THE DEEP MUSIC OF TRADITION IN THE WORKS OF KODA ROHAN by RICHARD JAMES CLEARY B.A., Dartmouth College, 1968 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF ASIAN STUDIES We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1982 (cf> Richard James Cleary, 1982 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f Asian Studies The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date A p r i l 28, 1983 DE-6 (.3/81) ABSTRACT Rising to prominence on a wave of nationalistic reaction to two decades of intense Western influence, Koda Rohan (1867-1947) re-discovered the Japanese past in the form of the Genroku period (1688-1703) poets Saikaku and Basho, and led the way to a literary flowering in the 1890's. As this bloom faded and the tides of modernization continued to rise capturing literary circles in its currents, Rohan placed himself against the flow, dedicated to the v i t a l task of preserving the values of the East Asian tradition. It is for this reason his work is valuable today: in his writing the voice of tradition speaks with great depth, breadth and beauty. This thesis explores the character of Rohan's writing by examining three of his novels. In the f i r s t work considered the focus is on the iridividual. The second treats the individual within the framework of society. The last is concerned with the shared cultural experience known as history. The introduction attempts to place the writer and his work in historical perspective. In recognition that the l i f e was admired as much as the creations of his pen, the f i r s t chapter is a biographical sketch. Chapter Two suggests an approach to the writing i t s e l f , noting salient points of style, influences, and development. Attention is focused on Rohan's use of traditional - i i i -poetic devices, the commanding rhythm of his prose, and the underlying q u a l i t i e s of his narrative voice. Analyzing thematic and s t y l i s t i c features, the t h i r d , fourth, and fifth;.chapters treat three representative works of f i c t i o n . Chapter Three deals with Taidokuro ("Encounter With A S k u l l " ) , an early work. The analysis shows how c l a s s i c a l forms and materials were employed i n an innovative, powerful, and, at times, humorous fashion i n a piece of writing dealing with the problem of attachment and suffering due to human passion. In Chapter Four the discussion of Goju no To ("The Five-Storied Pagoda"), the work which won Rohan an enduring reputation, centers around i t s portrayal of the energies of the individual and society i n opposition. In bold, vigorous language the novel dramatizes the c o n f l i c t i n g ideals of individual aspiration and s o c i a l harmony, while suggesting a resolution represented by the balance and majesty of the pagoda. Chapter Five examines Rohan's view of history as expressed i n his novel Renkanki ("Record of Linked Rings"). A late work, i t i s constructed with a series of biographical po r t r a i t s of h i s t o r i c a l figures i n tenth-century Heian Japan. Rohan's regeneration of the past reveals his v i s i o n of the fabric of history as woven by the threads of karma and recorded i n the songs of poets. The conclusion i s devoted to observations on d i f f i c u l t i e s i n reappraising Rohan's work and r e f l e c t i o n s on his place i n the history of Japanese l i t e r a t u r e . - iv -TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Introduction 1 Chapter One A Biographical Sketch 14 Chapter Two Listening with the Eye: A Prologue to Reading Rohan 45 Chapter Three Encounter With A Skull 65 Chapter Four The Five-Storied Pagoda 98 Chapter Five Record of Linked Rings 128 Conclusion 181 Bibliography 185 Introduction To most contemporary readers Koda Rohan's literary world is a distant realm a l l but lost in an irretrievable past ( Y£L / J ^ Koda Shigeyuki, 1867-1947; pen name: K% Rohan). Reminded that Rohan lived into the postwar era, many wil l recall the very moving reminiscences of his daughter, Koda Aya ( \£J jL. b. 1904). Her writing, i i n i t i a l l y , was of her father. The remarkable response to her early work led to a distinguished career as a novelist. It may well be more readers know the father through the daughter than by direct contact with his own writing. In spite of this distance there remains a sense of respect, a residue of esteem for a man who by the time of his death in 1947 was something of a living legacy of Meiji Japan. The years when modern Japanese literature came of age in the 1890's during a period of reflection and consolidation after the tumultuous decades following the Meiji Restoration (1868) are commonly referred to as the Koro jidai ( £.3-# r 4\) ), the era of Ozaki Koyo ( SL ify & ^ 1867-1903) and Koda Rohan. Koyo's literary universe revolved around erotic sensibilities, wealth, and the intricate network of social obligations constituting Japanese society; Rohan's world centered on love, fortune, and traditional Eastern ideal of self-cultivation. Together, their art represents nearly the whole spectrum of mid-Meiji cultural l i f e . 2 The Meiji twenties (1890's) were years of intense literary and intellectual activity in Japan. For Rohan, also in his mid-twenties, i t was a time for study, reflection, travel, and prodigious literary output. Some fifteen years later, after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, he abandoned his ambitious long novel, Sora Utsu Nami ( Q >yL "Waves Striking the Heavens") and withdrew from his prominent position in the literary establishment. His withdrawal from the small, rather well-knit community of writers, editors, and c r i t i c s known as the bundan ( ) was a calculated retreat, for during this middle period he continued to write. Works on self-cultivation, historical biographies, and c r i t i c a l studies, rather than prose fiction, are most representative of those years. During the last decades of his long career he returned to writing novels, exhibiting a distinct personal style in sharp contrast with the self-consciously "modern" works of other Showa period novelists. Rohan's long estrangement from the bundan, occasioned in part by his stance against naturalism and the genbun it c h i ("unity of spoken and written language") movement, tends to obscure the fact that for a decade during the c r i t i c a l formative period of modern Japanese literature he was not an isolated figure, but a writer very much in the mainstream of the times, indeed, an influential leader of the flow. A good example of this is Rohan's influence on Higuchi 1872-1896). After her break with the 3 gesaku ("playful composition") novelist, Nakarai Tosui ( ^ Q jtffc 7 ^ 1860-1926), she turned to Rohan's work for inspiration, modeling some of her early stories on his "artisan novels" such as Furyubutsu ( "An Alluring Buddha" 1889), Ikkoken ( - "One Sword" 1890), and Goju no To ( ;£-^L t% "The Five-Storied Pagoda" 1891). The porcelain painter in "Umoregi" ( ^ ^ "In Obscurity"), a story she published in the prestigious literary magazine, Miyako no Hana ("Capital Blossoms") in Meiji 25 (1892), is clearly drawn along 2 - -the lines of Rohan's artist heroes. It was Rohan and Koyo who, with their vigorous neoclassical idiom much affected by the Genroku literary flowering, directed Ichiyo's attention toward the prose style of Ihara Saikaku ( i(- 1642-1693). She then, perhaps more than anyone, made the rhythms and sympathies of the Genroku period novelist her own. Less commonly recognized is the pervasive influence Rohan had on the members of the Bungakukai, a magazine at the heart of Japanese romanticism. Hirata Tokuboku ( ^ ^ C^_, -4^- 1862-1943), the scholar of English literature and translator of Defoe, Thackeray, Hardy, Conrad, and Yeats, admired the depth of Rohan's roots in tradition and praised him for "giving birth to a new 3 literary world swaddled in genuine Japanese s p i r i t . " Hoshino Tenchi ( %. ^ f j 1862-1950), Kitamura Tokoku ( VL J$ 'i^'/rf- 1868-1894), and Shimazaki Toson ( j=3 il% %r fcl 1872-1943) were attracted by the romantic character of Rohan's idealism. 4 They saw in his writing, with i t s emphasis on love, poetic refinement, and liberation ( j^,??L^ /o' furyu shiso) , a possible means for harmonizing European romanticism and traditional Japanese sensibilities. Of course, as their understanding of Western attitudes and principles increased, the contradictions became more painfully apparent and Rohan's paradigm lost some of i t s appeal. We should remember, however, that much of their thematic program, many of the problems these writers dealt with, originated with Rohan/1, Koda Rohan's impact on Meiji letters seems to be beyond dispute. Then too, when we consider the great appreciation Japan's finest modern waka poet, SaitS Mokichi had for Rohan, or the unstinting admiration of Tanizaki Junichiro, one wonders why the work of one of Japan's greatest early modern writers has received so l i t t l e attention in his own country and is relatively unknown abroad. While a seemingly endless number of monographs on Natsume Soseki ( 1867-1916) and Mori Ogai 1862-1922) continue to appear, there are relatively few book-length studies of Rohan in Japanese. Other than Chieko Mulhern's literary biography, Koda Rohan (1977), a study which concentrates on the early works and devotes less than ten pages to the final thirty years of active writing, in English we have only three translations, a l l by Japanese translators, the last, published almost sixty years ago. ^ 5 A few Japanese scholars and c r i t i c s have, i t is true, endeavored to keep alive and reappraise Rohan's literary corpus. Iwanami Shoten reissued the forty-one volume collected works, originally published from 1949 to 1958, in 1978. Yamamoto Kenkichi, son of the Meiji c r i t i c and Rohan associate, Ishibashi Ningetsu ( fa *L >j 1865-1926), Shinoda Hajime, the scholar of English literature, and Noborio Yutaka, whose provocative essays have appeared recently in the journal, Bungaku, have a l l made notable contributions. The question remains: Why the readerly and scholarly neglect? This is not a question this essay can hope to answer; i t does point, however, to a situation i t may serve in some small way to redress. I believe there is ample reason to attempt to do so. In the concluding section of the informative and well-known symposium, Zadankai: Meiji Bungaku-shi ("The History of Meiji Literature: A Symposium" 1961), a text edited by the foremost scholars in the f i e l d , in response to the question, "Who represents the highest peak in early modern Japanese literature?" the discussion revolves around Ogai, Soseki, Toson and Rohan. The interesting point is that although the decision comes down in favor of Soseki there is general agreement that "when i t comes to representing Japanese literature to the world, i t is Rohan who has the most distinctive flavor." "Were [Soseki's novels] a l l translated into English and French and so on, and read by Westerners they just would not be very surprised. For an exemplar of Japanese or Asian culture, i t would have to be Rohan. In 6 other words, i f one sought to e l i c i t admiration from Westerners and impress them with something t r u l y d i f f e r e n t , Rohan's works are the best example of what i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y Japanese or E a s t e r n . " 6 Needless to say, I f i n d myself very much i n agreement with the opinion expressed. Much of e a r l y Japanese f i c t i o n reads l i k e a pale i m i t a t i o n of the more h i g h l y r e f i n e d Western form. I t would be unreasonable to expect otherwise. Of course the language i n e a r l y works of f i c t i o n has a novelty that sustains i n t e r e s t . As a record of s o c i a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l developments they merit a t t e n t i o n . But as a r t ? Futabatei Shimei's Ukigumo ( ^ " F l o a t i n g Clouds" 1887-89) f o r example, h a i l e d as Japan's f i r s t modern nove l , d i d break new ground i n e s t a b l i s h i n g a l i t e r a r y r e a l i s m modeled on European, s p e c i f i c a l l y Russian techniques.^ As a work of a r t , however, e s p e c i a l l y f o r a reader f a m i l i a r with the p s y c h o l o g i c a l s u b t l e t y of a Henry James or the r e a l i s m of a F l a u b e r t , i t f a i l s to meet the a l i e n , a l b e i t s e l f -chosen standards. For a Westerner approaching modern Japanese l i t e r a t u r e , Rohan's w r i t i n g opens new v i s t a s and provides a reading experience r i c h with the elements of a thousand years of v e r b a l a r t i s t r y . Across the whole spectrum of a r t s and l e t t e r s i t i s only i n the area of prose f i c t i o n that p a r a l l e l forms d i d not develop when East met West i n l a t e nineteenth-century Japan. U s u a l l y the 7 traditional form of a particular art was preserved while it s Western equivalent was added. In poetry, tanka and haiku are alive and flourishing alongside other verse forms created i n i t i a l l y in response to Western poetry. Kabuki and Noh exist beside an active modern theatre. The same phenomenon is found in music and painting. Only in prose fic t i o n were traditional canons overthrown almost entirely in favor of Western models. Frequently have we heard the idea that i t was the novel that cultivated the modern sense of self-identity (kindai jiga) in Japan. Undoubtedly i t played a large role, but too often, I believe, at the expense of narrative and l y r i c a l qualities in the tradition that writers today are struggling to recover — unique qualities artists like Koyo, Ichiyo, Kyoka, and Rohan sought to preserve. The development of modern prose styles is a fascinating, involved subject which I w i l l merely touch upon below in my discussion of Rohan's buntai ("style") and his opposition to the genbun i t c h i ("unity of spoken and written language") movement. Here, I would like to relate an anecdote which clearly indicates the kind of conflict most, i f not a l l , men of letters found themselves in around the middle of the Meiji period. To a great extent, buntai 'style' in Meiji writing was determined by how a writer resolved this conflict. In the preface to his Meiji 39 (1906) Bungaku Ron ( X. "ttjj§ "Essay on Literature") Natsume Soseki had this to say: 8 In my younger days I studied Chinese l i t e r a t u r e and enjoyed i t quite a b i t . Although the time spent on those studied was not great, i t formed my d e f i n i t i o n of just what l i t e r a t u r e should be. Behind th i s view, vague and obscure, lay the great c l a s s i c s of Chinese h i s t o r i c a l writing. I thought to myself that English l i t e r a t u r e must be l i k e t h i s . If i t was and I were to devote my l i f e to i t s study, I would c e r t a i n l y never have any cause for regret. Why I alone entered the unfashionable f i e l d of English l i t e r a t u r e was due solely to this simple, i n f a n t i l e b e l i e f . ... After graduating, i n the bottom of my heart I had the sinking unsettling thought I had been deceived by English l i t e r a t u r e . After claiming e s s e n t i a l l y equivalent competence i n , and a b i l i t y to appreciate, both Chinese and English, he declared, "What i s ca l l e d l i t e r a t u r e i n Chinese studies and what i s c a l l e d l i t e r a t u r i n English cannot even be subsumed under the same d e f i n i t i o n .— they are e n t i t i e s of a wholly d i f f e r e n t nature." He arrived at this conclusion while l i v i n g alone i n London: about the same time he began to write the kind of English style novel he had come to harbor intense doubts about. Discussing the " r i v a l r y between the old and new views of l i t e r a t u r e that arose i n Soseki's consciousness," Yamamoto Kenkichi comments that i t was precisely this tension that "produced dislocations and fissures everywhere.' He goes on to add that while Soseki was writing Meian ( 0fl F-^ f "Light and Darkness" 1916) he would devote his mornings to the novel, but "clear his head" by composing Chinese poetry i n the afternoon. Rohan preferred not to straddle the fi s s u r e . This does not imply a lack of knowledge or awareness of Western l i t e r a t u r e . Indeed, his f i r s t published novel, Ro Dandan ( J^JL ftf) Q 9 "Dewdrops" 1889) has a number of Americans, a Chinese, and a single Japanese poet in i t s cast of characters, is set in New York, and has individuals mouthing the tenets of Unitarianism. Nevertheless, "modernity" for Rohan was negatively informing, i t was seen as a symptom of deterioration and abrogation of crucial cultural values. He chose instead to align himself with the immortal poets of Japanese tradition, Saigyo and Basho, and with the master storytellers of the pre-modern era, Saikaku and Bakin. This stance permitted a more selective absorption of Western elements. He experimented with new verse forms (shintaishi) for example, and in his fi c t i o n there are attempts to assimilate thematically Christian love with the Buddhist sense of compassion (jihi) and the Confucian ideal of humanity (j jn). His involvement with Izaak Walton's (1593-1683) The Complete Angler (1653), a classic of Western contem-plative l i f e , is an indication of the type of literature he sought and admired in the West. What then can a reader expect to find in the writings of Koda Rohan? First of a l l , a beautiful tapestry of language moving with a rare power and rhythm. In the early works in particular there is a haibun-like flow turning the novels closer to poetry than prose. Later works are infused with a dignity and strength based on elements in the style derived from kambun.' Then i t w i l l be discovered his works are brimming with.the 10 t r a d i t i o n a l culture of East Asia: the author takes f u l l advantage of the icons of Buddhism and the riches of c l a s s i c a l a l l u s i o n based on a vast reading knowledge of the l i t e r a t u r e s of Japan and China. F i n a l l y , the reader encounters a writer who endeavored i n his l i f e and art to embody and preserve the ideals at the core of Japanese aesthetic and philosophic s e n s i b i l i t i e s . Among these ideals, ku ( ^ "emptiness"), michi ( ]^_^ "way"), makoto ( "purity of s p i r i t " ) , and en ( s^ <_ "relatedness") are p a r t i c u l a r l y important i n the works to be examined i n this essay. Taidokuro ( jjTrJ »f|J "Encounter with a S k u l l " 1 8 9 0 ) can be read as a meditation on emptiness and the related notions of attachment and release. Goju no To ( "The Five-Storied Pagoda" 1 8 9 1 ) i s a kabukiesque novel concerned with an i n d i v i d u a l , an a r t i s t , finding his way to s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n i n c o n f l i c t with the conventions .of society. Renkanki ( 2^r$$i Q^J "Record of Linked Rings" 1 9 4 0 ) , an h i s t o r i c a l novel set i n the tenth century, presents a series of biographical sketches which u n r o l l before us i n a manner similar to the medieval emaki 'picture s c r o l l s ' recapturing the s p i r i t of the age and giving the reader a remarkable sense of the subtle karma at work l i n k i n g the characters i n an unbroken chain. 11 J" Koda Aya, Chichi. Korma Koto ("My Father", "Like This") (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1955); and Chigiregumo ("Scattered Clouds") (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1956). 2 Robert Lyons Danly, In the Shade of Spring Leaves (New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 1981). For a brief treat-ment of Rohan's influence on Ichiyo see Chapter Five, "The Bundan," pp. 133-164. Danly notes that "Like the protagonist of The Five-Storied Pagoda, the hero of "In Obscurity" is a man dedicated to the solitary perfection of his craft, ready to sacrifice himself for his calling and to forsake a l l corrupt-ing influences in his single-minded revolt against the rampant, crass materialism of his age. In Rohan's novel, the art is carpentry and the obsession is the building of a perfect pagoda; in Ichiyo's story, the art is the painting of porcelain and the hero [is] ... metamorphosed into a man of integrity and ar t i s t i c passion (p.76). 3 - -Sasabuchi Yuichi, "Koda Rohan to 'Bungakukai'," Bungaku, 46, No. 11 (1978), p. 1370. 4 Sasabuchi notes, for example, Kitamura Tokoku's "Waga Rogoku" ("My Prison"), f i r s t published in Hakuhyo Jogaku Zasshi (June,1893), was written as a direct response to Rohan's "Furyugo" ("Love's Enlightenment") which appeared the previous year in the newspaper, Kokumin no Tomo (August,1892). The term furyu ( ^ ) from the Chinese feng l i u ( l i t . "wind-flow") has a long and complex history in the aesthetics of East Asiau Apparently an epicurean ideal of Taoist origin, in T'ang poetry i t is always found representing an ideal combination of wine, women, music, and poetry. In Japan during the late 12 medieval and Edo periods the expression lost some of its sense of gaiety and color and came to suggest a mood of greater sophistication and restraint with emphasis on tranquility and simplicity bordering on the astringent. A key aspect of the furyu sensibility is the way in which the past assumes a central role in the formation of aesthetic values. A man of refined taste eschews the present popular norms in favor of the forms of a preceding period. See Konishi Jcnichi, "Furyu: An Ideal of Japanese Aesthetic Life" in The Japanese Image, ed. by Maurice Schneps and Alvin P. Cook (Orient/West, 1965). ~* Shioya Sakae, trans., The Pagoda (Goju no To), by Koda Rohan (Tokyo: Okura and Co., 1909); Miyamori Asataro, trans., "Lodging for the Night" (Taidokuro), by Koda Rohan in Representative Tales of Japan (Tokyo: Sanseido, 1914); Nagura Jiro, trans., Leaving The Hermitage (Shutsuro) by Koda Rohan (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1925). While this was being written Chieko Mulhern published translations of three of Rohan's early works in Pagoda, Skull and Samurai: Three Stories by Koda Rohan, Cornell Univ. East Asia Papers, No. 26 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1982). ^ Yanagida Izumi, Katsumoto Seiichiro and Ino Kenji, ed., Zadankai: Meiji Bungaku-shi (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1976), p. 473. ^ Marleigh Ryan, Japan's First Modern Ndvel: Ukigumo of Futabatei Shimei (New York and London: Columbia Univ. Press, 1971). Natsume Soseki, Bungaku Ron ("Essay on Literature") in Soseki Zenshu (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1949), p. 9-10 Soseki says his definition of literature (teigi) was based on his reading of the Chinese historical works indicated by the phrase, "Sakokushikah" ( ). This refers to the 13 Lii-shi Chun-giu ("Spring and Autumn Annals of Mr. Lii") , Guo-yu ("Narratives of the States"), Shi-ji ("Records of the Historian Si-ma Qian"), and Han-shu ("History of the Former Han Dynasty"). 9 — Yamamoto Kenkichi, Soseki Takuboku Rohan (Tokyo: Bungei Shunju-sha, 1972), p. 196. 10 "Haibun" Donald Keene describes as, "Prose writing characterized by the ellipses and other s t y l i s t i c features of haikai poetry. Basho's travel diaries are examples of haibun." World Within Walls:•Japanese Literature of the Pre-modern Era 1600-1867 (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976), p. 573. "Kambun" is a Sino-Japanese hybrid prose written with Chinese syntax and glossed with Japanese readings of the characters. 14 Chapter One A Biographical Sketch Koda Shigeyuki was born on the eve of the Meiji Restoration, in Edo, on the twenty-third day of the seventh month in the third year of the Keio era (1867). It was a propitious year for writers. Born that same year were Ozaki Koyo (d. 1903), Natsume Soseki (d. 1916), and Masaoka Shiki (d. 1902). He was the fourth son of Koda Shigenobu ( $ 1839?-1914) and wife Yu ( J(j£ 1842-1919).1 Both parents came from hereditary lines of direct retainers to the Shogun: his mother, from the Koda family who were omote bozu; his father, from the Imanishi family, ura bozu. Rohan's father married into the Koda family. The Edo jo bozu ( f % or chabozu ^ $j 3L_ as they are sometimes called), the monk-like o f f i c i a l s of the Edo Castle which was the seat of government during the Tokugawa period, were responsible for protocol, appointments, and the general day to day functioning of the bureaus and residences. The role required discipline, correct deportment, and a stock of ready knowledge in subjects ranging from armour to incense. In short, the Castle bozu became a group whose professional duties involved cultivating and preserving the finer points of Tokugawa culture. Throughout his career, Rohan's writing reveals his debt to the cultured, edifying milieu of his upbringing. 15 Rohan's parents had a total of eight children, six boys and two g i r l s . The third son died in infancy and the last, early in l i f e . His father is said to have been f a i r l y skilled at writing and to have had an interest in music. His mother evidently had considerable talent for music, for she played a number of instruments, including the shamisen, quite well. She is also said to have been an excellent calligrapher. They raised a talented and extremely successful family. another bozu family and, known to history as Gunji Taii ("Naval Lieutenant Gunji") became famous as a leader of expeditions to the Kuriles, the islands north of Hokkaido. He organized the undertaking which led to the establishment of the f i r s t settle-ment and fishing bases in 1893. Due to his exploits claiming land for Japan in the north, he became a Russian prisoner of war when he was captured in Kamchatka soon after the outbreak of h o s t i l i t i e s between the two countries in 1904. Adventurous men of action were part of Rohan's family as well as his fiction. The two sisters, Nobu ( ) and Ko ( 2fc ) were pioneers in the study and introduction of Western music. Having studied at the Tokyo Music School, Nobu went on a government scholarship to Boston (1890-91) and Vienna (1891-96), then returned to a distinguished career as a pianist and professor of music at the forerunner to what is now Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku. The younger Rohan' s elder brother, Shigetada ), married into 16 sister, (Ando) Ko, studied in Germany from 1896 to 1903, became an accomplished v i o l i n i s t , and a professor of music at the university with her sister. Both were music tutors to the Imperial family and were elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts. Rohan's younger brother, Shigetomo ), a graduate of Tokyo Imperial University, became an authority in the fields of Japanese economic history, the history of foreign trade, and Christianity in Japan. He was a professor for many years at Tokyo Shodai (Hitotsubashi University) and Keio University. Mori Ogai was inspired to write his Oshio Heihachiro ( X ~ ^ y v. 1914) by Koda Shigetomo's detailed treatment of the rebellion leader in his monumental study of the history of the city of Osaka. These outstanding achievements in the a r t i s t i c and scholarly arenas, not to mention the world of practical affairs, were due in no small way to the family's background in the bozu tradition with i t s insistence on cultural excellence. The financial well being of the family, however, was closely tied to the fortunes of the Shbgunate. The Restoration of 1868 saw a decline in the circumstances of many of the old Edo elites — the Koda family was no exception. Rohan's father fared better than some. The early years of Meiji are r i f e with stories of once proud samurai pulling rickshaw through the streets of the capital. After the f a l l of 17 the Bakufu government, his father's annual stipend was dis-continued but he was able to obtain a position in the newly established Finance Ministry as a minor o f f i c i a l . The income from this job was on the paltry side, and limited resources became a factor affecting the course of Rohan's formal schooling. By Meiji 18 (1885) even this employment was terminated and his father was relieved of a l l o f f i c i a l government duties (h'ishoku to haikan). During this period the Koda family moved frequently — always to smaller quarters, sharing the fate of "declasse bushi." On the eve of the Restoration the Koda family had occupied a large, impressive house with an imposing gate. The bozu were better off than their smallish yearly stipends would indicate. Because of their function as intermediaries, their control of access to power (like Kira Kozukenosuke Yoshitaka of Chushingura — a bozu), they were often the beneficiaries of valuable gifts and privileges. During Rohan's childhood he watched the family's fortune steadily decline. To see a photograph of Koda Rohan in the prime of l i f e , from the look of the large, sturdy, robust man, i t is hard to 2 believe he was a weak and sickly child. The doctor attending the birth thought the infant would be too f r a i l to live a normal l i f e , were i t able to survive. Dedicated parental care saw the baby through the early c r i s i s , but illness plagued Rohan's youth. 