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Japanese Literature - were heavily influenced by cultural contact with China and Chinese

literature, often written in Classical Chinese. Indian literature also had an influence through the diffusion of Buddhism in Japan. Eventually, Japanese literature developed into a separate style in its own right as Japanese writers began writing their own works about Japan, although the influence of Chinese literature and Classical Chinese remained until the end of the Edo period. Since Japan reopened its ports to Western trading and diplomacy in the 19th century, Western and Eastern literature have strongly affected each other and continue to do so.



Description of the period

The earliest works are in this period. It includes Kojiki: a recording Japanese mythology, Nihon Shoki: a chronicle w/ slightly more historical records than Kojiki and Man'ysh: a poetry anthology. Heian Period referred to as the golden era of art and literature..

Notable People (w/ description)

Notable Literary Words (w/ description)

Man'ygana--the earliest form of kana, or syllabic writing.



Murasaki Shikibu is considered the preeminent masterpiece of Heian fiction and an early example of a work of fiction in the form of a novel.

Important writings of this period include the Kokin Wakash (905), a wakapoetry anthology, and Makura no Sshi (990s), the latter written by Murasaki Shikibu's contemporary and rival, Sei Shnagon, as an essay about the life, loves, and pastimes of nobles in the Emperor's court.


Literature during this time was written during the largely peaceful Tokugawa Period (commonly referred to as the Edo Period).

The jruri and kabuki dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon became popular at the end of the 17th century. Matsuo Bash is the most famous woodblock print artist.