- 人文科学研究 (キリスト教と文化) = HUMANITIES (Christianity and Culture) (ISSN:24346861)
- no.52, pp.99-134, 2020-12-15
This paper is a theoretical quest for the meta-poetic level of signification in the literature of the Heian period (794-1185), the period, during which the foundations of the Japanese autochthonous cultural development were laid. The classical poetry waka (lit. “Japanese song”) was the most vigorous intellectual activity, and functioned as a driving force of the cultural development. It was a major means of communication among the literati and a media of the philosophical discourse, which presupposes the differentiation of a well-defined metapoetic level in the Heian culture. The discussion is based on the close reading of two stories – from the first half of the Heian period, and from its end, both of which are constructed as a juxtaposition between an old wife and a new wife. The first one is episode 23 (known as Tsutsuitsutsu) from Ise monogatari, a text, which can be characterized as a Handbook on poetic practice hence it requires a meta-poetic reading. The second is the Haizumi (The Eyebrow Paint) from Tsutsumi chunagon monogatari, a collection of 10 parody short stories (monogatari). The cultural development in the second half of the Heian period (after The Pillow Book and The Tale of Genji widely recognized as its highest achievement) is characterized by a self-reflective movement, which is exemplified by the leading poetic principle of honkadori (lit. “incorporating a model-song[poem]”). The paper argues that since the leading role in this movement, both in poetry and in prose, is played by the waka poetry, the level of the process of signification should be defined as a meta-metapoetic. In other words, the focus of self-reference is on the development of the poetic language hence the result is a discussion on the poetic canon and the network of poetic associations, which are in concordance with the dominant world-views of the time.The analysis of Haizumi undertaken here reveals the function of “tears”(namida) as a meta-metaphor, which represents the essence of waka poetry: from its origin (“seeds in the human heart”) up to the process of writing itself (the traces of ink on the paper).