18 There were no maids in the Koda household and the family members were rather rigorous about daily chores. Rohan's grandmother played a dominant role in his early training, teaching him a wealth of practical lore, from identifying constellations to the use of Chinese medicines. It seems to have been from her that he acquired his strong sense of devotion and self discipline. Together they made the daily offerings to the numerous household divinities — a practice Rohan continued after the rest of the family abandoned their ancestral observances in favor of Christianity — and regularly visited the family graves. Rohan's formal education was limited to primary and middle school. He enrolled at the Tokyo English School (Tokyo Eigakko) at age fifteen but dropped out after a year to study at a private academy, the Keigijuku, run by a scholar of Chinese during this period he began to frequent the Ocha no mizu Tokyo Toshokan, the only public library at the time. It was around this time too that he became acquainted with Awajima Kangetsu of Ihara Saikaku, the Genroku period a r t i s t . The question arises, why a capable young man, whose future clearly would be best served by training in a Western language and higher education, would instead turn toward traditional Chinese studies and pre-modern Japanese literature. In a general 1808-1886). It was ( 5* % % W 1858-1926 )j who introduced him to the writings 19 way, Rohan's whole l i f e and literary output may be offered as a response to this question. A more direct response is suggested by Kimura Ki in his article on Koyo, Rohan and - 3 Ichiyo. He notes that until the Taisho period (1912-26), when such writers as Arishima Takeo ( 1878-1923) and Satomi Ton ( € @j 3S- b- 1888) appear, there are no prominent literary artists from the provinces (han) which led the anti-Bakufu movement (Choshu, Satsuma, Tosa, and Hizen). He maintains the Edokko 'native Edoites' who became leading figures in Meiji letters took a stance diametrically opposed to the Meiji government, and claims that even i f "many were not actively aware of this, sub-consciously they a l l were." Being opposed to the government implied less than enthusiastic support for the wholesale modernization cum Westernization then being fostered. In the same art i c l e , Kimura goes on to point out that the writers who promoted Japanese naturalism were a l l provincials (inakamono), people who moved to Tokyo from the countryside. Tayama Katai ( $ ^ ^ 1871-1930) was from Joshu, Shimazaki Toson ( J ; Irf 1872-1943) was from Shinshu, Kunikida Doppo' s ( )Q %- $J %f 1871-1908) ancestors were from Harima although he was born in Chiba near Tokyo, and Masamune Hakucho ( ji_ ft— 1879-1962) was born in Bizen, now called Okayama Prefecture. It was the urbanites, the real "Edokkd' who fought to preserve something of the old 20 style. From this perspective, Rohan, Koyo and Ichiyo may be seen as representative of "the last of the old guard" opposing the usurpation of literary sovereignty by the uncultivated "country folk." This argument does suggest one very plausible explanation for the young Rohan's decision to switch from English school to a traditional academy (juku). It was the beginning of a life-long role which, with the exception of a decade in the 1890's, increasingly took on the mantle of polarity, a gracious opposition to the winds of modernization. In August of Meiji 16 (1883) Rohan decided to attend a government-run technical school, the Denshin Shugiko, in order to become a telegraph operator. The better students were given an opportunity to continue their training at government expense with the proviso of a three year assignment upon completion of the two-year program. The impetus for this move seems to have been largely financial; behind i t was the desire to make his own way in the world and not be dependent on his family. The fact that i t was a telegraph school — the telegraph being the most advanced means of communication at the time — is an indication of the range of Rohan's inquisitiveness. He was always very good at mathematics and showed an interest in and 4 aptitude for applied science throughout his l i f e . In 1885, at the age of eighteen, Rohan was sent to the 21 Yoichi branch telegraph office in remote Hokkaido. Yoichi was a small town of fishermen, miners, and Ainu, northwest of Sapporo, near the port of Otaru. Even today i t is rather remote: in those days i t was l i t t l e more than a frontier settlement. In a poem written on the boat taking him from Yokohama to Hakodate, Rohan playfully pokes fun at his fate with the phrase "takusen o narau" ( J\£* 1^ h ) , an allusion to Li Po, which captures the sense of his f a l l from grace. The expression may be rendered, "learn how to live as an outcast from heaven."^ For the more than two years he spent in Hokkaido reliable information is in short supply. From later personal accounts and assorted anecdotes we can piece together a picture of a young man with enormous energy and l i t t l e in.the way of 1787-1856) — a man Rohan greatly admired and on whom he later published a book aimed at young people — he helped the local people build ice storage houses, encouraged sericulture, and He had archery contests with the Ainu, raided the local Buddhist temple for reading material, and developed a taste for tobacco, sake, and zazen. His work at the telegraph office must not have „In the late summer of 1887, with one year s t i l l remaining on his work assignment, he sold some of his kimono, pawned his satisfactory outlets. Like Ninomiya Sontoku ( %, sent to Tokyo for a Western book on scientific hog raising. been too demanding. 22 books, said goodbye to a few friends, and quietly l e f t for Tokyo. His trip back to the capital which took about a month and was accomplished by ferry, horseback, train, cart and on foot, is recorded in Tokkan Kiko ( g "Record of a Desperate Journey" 1890). It begins: Stricken by a malady, my heart was aching. Adverse karma was impossible to dispel; I saw no happy destination in the future but only bitter obstacles before me. I had desires but no money, ambition but no opportunity. At last I decided to break out of this predicament. Selling several kimono and pawning a trunkful df books, I bade farewell to a few friends and departed at once. Rohan's precipitous act has often been ascribed to the influence of events shaking the literary world in the distant capital. Certainly the promising stirrings in the bundan were not without effect. Tsubouchi Shoyo's celebrated treatise, Shosetsu Shinzui ( /V %Xj ^ " T h e E s s e n c e o f t h e Novel"), which had been published the previous year, presented a new argument for psychological realism in fict i o n . Rohan appears to have been most impressed by Shoyo's high appraisal of fi c t i o n and his insistence on the autonomy of a r t i s t i c writing. Years later however, he said in an interview that the essay was not what had prompted his journey.^ Another influence not to be overlooked was the writer, Tokai Sanshi ( 1852-1922). After a number of years studying economics at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, he returned to Japan to warn of impending danger in his widely read p o l i t i c a l novel, Kajin no Kigu ( A. y$2^ 23 "Beauty's Fortuitous Encounters") It was written in kamburi style prose and published in 1887. In i t he examines the unhappy fate of small nations at the hands of the major powers in the nineteenth-century by tracing the stories of women the hero meets who are refugees from their homelands. Rohan's patriotic "Nihonka" ("A Song for Japan"), a poem in Chinese 9 written in Hokkaido, seems to have been inspired by this novel. Ozaki Koyo with Yamada Bimyo ( J]A $ ^ ^pjr 1868-1910) and others had formed the Kenyusha Society ( ' "Friends of the Inkwell") in 1885 and began publishing the f i r s t dojinzashi (a journal edited and published by a group of writers with similar proclivities) in Japan, the Garakuta Bunko "Knick-Knack Library"). The writers contributing to the magazine were, for the most part, Rohan's age. His ambition was provoked and dreams of a different future must have troubled his sleep. S t i l l , at the time of his flight from Hokkaido, Rohan had not committed himself to a l i f e as a writer. The professional writer was not a person of very high standing in those days despite the approbation of leaders like Shoyo. Unlike today, talented youth aspired to a vocation in p o l i t i c s . As his travel diary, Tokkan Kiko clearly indicates, i t was a combination of depression, ambition, and a reservoir of talent with insufficient outlet that stimulated Rohan's departure. 24 Faced with limited funds and less than robust health, for the Hokkaido winters had taken t h e i r t o l l , i t was a d i f f i c u l t journey. A r r i v i n g late i n the day i n Fukushima he discovered he had just enough money for the t r a i n fare from the next large town, Koriyama, to Tokyo. If he spent some for a night's lodging i n Fukushima he would not have enough for t i c k e t , and even i f he walked the next day he would have to spend a b i t , thus always finding himself i n a Zeno-like quandary- He decided to walk to Koriyama that evening and spend the night on the road i n the open a i r . This haiku, although not included i n Tokkan Kiko, was evidently based on his experience that p a r t i c u l a r evening. Rohan's biographer, Shiotani San, speculates the poem was actually written upon r e f l e c t i o n subsequent to his return to Tokyo. It f i r s t appears i n print gracing the opening lines of Taidokuro ("Encounter with a S k u l l " ) . I have gone to some length to provide biographical d e t a i l surrounding this poem not only because i t i s the f i r s t modest jewel hinting at the l i t e r a r y luminary to be, but also because i t i s the source of the gj5 'pen name' "Rohan" which means "companion of the dew." Sato toshi Iza tsuyu to nemu Kusamakura. Far from home I share with the dew A pillow of grass.10 25 Back i n Tokyo by September, 1887, the twenty year old Rohan, s t i l l burdened with an "aching heart" and out of favor with his parents for renouncing his "career" midstream, sought solace i n reading and writing. He immersed himself i n Buddhist texts and borrowed and copied the works of Saikaku. It i s this combination of Buddhist d i c t i o n and haibun style that comes to the fore i n Rohan's early writing, especially Furyubutsu ("An A l l u r i n g Buddha"). Due to p o l i t i c a l reorganization his father had l o s t his position i n the Finance Ministry. He opened a shop dealing i n stationery and other paper goods ca l l e d the "Ai Ai Do" ( "V ). Rohan tended his father's shop, wrote l e t t e r s for un-tutored patrons, and spent great stretches of time at the l i b r a r y . A good deal of the research for his f i r s t few novels was under-taken during-this period. It has been shown, for example, that much of the information on whaling used i n Isanatori ("The Whaler" 1891), including transcriptions of whaling songs and technical d e t a i l s on the industry, was garnered from materials then 11 available at the l i b r a r y . He read voraciously, encyclopedically. Rohan rec a l l e d to Yanagida Izumi having been very impressed at the time by Ninomiya Sontoku's Hotokki ( "Rewards of Virtue and Economy") and claimed the Kamakura monk, Shoken ( t i l d" 1 3 4 5 ) > author of the Sanbu no Kanasho ( 2-12 ^£_-2^. / f ^ " ) J a s hi- s "writing master" ("bunsho no shi") . 26 Rohan's father thought for a while i t was quite possible his son would become a monk. The whole Koda family had been converted to Christianity while he was away in Hokkaido. His father heard the preaching of Uemura Masahisa ( 1858-1925), gave up a long standing belief in the Hokkeshu (Nichiren Sect), and was baptized along with the other members.of the family. Rohan had an interest, read extensively and, acquiescing to his father's wishes, attended study meetings conducted by Uemura. He, however, refused to be baptized. (After the death of his f i r s t wife, Kumiko, Rohan's unfortunate second marriage was to an "active 1 3 Christian." The ceremony was conducted by Uemura.)iJ While minding his father's store, sometime in 1888, Rohan wrote his f i r s t novel, "Zen Tenma" ( ^ "Demon Zen"). 1 4 The work, not extant, was evidently modelled on Edo period sharebon. Donald Keene gives Hi j i r i no Yukaku (The Holy Men's Brothel 1757) as the prototype sharebon, the playful compositions largely devoted to descriptions of l i f e in the pleasure di s t r i c t s : The theme is startling: Shakamuni Buddha, Confucius, and Lao-tzu arrive in Japan and at once go to the Osaka brothel run by Li Po, where Po Chu-i serves as a jester. Each holy man is matched with a prostitute whose name suits his philosophy: "Fleeting World" goes with Buddha, "Great Way" with Confucius, and "Great Void" with Lao-tzu. ... The story concludes as Buddha and Fleeting World leave the licensed quarters bent on lover's suicide. They go off to the accompaniment of a recitation in the traditional Joruri s t y l e . ^ 27 Many years later Rohan recalled that his work was in three parts. In the f i r s t , two or three young sports f r o l i c in the pleasure quarters. The second was a single man's recollection of experiences in a Hokkaido licensed d i s t r i c t . The concluding section, entitled "Toroba En" (Smoke from a Rare Incense), related the story of an Edo period Zen addict who meditates in a courtesan's chamber. Before the work was destroyed (It is said to have been used to repair fusuma 'sliding doors!.), i t was read by Awajima Kangetsu who showed i t to Ozaki Koyo. Impressed, Koyo asked Rohan to write a piece for the magazine he was editing. The novel, Issetsuna ( -'** - ^ j "One Instant") was published the following year, 1889, in three installments, beginning with the July issue of Bunko. By the time this appeared, however, Rohan was already well on his way to recognition and acclaim in the literary world. His f i r s t published work was not fi c t i o n but a c r i t i c a l a r t i cle, "Oto to Kotoba" ( ^ X. "|BJ "Sound and Words"), which appeared in a minor journal, Kunshi to Shukujo ("Gentlemen and Ladies"), in January and February of 1887. The essay urged greater cooperation between composers and l y r i c i s t s in order to further the creation of a new Meiji music. It is interesting to note his last completed work, sixty years later, was Ongenron ( ~0 "^3 iM} 1947), a comprehensive study of sounds in the 28 Japanese language. This concern with the relationship between music and words remained with Rohan throughout his l i f e . His extensive research on wasan ( -^ pD ) 5 Buddhist devotional hymns, i s but one example. Some might f i n d t h i s interest i n the musicality of language surprising. Because of the preponderance of ideographs i n Rohan's prose — to a degree unusual even for a Me i j i period writer — readers tend to respond to the vi s u a l and semantic aspects of his writing, overlooking the musical side of his st y l e . There are rhythmic and a l l i t e r a t i v e elements a l l too uncommon i n modern Japanese prose. Rohan had a good ear; this was a g i f t that seems to have run i n the family. Many of his works have to be heard to be f u l l y appreciated. In 1888, toward the end of the year, Rohan went with Kangetsu to the home of the scholar and theatre c r i t i c , Yoda Gakukai ( "fee $ '•/&-• 1833-1909), with a recently completed novel to ask him to write a foreword. Yoda responded that he received numerous requests for such things and thought i t was a l o t of trouble, adding, "Besides, just my writing a foreword won't make your work b r i l l i a n t . If i t i s a masterpiece, without my i n t r o -duction or anything at a l l , i t w i l l shine." Rohan i s said to have responded, "I am not seeking to add luster to my work with Master's foreword. My piece i s entertaining. Since you enjoy novels, please read i t . If you fin d i t interesting, please write 29 a foreword. If tedious, then please throw i t into the f i r e -place and burn i t . " At the end of this outrageous speech he threw down the manuscript and hurried out. Yoda, impressed by the young man's cavalier confidence, but equally sure the gesture was fu t i l e , began reading the work. He found i t so unusual and amusing he could not put i t down. The next day he hurried by rickshaw to Kangetsu's residence, thence to Rohan's. He is said to have apologized for not seeing his genius right away and agreed to assist in having the novel published. 1^ The novel, Ro Dandan ( J^. 1^ ] ^ "Dewdrops" )^ was brought to the attention of Yamada Bimyo who was then chief editor and writer for what was perhaps the most prestigious literary magazine of the day, Miyako no Hana ("Capital Blossoms"). After reading i t he exclaimed, "Well, now here is a really fantastic piece! Completely original. Right out of the blue! You never know where or when this thing called genius is going to appear — 18 just like a comet!" Ro Dandan's publication in the magazine from February to August of 1889 marks the departure point of Rohan's career as a writer. The f i f t y yen he received for the work, a sizable amount at the time, facilitated a l i t e r a l departure as well. With i t , he travelled for a month through the mountains of Shinshu in central Japan and to areas in western Japan including Kyoto and Osaka. 30 While Ro Dandan may be considered Rohan's maiden work, i t was Furyubutsu ( (CL >n\^ _/ "An Alluring Buddha") published in September of 1889 that established him in literary circles as a writer of distinction. It is here we f i r s t find his jaunty, consciously ornate, haibun style — a prose verging on poetry. Here too are sounded the themes which continue to concern the writer throughout his l i f e : the transformation of reality with art, the potential of human love, antimodernism, and the salvation of the individual through absorbtion in a way of self discipline. The success of Furyubutsu, which had an artisan, a sculptor of Buddhist images, as hero, prompted subsequent novels along similar lines, a l l with traditional craftsmen playing the central role. In these artisan novels the hero is able to overcome a c r i s i s , a problem in his immediate existence, by discipline and concentrated devotion to his chosen vocation. Such works as Goju no To ( *L- * J L "The Five-Storied Pagoda" 1891), Ikkoken ( O "One Sword" 1890), Tsuji Joruri ( rK > ^ ffe "Minstrel at the Crossroads" 1891), and its sequel, Nemimi Teppo ( ^ 5j "Surprise Gunshot" 1891) are representative of Rohan's meijin shosetsu, his "master craftsman novels." Although Rohan is probably best remembered for these artisan novels — selections from Goju no To were for many years included 31 in school text books — they represent only a small fraction of his total body of writing. His works span the spectrum of literary genres, extending beyond the usual scope of belles-lettres. In addition to his fiction, verse, and commentary on classical texts, Rohan wrote treatises on self-development, natural science, and the social issues of the day. Some readers may be familiar with his vignettes on fishing, others with his essays on sh5gi, the Japanese version of chess. He was an accomplished practitioner of both. In his movement away from the novel as primary means of expression Rohan is not unlike other Meiji writers such as Mori Ogai or Shimazaki Toson who turned to history in their later years. After abandoning his last effort at the long novel, Sora Utsu Nami ("Waves Striking the Heavens"), serialized in the newspaper the Yomiuri Shimbun from 1903 to 1905, his production of Imaginative fic t i o n decreased sharply. The ostensible reason for discontinuing publication of the work was the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War. Rohan wrote that he could not in good conscience continue because: To reveal the plot as I planned i t , this novel is about to enter a chapter involving a woman and consequently [is] infused with the scent of rouge and powder. ... I cannot find i t in my heart to write amorous scenes for a public newspaper at this time, when a soldier is going off to war the day after his wedding, or another is leaving an old mother and young children in the care of relatives. ... In short, 32 I believe that my freedom of creative choice cannot be compromised in the least by conditions in the world, but I am also convinced that inasmuch as my work is meant for public consumption, i t is only proper for me to take social situations into consideration.... 19 The fact that his elder brother, Gunji Shigetada, had become a Russian prisoner of war undoubtedly contributed to his decision to discontinue the ambitious novel which at the time was already in excess of five-hundred pages. Nevertheless, conflicts between Rohan's writing style and the prevailing winds of literary fashion may well have been an even more decisive factor. The advent of naturalism and the widespread success of the genbun i t c h i movement (the drive to abandon the traditional literary style in favor of a form more closely approximating everyday speech) in conjunction with the wholesale adoption of Western literary values occasioned Rohan's antipathy and freed him to go his own way. The last years of Meiji and the early years of the Taisho period brought a self-imposed withdrawal from the bundan. The extent to which contemporary trends were inimical to Rohan's literary standards can be seen in his historical novel, Unmei ( l^f^ ^ "Destiny" 1919), a work some hold to be his master-piece. This tour de force was a judgement on, and challenge to,, the literary scene in the mid-Taisho period. 33 Away from serious fiction for over a decade, at the age of fifty-three, Rohan was asked to contribute a piece to the f i r s t issue of Kaizo ( 3JE_X "Restructuring") to be published in April, 1919. The journal was founded by Yamamoto Sanehiko ( ik % 1885-1952) as a vehicle for views on liberalism and social reform. Asked to submit a novel, Rohan offered Unmei, a powerful account of the struggle for imperial succession in the early Ming dynasty based entirely on the historical record. Thematically i t deals with questions concerning historical inevitability, justice, and the d i f f i c u l t y of accounting for the vicissitudes in personal fate. It is the style of writing, however, that reflects the magnitude of the divergence between Rohan's mature prose and mainstream modern Japanese s t y l i s t i c developments. The work opens with: Yo onozukara su to iu mono ariya. Ari to ieba aru ga gotoku, nashi to naseba naki hi mo n i t a r i . Kozui ten ni habikorumo, U no ko kore o osame, taikan chi o kogasedomo, To no toku kore o sukueba, su arugago-toki ni shite shikamo su naki ga gotoshi. Is inevitability intrinsic to the world? If you say destiny exists then i t is as though i t existed; i f you deny i t , i t is as though i t did not. When vast waters threatened to flood a l l under heaven, the deeds of the Sage King Yu brought them under control; when the earth was parched by a great draught, the virtue of the Sage King '/Tang brought salvation. Destiny seems to exist and yet again i t appears not to.20 Upon reading Unmei, Tanizaki Junichiro experienced unforget-able excitement: 34 Despite i t s relative brevity, "Destiny" is a grand work ... containing a cosmos in i t s e l f . Its style is the traditional wakan konko bun [a mixture of Chinese and Japanese dictions J but strangely leaves no impression of being outmoded, thanks to i t s enormous v i t a l i t y and dignity. It is beyond a mere historian's a b i l i t y to depict such world-shaking events with their extreme vicissitudes, bringing innumerable great and minor heroes to l i f e as he does.... In this day and age when things resembling pages from a mundane diary pass for fiction, this historical treatise is a novel in its genuine sense. Rohan refused to relinquish the riches of the classical idiom, the rhythms available to the literary style, and the dignity associated with traditional poetic forms. . It is interesting to note that his revival as a novelist was predicated on his dispensing with contemporary notions of what the novel should be. In Western literature not until the mid twentieth-century did we encounter the "non-fiction novel," whereas pre-eminent Meiji writers such as Ogai, Toson, and Rohan were exploring the form much earlier. As he moved away from fiction, Rohan turned toward academic writing: essays, commentaries, translations and biography. In 1937), he was invited to lecture on Japanese literature at Kyoto Imperial University. He declined the invitation at f i r s t , then, 1934), president of the university, he accepted. The appoint-ment caused a s t i r in both academic and literary circles because 1908, at the request of Ueda 1867-at the urging of Ueda and Okada Ryohei ( 1864-35 Rohan's formal education had ended with middle school. At the university he lectured on Soga Monogatari ( ^ a ^ourteenth-century revenge tale — one of his favorite works), wasan (Buddhist hymns), Chikamatsu's ( 1653-1724) sewamono joruri (puppet plays), and other Edo period literature. Why he le f t the university position after just one year is not clear. He once claimed the primary reason he returned to Tokyo was because in Kyoto he was unable to do the 22 kind of fishing he enjoyed. In 1911 the academic world recognized Rohan's achievements in scholarship by awarding him a doctor of letters degree. That same year Natsume Soseki refused to accept the honor. The scholar who wished to live as an artist and the artist who wanted to be respected for his scholarship found their ways crossing as the establishment moved to acknowledge their respective contributions to Japanese cultural l i f e . It is commonly thought that Rohan did not write novels during the later period of his l i f e . Part of this misconception may stem from a confusion regarding genre. A work such as Unmei ("Destiny") can be read as a novel or as an essay in history. Since i t has excluded the merely fanciful, the patently f i c t i t i o u s , and is based on the historical record, relying heavily on authoritative texts, i t is a fascinating exercise in historiography, Yet we know that an author of an historical narrative is 36 constrained to provide a theme and, in his particular emplotment of events, give expression to his view of human nature. Historical writing, in any form beyond mere chronology, has the added requirement that i t be expressed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. This is especially true of literatures developed within 23 the sphere of Chinese cultural influence. During the last thirty years of his l i f e as a writer Rohan moved easily between history and fiction because of an increasingly strong belief in their essential similarity as verbal repositories of human emotion. In this he provides a striking contrast to Mori Ogai who, toward the end of his l i f e , worked at separating the l y r i c a l and fanciful from putative hard fact in his textual 24 studies of historical documents. The power of imagination i s said to fade with age leaving recollection and contemplation in its place. while this may be a factor behind the preponderance of novels based on historical materials in Rohan's later work, such imaginative efforts as Kangadan ( Jli l3L "Picture Viewing Tale" 1925), Gendan ( & j t £ _ "Illusory Tales" 1939), and Yukitataki ( 1§ 7 fc > "A Knock in the Snow" 1940) attest to a tremendous reserve of "Record of Linked Rings"), which was published in 1940 when he 25 was seventy-three, is thought by many to be his finest. v i t a l i t y and creativity. His final novel, 37 He produced these works while writing his monumental study of the Basho Shichibushu" ("The Seven Collections of the Basho School"), an anthology of verse by members of Basho's school of 2 6 haiku. It was a labor which extended over a period of twenty-five years. The final chapters had to be dictated from his sickbed to an amanuensis because severe cataracts impaired his vision. Although some would claim this work, Rohan Hyoshaku: Basho Shichibushu ( ||. 'f <|S ^ $1 j£. "t JjL_ "Rohan's Commentary on the Seven Collections of the Basho School"), is more a testament to his own vast learning and poetic insight than a cornerstone of modern haiku criticism, others recognize i t as a genuine classic which must be reckoned with in any serious - 27 analysis of the Shichibushu. During the concluding years of his l i f e , Rohan received a series of awards and honors culminating in his nomination (along with his sister, Nobu) to the Japanese Imperial Academy of Arts in 1937. He lived through the Pacific War which brought great hardship and loss. His house and library were destroyed during a Tokyo air raid on May 25, 1945. As his diabetes worsened he was fin a l l y confined to bed unable to walk, his sight and hearing fading. His dignity, strength of w i l l , and exemplary abi l i t y 2 8 to t e l l a good story stayed with him until the end. His daughter, Koda Aya has written very movingly of the years she spent caring for her aged father, the last of the great Meiji men of letters. Koda Rohan died at the age of eighty, on July 30 1947, one of the few men and certainly the only major li t e r a r figure to have lived from the Edo period into the postwar era 39 For the biographical information i n this chapter I have r e l i e d on: Yanagida Izumi, Koda Rohan (Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1942); Shiotani San, Koda Rohan 4 vols., Chuo Bunko ed. (Chuokoronsha, 1977); and Chieko Mulhern, Koda Rohan (Boston: Twayne, 1977). Some sources give his date of b i r t h as the twenty-sixth of July, 1867, rather than the twenty-third. Rohan himself was never sure which was correct. 