle stage, observes how the poet’s environmental and mental condition shifts as well as how “body,” “mind,” and “nature” interact, and conducts an analysis of his works to explore the connection between “self” and “nature.” Through such a study, it can be seen that the four pieces of work reveal that the poet's life during this period has gone through several changes – from the adolescent period of “self-assurance” to “self-criticism” upon experiencing impact from reality, in which he ponders on the ideal way of life and reconstructs the self. And as the “self-exploration” deepens, his bond to nature turns from spiritually and metaphysically idealistic towards physically appreciating nature with the “body” and eventually reaching an integrated state between body and mind in which his purest form coexists and harmonizes with nature. Moreover, the naturalistic and romantic characteristics in his works are a reflection of the degree of harmonization between “self” and “nature;” when the naturalistic side is stronger, nature is often transformed and internalized to express the mentality of “self.” While the image of nature is constantly changing, the poet’s reverence for nature and his ideal about harmonizing with it never changes; whether or not the “true self” harmonizes with nature is an indicator for the poet in self-assessing his spiritual state.
This paper also depicts Bokusui’s philosophy of life – when faced with difficulties in life, always actively explores and experiences his connection with the outside world and, through analyzing and reflecting on those “fragments of life,” rediscovers himself so as to move on to the next phase in life. The pursuit and contemplation of life the poet exhibits in his works as well as how he can break through his own “confinement” all bring great revelation to his readers.
|Appears in Collections:||日本語文學系|
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