2 Zenshu, Vol. 15, Front. Photo. 3 _ _ _ _ _ _ Kimura K i , "Koyo, Rohan, Ichiyo no Kyotsusei to Idosei," Kokubungaku: Kaishaku to Kansho, 43 (May, 1978), p. 8. One example from the P a c i f i c War years recounted by Shimomura Ryoichi, then an editor at Nihon Hyoron and instrumental i n "inducing" the author's f i n a l novels, concerns Rohan's knowledge of lacquer. Shimomura relates a conversation which moved from a discussion of incense to how i t was discovered lacquer-ware i s the best means of preserving the fragrance of rare incense. Rohan then mentioned how he had been ta l k i n g with someone from the m i l i t a r y who told him about problems they were having maintaining the atmosphere i n a i r c r a f t f l y i n g at high a l t i t u d e s . He suggested lacquer as a solution and heard that i t worked quite well. Shimomura notes the story appears to have involved Okoch'i Masatoshi ( 7v_2«J /£) jL-Jfr^ 1878-1952) who was head of the Tokyo Rikagaku Kenkyujo ("Physico-Chemical Research Institute") at the time. Shimomura Ryoichi, Bannen no Rohan ("Rohan's Later Years") (Tokyo: Keizai Oraisha, 1979), p. 20. 5 Shiotani, Vol. 1, p. 46. Koda Rohan, Ninomiya Sontoku (1891), Zenshu, Vol. 11, pp. 1-44. ^ Zenshu, Vol. 14, p. 1. The tran s l a t i o n i s Mulhern's, Koda Rohan, p. 26. The travel diary was o r i g i n a l l y published i n the Osaka Asahi Shimbun between May 18 and June 5 of 1890. 40 8 Shiotani, Vol. 1, p. 48-49. 9 Zenshu, Vol. 40, p. 37-38. 1 0 -Zenshu, Vol. 1, p. 137. 11 Noborio Yutaka, "Isanatori Ron," Bungaku, 46, No. 11 (1978), pp. 1405-1417. 12 Shiotani, Vol. 1, p. 59. Ninomiya Sontoku's book was published in a printed edition in 1886. Rohan had previously copied i t by hand. Son of a poor farmer, Ninomiya is known for his successful development of rural economies through rational farming techniques. Based on his own interpretation of Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto texts he devised a pragmatic moral philosophy which exerted a tremendous influence on post-Restoration Japan. The Tendai monk Shoken, also known as Koa Shonin ( fc] |^ ) X— A— ) wrote the Sanbu no Kanasho to relate his experiences at the Shinyodo and Seiryuji temples in Kyoto awakening him to the truth of Pure Land teachings. His prose is embellished with poetry, including quotations from the imperial anthologies and verse from the Sutras. His style was highly regarded in both Buddhist and literary circles. For the text see Dainihon Bukkyo Zensho, Vol. 44 (Tokyo: Suzuki Research Foundation, 1971), pp. 1-153. 13 After the death of his f i r s t wife, Rohan was le f t with two children to care for. The household experienced a series of illnesses and he married again with the thought that a woman at home would help to set things on even keel. The marriage was "unfortunate" because his second wife seems to have been unable or unwilling to provide the stable home l i f e and care for the children Rohan desired. She was active in Church affairs, often not at home to prepare dinner for the family, and frequently complained about Rohan's drinking. See Shiotani, Vol. 2, p. 313. 41 1 4 The t i t l e , "Zen Tenma" ( t^ - ) may have come from Nichiren ( £] 1222-1282), the founder of the Lotus Sect in Japan. The phrase is part of an/expression known as the shika kakugen ( U2 ^ "I" ) Nichiren used to c r i t i c i z e other sects: "nembutsu mugen, zen tenma, shingon bokoku, ri t s u kokuzoku" ( \l* 4fe flfl ^ jj[ % "L /|3 $ )|3 Qfyj )• "Pure Land meditation leads into an infin i t e h e l l , Zen is the practice of demons, Mantric Esotericism w i l l destroy the country, and the followers of the Rules (vinaya) are the plunderers of the nation." See Nakamura Hajime, Bukkyogo Daijiten, (Tokyo: Tokyo Shoseki, 1975), p. 509. 1 5 Donald Keene, World Within Walls, (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1976), p. 402. 16 — Kawamori Yoshizo, in the introduction to Koda Rohan Shu, Nihon Kindai Bungaku Taikei, Vol. 6 (Tokyo: Kadogawa, 1974), pp. 12-13. 17 Zenshu, Vol. 7, pp. 1-144. The novel evidently went by the t i t l e , "Tsuyu Dandan" in i t s early editions. The f i r s t editor had a pronunciation gloss (furigana), "tsuyu," for the f i r s t character which may also be read "ro" in the3Sino-Japanese (onyomi). Rohan is said to have remarked later that "ro" was the preferred reading. See Shiotani, VoL 1, p. 67. Despite the assertion in Yoda Gakukai1s diary that "this person [Rohan] has read a great number of western books and managed to grasp their essence — a genius hard to come by!" (Kawamori, p. 16), the inspiration for Ro Dandan seems to have come from a Ming collection of vernacular tales known in Japan as the Kinko Kikan ( ^) ~h % c. 1633). It is my guess the t i t l e comes from a line of Li Po's in the Gu Feng Shi ( ^ ffX "»^ r ) which runs: "Countless droplets of autumn dew// Like beads of white jade covering the garden greenery." < % <a f o £. // is? @) T & jHfe. ' 42 Kawamori, p. 14 19 Zenshu, Vol. 10, pp. 221-222. The translation is from Mulhern, Koda Rohan, p. 131. 20 -Koda Rohan, Unmei ("Destiny"), Iwanami Bunko ed. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1972), p. 5. The novel is included in Zenshu, Vol. 6. 21 - -Tanizaki Junichiro, "Jozetsuroku," in Tanizaki Zenshu, Vol. 20 (Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1968), p. 165. Mulhern's translation l n Koda Rohan, p. 147. Tanizaki was a life-long Rohan reader. He kept two sets of the new Rohan Zenshu, one in Tokyo and another in his Kyoto residence. The old twelve-volume edition of Rohan's collected works published between 1929 and 1934 he had rebound in fine bindings. See Fukumoto, p. 3-4. 2 2 Shiotani, Vol. 2, p. 186. 23 Hayden White in his study of the nineteenth-century European historical imagination, Metahistory (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1973), develops a view of historical writing not unlike the traditional Chinese attitude/ He defines an historical work as "a verbal structure in the form of a narrative prose discourse that purports to be a model, or icon, of past structures and processes in the interest of explain-ing what they were by representing them" (p. 2). In his analysis, he maintains histories and philosophies of history contain a deep structural element which is fundamentally poetic and which "serves as the precritically accepted paradigm of what a distinctively 'historical' explanation should be" (p. 1). He argues that the various modes of historiography "are in reality formalizations of poetic insights that analytically precede them and that sanction the particular theories used to give historical accounts the aspect of an 'explanation' (p. x i i ) . And in a 43 conclusion with which a traditional Chinese or Japanese historian might readily concur, he writes, "The best grounds for choosing one perspective on history rather than another are ultimately aesthetic or moral rather than epistemological" (p. x i i ) . 2 4* Richard J. Bowring in his very informative study, Mori Ogai and the Modernization of Japan (London: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1979), shows how Ogai's western, scientific training, what he calls his "Apollonian" stance, led him to fin a l l y reject the self-contained truth of fictional represent-ations and embrace "fact" as an end in i t s e l f . Ogai, he t e l l s us, refused "to foist upon reality a pattern he cannot apprehend" (p. 221). In his later work, Ogai wanted to exclude a l l fictional or imaginative elements from his attempt to come to grips with the past which had givenSbirth to his present-day Japan, "his aim was to write unadulterated history" (p. 237). The contrast with Rohan's view could not be greater. Recognizing the metaphoric nature of a l l discourse, including the description of "fact," Rohan valued the aesthetic and moral dimension in history that is brought to bare on the "facts" by the writer himself. Ogai chose "to study in.;detailoa series of failures" (p. 222). Rohan concentrated on men who led successful lives. One of Ogai's studies,"Suzuki Tokichiro" (1917), part of a series of four short biographical notes, was a work requested by the descendants of the subject of the study. It seems Suzuki was mentioned in a popular tale (kodan) told by the tel l e r of battle stories, Matsubayashi Hakuen (1812-1855). The reference implied Suzuki was an eta, a member of the outcaste group in Japanese society. Ogai's work showed that there was no definite proof either way, but reveals very clearly that Ogai was more interested 44 in questions of methodology and practical research problems than in the man being studied. This "depersonalized" writing has caused some to "argue that Ogai's study of history ended in a sterile world of unemotional reportage" (p. 239). Rohan too, "fought within himself a constant battle to justify to himself the significance of fiction in the modern world" (p.240), but i t is clear, in his case, the muse never abandoned him. 25 -Saito Mokichi, Yamamoto Kenkichi, Mushanokoji Saneatsu, and Shishi Banroku are among those holding this opinion of the work. 2 6 — — — Koda Rohan, Rohan HyOshaku Basho Shichibushu (Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1956): Zenshu, Vols. 20-23. 27 Personal communication from Prof. Maeda Ai (Feb. 9, 1981). 2 8 See the personal reminiscences of Kobayashi Isamu, Kagyuan Homonki ("Record of Visits to the Snail's Hermitage") (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1956); and Shimomura Ryoichi, Bannen no Rohan ("Rohan's Later Years") (Tokyo: Keizai Oraisha, 1979). 45 Chapter Two Listening with the Eye: A Prologue to Reading Rohan It is possible to hear the deep music of tradition in the works of Koda Rohan i f we know how to listen. In his essay, Bunsho Yo Ron ( 5C_" -^ J^- %% "Essentials of Writing" 1914), we come across the following: Flowing water rends the earth and envelops massive rocks to take on the form of a river and reveal i t s character. Ultimately a river reaches the ocean. In a similar way, the mind, overflowing and released, strings together characters into words, piles up words into phrases, and combines them in a sentence into a particular body. This then transmits energy, eventually communicating with others. Having reached the ocean, a river's being is exhausted. So too, writing, when i: i t connects with the other, attains completion. 1 The point, that writing be a natural outpouring which ends in communication, is straightforward enough. The striking thing about the passage is just how apropos the water analogy i s . Sometimes the effect of Rohan's prose is one of a mountain torrent as in Taidokuro, or a waterfall as in Kangadan ( J^jJ_, $A "Picture Viewing Tale" 1925). In Renkanki the impression is more one of a series of streams joining a wide river stretching to the sea. In Renkanki and Gendan ( "Illusory Tales" 1938), another late work, like the metaphorical river the final sentences seem to disappear into the same vast space the novels themselves end in. It has become fashionable to question the validity of claims concerning "communication" between text and reader. In Rohan's 46 view, however, the idea that a piece of writing was complete and meritorious when i t communicated what Mathew Arnold called "both sweetness and light" held a central place. He did not believe a work of literature could be confined to a simple moral, practical, or philosophical category. Nor could i t be seen solely in aesthetic terms. "Bungaku"'literature' was not only poetry and fiction; i t included a much wider range of written discourse. Rohan's view was close to the traditional Chinese and Japanese broad conception of the canons of literature. Actually, the "broad conception" appears to have prevailed in Europe as well before the late nineteenth-century. "Under that older conception literature comprises everything worthy to be read, preferably the best thoughts expressed in the best manner, but above a l l the best thoughts." Renaissance writers spoke of bonnes lettres but gradually the "grand, broad, and noble conception of literature as les bonnes lettres disappeared and was replaced by the narrower, more decadent conception 2 expressed by les belles lettres." Literature in Meiji Japan underwent a similar, but much more rapid, transformation. Rohan developed a style of writing that for a period around the turn of the century was admired and influential. But by the beginning of the Taisho era (1912) i t was already considered antiquated. Masamune Hakucho ( 1879-1962) wrote that Rohan's prose reminded him of a stolid samurai "in f u l l battle array draging along behind a hefty iron club heavily 47 3 weighted with a fool's wisdom." The fairness of this sardonic characterization aside, i t is true that "premature aging" was a fate encountered by many Meiji writers. For decades modes of written expression varied greatly; there was no concensus as to a standard prose style. The time-honoured distinction between bungo 'literary language' and kogo 'spoken language' began to break down. A sense of the diversity in prose styles can only be suggested by the following l i s t of different forms the language took in print in early Meiji: kambun chokuyakutai ( ^ /f$~ ) —- in the manner of translation from Chinese, following f a i r l y closely the syntax and diction of the foreign language; haishi yomihon no zokubuntai ( ,«£ c j ^ 0 ) $a "Z—tf^ ) — the vulgar style of romantic potboilers; yobuntai ( 5C_ ) — a style in the manner of Western languages; wabuntai ( -jj^ l ) — classical Japanese literary style; gazoku setchu buntai ( ^L^^% L^. 5C^ ,^$ ^ — elegant (i.e. literary) and colloquial styles mixed. The difference between any two would be somewhat greater than, say, the difference between the "Telemachus" and the "Molly" chapters of James Joyce's Ulysses. 4 A particular style might also be referred to by an author's name: Koson-cho after Aeba Koson ( ^ 1855-1922), Shiken-cho after Morita Shiken ( sg) 1861-1897), 48 Shoyo-cho after Tsubouchi Shoyo ( 1859-1935), and so on. By the mid 1890's the range had narrowed somewhat and to distinguish that juncture in the history of style, the period has been called the "Korosho'o period." This was when the styles of Koyo, Rohan, Shoyo, and Ogai were in ascendancy. Rohan's early style is said to have been greatly influenced by his reading of Ihara Saikaku and Genroku period haibun. This is a notion he himself later downplayed, but the similarities are unmistakable. Saito Mokichi wrote that "no one other than Rohan could write so powerfully in the sublime vein of the language of the Buddhist classics.""' Some found his mature style too Sinofied, others, quintessentially Japanese. Let us examine a bit more closely the general contours of Rohan's s t y l i s t i c development. Noborio Yutaka, in a recent article on Rohan's imaginative faculties and writing style, draws a distinction between buntai 'style' and bunsho 'composition'. It is a distinction I think useful in analyzing Rohan's work. He maintains that buntai is the expressive form of a writer's cognition 'Cninshiki no hyoshutsu keishiki"). It must be deduced from bunsho but is i t s e l f the process through which cognition takes literary form — a type of channel through which writing takes place. (We may be remind-ed here of the river analogy Rohan himself uses.) Buntai exists at a level prior to expression, bunsho. Thus matters such as sentence length, quality of diction, and so on are secondary 49 i n d i c a t i o n s of a more fundamental process. Bunsho may change from work to work, but the b u n t a i of an author i s not so r e a d i l y changed because i t i s the u n d e r l y i n g form of the w r i t e r ' s 6 c o g n i t i o n . While there seems to be a remarkable c o n t i n u i t y of buntai i n Rohan's f i c t i o n , evident to some extent i n the unchanging q u a l i t y of the n a r r a t i v e v o i c e , the outward e x p r e s s i o n undergoes a number of changes. Over the course of h i s c a r e e r , Rohan's mode of e x p r e s s i o n moved from the powerful, t a u t , jaunty sentences of works such as Furyubutsu and Goju no To toward the easy f l o w i n g r e l a x e d prose of Kangadan and Renkanki. T h i s i s r e a d i l y apparent when we compare the opening passages of the e a r l y Taidokuro and the r e l a t i v e l y l a t e Kangadan. Taidokuro begins: Ware g a n r a i share to i u koto o s h i r a z u , mata s u k i to tonaeru mono n i mo arade, tada f u r a f u r a to goshaku no kara o ou dedemushi no ukare kokoro yamigataku t o z a i -nanboku n i haimawarite, obotsukanaki kakuto no me n i c h i k a r a no oyobudake no yo o mitaku, i z a s a r e b a t o s e i Eguchi no Kimi no yado k a r i s a z u , U j i no kazokusama kosenyu i p p a i o oshimitamao tomo kamawaji yo, sato t o s h i i z a tsuyu to nemu kusamakura ... I, from the o u t s e t , ignorant of what i s c a l l e d r e f i n e d humor, nor being one to s i n g the p r a i s e s of elegant p u r s u i t s , merely t r i p along, whimsical mind hard to suppress, l i k e a s n a i l burdened by a s i x - f o o t carapace, c r a w l i n g around a l l p o i n t s of the compass, i n t e n t on seeing as much of the world as the eyes on my d o u b t f u l f e e l e r s can take i n . Be that as i t may, being turned away from a n i g h t ' s stay by a present-day Eguchi no Kimi, or m i s s i n g a cup of w o n d e r f u l l y aromatic s p i c e -tea p r o f f e r e d by a r i s t o c r a t s from U j i , bothers me not i n the l e a s t . Far from home I bed down with the dew On a p i l l o w of grass. 1 50 The tension, pace and rhythm of the opening lines of Kangadan are quite different: Zutto_mae no koto de aru ga, aru hito kara kimiai no myo na hanashi o k i i t a koto ga aru. Soshite sono hanashi o imadani wasurete inai ga, jimmei ya chimei wa ima wa sudeni rinkan no tabi no kemuri no yo n i , dokoka shiranu tokoro ni isshisatte i ru. It was a long time ago I f i r s t heard this astonishing yarn from someone. I s t i l l have not forgotten the story, but the personal names and place names have by now drifted away like smoke from a campfire through the trees of a forest to who knows where. Rohan's early work has an unmistakable gesaku or haibun flavor. His middle period fiction employs a less ornate bungobun which slowly moved toward the colloquial (genbun i t c h i ) . This movement toward the developing mainstream was suspended after his failure to complete the ambitious long novel, of Life" 1893-95). Yanagida Izumi maintains that while writing typhus. He almost died. His view of l i f e underwent a change and he felt his previous works were "too many empty words down from on high." Subsequently, the challenging, explosive, shocking tone of the stories with demons and lepers and nude bodhisattvas gave way to a more down to earth description of ordinary l i f e . That i s , the " c r i s i s " is supposed to have turned Rohan in the direction of a greater realism. Although Yanagida attributes this change to some sense of mission Rohan f e l t , "the ideal of improving and purifying humanity Furyu Mijinzo ( "The Minute Storehouse Furyu Mijinzo Rohan became very i l l with what may have been 51 through the beauty of l i t e r a t u r e , " we should r e c a l l that at the same time the a r t i s t was producing more and more r e a l i s t i c type f i c t i o n i n a prose approaching the contemporary c o l l o q u i a l s t y l e , he was a l s o w r i t i n g such works as Shin Urashima ( Z§f) Jtj "The New Urashima Taro" 1895) and Futsuka Monogatari ( \3 t <T> "Tale of Two Days" 1898). Both of these novels are f u l l of the e a r l i e r demonic v i s i o n s and t h e i r baroque c l a s s i c a l s t y l e makes no concessions to demands f o r r e a l i s m or the use of common spoken forms i n a r t i s t i c f i c t i o n . The c o n f l i c t behind these very d i f f e r e n t prose s t y l e s does not seem to be the e t h i c a l or pedagogical one suggested by Yanagida. I t seems rat h e r to be a problem of how to adapt h i s potent n a r r a t i v e v o i c e — h i s buntai — to the r a p i d l y changing l i t e r a r y scene. Rohan e v e n t u a l l y abandoned a l l attempts i n the d i r e c t i o n of n a t u r a l i s t i c or r e a l i s t i c f i c t i o n a f t e r the incomplete Sora Utsu Nami ("Waves S t r i k i n g the Heavens" 1903-05), where the jinobun ( Pfc^O) ) or n a r r a t i v e passages are i n the l i t e r a r y s t y l e (bungo) and the d i a l o g i s w r i t t e n i n the c o l l o q u i a l . For Rohan, w r i t i n g i n the genbun i t c h i s t y l e was, as Noborio puts i t , " l i k e the oppressiveness of borrowed c l o t h e s . I n an essay published i n 1914 e n t i t l e d "Bunsho oyobi Gengo no Kojo" ( /3L_~% %x> fe) "The Improvement of W r i t i n g and Language") he was s t i l l f i g h t i n g a b a t t l e most would have already conceded. Rohan wrote: 52 The forms of writing and the spoken language i n our country are not the same. The characters used are both signs for pronunciation and symbols of mental images [shinzo no shocho]. Sentences [bunsho] are two dimensionalT""not uni-dimensional. The history of style i n Japan confirms t h i s . ... To write sentences d i r e c t l y i n the spoken idiom, to try to make the form of the written conform exactly to the spoken, i s nothing more than s t r i v i n g for an " i d e a l . " The actual re s u l t s of t h i s pursuit are s t i l l very far from what i s envisaged. Consequently, provisional rules are established and the desire to make the spoken and written conform results i n imprisoning sentences with the stocks of the -spoken language.. Art i s something that requires freedom. Since any obstruction to a r t i s t i c freedom, be i t ever so t r i v i a l , i s undesirable, why i s i t that the great p i l l o r y of spoken language i s i n f l i c t e d on writing and the freedom of l i t e r a r y art plundered? Those who would do so are going to great pains to be th e i r own best enemy. They are binding t h e i r arms and f a l l i n g into a mold. In the end, they w i l l be unable to a t t a i n freedom of thought and action. In this connection i t i s interesting to note that both Tanizaki Junichiro and Kawabata Yasunari, i n t h e i r essays on style ( >~J^- •^r' "bunsho tokuhon") , urge a greater emphasis be placed on the use of the c l a s s i c a l idiom i n modern writing for e s s e n t i a l l y the same reasons stressed by Rohan i n the passage quoted. Any novel, i n addition to dialog, usually has some description and some explanation provided by the author or one of his personae. The explanatory material may be referred to i n Japanese as k a t a r i — the " t e l l i n g " or " r e l a t i n g . " The k a t a r i element looms large i n a pre-modern novelist such as Bakin or Dickens. In modern f i c t i o n the descriptive aspect i s usually dominant and the explanatory material suppressed. In Rohan's work the situation i s reversed. The dominance of katari i s what Noborio points out 53 as the central p i l l a r of Rohan's buntai ."^ Thus we f i n d i n the midst of description or "neutral f a c t s " within a story, or even entwined with the s u b j e c t i v i t y of a character, the author's presence as narrator. Put negatively, one might say Rohan never escaped his own voice or allowed his characters the freedom to surprise the s t o r y t e l l e r . (A "freedom" which i s none the less an i l l u s i o n of authorial technique.) On the other hand, this can also be seen as'a natural l i m i t a t i o n of t r a d i t i o n a l narrative forms with compensating features such as the di r e c t channel to the reader and freedom for the narrator to display his medium with r h e t o r i c a l bravura. Rohan's ka t a r i suspends the objective c a l c u l a t i o n of distance between object and s e l f ; the object i s pulled into the s u b j e c t i v i t y of s e l f and expressed i n subjective terms. In his novels, the d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of straight narrative,i dialogue, i n t e r i o r monologue, and authorial comment, evaluation and aside i s rather d i f f i c u l t . The same si t u a t i o n obtains i n c l a s s i c a l Japanese monogatari. A subjectively strong narrator, i n the midst of the narration, tends to obscure the self-other d i s t i n c t i o n . Often this resembles the phenomenon of the narrator at times being himself, and at times being a character i n the narration. Rohan's narrative voice was based on t r a d i t i o n a l monogatari prose. With this type of k a t a r i i t i s not possible to write what we have come to know as a modern r e a l i s t i c novel. It seems he maintained the t r a d i t i o n a l style primarily out of consideration 54 for i t s musicality and unity of narrative voice. His technique, his bunsho, did of course change over the sixty years he spent writing; the underlying deep structure of his l i t e r a r y imagination did not. Of the works discussed i n this essay, Taidokuro and Goju no To are representative of Rohan's early bungotai shosetsu — his " l i t e r a r y style novels." Renkanki i s written i n more or less kogotai, the "spoken s t y l e . " Yamamoto Kenkichi has characterized this l a t e r "spoken s t y l e " as "koentai" ( "0 yfi " o r a l narrative s t y l e . " In this mode, Rohan's writing "gives you the sense of s i t t i n g around the f i r e s i d e and l i s t e n i n g to a l i v e l y , informal tale from the mouth of one who has f u l l y r e a l i z e d his humanity [ 0) ^ -/C " j i n s e i no tatsu j i n " ]. " Reflecting b r i e f l y on the oral/musical basis of so many of the Japanese l i t e r a r y arts, from court poetry and Noh to J o r u r i , we can begin to understand why Rohan was unwilling to adapt a more modern style —= i t would mean the f o r f e i t u r e of so much. To emphasize Rohan's stress on the importance of sounds, I would l i k e to quote from his commentary on a poem i n Basho's Fuyu no Hi: Shigure no Maki ( "The Winter Sun: Early Showers Chapter") which reads: Mikazuki no Through the gloom Higashi wa kuraku East of the crescent moon Kane no koe. The t o l l of a temple b e l l . N i g h t f a l l with a three-day moon and to the east i t i s already dark. A tableau of dusk stretches beyond 55 the horizon as Heaven and Earth are about to be linked by night. The sound of the temple b e l l passes slowly, echoing i n the shadowy forest and fading at the rim of the clouds, evoking a s o l i t a r y t r a n q u i l i t y . ... The poem has no need for theory and the l i k e . Previous commentaries say the crescent moon i s seen i n the west and the b e l l heard i n the east. Some have i t that both moon and b e l l are i n the west and the east i s just dark. Neither view i s correct. Where'ever the sound of the b e l l comes from, i t i s f i n e : a r r i v i n g from the west or coming from the south, f a l l i n g from above or a r i s i n g from beneath the feet, i t admits no difference. There i s no b e l l tower i n view here, thus no need for this kind of discussion. Here we have only, from the midst of the darkness at dusk, the ringing of a temple's evening b e l l proclaiming the transitoriness of a l l endeavor. In the t o l l i n g , l i k e v i l e thoughts being washed away with water, karmic delusion i s immediately dissolved, body and mind f a l l away, and suddenly the truth i s grasped. The wonder of the poem's construction i s how a l l this i s disclosed, yet unspoken. Read i t three times! Enough to make anyone shed tears of gratitude. There i s no room for tangled_arguments_ of east and west. As explained i n the Surangama-sutra, the virtues of the eye are eight hundred"^ of the ear, twelve hundred. ... 14 One of the elements of a prose st y l e , which Yeats c a l l e d "the p l a y f u l demonstration of the medium i t s e l f , " i s rhythm. It tends to receive l i t t l e attention i n most discussions of prose, but i n Rohan's writing, especially the early work, rhythm i s a major feature. Simply put, rhythm refers to the pleasing flow of sounds. A s t r i c t e r d e f i n i t i o n can be applied involving an examination of duration, stress, pitch, and tempo (including pauses) i n a series of phrases or clauses which have been given a regular pattern. It i s primarily tempo and metrical rhythm we find i n 56 Rohan's prose. Here I w i l l l i m i t my remarks to a few general aspects. Specific examples are provided i n the discussion of individual works. A l l languages have a kind of latent meter or a tendency toward a certa i n set pattern of s y l l a b l e s . In Japanese i t i s the five-seven pattern. This i s the s y l l a b i c pattern of t r a d i t i o n a l Japanese verse, the tanka, haiku, and the i r linked forms. Its conscious use i n prose gives a natural flow to the sentences and (especially i n the modern period) evokes a c l a s s i c a l ambiance. Rohan's early works make extensive use of the five-seven s y l l a b i c rhythm and the poetic devices that have been developed over centuries for use with that p a r t i c u l a r l i n e : kire j i ( j^J 5jL "cutting words"), kakekotoba ( $ \ "pivot words"), and engo ( "associated terms"). Another notable feature of Rohan's writing i s the technique known as meishidome ( "^i] JL^. "the noun stop"). A sentence i n Japanese normally ends with a verb, often the copula. Occasionally, a sentence w i l l end with an adjective. The syntax o r d i n a r i l y runs: subject or topic, object, and then verb. However, modifications of nominals occurs before the noun so i t i s possible to have a long series of loosely related descriptive phrases a l l modifying the same noun. The noun becomes a focal point or center of gravity with the weight of the previous h a l f -dozen clauses balanced on i t . The energy of the whole, often 57 extremely lengthy sentence, comes to rest with an abruptness because sentences do not normally end with nouns. It breaks the tempo and throws a spotlight on the noun in a rather dramatic fashion. The technique was evidently derived from Saikaku, the master of rhythmic Japanese prose. The purpose of rhythm, Yeats t e l l s us, is to "prolong the moment of contemplation, the moment when we are both asleep and awake, which is the one moment of creation, by hushing us with an alluring monotone while i t holds us waking by its variety, to keep us in that state of perhaps real trance, in which the mind, liberated from the pressure of the w i l l , is 16 enfolded in symbols." The meishidome 'noun-stop' device serves to prolong this "moment of contemplation." It does so by causing a break in the rhythm and a crystallization around a particular image. This abrupt stop on a noun is something like the "point of charm" Yamazaki Masakazu refers to in his discussion of Zeami's ' the instant of emotional impact between the ha and kyu movements 17 in Noh, "the marvelous point of the opening of ears and eyes." The Noh technique is a more sophisticated, yet fundamentally similar, application of the principle of ma ( pg j ). "Ma" refers to the art of using an interval or space to heighten an a r t i s t i c effect. The mie or "climatic freeze pose" in kabuki is another ( ML R 1363-1443) aesthetics. The point of charm" is 58 example of the application of the principle of ma. This description of Saikaku's prose, a description which could easily be applied to some of Rohan's own best writing, centers on the use of ma, the opening or space in the flow of language: It has a pleasant lightness and marvelous spirituality. One has the impression of being in a boat made from the petal of a flower, shooting the rapids, flying through mountains, and dashing over boulders. After going beyond a stretch where there was no time to pause and examine in detail the flowers, grasses and trees, you come out into a vast ocean — only then do you have the opportunity to look around and reflect. By then the t r a i l behind you is already being buried in white clouds and the way before you is wrapped in an amorphous vapor.18 Before leaving this brief sketch of the salient features of Rohan's prose, one other important influence should be mentioned. With respect to individual works, i t is of course possible to point to immediate influences such as Noh texts and Basho's travel diaries on Taidokuro, Joruri and Kabuki on Goju no To, the principles of renku 'linked verse 1 on Kagyuan Hermitage" 1943), and so forth. But on a deeper level, the level referred to above as "buntai," I think i t is important to note the following. Despite forays into colloquial language writing in mid-career and a number of successful novels not written in bungobun 'literary style' toward the end of his l i f e , Linked Tales from the Snail's 59 Rohan was most comfortable with his variant of the kambun kundokutai bungobun style, that i s , l i t e r a r y Japanese tempered with strings of Chinese character phrases. There have been, and presumably s t i l l are, various schools or styles of reading kambun (Chinese) i n Japan. One of them, the monzen yomi ( "the Wen xuan reading" named after the c l a s s i c a l Chinese anthology), has been described as follows: "Whenever possible i t repeats the Chinese word to be glossed i n kan'on [Japanese version of Chinese pronunciation] and then explains i t with Japanese kun [native Japanese for the term i n question] often introduced by the Japanese quotative p a r t i c l e to_. Here as i n other respects i t c l e a r l y shows i t s 1 9 origins i n the oral t r a d i t i ons of the classroom." Rohan, we remember, withdrew from middle school, the Tokyo F i r s t Middle School i n Kanda, and the Tokyo English School i n favor of a t r a d i t i o n a l Confucian school. He i s known to have voraciously read a wide range of Chinese texts as a youth. It seems clear i t was this kambun tra i n i n g that had a tremendous affe c t on his s t y l e . The important point i s to keep i n mind that although kambun looks l i k e a series of signs meant mainly for the eye, kundoku, the Japanese reading, was o r i g i n a l l y developed for aural understanding. Terada Toru, discussing Rohan's essay on Lieh Tzu, "Resshi rather dense with Chinese characters, writes, "As you begin o Yomu" ( "Reading Lieh Tzu" 1927), a text 60 reading, as the eye follows the characters, deep i n the ear a powerful voice begins to be heard. That i s , one has the fe e l i n g of hearing an explanation." Terada claims the flow of thought i s much closer to language as i t i s actually spoken, s t o r y t e l l i n g s t y l e , than what i s now c a l l e d "spoken s t y l e " — 20 (kogobun). This agrees with Yamamoto's observations mentioned above and with what has been said about k a t a r i : the voice of the narrator permeates the text as a unifying force. The strength of t h i s voice i n Rohan's writing, both f i c t i o n and nonfiction, whether or not we attribute the effect to a kambun kundoku buntai, gives the reader a strange sense of having heard an intimate story from the text. After f i n i s h i n g Kangadan ("Picture Viewing Tale") or Gendan ("Mystifying Tales") the sound of the narrator's voice lingers i n the ear while the d e t a i l s of his 1 conjured space begin<;to fade from view. Having indicated why Rohan's prose style did not lend i t s e l f to the creation of a modern European-type novel, I hope I need not add this was not the kind of l i t e r a t u r e he sought to write. Yet he has been widely c r i t i c i z e d for just this supposed " f a i l u r e . " Above and beyond considerations of s t y l e , i t was over the issue of realism that Rohan and the bundan parted company. In a recent essay Denis Donoghue had t h i s to say about realism: A work of l i t e r a t u r e i s r e a l i s t i c when the reader finds i t easy to forget that i t i s l i t e r a t u r e , the f i c t i o n i s so continuous with what he already knows 61 of l i f e . Realism t r i e s hard to give the impression that the work of art i s r e a l l y a work of nature and that the a r t i s t has merely taken d i c t a t i o n from the t r u t h - t e l l i n g force i n l i f e i t s e l f . ... i t proceeds as though i t s p a r t i c u l a r form and style arose so spontaneously from the experience i t presents that the gap between the experience and the style seems to be closed.21 Faced with the manifestly superior technology and material c i v i l i z a t i o n of the West which was based on s c i e n t i f i c observation, the Meiji Japanese sought to emulate those achievements. Their l i t e r a t u r e moved closer to the realism fostered by a naive science. Naturalism and i t s outgrowth, the watakushi-shosetsu ("I-novel") won the day to the detriment of older l i t e r a r y s e n s i b i l i t i e s . A r e a l i s t i c sentence says "believe me" but a sentence i n d i f f e r e n t to realism says "enjoy me'.1" Realism makes claims upon truth the way science does. A l i t e r a t u r e with l i t t l e i n c l i n a t i o n toward realism i s more concerned with beauty and pleasure: i t i s able to, as Donoghue puts i t , "take pleasure i n the extravagance of the s i g n i f i e r . " The l i t e r a r y taxonomist often t r i e s to include Rohan under the rubric "Romantic I d e a l i s t . " As far as the early works are concerned i t would be d i f f i c u l t to deny this characterization. The tenor of his l a t e r work might be better described as " a n t i -r e a l i s t . " An a n t i - r e a l i s t would hold that realism "impedes the freedom of imagination, fantasy, [and] the metaphorical p o s s i b i l -i t i e s to be discovered within the a r t i s t i c medium; and therefore 62 conspires with a complacent society to maintain i t s common-22 places, especially those of character, i d e n t i t y and his t o r y . " The greatest danger of realism from this point of view i s that i t attempts to employ signs that conceal t h e i r character as signs and pretend to be the truth i t s e l f . During a c r i t i c a l juncture early i n his career, while he was at Jigokudani, a hot springs retreat, Rohan wrote " A Commentary on the Secondary Significance of the Heart Sutra" ( JffL,$i Aj' %> ^ >£_ "Hanya Shingyo Dainigichu" 1890). He explains his commentary can only deal with secondary meanings because the essential truths of the sutra can not be grasped with language. (This, by the way, i s the reason why the t i t l e s of so many of his works begin with "furyu" — the term emphasizes the secular, equivocal nature of the writing.) Rohan's a r t i s t r y lay not i n making the t r i v i a l and transitory appear to be true and enduring, but i n his a b i l i t y to express i n the play of language, i n the sounds of a story, deep human emotion and a taste of the sublime. 63 I Koda Rohan, "Bunsho Yo Ron" ("The Essentials of Writing"), in Rohan Zenshu ("The Complete Works of Koda Rohan"), 41 vols.; (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1949-58), Vol. 25, pp. 50-51. Subsequent references to the Rohan Zenshu wi l l be cited as Zenshu with the appropriate volume and page numbers. 2 E. D. Hirsch,Jr., The Aims of Interpretation, (Chicago and London: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 140-141. 3 - -Masamune Hakucho, as cited in, Koda Rohan Shu, Nihon Kindai Bungaku Taikei Series, No. 6 (Tokyo: Kadokawa, 1974), p. 595. The Japanese i s : "omoi yoroi o kita ue ni, rochijin no motte ita yo na nanjukan mo suru tetsunobo o hikizutte iru yo na bunsho." 4 For a number of informative articles on modes of written expression in the Meiji period see the special issue "Meiji no Buntai" (PMeiji Prose Styles") of Kokubungaku, 25 (August, 1980). ^ Saito Mokichi, "Kadan Mankaku Cho" ("Notes on Myriad Awakenings in the Poetry Circle"), as cited by Fujioka Takeo, Saito Mokichi to no Shuhen (Tokyo: Komyosha, 1973), p. 301. 6 — — Noborio Yutaka, "Koda Rohan no Sozoryoku to Buntai" ("Rohan's Imagination and Style"), Kokubungaku, 25 (August,1980), pp. 98-103. 7 Zenshu, Vol. 1, p. 137 8 Zenshu, Vol. 4, p. 383 9 -Yanagida Izumi, Meiji Bungaku Zenshu, Vol. 25 (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1968), as cited by Noborio, p. 100. 10 Noborio, p. 101. II -Zenshu, Vol. 25, p. 55. 12 364 13 Yamamoto Kenkichi, Soseki Takuboku Rohan (Tokyo: Bungei Shunju-sha, 1972), p. 176. Koda Rohan, Rohan Hyoshaku Basho Shichibushu ("Rohan's Commentary on The Seven Collections of the Basho School") (Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1975), p. 91 1 5 William B. Yeats, "The Tragic Theatre," in The Cutting • of an Agate (London: MacMillan, 1922), p. 35. 1 6 Yeats, p. 86. 17 Yamazaki Masakazu, "The Aesthetics of Transformation: Zeami's Dramatic Theories," trans, with intro. by Susan Matisoff, The Journal of Japanese Studies, 7 (Summer, 1981), p. 249. 18 — Fukumoto Kazuo, Nihon Runessansu-shiron kara mita Koda Rohan ("Koda Rohan Viewed from the Perspective of Japanese Renaissance Theory") (Tokyo: Hosei Daigaku Shuppan Kyoku, 1972), p. 25. 19 Roy Andrew Miller, The Japanese Language (Chicago and London: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1967), p. 118. Terada Toru, "Rohan no Kosho," ("Rohan's Textual Studies") Bungaku, 46, No. 11 (1978), p. 1354. 21 Denis Donoghue, "The Real McCoy," rev. of Essays on Realism, by Georg Lukacs, and The Realistic Imagination, by George Levine, New York Review, 19 November, 1981, p. 44. Donoghue writes in the same review, "Realism encourages the reader to believe that what he thinks he knows is indeed the case, and that what he doesn't know is continuous with what he thinks he knows. Unrealism diverts him from knowledge to his heart's desire, in keeping with the fact that fi c t i o n is fi c t i o n because, without i t , he would die of fact", (p.44) . 22 Donoghue, p. 44. 65 Chapter Three Encounter With A Skull Deep in the Snowy Mountains Would I vanish In search of the brew that is death For those who love.-'-On the back page of the magazine Shincho Hakushu for September, 1889, an issue which included Rohan' s f i r s t piece of really masterful writing, Furyubutsu ("An Alluring Buddha"), there is an advertisement for Taidokuro ( rg 7^ ^jf-. 2 "Encounter with a Skull"). It reads in part: A novel beyond the law! Never before such a contro-versial work! Never before such eroticism [iroppoki]! 2 Never before such an unusual, perplexing work as this! We may forgive the hyperbole, such is the nature of advertising, but the repetition of "never before" challenges the prospective reader to find elements in the novel that have been encountered in previous literature. Even a cursory reading of Taidokuro reveals its great debt to classical sources going back as far as the Tale of Genji from which the poem quoted above has been taken. The work mines traditional literary forms, especially the Noh theatre, for both thematic material and s t y l i s t i c devices. Like the best of pre-modern Japanese literature, i t too develops a poetic tension 66 between "t h i s world" and a "beyond;" i t evokes a sense of the pleasures of the body at odds with the freedom of s p i r i t . This i t does while managing to maintain a reverence for the complexity and mystery of real existence. The "mystery of rea l existence" as encountered i n many Japanese poems and some prose narratives might be expressed i n the following paradox: Mundane existence i s nothing but the l i f e of the Buddha himself. Should one loathe and try to abandon i t , that i s precisely to lose the l i f e of the Buddha. Should one stay with i t and c l i n g to mundane existence that also would mean to lose the l i f e of the Buddha. At the same time we note Taidokuro' s debt to the pas^t we should also point out the o r i g i n a l i t y and s k i l l with which c l a s s i c a l elements are reworked into a fresh, modern expression. It i s an excellent example of how t r a d i t i o n always involves a pattern of persistence and change. The hero of the novel goes by the author's own name and the temporal and spatial d e t a i l s have close autobiographical parallels.~* It reminds us of the Edo period travel d i a r i e s while anticipating the watakushi-shosetsu ("I-novel") development. Although the eroticism i n the novel stays within the bounds of the l i g h t t i t i l l a t i o n of Edo pillow books, the work concludes with a very graphic passage describing a woman i n an advanced stage of leprosy which must have profoundly shocked the Mei j i audience. Taidokuro honors i t s predecessors while developing d i f f e r e n t pathways of expression 67 and e l i c i t i n g new levels of response. The novel t e l l s the story of a young man, "Rohan" ( ) , who, while attempting to traverse some rugged mountain country i n early spring, l o s t and exhausted, chances upon the lonely dwelling of a beautiful young woman, "Otae" ( ^ ^pj?" )• Invited to spend the night, the protagonist wrestles with his desires and fears with respect to the woman who seems at once provocative, threatening, and motherly. That there i s only one set of bedding occasions some amusing comic-erotic banter, but temptation i s f i n a l l y overcome and the situ a t i o n resolved by both staying up through the night. Time passes quickly as Otae relates her l i f e story, explaining how she came to abandon the world and achieve freedom and enlighten-ment i n her s o l i t a r y mountain abode. Dawn breaks and the young man finds no house or companion, only a white s k u l l at his feet: ... just then, with the morning sun sending forth i t s f i r s t streaks of red, the house and woman vanished into the r i s i n g mist. Alone, crouching i n l a s t year's withered brush to t i e my bootlace,gl encountered at my feet, a bleached, white s k u l l . He buries the sk u l l believing i t to be that of the woman in his v i s i o n and follows a stream down to a hot springs v i l l a g e . An innkeeper responds to his query about a woman wandering i n the v i c i n i t y with a grotesque description of a leprous woman he witnessed entering the mountains the previous year. She was 68 i n a raging frenzy, stumbling along chanting, "Cast off by the world, I throw i t a l l away!" ("yo n i suterarete yo o sutete") Each of the three sections of Taidokuro begins with a b r i e f three--line heading p l a y f u l l y teasing the reader with an i r o n i c comment on the narrative to follow. The f i r s t heading reads: Tabi n i michizure no a j i wa shiranedo yo wa nasakearu onna no kotogoto tadashi dokoyara n i kowai tokoro a r i g a t a i tokoro. Don't yet know the taste of companionship on the road, though the world i t s e l f be a compassionate woman, somewhere for sure i s that witch to fear, that which to hold dear. " This introduces the michiyuki ( iC^^J ) stretch of the story. A michiyuki i s a description of a journey, usually i n highly poetic language, derived from the conventions of Noh. In the l a t e r Joruri and Kabuki theatres the michiyuki was expanded and took on a dramatic function while retaining i t s l y r i c emphasis. Such passages usually contain allusions to, or quotations from, c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e . The michiyuki i n Taidokuro presents the protagonist, a young l i g h t - s p i r i t e d t r a v e l l e r , as he moves through a series of transformations to reach the space i n which the central action occurs. In the three lines of the heading we have the main elements of the f i r s t part of the story: A lone t r a v e l l e r , the 69 thought of a compassionate female, and the caveat that the combination may induce either fear or gratitude. The heading of the second section, alluding to Ise Monogatari ( / ( ^ "The Tales of Ise"), the tenth-century song narrative (uta monogatari), and Chikamatsu's J o r u r i , Keisei Shutendoji ( ^ ;j§ T p " " T h e Amorous Brigand of Mt. Oe"), reads: Irojikake inochi ayauki onihitokuchi to nigete mawarishi okubyo mono shi s a i uketamawareba sh i s a i nakikoto. An a r t f u l seduction threatens to dispatch his l i f e i n one f e l l swoop as the coward runs this way and that to escape, yet once the facts are known, there i s nothing to i t at a l l . ^ The lines r i d i c u l e the interplay of lone t r a v e l l e r and alleged temptress, while suggesting the ultimate innocence or vanity of the a f f a i r . The t h i r d part of the story i s introduced with the l i n e s : Kikeba kikuhodo s u j i no wakaranu k o i j i no hajime to sator i no owari yokuyoku tadashite mireba seken n i o i koto. The more you l i s t e n , the less you understand this narrative from i t s beginning on the path of love to a f i n a l awakening, i f you look very ,yery c a r e f u l l y , nothing could be more common. •I-u This f i n a l section, which includes a lengthy tale within the t a l e , 70 i s given over to Otae's l i f e story. The heading winks at the young man's confusion and advises us not to take the story at face value, but to look instead at the larger significance of the narrative. The satori 'awakening' referred to occurs more than once. Numerous references to s p e c i f i c characters, the rhythm of certain passages, and the s i m i l a r i t y of o v e r a l l structure remind 11 the reader of this novel's debt to c l a s s i c a l Noh drama. The Noh i s usually divided into three sections or dan ( ^ -^ L, ) . The Jo section ( ) introduces the waki ( *7 ^ ) or deuter-agonist, often a t r a v e l l i n g monk. In Taidokuro the portion of the narration r e l a t i n g the young t r a v e l l e r ' s experience from the inn at the hot springs to his f i r s t encounter with the woman corresponds to the Jo_ movement in Noh. In this movement, rhythmic music and i n t e n s i f i e d poetic language work to set a mood and draw the waki and audience into a realm somewhat removed from waking consciousness. The structure of Rohan's story follows what i s known as fukushiki mug en no ( "t[^ ^ £~^J )> l i t e r a l l y , "multiple dream Noh," often c a l l e d simply, " v i s i o n Noh." In such a play, a t r a v e l l e r meets the s p i r i t of a deceased person i n the form of a dream or h a l l u c i n a t i o n . He hears t h e i r story, views t h e i r dance, and generally commiserates with t h e i r tale of woe. After a pause or i n t e r v a l , the s p i r i t returns i n i t s true form and discloses i t s o r i g i n a l i d e n t i t y to the t r a v e l l e r . 71 The middle development or ha ( ) movement i s i t s e l f often composed of three parts. F i r s t i s the entrance of the mae j i t e ( fll) y J ), the protagonist of the f i r s t part. This i s followed by a conversation between this maejite and the waki, conducted i n song and dance. F i n a l l y , the high point i s reached when the protagonist completes the communication of his or her story with an emotional chant and dance known as the kuse ( y7 ) part. In a similar way, i n Taidokuro we have the appearance of Otae to the young t r a v e l l e r , Rohan, followed by a section of sustained serio-comic banter between the two which establishes the pretext for Otae's long l i f e story. Her account i s a complete drama within this drama, which ends abruptly with the coming of dawn and the di s s o l u t i o n of the v i s i o n . In the t h i r d part or kyu ( ) movement of a Noh play there i s a quickening of the pace as the drama moves toward i t s f i n a l e . i n " v i s i o n Noh" the n o c h i j i t e ( > jT ) 5 the protagonist of the second part, appears and discloses his'or her true i d e n t i t y , then dances a very powerful dance expressive of th e i r p a r t i c u l a r a f f l i c t i o n or attachment. The macabre "dance" of the leprous woman described i n extremely graphic terms by the v i l l a g e r i n Ogawa corresponds closely to the f i n a l dance 12 of the nochi j i t e i n Noh. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the mad woman's frenzy can be thought of as a v a r i a t i o n on the kakeri ( *3 ]) ) , 72 the "rush dance" of a crazed woman or warrior often accompanied by rapid flute. The villager's account concludes: From time to time she would pause, catching her breath, heaving as i f to vomit forth the poisons flooding her viscera. It wasn't only the dogs and birds that fled her path, a single glance f i l l e d a person with a terrible nausea. Just the thought of that terrible smell recollected during a meal would dispell the pleasure of eating miso soup.. Remember the oozing pus and you'd have to pass up such''delicacies as salted, fermented fish entrails. Nobody had the heart to provide her with even a handful of boiled rice. She was le f t to manage as best she could. You could hear, despite wretched articulation, what sounded like a song chanted with great sorrow, "Cast off by the world, I throw i t a l l away!" She tottered uncertainly, wavering back and forth, her voice a wheezing rage. "Aargh!" Glaring at the empty sky, and brandishing her bamboo staff, winding crazily, striking out at the roadside rocks and trees, she leaped and lunged, her heart burning in flames of wrath, in madness, pure madness, she went off without a trace.1 3 While the overall structure of the work reflects the basic pattern of '-'vision Noh," the encapsulated tale — Otae' s l i f e history — serves to develop in straight narrative the same thematic material presented indirectly in the frame. Otae's tale is reminiscent of the narrative line in Kayoi Komachi ( j f L / | - $ J ), a Noh play by Kan'ami ( $%Jffi ^ 1332?-1406?). Donald Keene has summarized the play this way: An unknown woman ... appears each day to offer fruits and firewood to a priest. He asks her name, but after hinting that she is Ono no Komachi, the poet, she 73 disappears. Later, the priest offers prayers for the woman's salvation and she returns asking that he administer to her Buddhist ordination. But a voice c a l l s out forbidding t h i s . Komachi pleads to be given the chance of salvation, but the ghost of her rejected lover Fukakusa ... seeks to prevent Komachi from deserting him i n h e l l . In the end his wrath i s appeased and both a t t a i n the way of the Buddha. 1 4 The young lord who pines away for Otae puts us i n mind of Fukakusa who, legend has i t , v i s i t e d Komachi and was refused for ninety-nine nights before he f i n a l l y died. Although Otae had largely resigned herself to her lonely fate sealed by her mother's l e t t e r informing her of her t e r r i b l e communicable disease, her resolve i s shaken by the young lord's love. Like Fukakusa's love for Komachi, that love becomes both an obstacle to her salvation and the impetus propelling her toward her enlightenment. The t i t l e of this work, Encounter with a Skull, indicates that, contrary to the s i t u a t i o n i n Noh where the shite has the main role, here, the waki, "Young Rohan" i s the focus of the story. It i s his encounter to which the t i t l e r e f e r s . The novel begins with this young man who has stopped for a cure at a hot spring? deep i n the mountains of Chuzenji i n central Japan. As mentioned above, the "hero" of the tale i s i d e n t i f i e d with the writer, Rohan1-'The hero recognizes that he i s associated with the l i g h t , transient, " f l o a t i n g world" of appearances. He has "a buoyant s p i r i t with no fixed abode." He i s resigned "to 74 wander through the universe, always r e s t l e s s , " the "ebb and flow of h i s f a t e determined by the winds of karma." He i s not a l t o g e t h e r l a c k i n g i n a s p i r a t i o n f o r s p i r i t u a l c u l t i v a t i o n as h i s mocking reference to himself as "a three day monk with part-time d i s c i p l i n e " shows. He disregards the innkeeper's advice and, ra t h e r than r e t u r n the way he has come, i n s i s t s on t r a v e r s i n g an i n f r e q u e n t l y taken, rather d i f f i c u l t pass through the mountains. The high point on t h i s route separates Kozuke and Shimotsuke provinces, "the upper and lower f i e l d s . " In s p i t e of a warning that t h i s journey should not be undertaken l i g h t l y , he allows a streak of stubborness and the opportunity f o r a show of bravado to in f l u e n c e h i s d e c i s i o n . A c t i n g against common sense and honest advice he sets out with a sturdy giant of a guide, only to r e a l i z e very q u i c k l y what an uncommon, formidable journey he has begun. The a t t e n t i v e reader r e a l i z e s from the outset j u s t how uncommon a space awaits the young hero. The opening passage contains a l l u s i o n s to the story of Eguchi no Kimi ( >X- *0 <P) ^ ) and Basho's t r a v e l j o u r n a l , Nozarashi Kiko ( h> ^" v ^tj "^J "The Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton"). Eguchi no Kimi i s mentioned by name and r e f e r s to famous courtesan, Tae (^^7 ), who appears i n a story t o l d of Saigyo ( $3 1118-1190) , the great p o e t - p r i e s t of medieval Japan. She refuses the t r a v e l l i n g p r i e s t lodging f o r the night i n an exchange of poems f i l l e d w ith 75 double entendre. In some versions she i s l a t e r revealed to be an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. The legend 17 was adapted by Kan'ami i n his Noh play e n t i t l e d Eguchi. ;The conjuction of prostitute and saviour i s not quite so s t a r t l i n g as we might imagine. During the Edo period,for example, ukiyo-e prints of popular courtesans i n the guise of bodhisattvas were very popular. The prostitute as bodhisattva, a model of compassion without attachment, i s p a r t i c u l a r l y poignant since i t i s probably the women of the night who know better than anyone the vanity of the passions. The a l l u s i o n to Eguchi no Kimi i n the text serves to a l e r t the reader to the age-old pattern being introduced and set the mood of the narrative to follow. The Saigyo theme i s continued i n the same passage with the phrase, "... negoto n i bakari wa shizuku tokutoku kokoromi n i ukiyo sosogabaya to hakanaki senjo ..." ("'tis only lonely gibberish that, 'Would that the watery droplets undertake to wash away the f l o a t i n g world,' mere f u t i l e defiance . . . " ) . — 18 Rohan has taken part of this phrase from Nozarashi Kiko. Refer-ence to Basho's journal, which opens with the image of a skeleton (possibly Basho's v i s i o n of his own) by the wayside, prefigures the appearance of the s k u l l toward the end of this t a l e . The phrase from Basho comes from the end of a passage describing the poet's v i s i t to Saigyo's hermitage near Oku no In on Mount Koya. Basho notes that the clear water running from a spring 76 near the s i t e of the hermitage seems unchanged from the time of Saigyo — i t i s s t i l l p e r c o l a t i n g p u r i t y . The passage then concludes with the v e r s e quoted above except, we should note, Rohan has changes the f i r s t word, tsuyu ("dew") to shizuku ('droplets") , a word Basho uses i n the prose preceeding h i s haiku. Basho's verb, susugu becomes sosogu, both meaning "to wash." The o r i g i n a l poem goes: Tsuyu tokutoku Would that these d r o p l e t s of dew Kokoromi n i ukiyo Undertake to r i n s e away .~ Susugabaya. This d o l e f u l f l o a t i n g world. The hero's movement i n t o an unexpected, supramundane realm takes the formoof a guided ascent and f r e e descent. Deep i n the mountains, as a c o l d wind blows down h i s back and h i s b r e a t h -i n g becomes lab o r e d , he reaches the f i n a l stage of the climb: The t r a c k s of r a b b i t and deer marking the snow f i n a l l y disappeared and the sound of b i r d c a l l s g r a d u a l l y faded away. My body p e r s p i r e d h e a v i l y from the s t r a i n of the ascent. I t was as though the d e f i l e d garments of the f i v e d e s i r e s c o v e r i n g and c o n c e a l i n g the mind were being peeled o f f l a y e r by l a y e r and the demon k i n g , u n t i l a moment ago r e v e l l i n g i n the g l o r y of i t s u n l i m i t e d miraculous power at the ego center i n the s i x t h l e v e l of consciousness, suddenly became b e r e f t of camp f o l l o w e r s and a l l i e s , and was reduced to a vacuous, tenuous sadness. Somehow, I had become a defeated w a r r i o r f l e e i n g the world i n f e a r . Perhaps the s t a t e was something l i k e the semi-death of the senses at the dawn of o l d age when the body draws towards i t s end. How h e a r t l e s s ! Such a l o s s of s t r e n g t h and so l i t t l e to r e l y on. As a profound sadness w e l l e d up uncontrollably, from 77 out of the darkness of the treetops came the scream of a bi r d s h r i l l enough to pierce stone. At that point, a shock went up my spine and before my eyes reeled a wild fountain of arabesques. "Here's where we part," .... 20 The guide gives him perfunctory directions and departs, leaving him alone, half frozen, and soon to lose his way on the descent. The changes i n the hero and his environment during the climb prepare him and the reader for the space beyond normal ken they are about to enter. F i r s t , the signs of animal existence disappear. Then the f i v e senses are p u r i f i e d . P u r i f i e d i n that th e i r attachment to th e i r corresponding objects i s weakened or broken due to the s t r a i n and concentration of the ascent. The hero's ego (here Rohan employs the vocabulary of Buddhist epistemology — "dairokushiki mao;" Skt., mano-vijnana-mara) i s stripped of i t s defenses, i t s t i e s to the mundane world are loosened, and penetration to a deeper region made possible. The story adheres clo s e l y to the timeless pattern of heroic adventure derived from mythology. Although the climb was a severe hardship, the hero must experience further suffering on the descent: he i s bruised, scratched, and half buried by a snowslide; his clothes are torn by the brush and the soles of his shoes cut through. As night f a l l s he i s l o s t , his tie s to the quotidian severed. 78 It i s worth noting that i t i s invariably substantial e f f o r t c a l l e d forth by a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n that sustains and carries Rohan's characters to the insight or s a t i s f a c t i o n they achieve. In the a r t i s a n novels of his early period, characters such as Shozo of Ikkoken ("One Sword") or Jubei of Goju no To ("The Five-Storied Pagoda") are required to exert tremendous e f f o r t , to draw on resources and energies they were only dimly aware of possessing, i n order to become masters of t h e i r own fate. In both novels, and to some degree i n Taidokuro as well, a sense of pride i s what triggers the individual's c o n f l i c t with his workaday world and provides the i n i t i a l impetus for the drive to some form of transcendence. The realm the hero i s transported to i s c l e a r l y demarcated. As he s i t s despondently i n the forest about to r e t i e a broken shoelace, he sees a l i g h t f l i c k e r i n g i n the distance. Approaching, he discovers a "simple cabin with thatched roof set beneath a 22 large, mountain cherry tree just beginning to bud. The spot i s watered by a stream. The water signals l i f e , l i k e the streams running through Shinto shrines i d e n t i f y i n g the place as sacred; i t also marks the way back to c i v i l i z a t i o n and company, for a mile and a hal f downstream i s the v i l l a g e , Ogawamura. A more s t r i k i n g marker i s the yamazakura 'mountain cherry.' In the deepening darkness i t casts an aura of beauty and desolation. The yamazakura i s a season word (kigo) associated with spring. In our narrative i t i s A p r i l . Rohan has just 79 descended from a cold, snowfilled pass — a deathly place — to light, water, and the promise of flowers. The tree, harbinger of the woman within the dwelling, is not yet in bloom. The buds, analygous to a woman's nipples, are tight ("tsubomi no kataki") either in anticipation or from the lingering night c h i l l . The yamazakura is a very evocative image used by countless poets. Two examples are instructive. First, a waka by Daisojo Gy5son ( 1057-1135): Moro tomoni Together we sense a deep yearning Aware to omoe The mountain cherry and I, Yamazakura Other than your blossoms _„ Hana yori hoka ni Who else is there that knows? Shiru hito mo nashi. The eleventh-century poet, grandson of the Emperor Sanjo, is famous for his mountain asceticism (yamabushi shugendo). This poem, one of Fujiwara Teika's ( ^ ^ %jff^ 1162-1241) Hyakunin Isshu ( g / H ) select ions, was composed deep in the mountains at Omine in early spring. Yosa Buson ( J ? - ^ ^} 1716-1783) captures the loneliness, fear, fondness and beauty associated with the yamazakura in this series of three haiku (rensaku sanku): Sabishisa ni It seems to blossom Hana sakinu meri Out of its loneliness, Yamazakura. The mountain cherry. \ 80 I s h i k i r i no Yubi yaburitaru Tsutsuji kana. A stonecutter's Smashed finger and Scattered azaleas! Hirachi yukite Kotoni t o i yama Sakura kana Ah, now as I approach lower ground There on a distant mountain A flowering cherry. 24 It i s thus with a sense of ant i c i p a t i o n and trepidation that our hero makes his plight known to the occupant of the house who, to his alarm, i s found to be a young woman. She i s an extraordinaryywoman, one of the best portrayals of female character i n Rohan's f i c t i o n . The young man i s invited into the world of that which i s marvelous, mysterious, charming or strange. She becomes i n turn, mother, temptress, saint and witch, roles which are interpretations or r e f l e c t i o n s of Young Rohan's consciousness. Otae herself, we are led to believe, actually inhabits a realm 25 "informed by sublime truth" ("friyotai o uru n i i t a r u " ) . The contrast between the l i g h t , f l o a t i n g , almost c h i l d l i k e existence of the man and Otae's weighty, deeper presence i s sharply drawn and developed. Doubts the young man has about this unaccountable female carry the reader along involving him i n the same questions. The mood fluctuates from t i t i l l a t i o n to fear, from fear to domesticity, as the hero i s bathed, fed, and bedded down for themight. The banter between the two i s f i l l e d with humor and suggestion mixed with a hint of rea l terror. Otae. Her name i s written with a character ) si g n i f y i n g 81 There i s some marvelously humorous writing with a l i v e l y rhythm resembling the dialog i n Joruri and Kabuki: How sha l l I respond [to Otae's i n v i t a t i o n to share her bed]? Just what should I do? Ah yes, I r e c a l l hearing an old story about Basho who when a woman grasped his sleeve remained perfectly s i l e n t and immobile. When the woman f i n a l l y l e t go and was about to move away, Basho caught hold of her robe from behind and with the poem, "Turn this way, I too am lonely, In this autumn t w i l i g h t " t r i e d to guide her to deliverance. I firmly resolved to follow Basho's example and remain completely s i l e n t . With my mind fixed on contemplating the nine aspects of decomposition of the body, I sat down with an energy firm and stalwart enough to s p l i t yin from yang. The woman, growing impatient, increased the force i n her hand clasping mine. "Well, just what have you been thinking? Come this way, come on!" She began to p u l l me to my feet. As she pulled harder and harder I mustered the strength of my whole body to r e s i s t her. "Oh please come this way! For a l l your talk of light-hearted t r a i p s i n g through mountains and f r o l i c k i n g over water, when a l l i s said and done, you are r e a l l y a pretty r i g i d , s t r a i t l a c e d person, aren't you," she said continuing to tug. This i s i t , I thought, i f this enchantress ever moves me a single step. Like a stone buddha guarding a crossroads, I braced myself against the woman's deliberate p u l l . a Feeling myself sl i p p i n g , i n v o l u n t a r i l y , I l e t out a scream, shook free my hand, and started to f l e e . She pursued and grabed my sleeve, giggling. "Oh no! You must r e a l l y think I'm the apparition of some monster to despise me so much. Though I believed you courageous and s p i r i t e d , my kind intentions have served only to alarm you. A grave mistake to have upset you so. Sincerely now, I am neither the emanation of a demoness nor one who has abandoned the f l o a t i n g world only to be caught up i n the delusions of desire. In any case, I would never i n s i s t on anything you found abhorent. But were I to allow you to leave now to fi n d your way i n the night, i t would be an utter f a i l u r e 82 i n h o s p i t a l i t y . There would be no end to my regret. So please, please s i t down and stay." Once restrained, and a f r a i d to bluntly refuse her entreaty, I sat down at the far side of the hearth. She picked up a hatchet and stood up! Noticing a st a r t l e d , anxious look come over me again, she laughed, slipped on her straw sandals, and went out. "Crack! Crack!" came the sharp ring of wood being s p l i t . 26 After a meal i s served i n elegant but incongruous u t e n s i l s , the hero t r i e s to analyze this remarkable woman whom he observes, " s i t s under the lamp sewing up the torn seams of my kimono looking for a l l the world l i k e she has been my wife for ten years, yet strangely, managing this without the least trace of sexuality." Otae has already frightened him and mothered him and i s about to tempt him with an offer to share her bed, but the young man i s s t i l l at a loss, "Just what i s she? A woman who has abandoned the world? Maybe, but her fragrant black hair says she i s no nun. But i f she has not chosen to forsake the world, what i s she doing alone deep i n the mountains with absolutely nobody to notice her beauty? It does nothing to ? 7 a l l a y suspicion...." The questions thrown back and forth i n the man's mind are treated l i g h t l y here, but do point to the problem of attachment and suffering, a problem at the heart of thi s work. In Taidokuro the object of desire, the cause of attachment, has been d i f f e r e n t i a t e d into three images: beautiful, red-blooded Otae, transcendent white s k u l l , and mad leprous woman. The promise and the dangers involved i n a male-female 83 relationship are highlighted i n the entertaining serio-comic sit u a t i o n revolving around the issue of who sleeps i n the only set of bedding i n the house. When Otae f i r s t suggests Rohan share the bed with her, he begins to r e c i t e to himself lines of Chinese verse, "On the Suppression of Desire." The poem raises the specter of suffering i n a series of transmigratory h e l l s because of lus t and enjoins a man to view a l l women as his s i s t e r s . S t i l l weighing his options when this f a i l s to cool his excitment, the hero compares himself to others, legendary and otherwise, who had to cope with similar circumstances. A few examples w i l l s u f f i c e to indicate the kind of company Rohan imagines himself i n . He admits he cannot possibly measure up to the wise and Annals period who, when begged by a beautiful woman to provide her lodging for the night, graciously offered to share his own bed with her and then slept soundly through u n t i l morning. He then imagines his s i t u a t i o n i n l i g h t of the "Old Lady's Burnt Hermitage," a Zen koan. This refers to a story from the Go To Egen ( J Z - Tvff >^ 7Qj ) c o l l e c t i o n which t e l l s of an old woman who builds a hut and offers i t to a monk who l i v e s i n i t pra c t i c i n g meditation and au s t e r i t i e s with her encouragement. Years pass. One day the woman sends her pretty, young daughter ) of the Spring and Autumn 84 to him. The monk s i t s r e s o l u t e l y i n h i s meditation posture, d e c l a r e s , "My body i s l i k e a withered tree on c o l d rock," and s ends her away ( / f* - ; ^ ^ "^H? "koboku kangan no g o t o s h i " ) . When the o l d lady hears what happened, i n great anger, she chases the monk away and burns the hermitage to the ground. Rohan doubts whether he would be able to b r i n g warmth to the winter a i r w i t h a s i m i l a r f r i g i d i t y ( " k o n o u t s u k u s h i k i onna to ... nemuraba koboku kangan n i y o r i t e santo 9 8 n i danki naru beki ya i n a y a " ) . On another occasion he compares himself with the wizard sennin), Kume ( a holy man who appears i n t a l e s as f a r back as the tenth-century. In the fourteenth-century work, Tsurezuregusa ( -^p- "Essays i n Idleness") by the Buddhist p r i e s t Yoshida Kenko ( \23 ^fe^^T 1283?-1350?) a b r i e f s e c t i o n i s devoted to the f a t e of Kume: Nothing leads a man astray so e a s i l y as sexual d e s i r e . What a f o o l i s h t h i n g a man's heart i s ! Though we r e a l i z e , f o r example, that fragrances are s h o r t - l i v e d and the scent burnt i n t o clothes l i n g e r s but b r i e f l y , how our hearts always leap when we catch a w h i f f of an e x q u i s i t e perfume! The holy man of Kume l o s t h i s magic powers a f t e r n o t i c i n g the whiteness of the legs of a g i r l who was washing c l o t h e s ; t h i s i s quite understandable c o n s i d e r i n g that the glowing plumpness ? q of her arms, legs and f l e s h owed nothing to a r t i f i c e . The power he l o s t was the freedom to f l y through the a i r . Rohan simply notes that he f e l l from the clouds a f t e r n o t i c i n g the woman's white c a l v e s . S t o r i e s of holy men, monks and a s c e t i c s 85 who have labored for years to achieve supramundane powers, losing those powers in a single encounter with an attractive woman, are legion throughout Asia. (Couples such as Merlin and Vivian, or even Samson and Delilah, remind us, however, the motif is universal.) The young man is Taidokuro reflects, "Were Master Kume to sleep in the same bed as this woman, he would, without f a i l , plunge into the depths of a bottomless 30 h e l l . " J U While these comparisons are largely facetious, there is a serious undertone in the hero's interior monologue suggested perhaps by the reference to Ikkyu Sojun ( -—/f^~--1)jL 1394-1481), a Zen monk well known for his indulgence of the carnal appetites. The overall effect of the young man's reflections is to make Otae seem ever more desirable. The object of desire, i f distanced by restrictions, avoided by capricious self-restraint, or, in the manner of Japanese poetry, i f endowed with a pervasive aura of ephemerality, becomes that much more attractive. Immediately after searching his memory for models of self-restraint, in a scene reminiscent of sharebon, the comic-erotic novels of the Edo period, Rohan imagines himself sharing the bed with Otae: For me to keep calm would be d i f f i c u l t indeed under such circumstances. It would be nearly impossible with her downy locks brushing against my cheeks and her radiant face right in front of my nose. Where would she put her soft arms? Where could her breasts 86 hide? This surely i s a serious s i t u a t i o n . How could I possibly f a l l asleep as calmly as i f holding a female cat i n my arms? Oh, no! Suppose our clothes became undone through casual movements of our bodies, unseen under the cover? And what i f her shapely legs or feet touched my own hairy shins? Good Heavens! That would be a moment of l i f e and death for me! 31 A solution to the bedding problem i s reached by both agreeing to stay up a l l night. This provides the opportunity for Otae to t e l l her l i f e story — what i n Noh would be the shite's t a l e . It i s the story of an impossible love. When approached by a young man of noble b i r t h and experience abroad with protestations of love, Otae had to refuse to see him. We learn three reasons for t h i s . As a young woman, her father's death taught her the transitory nature of existence . ( mujo). Her avid reading of f i c t i o n showed her the vanity of the world, the despicable nature of men, and the u n r e l i a b i l i t y of people i n general ( . ttkiyo) . F i n a l l y , her mother's death and dreadful l e t t e r seals her fate by revealing her leprosy (at the time thought to be genetically transmitted) ( ^^C^ aku innen)•• Otae waxes eloquently on the f i r s t two but, of course does not disclose the contents of her mother's l e t t e r to Rohan. As to just what message the small black lacquer box with mother-of-pearl inlay of petals f l o a t i n g i n water contained, he and the reader remain mystified u n t i l the shocking truth of her wretched fate becomes clear at the end of the work. 87 Otae abandons the world not out of choice or by re l i g i o u s conviction but because fate has chosen to brand her. Actually, she i s abandoned by the world; love and marriage become impossible for her. The o r i g i n a l and, for some time, alternate t i t l e of this novel, Engai no En ( jt\ "A Tie Beyond A l l T i e s " ) , refers to the fact that her inheritance, her disease (innen), has placed Otae outside a l l normal relationships. She refuses the young noble out of fear of perpetuating her pernicious karma but has not yet resolved to reli n q u i s h a l l connection with the world. Heartbroken, the man languishes away i n dejection, and she witnesses his death. At this point, two Otaes enter the text. One, for not having heeded her mother's warning and f i n a l l y f a l l e n i n love with the now departed suitor, i s overcome with g r i e f and the onset of the symptoms of leprosy. She i s the one described wandering off into the mountains i n an advanced state of decay and madness. The other Otae i s the young woman i n the dream t e l l i n g her ta l e . Distraught at the death of her would-be suitor, she roams into the mountains, meets a virtuous monk, and achieves insight and release from her suffering. She has l e f t the world and attained an enlightened state of being where everything i s seen to be the "transformation of mind" ("isshin no henka") and "worthy of compassion" ("aisubeshi"). It should be remembered-that the Otae i n Rohan's vision, i s 88 an i l l u s i o n and the attributes of enlightenment properly belong not to the red-blooded form but to her s k u l l . Noborio Yutaka puts i t this way: "What said i t had transcended a l l , that everything was lovable, was i n fact, not Otae, but her s k u l l . " He reminds us that i n mugen no, or " v i s i o n Noh" the shite appears i n a borrowed form and while narrating "often forgets i t i s a borrowed or temporary form and reverts to the 32 language of i t s o r i g i n a l state." Interpreted this way, the sk u l l i t s e l f can be considered the nochi j i t e , the protagonist of the second part. The transcendence of the sk u l l i s expressed d i r e c t l y i n a section appended to the novel, "Engai no En no Nochi n i Shosu" ("Epilogue to A Tie Beyond A l l T i e s " ) . Here, the writer Rohan e x p l i c i t l y associates his novel with t r a d i t i o n a l accounts of encounters with skulls beginning with the famous episode i n a journey sees a bleached sk u l l by the roadside. H i t t i n g i t repeatedly with his whip, he interrogates i t as to the cause of i t s present condition. He asks i f i t was due to m i l i t a r y service, punishment by the government, decadent l i v i n g , cold and hunger, or simply because of old age. Then, using the sk u l l for a pillow he goes to sleep for the night. As i n Taidokuro, the ghost of the sk u l l appears i n a dream and claims to exist i n a state of enjoyment and t r a n q u i l i t y , very much l i k e the Chuang-tzu ( ^ ± ). In that episode, Chuang-tzu while on 89 existence Otae describes. Chuang-tzu does not believe the sku l l and enquires, "Were I able to get the rul e r of your destiny to bring your form to l i f e again with bones and fle s h and skin, and return you to your mother and father, wife and children, and a l l your friends i n the v i l l a g e , would you desire that I do so?" The sk u l l asks with "knitted brows" how i t could possibly give up i t s tranquil plaesures to return to 3 3 the suffering of human l i f e . The problem posed by this anecdote i s amplified and developed p o e t i c a l l y i n Taidokuro. The hero, Rohan, has a glimpse into emptiness. His dream deep i n the mountains reveals the ephemeral, i l l u s o r y nature of the world. Otae's transcend-ence i s r e a l , but i t i s the r e a l i t y of the s k u l l . In the fle s h her r e a l i t y was the suffering of the leprous dying woman. The leper and the sku l l representing the suffering and death of beautiful Otae serve i n an unexpected way to enhance the attractiveness of that marvelous beauty while reminding us of her ephemerality and utimate emptiness. Like the f i n e s t works of Japanese l i t e r a t u r e , this novel e l i c i t e s a complex response, evoking both a forbearance and a yearning for this world of 34 ours, a "tremulous causeway l i n k i n g dream to dream." 90 1 Edward Seidensticker, trans.. The Tale of Genji, by Mursaki Shikibu (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), p. 869. The poem is sung by Kaoru after the death of Oigimi: Koi wabite Shinuru kusuri no Yukashiki ni Yukinoyama ya Ato o kenamashi. Genji Monogatari, No. 17 of the Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei Series,(Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1962), Vol. 4, p. 466. 2 Taidokuro was originally published under the t i t l e "Engai no En" ("A Tie Beyond A l l Ties") in the bi-weekly, Nihon no Bunka ("Japanese Culture") in three installments beginning January, 1890. At the same time "Dokushushin" ("Venomous Coral Lips") was published in the magazine, Miyako no Hana ("Capital Blossoms"). In June of the same year when Shinyodo published the work in an edition of collected novels, the t i t l e was changed to "Taidokuro" ("Encounter with a Skull"). The original t i t l e was not dropped entirely because in subsequent collections published by Hakubunkan (1902 and 1909) the t i t l e "Engai no En" was retained. In 1897 i t was published together with "Dokushushin" under the t i t l e . "Daishijin" ("The Great Poet") in a special edition of the magazine, Taiyo ("The Sun") to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Hakubunkan publishing house. There are slight differences in the texts of the two publishers and there appears to have been some minor revision undertaken for the various editions. I have used the text in the Rohan Zenshu, Vol. 1, pp. 135-167 Subsequent references are to this text and cited as TDR. 91 For a detailed publication history see Noborio Yutaka, "Taidokuro Ron," Bungaku, 44, No. 8 (1976), p. 1047. Yanagida Izumi, Koda Rohan,(Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1942) p.,97. 4 Dogen (1200-1253) in the "Shoji" chapter of Shobogenzo ("Essentials of the True Law") trans, by Nakamura Hajime, Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples (Honolulu: East-West Center Press, 1971), p. 371. ^ Some months before the publication of Taidokuro, in April of 1889, Rohan travelled to Nikko and crossed the mountainous region north-west of Lake Chuzenji via Konsei Pass to reach the Joshu d i s t r i c t . 7 TDR, p. 166. 8 TDR, p. 137. Q TDR, p. 148. The phrase onihitokuchi 'one gulp of the demon' is a common expression for danger stiking suddenly. Here, the words may be playfully alluding to the appearances of oni 'demons' in works such as those mentioned. In the sixthnsection of Ise Monogatari, "Akutagawa" ( >oJ" ), for example, a man steals away with a woman who has refused him for years. They come to Akutagawa on a dark night, the woman asks a question about the glimmering light on the grass, but the man puts her off by responding that they are in a dangerous area frequented by demons: "Encountering a woman, a demon devoured her in one gulp" ("oni haya onna oba ... hito kuchi ni kuite keri"). It begins to rain, they stop at an open kura 'storehousej' he pushes her in and guards the door through the night. In the kura a demon quickly devours the woman, her cry for help drowned by thunder. The empty kura in the morning sets the scene for a poem about the evanescent dew, the "glimmering light" his lover had asked about. Nihon Bungaku Zenshu, Vol. 8 (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 1969), p. 138. 92 1 0 TOR, p. 154. Noh plays specifically mentioned include: Eguchi ( by Kan' ami, and Gio ( ) , Hotokenohara ( ffi^ ) , and Kogo ( j)^ ) by Zeami. The f i r s t three are "woman plays" (kazuramono), the last is a "maskless play" (hitamenmono). The "maskless play" usually has a real man, as opposed to a god or ghost, as the protagonist. The "woman plays" contain some of the most beautiful poetry in Noh and usually deal with memories of love and the problems arising from attachment to this world. 12 Noborio argues that the skull rather than the leprous woman might be considered the nochi jite since i t is the skull that is the present form of the sp i r i t of Otae (p. 1055). 1 3 TDR, p. 166. 14 Donald Keene, No The Classical Theatre of Japan (Tokyo and Palo Alto: Kodansha, 1966), p. 251. 15 The opening lines include the phrase, "goshaku no kara o ou dedemushi" ("a snail burdened with a five-foot carapace"). "Dedemushi" ( ) may also be read "Kagyu" ("snail") which suggests the g_o or pen name Kagyu-an ("The Snail's Hermitage") Rohan used especially in connection with haiku. The words "tsuyu no tomo" ( <7) "friend of the dew") are also used, suggesting, of course, the pen name "Rohan" which means "companion of the dew." 1 6 TDR, p. 137. 17 The play, Eguchi, was based on an incident recorded in the Senjusho, a medieval collection of edifying tales. Saigyo was on his way to Tennoji when, caught in a sudden shower near Eguchi no Sato (present day Osaka, Yodogawa-ku, Eguchi-cho) he attempted to secure lodging for the night at the house of a woman of pleasure. The woman was named "Tae." Her refusal led to the following exchange of poems: Yo no naka o Itou made koso Katakarame Kari no yadori o Oshimu kimi kana. - Saigyo Hoshi -It i s hard, perhaps, To hate and part with the world; But you are stingy Even with the night I ask of you, A place i n your soon-left inn. Ie o izuru Hito to shi kikeba. Kari no yado n i Kokoro tomuna to Omou bakari zo - Yujo Tae -It's because I heard You're no longer bound to l i f e As a householder That I'm loath to l e t you get attached To this inn of b r i e f , bought, stays. In Kan'ami's Noh play i t i s not Saigyo who meets a woman at Eguchi no Sato but a monk i n l a t e r time. The monk (waki) also on his way to Tennoji hears from a v i l l a g e r that he i s near the place along the r i v e r where Saigyo met Eguchi no Kimi. As he rec i t e s phrases from Saigyo's poem a woman appears (maejite) and reminds him there was a response to the poem. She says the exchange involved nothing so petty as begrudging a night's lodging: She wanted to save Saigyo from forming even a b r i e f 94 attachment to the f l o a t i n g world. She then confesses to be Eguchi no Kimi's ghost and vanishes. The monk wants to perform a memorial service but the v i l l a g e r reappears and t e l l s him that Eguchi no Kimi was actually an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. In a boat on the r i v e r , the s p i r i t of Eguchi no Kimi appears (nochijite) as a woman of pleasure accompanied by two others of the same profession (funeasobi). She sings about the sadness of the f l o a t i n g world and responds to the monk's questions i n beautiful language explaining the c y c l i c a l transmigration of human existence and the path to enlightenment. Toward the end of the play she has this exchange with the chorus: Shite: In the great ocean of truth with no outflows, although the winds of the five defilements and six desires blow not Chorus: The waves of suchness r i s e and f a l l day i n and day out according to the laws of karma. Shite: Why i s i t that these waves are produced? The mind has taken up lodging i n a temporary dwelling; Together: Because the mind ha;s found a resting place. Chorus: With no mind fixed upon i t the f l o a t i n g world of sadness i s no more. The play concludes with Eguchi no Kimi transformed into Samantabhadra and the boat into a white elephant, this bodhisattva's vehicle.. Bathed i n l i g h t they mount a marvelous cloud and f l o a t of f into the western sky. 95 Maruoka Akira, ed., Kanze Ryu Koe no Hakubanshu, No. 59 "Eguchi" (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1969), p. 4. The poems exchanged by Saigyo and Eguchi no Kimi are numbers 978 and 979 in the Shinkokin Wakashu, ed, by Hisamatsu Senichi, Vol. 28 of the Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1958), p. 215. I have used the translations in William LeFleur, Mirror for the Moon (New York: New Directions, 1978), p. 37. 18 — — Matsuo Basho, "Nozarashi Kiko" ("Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton"), in Basho Shu, ed. by Imoto Shinichi and Hori Nobuo, Vol. 5, Koten Haibun Bungaku Taikei (Tokyo: Shueisha, 1970), p. 441. ^ Ibid., p. 441. 2 0 TDR, pp. 139-140. 21 - -My reading of Goju no To developed in the next chapter suggests that i t is more "typically Japanese" than Rohan's other artisan novels in that the victory represented by the pagoda is shown to be the consequence of a group effort propelled by the dedication and sacrifice of both Genta and Jubei. 2 2 TDR, p. 140. 23 Hakunin Isshu Hitoyogatari, compiled by Ozaki Masayoshi (1755-1827), ed. by Furukawa Hisashi, 2 Vols. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1972), p. 413. 24 Yosa Buson, as cited in Haiku no Kaishaku to Kansho Jiten, ed. by Ogata Tsutomu (Tokyo: Obunsha, 1979), p. 238. 25 TDR, p. 163. Rohan's female characters are not usually painted as attractively as Otae. In Ikkoken ("One Sword" 1890) O-Ran is a selfish, unsympathetic wife who runs off with the money her husband Shozo received on commission to make a sword he has l i t t l e prospect of ever completing. The women in Isanatori ("The Whaler" 1891) are repeatedly unfaithful to their husbands, while in Furyubutsu ("An Alluring Buddha" 1889) Otatsu abandons Shu'un, the Buddhist sculptor, on the eve of their marriage to return only in idealized form through the sublimation of his 96 passion for her into a beautiful work of art. 2 6 TDR, p. 150-151. 2 7 TDR, p. 143-144. 2 8 TDR, p. 148. For one version of the anecdote and sources see Mochizuki Shinko Bukkyo Daijiten 2nd ed. (Tokyo: Sekai Seiten Kanko Kyokai, 1954), p. 1267. 29 -Yoshida Kenko, Essays in Idleness, itrans. by Donald Keene (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1967), pp. 8-9. 3 0 TDR, p. 149. 31 -TDR, p. 149-150. The translation is from Mulhern, Koda Rohan, p." 48. 3 2 Noborio, p. 1055. 33 Ichikawa Anshi and Endo Tetsuo, ed., Soshi, Vol. 2 in the Shinyaku Kanbun Taikei series (Tokyo: Meiji Shoin, 1979), pp. 494-496. 34 Arthur Waley, trans., The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu (Tokyo and Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle, 1970), p. 370. One of the most succinct, albeit not terribly l y r i c a l , expressions of the problem of attachment and release is found in this poem from the Shikashu ( -^fij 1151) traditionally attributed to Saigyo: Mi o sutsuru Hito wa makoto ni Sutsuru ka wa Sutenu hito koso Sutsuru nari keri. Has the one resigned from the world Found true abandonment? Or in not throwing i t a l l away Is there the greater renunciation? A tension between the demands of Buddhist detachment and a poetic absorbtion in the beautiful carnality of the world represented by 97 a mountain f u l l of blossoms on a spring evening is at the heart of Saigyo's poetry. Taidokuro is perhaps the best expression of this tension in Rohan's own l i f e . For a discussion of the poem quoted above see Hirohata Yuzuru, Chusei Inja Bunsei no Keifu (Tokyo: Ofusha, 1978), pp. 178-184. 98 Chapter Four The Five-Storied Pagoda When Goju no To ( "The Five-Storied Pagoda") appeared in the Kokkai Shimbun, a popular newspaper, in Meiji 24 (1891) i t was received with wide acclaim and propelled the twenty-four year old Rohan to the top of the literary world of 1 the day. Earlier works had attracted attention and c r i t i c a l approval. Furyubutsu ("An Alluring Buddha") so impressed Masaoka Shiki ( j E _ 1 ^ 3f- 1867-1902), a university student at the time, he wrote a novel in a very similar style and moved 2 to within a few minutes walk of Rohan's residence. Rohan was living beside the Yanaka Tennoji, with the temple's five-storied pagoda visible from his house. The last section of Goju no To describing the force of a storm descending upon Edo and the newly erectedi'pagoda startled readers with the boldness of its vision and the power of i t s imagery. The previous year had seen the f i r s t general election in Japan, the abolition of the Genroin ( -rC* ycL J^ /CJ "Council of Elders"), and the issuance of the Imperial Rescript on Education. The turbulence of the decade before, with i t s people's rights movement, rice riots in the provinces, and pervasive aura of rising expectations, had subsided somewhat and the 1890's began 99 a period ofreflection and reaction. The Western Powers were then scrambling for colonies in Africa, China having already been carved into spheres of interest. The external threat to Japan's sovereignty had diminished, but the doctrines of social-Darwinism had found wide acceptance among the intellectual e l i t e . Amidst the demands for modernization from a l l quarters, the following four points may serve to characterize the climate of the period beginning in the third decade of the Meiji era: 1. Continued efforts by various elements in the society to use the newly gained p o l i t i c a l freedom to extend and insure human rights. 2. The growth of self awareness and individualism. Fostered by greater social and economic mobility and stimulated by Western-Christian notions, such concepts as "modern selfhood" (kindai jiga) and "individualism" (kojin shugi) enter the marketplace of ideas. (And, on occasion, practice: 1891 was the year of Uchimura Kanzo' s ( (£] ^i^O. ^— 1861-1930) refusal to bow before the Imperial Rescript on Education for reasons of principle, an incident known as the fukei jiken ( ^ x^C__j^ " ) • 3. Materialism, capitalism, u t i l i t a r i a n and technological values were displacing the value structures nurtured throughout the pre-Restoration period. Village l i f e was beginning to break down due to the demands of industrialization and traditional cooperative group units were losing their cohesion. 100 4. Largely in response to the above, the 1890's ushered in a period of reaction, a time of vigorous nationalism grappling with an awakening sense of the national identity c r i s i s . Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908) and Okakura Tenshin's ( \0] ^/% 1862-1913) work to revitalize appreciation for tradition-al aesthetic ideals (Kokka [ l^i} J ^ - ], a periodical devoted to Japanese art, was f i r s t published in 1889), and the founding of the conservative Seikyo Sha ( i£>C^)L^-^~" "Politics and Learning Society") along with the publication of Nihonjin ( fc3 ^ A- "The Japanese") by Miyake Setsurei (E-^'jz^f! 3 1860-1945) and others, are indicative of the mood of the times. Even in this brief characterization we can see the kinds of problems that began to be consciously debated once the i n i t i a l euphoria and novelty of "modernization" had faded. The second chapter of Goju no To ends with the sounds of children playing tops (koma ate no asobi) in the street. The innocent children are involved in a game in which the victor of one match is immediately confronted by another challenger in an ongoing struggle. The children mimic the struggle for existence, their play accompanied by shouts of "I've got ya" and "You're dead!" It is within this world of cyclic struggle ( U||| % f) "j^l 4 "junjun gataki no yo") that the pagoda must be built. The novel begins with a detailed description of Okichi, wife of the master carpenter, Kawagoe Gentaro, known as Genta. The 101 old-fashioned d i c t i o n and reference to mid-Edo furnishings draw the reader back i n time. The description flows e a s i l y into her i n t e r i o r monologue which sets forth i n outline the c o n f l i c t at the core of the novel. In ways similar to c l a s s i c a l Japanese prose, the narrative moves from third-person description to dialog and i n t e r i o r monolog., with the s h i f t s often occurring i n mid-sentence. Throughout the work, the author, although careful to l e t the characters speak for themselves, never hesitates to i n t e r j e c t his opinion on the flow of events i n a manner similar i n some respects to the V i c t o r i a n novelists i n English. This narrative technique, along with the occasional use of a seven-five cadence ( -t-£- 111 shichi-go cho) and p a r a l l e l clauses ( ^ft| fe) >ffc tsuiku shitate) to e s t a b l i s h a pleasing rhythm, achieves what was regarded to be a l i f e - l i k e , natural e f f e c t . The language i s a modified bungobun ' l i t e r a r y s t y l e ' incorporating Meiji colloquialisms. Traditional poetic devices such as kakekotoba ( "pivot words") and engo ( "fixed associated words") are also used. The work i s divided into t h i r t y - f i v e chapters. With the exception of the storm scene which ranges over the entire c i t y , each chapter i s constructed within a rather limited setting. One can e a s i l y imagine most of the scenes on stage as part of a Kabuki sewamono ("domestic tragedy"). Thus i t i s not surprising 102 to learn that the novel was adapted for the theatre and successfully performed We do not meet the protagonist, the slow-witted but highly skilled Jubei, until the f i f t h chapter. By this time, the reader has formed an impression of the obtuse, rather grating fellow through a series of unflattering references and rumors. His outstanding expertise at his craft is never in doubty but his characteristic slowness and lack of worldly finesse have earned him the nickname "Nossori," a perforative implying "dull" or "sluggish." The novel's 1909 translator, Sakae Shioya, rendered him 6 "the slouch." It i s , however, Jubei's impulse to escape his lot in l i f e that triggers the conflict in the work. His being cast as an outsider from the start makes his subsequent actions more plausible. Due to the presence of the virtuous and revered Abbot of Kannoji, Roen Shonin, donations from people in a l l walks of l i f e were collected to make additions to the temple. With surplus funds, the Abbot suggests a pagoda be built. When Jubei hears of the plan he seizes on this "once in a lifetime opportunity" and submits his own proposal for the erection of the monument. He does this knowing that Genta, a well establish-ed master carpenter who has already built some of the existing 103 temple structures and under whom he has been employed, has already presented his plans and estimate for the construction. The question as to what sparks this impulse, whether i t i s e s s e n t i a l l y e g o t i s t i c a l ambition, some form of r e l i g i o u s aspiration, or the spontaneous creative urge of an a r t i s t , becomes a central problem i n the work. Impressed by jQbei's in t e n s i t y and his painstakingly b u i l t model, the Abbot c a l l s the two craftsmen together, t e l l s a Buddhist parable along the lines of the "Burning House" parable i n The Lotus Sutra, and asks them to determine between themselves who i s to b u i l d the pagoda. The point of the Abbot's homily i s the simple truth that competitive, aggressive s e l f aggran-dizement brings only misfortune or mundane reward, whereas s e l f -abnegation and cooperation y i e l d happiness and s p i r i t u a l recompense. Genta, a man i n the t r a d i t i o n a l mold, i s acutely conscious of s o c i a l position yet generous by nature. He takes both his work and pleasure quarter amusement very seriously. After a good deal of r e f l e c t i o n , he takes the Abbot's teaching to heart and resolves to b u i l d the pagoda j o i n t l y with Jubei. Genta confides i n his wife: There 1s nothing to be concerned about. I always thought our f i n e , gentle Abbot would find a way of turning me into a good man. Ha ha ha! Okichi, the true elder brother i s the one who r e a l l y cherishes his l i t t l e brother, right? There are times when even i f i t ' s a l i t t l e rough you have to share your food with someone who i s r e a l l y hungry. Not that I'm the s l i g h t e s t b i t a f r a i d of anyone, but being a man i s n ' t always just a question of strength. You know, sometimes a man has to resign himself to being weak. Ah, i t ' s a splendid fellow indeed who i s able to do that! But a f i v e - s t o r i e d 104 pagoda i s such prestigious work! How I would l i k e to leave a superb monument, one b u i l t by me alone, to endure for a thousand years before the eyes of multitudes. Oh, just to be able to bequeath a work — Genta's masterpiece — known not to involve the hands and thoughts of anyone but myself! Ah, yes, i t takes a man to control his f i e r y passions. Yes, a man, a real man. The Abbot i s absolutely correct. It's u t t e r l y abhorrent to concede half of a job I had set a l l my hopes on to another ... Ah, It's hard! A good buddy, ri g h t ! Ha ha ha. Well you t e l l me Okichi, i s n ' t my giving half to the slouch — we'll b u i l d the pagoda between us — i s n ' t that a splendid openness to see i n a man? Praise me Okichi! Without your praise, i t just becomes too discouraging, hardly worth the words. It i s a painful decision, for he too r e a l i z e s that this i s a once i n a l i f e t i m e opportunity to achieve enduring fame. Were i t not for Jubei's sudden i n s p i r a t i o n and the Abbot's intercession, he would have had sole claim and the right to be p r i n c i p a l a r chitect. Instead, he feels morally compelled to make a b i t t e r but sincere compromise, a compromise Jubei refuses to even consider. For Jubei i t i s a l l or nothing, a position he makes clear with neither tact nor eloquence: That's r e a l l y heartless of you S i r . To say l e t ' s do i t together i s r e a l l y heartless. For you to so kindly o f f e r to allow me h a l f the work, though seemingly generous, i s t e r r i b l e unfeeling. I am a f r a i d I must refuse. Although I desire nothing more than to build the pagoda, I have already given up a l l thought of doing so. On my way home after hearing the Abbot's i n s t r u c t i o n I thoroughly abandoned the thought, I was wrong to have had ideas so beyond my station. Ah, what I fool I've been! I w i l l forever be the slouch, lucky 105 even to be considered a f o o l . I s h a l l spend the rest of my l i f e pounding r a i n gutters and so be i t ! Please forgive me, S i r . It was wrong of me. I won't say anything more about building the pagoda. It i s not as though you were a stranger. You are the boss to whom I am very much indebted. I w i l l be happy to stand aside and watch you construct a a magnificent monument. The crux of the novel i s this deeply revealing struggle between s e l f afirmation and negation that i s enacted i n the Jubei-Genta relationship. Rohan's biographer, Shiotani San, has suggested that the five levels of the pagoda r e f l e c t the alternating stages of c o n f l i c t and accord i n the novel. "The construction of the pagoda proceeds with successive levels of 9 struggle and r e c o n c i l i a t i o n forming i t s central p i l l a r . " Certainly i n terms of plot development this r i s i n g o s c i l l a t i o n between antagonism and cooperation does p a r a l l e l the pagoda's construction. Taking i t a step further, I think this image of the pagoda as c o n f l i c t r i s i n g to higher and higher levels i s an excellent representation of the struggle at the center of Mei j i i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e . The structure of the novel, i f not the pagoda i t s e l f , mirrors the a n t i t h e t i c a l momentums of the age: the s p i r i t of aggressive s e l f advancement ( J^-Jf shugi) versus the urge to establish a u n i f i e d , harmonious nation-state while preserving the s o c i a l order and public morality of t r a d i t i o n a l values. r i s s h i n shussei shugi and individualism ko j i n 106 The structure of both novel and pagoda may also be interpreted i n l i g h t of the Tendai Pure Land doctrine of kechien goju ( j£>. jJF ) • The f i v e levels of the pagoda correspond to the f i v e stages of r e l i g i o u s practice: Shin ( ) . Both Genta and Jubei proceed through these stages. " K i " refers to basis, readiness, and individual with the Buddhist dharma or teaching. The decision to build the pagoda at Kannoji and Jubei and Genta's desire to do the work are the f i r s t stage, "Ki'.!" This leads to th e i r encounter with the teachings i n the person of Roen Shonin. Roen Shonin's i n s t r u c t i o n and manipulation of the sit u a t i o n i s "Ho," the dharma. Reflection on the Abbot's parable brings i n t e l l e c t u a l understanding and the decision on the part of both men to rel i n q u i s h t h e i r personal ambitions. This i s "Ge" — under-standing and release. Genta's compassion and patience and Jubei's absorbtion i n the work lead to the next stage, "Sho," which refers to experiencing the f r u i t s of insight. "Shin," or "true f a i t h " i s reacheddat the very end when th e i r practice withstands the attack by demons and the f r u i t of t h e i r e f f o r t , the r e a l i z e d stupa i s authenticated by Roen Shonin. We can see how i n the r i s i n g d i a l e c t i c a l movement of the narrative, Genta's o r i g i n a l position of power — he i s after a l l ) , Sho ( gjT- ) and endowment, as well as opportunity for contact 107 "Oya kata," the boss — becomes the basis of his weakness. By the same token, Jubei's lack of worldly power — he i s the despised "Nossori" — i s the source of his strength i n the c o n f l i c t over who i s to b u i l d the pagoda. Jubei has everything to gain and precious l i t t l e to lose by his audacious, w i l l f u l actions. Were Genta to use his position of authority to secure sole rights to the pagoda he would lose his i n t e g r i t y i n both the Abbot's eyes and his own. He must learn the true meaning of strength. As he says to the Abbot, "Okage de otoko n i naremashita ka" ("Thanks to you, I've learned how to be a man, haven't I " ) . 1 0 It i s said Rohan i s a very masculine writer, often contrast-ing him with Ozaki Koyo who was able to portray women very e f f e c t i v e l y . Whether or not this i s the case with a l l of Rohan's f i c t i o n , i n this work the female characters play decidedly minor ro l e s . This i s not to say they are not full-bodied characters; Okichi and even Seikichi's old mother, who makes only a b r i e f appearance, are memorable and l i f e l i k e . Nevertheless, they have no important function i n the central c o n f l i c t . Although aware of t h e i r husbands' problems, neither Okichi nor Onami, Jubei's wife, seems to understand or sympathize to any s i g n i f i c a n t degree. Both are s t i l l firmly rooted i n a feudal, role-bound view of the world. Both hold fast to g i r i ninjo attitudes, that i s , 108 have a strong sense of s o c i a l obligations i n opposition to human passions with the emphasis placed on f u l f i l l i n g the expectations of a p a r t i c u l a r r o l e . Okichi feels the demands of obligation and the perogatives of superior s o c i a l position very strongly. She unintentionally i n c i t e s one of her husband's workers to take revenge against Jubei for "his shameless grab for fame" and lack of due respect for the debt of gratitude he owes her husband. Onami pleads with her husband to remember his place and acknowledge his obligations. Genta f i r s t offers to l e t Jubei act as his assistant, while he retains the position of p r i n c i p l e architect. When this i s refused he swallows his own ambition and makes a deeper concession: Jubei, you s t i l l don't understand? That's not enough for you? Of course i t ' s regretable to have to do something together you set your heart on doing alone. Maybe i t ' s being assistant with me as boss that i s so troubling. A l l r i g h t , you win! Let's do i t l i k e t h i s . I ' l l be the assistant and you stand at the center. How's that? Come on, give me your okay. Let's agree to b uild i t together! Despite his wife's pleading for him to accept the generous of f e r , Jubei steadfastly refuses: Whether as head or assistant, for two to do one piece of work i s just unacceptable. No matter what, I cannot do i t ! Please go ahead.and bu i l d i t yourself. I ' l l be a fool t i l l the end.H Thoroughly angered by this rebuff, Genta c a l l s him ungrateful and insen s i t i v e to human feelings. He storms out, determined 109 to b u i l d the pagoda by himself, daring Jubei to fin d f a u l t with i t . Genta however, being a compassionate man and mindful of the Abbot's teachings, i s forced to reconsider. F i n a l l y , both he and Jubei inform the Abbot they can reach no agreement and request that he decide how the pagoda be b u i l t . Under his influence they both seem to have suppressed t h e i r competitive drive and stand ready to do his bidding. In Genta's words to Roen Shonin: However i t i s to be, Jubei or myself or the two of us together^ please just say the word and i t s h a l l be done. Jubei and I have given up the s p i r i t of s e l f i s h competition and are w i l l i n g to do whatever you decide. Throughout the novel i t i s the Abbot's wisdom and compassion that serves as a catalyst for the s p i r i t u a l growth of both men. Needless to say, i t i s also Rohan's way of c r i t i c i z i n g the opportunism and misguided egotism of his own times. The Abbot however, despite his c r u c i a l role as mediator, and even taking into account the larger than l i f e , kabukiesque characterization we fi n d i n this novel, i s too much the t y p i c a l "wise old monk." For a Western reader not overly f a m i l i a r with the stereotype, the Abbot character functions tolerably well. The language used to describe him i s r i c h with the c u l t u r a l accoutrements of Buddhism which helps to create an ambiance and presence s u f f i c i e n t 110 to spark the imagination. It i s easy to see, however, why a Japanese reader might find Roen Shonin the "unimaginative model - - 13 of an eminent monk" ("kataddri no koso"). This i s , I suppose, a common fau l t with any character designed to be the standard bearer of an i d e a l . The p r i v i l e g e of building the pagoda i s granted to Jubei. His grateful, t e a r f u l acceptance i s wholly within character, but one questions what there i s about him that allows him to accept the kindness of the Abbot with such gratitude, yet, with such firm resolve, refuse so ingraciously any overture on Genta's part. After the matter has been decided, Genta vows to be as helpful as possible. He invites Jubei to a teahouse and offers to provide a l l kinds of assistance, from supplying workers and access to materials, to off e r i n g his own detailed plans and even trade secrets handed down over generations. A l l this Jubei awkwardly refuses, once again enraging his would-be benefactor. Jubei's attitude and actions have to be understood from two d i f f e r e n t perspectives, each yi e l d i n g a quite d i f f e r e n t evaluation. From one point of view he i s undeniably s e l f i s h , ambitious, and concerned only with improving his stature and achieving a l a s t i n g fame. He thinks to himself: I l l If I give up this opportunity there w i l l never be another chance to erect a f i v e - s t o r i e d pagoda. W i l l my whole l i f e be spent l i k e I am now, a man who never amounted to anything? Ah, i t ' s just too crue l , too b i t t e r . 1 4 He appears to represent what Ito Sei c a l l e d "the egoism of the modern a r t i s t . " To a t t a i n his goal, to produce a work of l a s t i n g value, to achieve prominence and fame, are a l l that i s important for such a man. Compassion and moral obligation i n human r e l a t i o n -ships become superfluous i n the consuming drive for success. In his discussion of Goju no To, It5 writes that "the reason this work achieved such a deep sympathetic response from the l i t e r a r y world of the day was i t s portrayal of Jubei asserting the independent world of his own work by thrusting aside his master. It captured the modern a r t i s t i c ego which was i n the process of budding forth i n the minds of writers at that time." He goes on to suggest that what excited and pleased the general reading public was the depiction of Jubei's masterful a r t i s t r y and self-confidence which s a t i s f i e d the r i s i n g mood of s e l f -assertion and upward mobility sweeping through Japanese society 15 during the 1890's. This view, however, misses the ambivalence i n the character-i z a t i o n and f a i l s to appreciate the d i s t i n c t i o n which can be drawn between "modern ambition" and t r a d i t i o n a l " a r t i s t i c a s p i r a t i o n . " The extremely s k i l l f u l carpenter i n Goju no To 112 i s but one of a series of craftsmen heroes (swordsmith, Buddhist sculptor, etc.) appearing i n Rohan's early f i c t i o n . Rohan maintained he wrote so much about craftsmen because they were s o l i d people, producing something, and contributing d i r e c t l y to society. His characters stand i n sharp contrast with, for instance, Soseki's "aesthete" or the innumerable, unproductive "sensei"'teachers' so prominent i n M e i j i f i c t i o n . In his c r i t i q u e of modernism Rohan presented the dedicated craftsman, the man for whom a r t i s t i c s k i l l and s p i r i t u a l endeavor formed a u n i f i e d way of l i f e . In response to the shallow, self-serving entre-preneurs, bureaucrats, and engineers, he offered a v i s i o n of the individual finding f u l f i l l m e n t and salvation i n self-mastery through committment to an a r t . The v i s i o n i s based on long-standing, one might almost say, medieval, c u l t u r a l ideals somewhat akin to the European notion of craftsmanship. These ideals embodied s p i r i t u a l values rapidly declining under the impact of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . Like the medieval craftsman whose l i f e frequently depended on the successful completion of a piece of work, Jubei wagers his own l i f e on t o t a l involvement with the pagoda. The energy, strength, and s e l f l e s s devotion with which he goes about constructing this r e l i g i o u s monument inspires his fellow workers and gives the reader a powerful 16 sense of Rohan's b e l i e f i n human potential. Construction of the pagoda proceeds with Jubei the guiding 113 force. Both aspects of the hero, his t o t a l commitment to the task and his lack of sympathy toward his fellow beings are c l e a r l y expressed: A hawk i n f l i g h t sees nothing but i t s prey. If a crane, then concentrating solely on the crane i t w i l l pierce the clouds and defy the wind u n t i l i t grips i t s quarry firmly by the throat. Jubei, once the construction of the pagoda was f i n a l l y awarded to him, awake or asleep, had his mind constantly focused on the task. At mealtime a l l he could taste was the risingtower; i n his dreams his s p i r i t c i r c l e d the nine rings of the upper spire. So involved was he i n his work, his wife was completely ignored, his c h i l d too, forgotten. Yesterday's s e l f never emerged i n r e c o l l e c t i o n , nor did he imagine himself tomorrow. But when he swung his adz to dress a log he put his whole body into the stroke; when he drew a ;plan he i n s t i l l e d i n i t the s i n c e r i t y of his whole heart Jubei's dream i s almost brought to an abrupt end when Se i k i c h i , spurred on by Okichi's anger at Jubei's i n s e n s i t i v i t y , attacks him with a hatchet. The carpenter survives the sudden assault, sustaining only a minor shoulder wound and the loss of an ear. Although not d i r e c t l y responsible, Genta assumes the blame and apologizes to Jubei and the Abbot for the incident. Okichi secretly pawns her kimono to provide money for Seikichi to trave l to another c i t y u n t i l things quiet down. The prose describing Okichi removing one beautiful kimono after another from her wardrobe i s a wonderful attempt at kimonozukushi (an exhaustive cataloguing of splendid gowns) i n the manner of Chikamatsu's J o r u r i . 114 In spite of his wounds and protest from his wife, Jubei appears at work the very next morning right on time. His hitherto lackadaisical workers are startled to find him there as they straggle in late. His example inspires their work and the pagoda is soon completed. Apparently the novel was originally intended to end here. About half way through the serialization, Tokyo was hit with a severe storm. Rohan, concerned about the condition of Tennoji's pagoda (The temple was in fact called Kannoji until 1833; i t belongs to the Tendai Sect of Buddhism), went out a number of times to walk around the structure and examine the 18 effects of the storm. The final chapters of the novel, published as "Goju no To Yoi" ( J z - 1L P§ & t -"Afterthoughts on The Five-Storied Pagoda") appeared several weeks after the original installments ended. This segment depicts the violent assault of a tempest upon the city of Edo. The natural forces of destruction are \ _____ personified as yasha ( )• T n e yasha (a transliteration of the Sanscrit yaksa) are demons which have been assimilated into the Buddhist pantheon (hachibushu J \^~%^ )• Thus they are said to be protectors of the dharma, feeding on the wicked elements of humanity and safeguarding the good. In spite of this they are generally considered malevolent. The wrath of the demons is f i r s t directed at the moral failings of the inhabitants of the city. Pride, lust, avarice, 115 dishonesty, and i n s e n s i t i v i t y to nature (the s i l k industry i s taken to task) are the charges that s t i r the fury of the yasha. However, as the storm grows i n violence, the Demon King urges his myriad followers to: Fly on wildly, abide only i n the lawless! Shamelessly indulge yourselves! Away with p r i n c i p l e s and lay a l l to waste. On! On! With rage and frenzy fight even the Gods and tumble the Buddhas to the ground! Crush a l l p r i n c i p l e s ! Once destroyed, a l l under heaven w i l l be ours! The f i r s t part of the powerfully written diatribe i s aimed at a corrupt humanity; the second, at the prin c i p l e s of morality and order. Throughout the storm the completed pagoda sways back and forth, "the precious jewel at i t s pinnacle describing 19 an unreadable character i n the sky." Jubei, confident of his work and secure i n the Abbot's trust , remains at home (a house half demolished by the storm) unconcerned about the effect of the driving r a i n and raging wind on the pagoda. A messenger from worried, f a i t h l e s s temple o f f i c i a l s f a i l s to budge him u n t i l he i s deceived into believing the Abbot has sent for him. His own f a i t h temporarily shaken, he climbs to the highest l e v e l of the pagoda determined to confront the challenge of the storm and resolved to s a c r i f i c e his l i f e i f the work sustains even the sli g h t e s t damage. He i s unaware of the fact that Genta also maintains a v i g i l , c i r c l i n g around the base of the structure through the night. 116 The f i v e - s t o r i e d pagoda survives the tempest unscathed. Other buildings i n the c i t y do not fare so well. A greedy promoter's theatre i s damaged, an unscrupulous ikebana 'flower arrangment' teacher's second story addition i s blown away, and another large temple, because of pr o f i t e e r i n g and slovenly workmanship, i s p a r t i a l l y destroyed. Someone jokes that the large p i l l a r s of the temple's main h a l l might just a s v w e l l I have been empty barrels stacked one on another. This suggests, of course, that i n contrast to Kannoji, only the outward form of r e l i g i o n i s practiced and the artisans and craftsmen no longer do " s o l i d work" being unable to f u l l y invest themselves i n their' undertakings. Turning to the craftsmanship of the novel i t s e l f , we r e c a l l that i t i s written i n bungobun ' l i t e r a r y s t y l e . ' Certain passages i n seven-five rhythm are i n conscious imitation of Saikaku. Masaoka Shiki, Japan's greatest modern haiku poet praised Rohan's 20 early prose for i t s "marvelous haiku f l a v o r . " In the text, various t r a d i t i o n a l poetic devices are employed. Kakekotoba 'pivot words' for example: meshita n i mo josainaku aikyo o kunde yaru sakurayu ippai ... considerate of i n f e r i o r s , she put her charm into the cup of cherry blossom tea she poured for him ... 117 Kunde i s a kakekotoba. It pivots between "aikyo o kunde" ("with charm" or " f u l l of a f f a b i l i t y " ) and "sakurayu ippai [o] kunde yaru" ("make a cup of cherry petal tea to drink together"). The sentence continues: kokoro n i hana no aru ash i r a i wa kuchi n i kotoba no adashigeki yori natsukashiki ... h o s p i t a l i t y from a deeply sincere heart i s more pleasant than being treated to a mouthful of compliments. Here, hana 'flower' i s the engo (associated word) for the sakurayu 'cherry petal tea' i n the preceding clause. 2 1 The seven-five cadence adds musicality and a strong forward momentum to the flow of the prose. Consider this instance where Jubei s i t s anxiously anticipating the Abbot's decision: ... moshi mata ware n i wa meijitamawazu Genta n i makasu to kimetamaishi o ware ni kotowaru tame yobareshika, so n i mo araba nantosen, ukamu yoshi-naki umoregi no waga mi no sue n i hana sakamu tanomi mo nagaku nakunarubeshi ... Then again, i f I am not rewarded with the order but i t has been decided i n favor of Genta and I have been summoned only to be rejected, i f that i s the case, what then? With no hope of ever r i s i n g i n the world, w i l l I forever remain buried timber, potential blossoms l o s t to oblivion? The seven s y l l a b l e phrase "ukamu yoshinaki" ("no hope of ris i n g " ) i s followed by the five s y l l a b l e "umoregi no" ("buried wood" by 118 extension, " l i v i n g i n obscurity"). The clause employs the a l l i t e r a t i v e device of head rhyme (torn) to create euphony. After the next seven s y l l a b l e phrase, "waga mi no sue n i " ("at the tips of my limbs") we find the engo "hana sakamu" ("flowers blooming") associated with the word "umoregi" ("deadwood"). The associated terms together form the old idiom, umoregi n i hana ga saku, which means to r i s e out of obscurity by dint of noteworthy achievement. This type of complex figur a t i v e language i s used frequently i n Goju no To and fascinating examples can be found i n most of Rohan's early f i c t i o n . Other features of Rohan's prose technique which might be pointed out include his use of p a r a l l e l construction (tsuiku s h i t a t e ) , noun-stop clauses (meishidome), and the use of Chinese characters for both v i s u a l and aural e f f e c t . To i l l u s t r a t e , here i s how the twenty-fifth chapter of the novel begins: Hand axes chopping away, planes shaving planks, chisels knocking holes, n a i l s being driven, crack crack c l i c k c l i c k the sounds reverberated i n busy disarray as wood chips flew l i k e leaves swirling i n a sudden gust and sawdust danced l i k e snow f a l l i n g out of the blue i n the precincts of the temple where carpenters i n s t y l i s h dark blue aprons drawn t i g h t l y around th e i r waists over rather natty white britches stepped sharply i n th e i r stapped sandals a g i l e l y about th e i r tasks, while from an old man i n a shabby jacket with a f i l t h y towel slung over his shoulder squating i n a sunny spot comes the sound zzz zzz ting of a c h i s e l being sharpened; here, a l i t t l e urchin bungling about i n search of a misplaced t o o l , there, a day-laborer i n t e n t l y sawing wood, and amidst these people of a l l 119 kinds engaged i n the i r work, perspiring and out of breath, the p r i n c i p l e architect, the slouch Jubei, moved from worker to worker, supervising with ink pot, bamboo stylus, and T-square, di r e c t i n g the transformation of model into r e a l i t y . "Cut i t here. Bevel i t there a b i t . What are you doing? Set i t at this angle!" With plumb l i n e and voice did he instruct, indicating the dimensions of tongue and groove, even troubling to score lumber, eyes l i k e a falcon's, ever v i g i l a n t , desperately driven, when, as he stopped to draw some figures for a young assistant to carve i n r e l i e f , there, out of a cloud of dust, faster than a charging wild boar, f l y i n g at him with hatchet raised high, was S e i k i c h i . 23 The phrase "wood chips flew l i k e leaves swirling i n a sudden gust and sawdust danced l i k e snow f a l l i n g out of the blue" (" koppa wa tonde shippu n i konoha no hirugaeru ga gotoku, ogakuzu matte seiten n i yuki furu ...") i s an example of p a r a l l e l construction, a device used quite often i n Rohan's early works. The effect of the technique i s purely decorative. Parallelism i s surely one of the basic aesthetic p r i n c i p l e s of poetic utterance i n any language. This opening passage of chapter twenty-five makes use of a syntactical manipulation which I have ca l l e d the "noun-stop." It i s used for both .dramatic and aesthetic e f f e c t . The passage, one paragraph i n Japanese, contains two sentences. Each sentence ends with a noun; the f i r s t , with the term " i i t s u k e " ("instructions") the> second, with the proper name, S e i k i c h i . I have t r i e d to indicate i n the translation how a whole st r i n g of clauses 120 describing the immediate circumstances is brought to focus on the action (supervising/directing) in the f i r s t instance, and on Seikichi, Jubei's assailant, in the second. The pause or break in the rhythmic prose creates a dramatic tension, a grammatical as well as narrative suspense. It also opens an interval or space (ma) in the text by "freezing" a particular tableau, compelling the reader to contemplate the force and beauty of the language. In Goju no To Rohan presents the reader with a very dense canvas. Sounds and' images move through this space in a rhythmic, almost musical way. The manner in which concrete visual image and the sounds of language are.woven together reflects the author's views on the nature of writing. In his essay "The Improvement of Writing and Language" ( *xC 4 p @) "Bunsho oyobi Gengo no Kojo" 1914), mentioned above, Rohan argues that writing in Japanese should take advantage of the two-dimension-a l i t y of the writing system. He notes that the characters used are, at the same time, signs for pronunciation and symbols of mental images ( / C )^ f£xL_ "shinzo no shocho" ) . 2 4 This is a position later echoed by Akutagawa Ryunosuke ( ^_/\\ 1892-1927) and put into practice so beautifully by Tanizaki Junichiro ( ^ fc^f ;^Fj — 1886-1965). Rohan maintained that the direction taken by modern st y l i s t i c s in Japan obstructed 121 a r t i s t i c freedom and was based on an unrealizable ideal ; since the written and spoken forms of any language w i l l always have ir r e c o n c i l a b l e differences. In Goju no To the language works well i n both dimensions, Consider the passage quoted above. One can "see" how the sounds and images work i n tandem: 4l *To^e>;r * tr*> ... kugi utsu yara chocho kachi kachi ... driving n a i l s , bam bam clack clack We not only hear, but see the n a i l s going In J i one after another. ... yu yu zen to nomi o togu ... j i j i mo a r i calmly, deliberately, zz zz ting, an old man sharpening a c h i s e l We have picture,sound, and mood of the old man sharpen-ing a c h i s e l . The language i n Goju no To c a l l s attention to i t s e l f , i t i s t h e a t r i c a l , f u l l of bold exaggeration and elegant straining of l i m i t s . This i s the reason we find a c r i t i c such as Terada Toru saying, "The language used i s just too strong and only serves to make the novel seem emptier." The novel, he thinks, takes on the q u a l i t i e s of the pagoda i t s e l f : i t has a firmness and d u r a b i l i t y but not much else. The overa l l impression i s , 122 he f e e l s , "one of something hollow with r i g i d contours. " Z "'The r i g i d i t y Terada writes of comes more from the underlying structure of the work than the s t y l e . The hollowness he perceives i s , I believe, a res u l t of the characterization. Looking for r e a l i s t i c treatment, he finds instead i d e a l i z a t i o n of types. Modern f i c t i o n usually takes the external world as i t s object and seeks to represent this world "as i s . " This insistence on mimesis coupled with the writer's personal response to experience came to be the dominant f i c t i o n a l mode. Poetry and drama, however, tend to take language as t h e i r object and rather than l i m i t t h e i r scope to works primarily expressions of s e l f — although this type of work i s not lacking — have sought the reason for l i t e r a t u r e i n the expression of a universal order that goes beyond the i n d i v i d u a l . A novel i n form, Rohan's Goju no To i s closer to the nature of epic poetry and drama than what we have come to know as modern fiction,where the self-consciousness of the hero i s sovereign. Most commentators on Goju no To take Jubei to be the unequivocal hero of the work. As we have seen, It5 Sei sees Jubei as a kind of prototype of the modern individual ready to go i t alone i n his pursuit of fame and glory. He also notes that his appearance may be taken as s i g n a l l i n g the end of the optimistic 123 early years of M e i j i with the a r r i v a l of the problem of ego-centric individualism i n modern society. Seri Hiroaki, i n his study of Rohan as c r i t i c of modern c i v i l i z a t i o n , takes Jubei to be the embodiment of the ideal °f shin j i n ( Xv^. >^ t n e " t r u e man." He maintains that Rohan i s trying to show how the development of the pre-modern s p i r i t of craftsmanship ("shokuno seishin") might be an avenue of 26 l i b e r a t i o n for modern man. Seen this way, Jubei becomes an exemplar of makoto ( J ^ . ), that c h a r a c t e r i s t i c which Ivan Morris has c a l l e d the "cardinal quality of the Japanese hero." Makoto, which may be translated " s i n c e r i t y , " has as i t s basis "a purity of motive which derives from man's longing for an absolute meaning out of time and from a r e a l i z a t i o n that the s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l world i s e s s e n t i a l l y a place of corruption whose materiality i s incompatible with the demands of pure s p i r i t and truth." Morris goes on to say that "the man of makoto proceeds not by l o g i c a l argument, pragmatic compromise, or a common-sense e f f o r t to attune himself to the 'movement of the times,' but by the force of his own true feelings. Instead of depending on c a r e f u l , r a t i o n a l plans and adjustments he i s 27 propelled by an unquestioning spontaneity." There i s l i t t l e doubt many of the heroes of Rohan's master craftsman novels are infused with this "cardinal quality" of s i n c e r i t y of heart. 124 Chieko Mulhern, who has written the only study of Rohan i n English, feels that "Jubei i s undoubtedly his ideal hero." She writes, "Jubei must transcend the customary heroics such as the t y p i c a l Edoite generosity displayed by Genta or the human sentiments by which his wife l i v e s . " And that, "Jubei 2 8 i s the d i v i n e l y inspired a r t i s t - p r i e s t protecting the pagoda." What a l l of the above characterizations f a i l to emphasize i s the c r i t i c i s m l e v e l l e d at Jubei throughout the novel. He i s consistently described as i n s e n s i t i v e . At the ground-breaking ceremony his very worldly ambition wells to the surface. He i s said to be "half i n a dream, half i n r e a l i t y " when facing Seikichi's attack. Upon returning from a consultation with the Abbot he "seems to be h a l f dead" ("hanbun shinda yo n i natte"). His son, lno, has a prophetic dream i n which Jubei's head i s "smashed i n h a l f by a sledgehammer" ("atama o butte ikudomo 29 butte, atama ga hanbun kowareta"). There are numerous other references to Jubei's onesidedness. To see him only as the " i d e a l hero" i s to overlook his f a u l t s , his incomplete humanity. We are meant to recognize that his lack of compassion i s a re a l weakness; that love i s love i s not something that can be jettisoned i n the pursuit of individual goals regardless of the motive. It i s compassion that provides Jubei with his opportunity. 125 Even the temple's name implies t h i s : Kannoji i s the temple ( J^J" ) where the Gods and Buddhas respond ( ) to human feelings ( ). Roen Shonin discerns i n the carpenter a potential, a dedication to his art, which can be the vehicle of his l i b e r a t i o n . He speaks to him while fingering his beads made from the f r u i t of the bodhi tree ("bodaiju no mi no zuzu") and resolves to 30 awaken the man's bodaishin, his aspiration for enlightenment. As the Abbot indicates i n the f i n a l chapter, the pagoda i s " B u i l t by Jubei of Edo and Completed by Kawagoe Gentaro" ("koto no junin Jubei kore o tsukur*i, Kawagoe Gentaro kore o nasu"). Among the other things we learn about constructing a pagoda i s that the l e v e l l i n g and s o l i d i f y i n g of the ground at i t s base - 31 i s the most important factor-("to wa nani y o r i jigyo ga d a i j i " ) . It i s Genta who maintains a v i g i l at the base during the storm. He i s probably the most f u l l y drawn character i n the work. We see him i n intimate conversation with his wife, carousing i n the pleasure d i s t r i c t , losing his temper, eavesdropping, and altogether too r i g i d l y constrained by s o c i a l p r o p r i e t i e s . Yet, his self-abnegation with respect to the creation of the pagoda may represent a higher order of attainment than Jubei's affirmative triumph. It may well be Genta's uncreated pagoda should be seen as the essential component i n the successful r e a l i z a t i o n of the project. It should not be necessary to add that the p r i n c i p l e architect i s Roen Shonin. He combines compassion, s k i l l f u l means, and wisdom, the main elements of a pagoda which, after a l l , stands for s p i r i t u a l v i c t o r y . 126 1 Koda Rohan, Goju no To ("The Five-Storied Pagoda") in Koda Rohan Shu, Nihon Kindai Bungaku Taikei Series, Vol. 6 (Tokyo: Kadokawa, 1974). The novel is included in Rohan Zenshu, Vol. 5. References are to the Kadokawa edition which has the advantage of copious notes and commentary; hereafter cited as GJT 2 Ito Sei, Nihon Bundan Shi, (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1969), Vol. 3, p. 15. Shiki believed Rohan had succeeded in fusing Western ideas of love and human aspiration with the Buddhist world view. He considered Furyubutsu the best contemporary novel he had read and became an avid reader of Rohan's subsequent work. Shiki actually went so far as to retrace the steps of Shu'un, the sculptor in Furyubutsu, taking the same route through the mountains of Kiso Rohan had travelled two years earlier. 3 See Irokawa Daikichi, Meiji ho Bunka (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1977). Chapters One and Two outline the social history of the period. 4 £JT, p. 290. ^ The novel was f i r s t adapted for the stage by Takeshiba Shinkichi and performed at the Tokyo-za in November, 1904. More recently, a play with a script based on Goju no To written by Tsugami Tadashi was produced by the Nihon Engeki Kyokasho in 1966. ^ Sakae Shioya, trans., The Pagoda, by. Koda Rohan (Tokyo: Okura and Co., 1909). 7 GJT, pp. 308-309. 8 5 J T , pp. 315-316. 9 _ Shiotani San, Koda Rohan (Tokyo: Chuokoronsha,1977), Vol. 1, p. 165. 127 1 0 GJT, p. 325. 1 1 GJT, p. 317. 1 2 GJT, p. 224. 13 This is a f a i r l y common criticism of the characterization. Here, the appraisal is by Terada Toru,"Rohan no Kosho," Bungaku, 46, No. 11 (1978), p. 9. 1 4 GJT, p. 306. Ito, pp. 25-26. 16 On Rohan's heroes as representatives of traditional ideals of craftsmanship and spiritual endeavor see Seri Hiroaki, Bunmei Hihyoka toshite no Rohan (Tokyo: Miraisha, 1971). In particular the chapter, "Rohan no Meijinmono to Zen" ("Rohan's Master Crafts-man Novels and Zen"). 1 7 GJT, p. 334. 18 Shiotani, p. 164. 1 9 GJT, p. 351-352. 20 -Ito, p. 29. Ito devotes a section of the third volume of his long history of modern Japanese literary circles to "Rohan's Goju no To and Reactions to the Work" ("Rohan no Goju no To to sono Hanbiki"). 2 1 GJT, p. 288. 2 2 GJT, p. 301. 2 3 GJT, p. 337-338. 2 4 Zenshu, Vol. 25, pp. 53-57. Terada, p. 9. 2 6 Seri, p. 203. 27 Ivan Morris, The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in The History of Japan (New York: Meridian, 1976), p. 22-23. 2 8 Chieko Mulhern, Koda Rohan (Boston: Twayne, 1977), pp. 87, 98,99. 2 9 GJT, pp. 298,326 30 GJT,, p. 299. 3 1 GJT, pp. 358, 330. 128 Chapter F i v e Record o f L i n k e d Rings I n h i s essay " T r a d i t i o n and the I n d i v i d u a l T a l e n t " T. S. E l i o t , enumerating h i s c r i t e r i a f o r g r e a t n e s s , wrote: [The] h i s t o r i c a l sense ... we may c a l l n e a r l y i n d i s -p e nsable t o anyone who would c o n t i n u e t o be a poet beyond h i s t w e n t y - f i f t h y e a r ... The h i s t o r i c a l sense compels a man t o w r i t e not merely w i t h h i s own g e n e r a t i o n i n h i s bones but w i t h a f e e l i n g t h a t the whole o f the l i t e r a t u r e o f Europe from Homer and w i t h i n i t the whole o f the l i t e r a t u r e o f h i s own c o u n t r y has a s i m u l t a n e o u s e x i s t e n c e and composes a si m u l t a n e o u s o r d e r . 1 Koda Rohan's n o v e l , Renkanki ( TJJL HC_J "Record o f L i n k e d 2 R i n g s " ) succeeds i n c a p t u r i n g t h i s sense o f t r a d i t i o n a l o r d e r . I t i s not o f cour s e back t o the a n c i e n t Greek poet but t o the g r e a t l i t e r a r y f l o w e r i n g i n Hei a n Japan t h a t h i s work r e a c h e s . Renkanki r e v e a l s the tremendous scope o f the a u t h o r ' s h i s t o r i c a l e r u d i t i o n and the seem i n g l y e f f o r t l e s s s k i l l w i t h which he weaves t o g e t h e r a s e r i e s o f b i o g r a p h i c a l p o r t r a i t s , a s t u t e o b s e r v a t i o n s on human n a t u r e , and commentary on the l i t e r a t u r e o f an epoch i n t o a work o f l i t e r a t u r e o f the h i g h e s t o r d e r . Much o f Japan's l i t e r a r y h e r i t a g e was c r y s t a l l i z e d i n Rohan, the man; i n h i s -work, the r e a d e r i s g i v e n a v i s i o n o f the m u l t i f a c e t e d mystery o f time p a s t . The a u t h o r r e a d h i s t o r y w i t h h i s h e a r t and b r i n g s t o h i s w r i t i n g a prof o u n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the empty c e n t e r and d e l i c a t e web o f i n t e r r e l a t e d c i r c u m s t a n c e i n human l i f e a I n an o f t e n n o t e d c r i t i c i s m , Tanabe Hajime 1885-1962), the Kyoto U n i v e r s i t y H e g e l i a n , once c h a r a c t e r i z e d 129 Rohan's work as "zatsugaku"'miscellaneous studies', a term with the negative connotation of " i n t e l l e c t u a l hodgepodge." The thrust of his c r i t i c i s m was that there i s no unifying system of thought supporting his writing. 'This i s the type of remark also directed at a writer such as Tanizaki Junichiro, who, although never having ventured far from the realm of f i c t i o n , is.attacked for his lack of i n t e l l e c t u a l superstructure ("shiso ga n a i " . ) . While on a s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l there i s some element of truth i n Tanabe's characterization — Rohan's collected works do, a f t e r a l l , include studies on topics ranging from philology to c i t y planning -- and however v a l i d the observation might be from the standpoint of modern s c i e n t i f i c d i s c i p l i n e s with t h e i r need to specialize and fragment knowledge, i t rings f a l s e when seen i n the l i g h t of Rohan's e f f o r t to maintain a humanistic, comprehensive approach to the world. His writing seeks connecr tions, discovers s i g n i f i c a n t coincidence; i t involves the "poetic thinking" Northrop Frye describes: Poetic thinking, being mythical, does not distinguish or create antitheses: i t goes on and on l i n k i n g analogy to analogy, i d e n t i t y to i d e n t i t y . ... This means, not that i t i s merely f a c i l e or l i q u i d thinking without form, but that i t i s a d i a l e c t i c of love: i t treats whatever i t encounters as another form of i t s e l f . ^ If a conceptual tag must be applied, rather than the usual "romantic idealism," I prefer Yamamoto Kenkichi's suggestion, "philosophy pf interrelatedness" (en no shiso). Yamamoto contrasts 130 the warm, personal world view based on en ( x % j | j < _ . ); which was derived from the Buddhist notion of karmic causality, to the impersonal, theoretical systematizing ( r i r o n t e k i na tai k e i ) of the modern temper. During much of the Meiji period the residual effects of centuries of Neo-Confucian doctrine kept man, contemporary man, at the center of scholarship and modern s c i e n t i f i c methodologies at a distance. In historiography i n pa r t i c u l a r , the r a p i d i t y of change during the period generated a strong sense of l i v i n g within, being part of, the subject matter i t s e l f . 7 Tortdescribe her father's methodology Koda Aya relates an analogyhhe used to explain his approach to knowledge: [Rohan] You don't concentrate on just one area, but spread out i n a l l eight d i r e c t i o n s , firmly forcing your way to the furthest extent l i k e an advancing army. ... Similar to the way when ice forms i t f i r s t sends out needles which begin to p u l l each other together creating l i n k s . Then a thin membrane stretches over the whole right to the center. What we c a l l knowledge works l i k e t h i s . [Taking things] one by one does not work well. Instead you should reach out widely i n everywhich d i r e c t i o n . At some point, bing! a l l w i l l be drawn together and connected, the space i n the gaps w i l l be f i l l e d i n . That i s what i s c a l l e d knowledge. 8 This ice analogy suggests that Rohan would be i n agreement with some of the recent anti-epistemological stances i n c r i t i c i s m and philosophy. Hans-George Gadamer;'s concept of Bildung for instance, which refers to a process of self-formation and education that i s to replace a search for "knowledge" i n the sense of some putative objective truth. This gestalt approach 131 i s v e ry much i n keeping with the tenor of the works on s e l f -Q c u l t i v a t i o n Rohan p u b l i s h e d i n mid c a r e e r . H i s t o r y , viewed from t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e , has value not because of something gained by a s c e r t a i n i n g what a c t u a l l y happened — an u n a t t a i n a b l e goal i n any event — r a t h e r , i t s worth l i e s i n how i t can be used to e f f e c t changes i n our consciousness of o u r s e l v e s . As the contemporary American p h i l o s o p h e r R i c h a r d Rorty puts i t , " g e t t i n g the f a c t s r i g h t (about atoms and the v o i d , or about the h i s t o r y of Europe) i s merely propaedeutic to f i n d i n g a new and more i n t e r e s t i n g way of e x p r e s s i n g o u r s e l v e s . " He maintains t h a t "from the educa-t i o n a l , as opposed to e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l or t e c h n i c a l p o i n t of view, the way t h i n g s are s a i d i s more important than the 10 possessions of t r u t h s . " I w i l l r e t u r n to t h i s p o i n t i n my d i s c u s s i o n of the view of h i s t o r y expressed i n Renkanki. Throughout Rohan's w r i t i n g there i s the i m p l i c i t assumption t h a t sentences and poems are connected to other sentences and poems i n a v e r b a l matrix that i s able to m i r r o r complex human emotions much more c l e a r l y than i t can r e p r e s e n t the o b j e c t i v e world. Decades of s t u d y i n g h a i k a i l i t e r a t u r e , which i s b u i l t upon the s k i l l f u l l i n k i n g of l i n e s of verse by a group of poets to c r e a t e a l y r i c a l n a r r a t i v e w h o l e , c e r t a i n l y a f f e c t e d Rohan's view and use of language. His mastery of h i g h l y developed renku ' l i n k e d v e r s e ' techniques such as monozuke'word l i n k ' , kokorozuke 132 'heart l i n k ' , and n i o i z u k e ' f r a g r a n c e l i n k ' c o n t r i b u t e d t o the seamless f l o w o f h i s mature essays and s t o r i e s . The work o f a r t was, however, never an end i n i t s e l f . F o r Rohan the a r t work c o u l d not be disengaged from i t s moral or r e l i g i o u s i m p l i c a t i o n s . I n accordance w i t h b o t h C o n f u c i a n and B u d d h i s t v i e w s , the u l t i m a t e j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f l i t e r a t u r e i s t o be found i n i t s f u n c t i o n as hoben'expedient means' f o r the e d i f i c a t i o n and e n l i g h t e n m e n t o f s o c i e t y . I n d i v i d u a l s i n communities are connected byrfchehflow o f symbols t h r o u g h channels o f communication. U n t i l r e c e n t l y , l i t e r a t u r e was the most p u b l i c and i n f l u e n t i a l c h a n n e l . Q u i t e c l e a r l y , i t i s t h i s system o f symbols which h e l p s the group form i t s s e l f - i m a g e and images of r e a l i t i e s e x t e r n a l t o the i n d i v i d u a l . The aggregate o f t h i s symbol system i s what might be calleddhuman s o c i e t y . Thus i t became a moral d u t y f o r the w r i t e r t o f u r t h e r the good o f s o c i e t y by eschewing the f r i v o l o u s and v u l g a r w h i l e e s p o u s i n g the l o f t y t e a c h i n g s o f the sages. The problem f o r the a r t i s t was t o c r e a t e a s e t o f s t r u c t u r a l and s t y l i s t i c d e v i c e s t o mediate between the r e a l i t i e s o f the commonplace w o r l d and the i n j u n c t i o n s o f the i d e a l one. Language was not always up t o the t a s k . I n h i s "Commentary on the Secondary Meaning o f the Heart S u t r a " (the P r a j n l p l r a m i t l - h r i d a y a S u t r a — a d i s t i l l a t i o n o f Mahayana B u d d h i s t t e a c h i n g s ) Rohan e x p l a i n s t h a t the e x p l i c a t i o n i s p e r -f o r c e a secondary meaning because the p r i m a r y meaning i s beyond the compass o f l a n g u a g e . H 133 I n September-; 1938, when Rohan was seventy-two y e a r s o l d , Gendan ( " M y s t i f y i n g T a l e s " ) was p u b l i s h e d i n the 12 p e r i o d i c a l , Nihon Hyoron. The p i e c e , w r i t t e n i n the easy, r a c o n t e u r s t y l e o f h i s l a t e f i c t i o n , j o i n s two s t o r i e s o f the s u p e r n a t u r a l , one Western and o f t h e mountains, the o t h e r E a s t e r n and o f the s e a . The f i r s t d e a l s w i t h the o r i g i n a l conquest o f the M a t t e r h o r n i n the Swiss A l p s i n 1865. On the descent h a l f the c l i m b i n g p a r t y plunges f o u r thousand f e e t and i s l o s t . The s u r v i v o r s t h e n w i t n e s s t h e appearance o f two l a r g e c r o s s e s i n the sky e n c l o s e d by an a r c h . The second, somewhat l o n g e r s t o r y r e l a t e s the e x p e r i e n c e o f a f i s h e r m a n and h i s boatman companion d u r i n g the l a t e Edo p e r i o d . Out f i s h i n g one day around dusk t h e y e n c o u n t e r a f i s h i n g r o d bobbing i n t h e water w i t h t h e hand o f a drowned man s t i l l t i g h t l y g r a s p i n g i t . N o t i c i n g the e x c e l l e n t q u a l i t y o f the bamboo r o d , t h e y , w i t h some t r o u b l e , remove i t from the p o s s e s s i o n o f ^ t h e dead f i s h e r m a n and r e t u r n home. Out f i s h i n g about t h e same time a day l a t e r , t h e same a p p a r i t i o n appears t o them. Awe-struck, they c a s t the r o d back i n t o the sea i n v o k i n g t h e name o f Amida Buddha. F a v o r a b l e r e a c t i o n t o t h i s work may have prompted Rohan's f i n a l b u r s t o f c r e a t i v e e f f o r t which r e s u l t e d i n h i s l a s t t h r e e n o v e l s : Y u k i t a t a k i ( H * VA Knock i n the Snow" 1939, May-June), Gacho ( ^ %^ "A P a i r o f Geese" 1939, December), and Renkanki ( \ ^ ~ % Z j "Record o f L i n k e d R i n g s " 1940, June-J u l y ) . They were o r i g i n a l l y p u b l i s h e d i n Nihon Hyoron and i n 134 1941 a l l f o u r were i s s u e d t o g e t h e r i n a s i n g l e volume under t h e t i t l e G e n d a n . 1 3 S h i o t a n i San, Rohan's b i o g r a p h e r , b e l i e v e s Renkanki was a c t u a l l y c o n c e i v e d much e a r l i e r , perhaps as f a r back as the b e g i n n i n g o f t h e T a i s h o e r a (1912), and t h e a u t h o r saved h i s b e s t work t o bow out w i t h . 1 4 I n an agreement w i t h a p u b l i s h e r o f h i s t o r i c a l f i c t i o n a t the time Rohan o f f e r e d a work e n t i t l e d "Nara no I c h i y o " ( j^^jg-f (J) — " A n Oak L e a f " ) which was t o have d e a l t w i t h Kamo no Yasutane ( 4*?UjiL ? " 1 ° 0 2 ? ) and o t h e r s o f h i s p e r i o d i n a manner s i m i l a r t o the t r e a t m e n t we f i n d i n R e n k a n k i . We know t h a t the b e g i n n i n g o f the n o v e l was w r i t t e n ( o r r e w r i t t e n ) much l a t e r because i n a l e t t e r t o h i s s i s t e r Nobuko, d a t e d August 2, 1929, Rohan g i v e s the r e a d i n g f o r Yasutane's f a m i l y name i n k a t a k a n a ( p h o n e t i c s c r i p t ) as " Y o s h i s h i g e y " I t must have been a f t e r t h a t he d i s c o v e r e d " Y o s h i s h i g e " s h o u l d a c t u a l l y be r e a d "KamoV" B i o g r a p h i c a l d i c t i o n a r i e s today s t i l l r e a d the name as Y o s h i s h i g e but Rohan shows how Yasutane s i m p l y changed c h a r a c t e r s , u s i n g k a n j i w i t h e q u i v a l e n t meanings ( i j i d o g i : became , w h i l e became ^^.i*. ) • T h i s was done i n o r d e r t o show r e s p e c t f o r h i s e l d e r b r o t h e r , Kamo no Y a s u n o r i ( ^ 7 ^ 917 - 977). I n Renkanki Rohan c i t e s a s i m i l a r change by Yasutane's nephew Tanemasa, one o f the a u t h o r s o f the Shoku Honcho Monzui ( Renkanki i s a n a r r a t i v e t r e a t i n g a number of h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e s i n mid-Heian Japan and Sung C h i n a . The p e r i o d c o i n c i d e s 135 w i t h the g r e a t f l o w e r i n g o f Heian c o u r t c u l t u r e and l i t e r a r y achievement. The c h a r a c t e r s a r e c o n t e m p o r a r i e s of F u j i w a r a no e r i b e d as h i s t o r i c a l n o v e l ( r e k i s h i s h o s e t s u ) , b i o g r a p h y ( s h i d e n ) , o r some form of h i s t o r i c a l essay i s a q u e s t i o n t h a t goes beyond the a l r e a d y c o m p l i c a t e d arguments c o n c e r n i n g genre i n t o problems concerning the r e l a t i o n s h i p between f i c t i o n a l and h i s t o r i c a l modes o f d i s c o u r s e . S i n c e the t e x t has a number of comments t o make on t h i s matter, i t w i l l be d i s c u s s e d below i n the c o n t e x t o f r e l a t e d i s s u e s r a i s e d by the work i t s e l f . The n a r r a t i v e i n v o l v e s s i x major f i g u r e s and numerous i n c i d e n t a l c h a r a c t e r s , a l l o f whom are a t t e s t e d t o i n the h i s t o r i c a l r e c o r d . The main a c t o r s i n t h i s account which i s s t r u c t u r e d as a s e r i e s o f b i o g r a p h i c a l s k e t c h e s o r v i g n e t t e s , o f t e n speak t h r o u g h t h e i r own t e x t s ( j o u r n a l s , poems, h a g i o g r a p h i c w r i t i n g s ) which have been p r e s e r v e d . C e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s are i n d i c a t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g c h a r t : M i c h i n a g a 966-1027) the model f o r M u r a s a k i ' s hero i n The T a l e o f G e n j i . Whetherrthe n a r r a t i v e be b e s t des-136 (917-1003) Enryakuji Betsu-in Genshin ^ <1 (942-1017) Eshin Sozu LIJ.II O U Z UKamo no Yasutane (? - 1002) Jakushin Sugawara no Fumitoki f & i t ^ (899-981) Oe no Masahira (952-1012) Akasaka no Osa no Riki ju (? - ?) Oe no Sadamoto (964- 1036)-Jakusho Ding Wei ( f l . 10th C.) Akazome Emon ( f l . 10th C.) Taira no Kanemori 3-The n a r r a t i v e opens w i t h Kamo no Yasutane, a devout B u d d h i s t , one o f the c o u r t l i t e r a t i , and a u t h o r o f the f i r s t Japanese o j o d e n 'accounts o f r e b i r t h i n the Pure Land', the Nihon 0 j 5 g o k u r a k u k i ( r3 %^ 4jt- %~ ijs. $1 ~tL 988 ). Yasutane i s a l s o r e f e r r e d t o by h i s B u d d h i s t name, J a k u s h i n , and known t o h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s as " N a i k i no H i j i r i " ( |^| "ifcL ^ ), " the Sage o f the P a l a c e S e c r e t a r i a t . " We l e a r n about h i s t e a c h e r s and h i s w e l l - d e v e l o p e d l i t e r a r y and c r i t i c a l s k i l l s . A number of i n c i d e n t s t a k e n from H e i a n p e r i o d s o u r c e s r e v e a l the d epth o f Yasutane's compassion. From h i s own d i a r y , the C h i t e i k i ( ; ~% ZJ " A n Account o f My Pond-side V i l l a " ) , 15 passages a r e s e l e c t i v e l y quoted and commented on. He r e f l e c t s on the c o r r u p t s t a t e o f the w o r l d and on the s o l a c e he f i n d s a t home, removed from the s e c u l a r demands of c o u r t l i f e . I t was a t h i s modest r e t r e a t s o u t h o f Rokujo t h a t he wrote h i s "Record o f R e b i r t h s i n the Pure Land P a r a d i s e " based on the Chinese model of the T'ang monk, S h i J i a - c a i ( -^ J>#^ f l . 6 2 7 ) the J i n g Tu Lun ( " T r e a t i s e on the Pure L a n d " ) . 1 6 Some y e a r s l a t e r , Oen.no Masafusa ( 1^/^ 1041-1111), grandson o f an e l d e r c o u s i n o f Oe no Sadamoto, c o m p i l e d a n o t h e r r e c o r d o f Pure Land r e b i r t h s , the Zoku Honcho 0 joden ( Ji^J^p^l 4f\ 1099-1104) which r e l a t e s i n d e t a i l Yasutane's own r e b i r t h i n the PureLand. Rohan comments on t h i s c o u r s e o f e v e n t s : "the k a r m i c nexus o f the dharma i s t r u l y p r o f o u n d , l i k e the l i n k i n g t o g e t h e r o f j e w e l e d r r i n g s " ( hoen mdmyo gyokukan no 1 7 a i t s u r a n a r u ga g o t o s h i ). 138 These words sound the main theme and i n d i c a t e the p r i n c i p l e behind the s t r u c t u r a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of the work. In what f o l l o w s we f i n d a s e r i e s of v a r i a t i o n s on t h i s c e n t r a l m o t i f as i n d i v i d u a l i s l i n k e d to i n d i v i d u a l i n a manner meant to suggest the mysterious o p e r a t i o n s of the web of i n t e r c o n d i t i o n a l i t y . The r e c i p r o c a l c a u s a l connections (en) between i n d i v i d u a l s are here expressed i n Buddhist terms. In Rohan's e a r l i e r h i s t o r i c a l n o v e l , Unmei ( " D e s t i n y " ) , the unfathomable f o r c e behind human f a t e and the process of h i s t o r y was r e f e r r e d to as "su" ( l i t e r a l l y , ' n u m b e r ' ) , a concept d e r i v e d from the c y c l i c a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s based on number i n the I_ Ching ("Book of Changes") and r e l a t e d to Mencius' p r i n c i p l e of " w a i t i n g f o r d e s t i n y " ( d a i ming). "According to t h i s d o c t r i n e man should exert h i s utmost i n moral endeavor and leave whatever i s beyond our c o n t r o l to f a t e . " 1 8 In another e a r l i e r n o v e l , Furyu M i j i n z o ( 1 Q "The Minute Storehouse of L i f e " ) , Rohan t r i e d u n s u c c e s s f u l l y to use a s i m i l a r l i n k i n g technique which Yanagida Izumi c a l l e d 20 " r e n k a n t a i " d l i n k e d r i n g s t y l e ' . The lengthy, u n f i n i s h e d work p o r t r a y s the l i v e s of o r d i n a r y people i n the e a r l y years of the M e i j i e r a . I t s scope, use of melodrama, and great number of minutely d e t a i l e d s t u d i e s of the s o c i e t y of the day suggest comparison to B a l z a c . With the novel l e s s than h a l f completed more than one hundred and t h i r t y c h a r a c t e r s had made an appearance, t h i r t y - f i v e of them f u l l y developed. One s t o r y gave b i r t h e t o another i n an ever widening c i r c l e . While there i s some over-139 lapping of characters between chapters, the o v e r a l l design c a l l e d for the l i v e s of a young man and woman introduced at the outset to serve as central warf threads with other characters becoming the interwoven weft. The experiment f a i l e d , i n part, because of too many loose ends. As the novel expanded, with the number of characters and unresolved episodes multiplying, 21 i t began to lose i t s structural i n t e g r i t y . Rohan abandoned the novel but not the idea. In Renkanki, by l i m i t i n g to six the number of main figures, he preserves a manageable structure without diminishing the h i s t o r i c a l sweep of the narrative.?. The figures chosen provide an h i s t o r i c a l ground with just the right contours for developing the "linked r i n g " structure. Jakushin, Jakusho, and Genshin were a l l members of a group c a l l e d "The Society for Study and Endeavor" Kangaku-e ). Consider the following account of the group's r e l i g i o u s practice: In 964 a group of young i n t e l l e c t u a l s and minor a r i s t o c r a t s , persons from the s o c i a l stratum upon which the contradictions and i n s e c u r i t i e s of the time f e l l most heavily, formed a devotional society. It was c a l l e d The Society for Study and Endeavor. ... It met for a whole day twice each year. In the morning the assembled members listened to a sermon on the Lotus Sutra, i n the evening they composed poetry on Buddhist themes, and throughout the night they cultivated nembutsu 'fa Pure Land meditation]. The meetings of the society ... were as much fr i e n d l y reunions as r e l i g i o u s gatherings' (many of the members had been fellow students at the National College). ... The Society for Study and Endeavor dissolved i n 984. Two years l a t e r , i t s former leader Yoshishige no Yasutane [Jakushin] ... together with the respected Tendai p r i e s t Genshin formed a far more thoroughgoing 140 nembutsu s o c i e t y c a l l e d the Nembutsu-samadhi S o c i e t y of Twenty-five. ... Composed of t w e n t y - f i v e d e d i c a t e d Pure Land devotees, both c l e r g y and laymen, t h i s group met each month on the day of the f u l l moon. They heard a l e c t u r e on the Lotus Sutra and passed the n i g h t i n nembutsu. The group was a r e l i g i o u s f r a t e r n i t y as w e l l as d e v o t i o n a l s o c i e t y . The members took vows to act as s p i r i t u a l b r o t h e r s to one another e s p e c i a l l y at times of s i c k n e s s or death, to a s s i s t one another at prayer and nembutsu, and to help one another i n every way, i n t h i s l i f e and a l l f u t u r e l i v e s , toward the goal of Pure Land s a l v a t i o n . 22 In the l i f e of any n a r r a t i v e , e s p e c i a l l y i n one that purports to be h i s t o r i c a l , i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s c a l l e d f o r at every j u n c t u r e . I n t e r p r e t a t i o n may take the form of i n v e n t i o n of new n a r r a t i v e or d i r e c t a u t h o r i a l commentary. Rohan uses both i n Renkanki. "New n a r r a t i v e , " which at one p o i n t he e x p l i c i t l y designates "detarame" ( f a b r i c a t i o n ) , i s employed I f o r i n s t a n c e i n the s e c t i o n d e a l i n g with Sadamoto's q u a r r e l with h i s wife over h i s a f f a i r with R i k i j u . D i r e c t commentary appears e i t h e r i n the form of c h a r a c t e r e v a l u a t i o n used to a f f i r m t r a n s - h i s t o r i c a l v a l u e s , or as an a s i d e to e x p l a i n the reason f o r c e r t a i n n a r r a t i v e leaps when the documentary r e c o r d e r i s s i l e n t . Very l i t t l e i n the way of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s r e q u i r e d , however, to e s t a b l i s h the connections between Yasutane and the members of h i s r e l i g i o u s s o c i e t y . The r e c o r d i s very e x p l i c i t . Thus the remarkable cogency of the argument i n Rohan's n a r r a t i v e — the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of s u b t l e karmic threads l i n k i n g i n d i v i d u a l s — i s due, I b e l i e v e , i n l a r g e measure to h i s choice of the group around Yasutane d e s c r i b e d above f o r h i s s u b j e c t . They prov i d e , i n o ther words, i d e a l m a t e r i a l , r i p e f o r Rohan's h i s t o r i c a l i m a g i n a t i o n . 141 After r e l a t i n g , i n some d e t a i l , various anecdotes involving Jakushin and Genshin, the focus s h i f t s to the eccentric Zoga, a highly respected Tendai monk with a zen-l i k e penchant for hyperbole and absurd pranks. He teaches Jakushin the inner significance of the Maka Shikan, the "Treatise on Concentration and Insight" ( J^: %*J"jfc. ) , and provides a contrast to Jakushin's "render unto Caesar" attitudes with his outrageous behavior at court. Their encounter, seen as a meeting of wisdom with compassion,is expressed this way: From this man whose knowledge was l i k e a sheer precipice, Jakushin, l i k e a jewel i n the shallow waters of a tranquil pure stream, sought i n s t r u c t i o n on the Treatise on Concentration and Insight.^3 The next figure to be given f u l l biographical treatment i s Oe no Sadamoto, poet, scholar, and court o f f i c i a l of the th i r d rank. The events of his l i f e encompass the dramatic highpoints of the interlocking s t o r i e s . The depiction of his involvement with beautiful R i k i j u and subsequent domestic d i f f i c u l t i e s i s the only portion of thi s work i n any way resembling a "novel" as i t i s usually understood. His tragic love a f f a i r with R i k i j u ends only a f t e r the stench of her decomposing corpse causes him to abandon her and the world. He becomes a d i s c i p l e of Jakushin taking the name Jakusho and l a t e r , at the request of Genshin, travels to China.^ 4 142 Juxtaposed to the account of Sadamoto's passionate entanglement and troubled marriage are the stories of his older cousin Oe no Masahira (a d i s c i p l e of Sugawara no Fumitoki along with Kamo no Yasutane) and Masahira's wife, the famous poetess Akazome Emon. While th e i r l i v e s are related only i n part, a surprising range of situations and emotions are represented i n the poems and events recounted. Ambition, jealousy, and courtly prowess, along with touching scenes of maternal love and domestic harmony are presented i n a manner somewhat similar to the c l a s s i c a l uta monogatari 'poem-tale'; The presentation d i f f e r s i n that the ancient "poem-tales" such as Ise Monogatari used prose narration to set the scene for poems, whereas i n Renkanki the poems provide touchstones for the narration. The f i n a l portion of the narrative i s devoted primarily to Jakusho and his encounter with Ding Wei i n China. Genshin had a number of doctrinal questions which he wanted to present to the Hunan monk Zhi L i ( ^ f^L_j ) . His questions have been preserved as the Tendaishu Glmon Ni jushichi jo ( 7^^^L.Js|[_^jf| -~—-- t -^ "Twenty-seven Questions Concerning the Tendai Sect"). 25 Jakusho, as Genshin's d i s c i p l e , agreed to take the questions to China despite having to leave his aging mother. Before his departure Jakusho holds a special service for his mother ( 1 s ^ ~ ^ r Hokke Hachiko) which attracts a great crowd: 143 As the time approached f o r h i s departure from the c a p i t a l there was a tremendous t u r n i n g of the wheel of the dharma. A great wind swept over the s e n t i e n t throngs with c o u n t l e s s beings e c s t a t i c a l l y embracing the way. When the Master Preceptor,_Jakusho, began to d e l i v e r h i s memorial and chant the s u t r a s , ox-drawn c a r r i a g e s p i l e d up i n t o pagodas and,unable to withhold t h e i r emotions, the crowd wept openly. A great many people abandoned the world that day: i t i s even s a i d there were l a d i e s of the court who, i n t h e i r c a r r i a g e s , cut t h e i r h a i r and sent i t to Jakusho . 2 6 * A year a f t e r Jakusho's departure, Zoga d i e d , h i s f i n a l days as c o l o r f u l as ever. Among the e q u a l l y odd i n c i d e n t s d e s c r i b e d i s the " t h i n , withered, almost n i n e t y - y e a r o l d monk p l a c i n g a gaudy horseblanket over h i s f r a i l body and u s i n g i t f o r wings to dance around l i k e a b u t t e r f l y . " He e x p l a i n e d that as a small boy he had once seen some other youngsters p l a y i n g the game but had f o r g o t t e n about i t u n t i l then. Rohan's comment dh t h i s r e t u r n to innocence: "On a c l e a r day as the sun i s about to set behind the western mountains, i t i s the te x t u r e of the e a s t e r n ? 7 h i l l s t h a t can be seen so c l e a r l y . " ' Due l a r g e l y to the l a c k of documentary evidence, Jakusho's l i f e i n China i s t r e a t e d r a t h e r b r i e f l y . We l e a r n t h a t i n d e l i v e r i n g Genshin's questions he impressed Z h i L i with the advanced s t a t e of Japanese Buddhism. He a l s o gained the esteem e x q u i s i t e brushwork and b r i l l i a n t l i t e r a r y s k i l l s . He r e c e i v e d v a r i o u s p r e s e n t s , l o d g i n g i n a temple i n the c a p i t a l , and the of the t h i r d Sung emperor, Zhen Zong ( ) w i t h - h i s honorary name Entsu D a i s h i ( the P e r f e c t C r o s s i n g ) . "Great Master of 144 F i n a l l y Jakusho meets Ding Wei, a man Rohan b e l i e v e s has been g i v e n s h o r t s h r i f t i n the Sung h i s t o r i e s . T h i s , he n o t e s , i s common t r e a t m e n t i n the d y n a s t i c h i s t o r i e s f o r anyone a s s o c i a t e d w i t h e i t h e r T a o i s t o r B u d d h i s t t e a c h i n g s . " A l t h o u g h Ding Wei and Sun He [ ^ ^ / ( a j 3 were h i g h l y a c c l a i m e d w r i t e r s i n e a r l y Sung t h e y were l a t e r e c l i p s e d by Ou-yang X i u [ 1007-72], Wang A n - s h i [ 2_.^ /S 1021-86] and the Three Su [ JH- fl« H t h C ] and are not so w e l l known t o d a y . " 2 8 Ding Wei was f a v o r e d by the emperor Zhen Zong but d e s p i s e d by an i m p e r i a l c o n s o r t who had him b a n i s h e d a f t e r t h e emperor's d e a t h . There i s some e v i d e n c e f o r b e l i e v i n g t h a t b e f o r e h i s m i s f o r t u n e Ding Wei had become Jakusho's b e n e f a c t o r , f o r he c o u l d not have remained l o n g i n China w i t h o u t a p a t r o n . The Sung h i s t o r i e s remark on Ding Wei's e s p o u s a l o f the d o c t r i n e o f k a r m i c c a u s a l i t y and Rohan suggests t h i s was the r e s u l t , . o f Jakusho's i n f l u e n c e . Jakusho never r e t u r n e d t o Japan: J u s t as a l l r i v e r s when t h e y e n t e r t h e ocean become in d e e d the ocean, so t o o p e o p l e o f any f a m i l y e n t e r i n g the r e l i g i o u s o r d e r o f Sakyamuni t h e r e b y become Sakyas. Thus, t h e r e was no s p e c i a l r e a s o n t o draw a d i s t i n c t i o n between e a s t and west and r e t u r n t o Japan. 29 For over t h i r t y y e a r s i n China he l e d many th r o u g h the gate o f the Sakya f a m i l y and ended h i s l i f e amidst a c o l a d e s t o h i s v i r t u e . Rohan c o n c l u d e s t h i s work w i t h a s k e t c h o f D i n g Wei. He i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d w i t h a few s u g g e s t i v e b r u s h s t r o k e s , the empty 145 spaces set o f f by a handful of q u o t a t i o n s . We read one of Ding Wei's poems from the p e r i o d of h i s 'Jbarbarous i s l a n d e x i l e : " Good cause have-I to lament My a r r i v a l on these shores. Dreams c o n s t a n t l y f i n d me R e s i d i n g i n the s p l e n d i d c a p i t a l , A mere ten thousand miles away From t h i s place of three hundred d w e l l i n g s . Evenings I l i s t e n to the d i s t a n t sound Of a monkey howling i n a l o n e l y palm, While dawn b r i n g s a noxious haze R i s i n g with the morning t i d e . Of court c i v i l i t i e s l o c a l o f f i c i a l s know nothin g : The governor's s t a t i o n i s frequented by deer. And a verse composed when h i s three year banishment ended: Ninety thousand leagues a g a i n and again The phoenix sets out over the ocean One thousand leagues once agai n The crane r e t u r n s to i t s n e s t . 30 The i s l a n d of Ding Wei's e x i l e , Hainandao, was known f o r i t s incense p r o d u c t i o n . Rohan emphasizes the f a c t t h a t i t was due to t h i s p a r t i c u l a r karmic connection (innen) that he authored the f i r s t essay p r a i s i n g the a r t of incense, the T i a n Xiang Zhuan ( 4A "Commentary on Heavenly Incense"). Renkanki ends with a q u o t a t i o n from the Dong Xuan B i Lu ( IJL^ ^ /§ffc "Records of W r i t i n g s from the East") by the Sung h i s t o r i a n Wei T a i ("Ji^Jjfc- ) d e s c r i b i n g Ding Wei's death: For two weeks before h i s demise Ding Wei had given up e a t i n g . He j u s t sat i n a m e d i t a t i o n posture burning incense. S i l e n t l y he read the s u t r a s and from time to time would a l l o w h i m s e l f a s i p of tea brewed with incense [ j i n k o ] . With u n d i s t u r b e d l u c i d i t y , c o r r e c t l y a t t i r e d , he p e a c e f u l l y passed on [enzen t o s h i t e k a s h i saru toe]. 1 146 By c u r i o u s c o i n c i d e n c e Rohan's f i r s t p u b l i s h e d n o v e l , Rodandan ("Dewdrops") begins i n the west and h i s l a s t ends i n China. C r i t i c s have argued that the l a s t s e c t i o n of the work, e s p e c i a l l y the Ding Wei l i n k , i s s u p e r f l u o u s . Mushanokoji d i s l i k e s the second h a l f of the n o v e l because "jokes are used" and "sources show t h e i r o r i g i n a l face i n p l a c e s . " The f i r s t h a l f he says i s " l i k e a jewel" but the l a t e r h a l f has "un-f i n i s h e d c h i s e l marks remaining." He betrays h i s bias, however, by remarking that the beginning "based on Japanese sources has names we are f a m i l i a r with, deals with the best h i s t o r i c a l p e r i o d , and the c h a r a c t e r s appearing are p l e a s a n t , agreeable 32 Japanese" (detekuru j i n b u t s u wa kimochi no i i n i h o n j i n de a r u ) . . By extending the n a r r a t i v e to China, Rohan has g i v e n the work g r e a t e r scope, made a number of none too s u b t l e p o l i t i c a l comments ( i f we reeal-lethe 1940 p u b l i c a t i o n d a t e ) , and emphasized the u n i v e r s a l i t y of the karmic process i n human d e s t i n y . In f a c t , i t may w e l l be the n a r r a t i v e was uncovered i n r e v e r s e order, beginning with Ding Wei and t r a c i n g the l i n k a g e s backward. Yamamoto K e n k i c h i s p e c u l a t e s t h a t Rohan's r e a d i n g of the Dong Xuan B i Lu prompted an e a r l y i n t e r e s t i n Ding Wei. F i n d i n g i n s u f f i c i e n t m a t e r i a l i n the Sung h i s t o r i e s he pursuedithe connection w i t h Jakusho back to Japan. In h i s search through the Nihon 0 jo Gokurakuki , Genko Shakusho ( ^ ) , $ j "ft >> Akazome Emon Shu J^J | ^ ) and other o l d t e x t s the p a t t e r n f o r the n a r r a t i v e emerged. 147 Rohan's interest i n Ding Wei was undoubtedly related to t h e i r a f f i n i t y with incense. Ding Wei wrote the f i r s t serious treatment of the art of incense ( kodo ).^ 4 Rohan i n his l a t e r years was extremely interested i n incense and was acknowledged to be something of an expert,with opportunity to sample old and rare specimens. It i s my impression Renkanki i s infused with olfactory stimuli which have an aff e c t on the reader comparable to motifs of v i s u a l or auditory images. Smell i s , of course, the sense most intimately associated with memory: the use of olfactory suggestion to evoke mood seems p a r t i c u l a r l y appropriate i n an h i s t o r i c a l novel. But beyond the r e l a t i v e l y simple evocation of iso l a t e d moods, i n Renkanki aromas (usually, but not limited to the fragrance of incense) are used to signal the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of characters i n the e f f i c a c y of the dharma. In the Surangama-samadhi-sutra ( ^ 5 y^ jjjL &%L. ^ t n e effect of incense i s s p e c i f i c a l l y likened to the function of meditation ( jL* nembutsu). In the same way that things infused with incense take on a perpetual fragrance, prolonged meditation leads to constant contemplation of the Buddha. A well known Pure Land gathi ( ^fjrf koge) comparing incense to the merits and e f f i c a c y of the dharma runs: In the vessel of a p u r i f i e d body With the flame of the mind's wisdom I vow to perpetually burn The incense of practice and meditation In o f f e r i n g to the Buddhas „, Of the ten directions and three worlds. Each of the main f i g u r e s i n Renkanki i s a s s o c i a t e d with a p a r t i c u l a r scent. The most s t r i k i n g i s Sadamoto's experience with the corpse of R i k i j u : "the t e r r i b l e aroma i s s u i n g from her mouth" (asamashiki ka [ ^ ] no kuchi y o r i i d e k i t a r i k e r u n i zoj . The clouds of p u r p l e haze and garden f u l l of aromatic c e l e r y connect Jakushin d i r e c t l y with the Pure Land. Other smells range between these extremes: from Zoga's e x c r e t i o n s at the palace ceremony i n the s p i r i t of Bodhidharma's zen, to the t r a n q u i l f ragrance of the aromatic tea of Ding Wei's f i n a l moments. While the work i s not what one would c a l l a rhapsody of aromas, sm e l l does f u n c t i o n as a k i n d of l e i t m o t i f i n d i c a t i n g the s u b t l e e f f i c a c y of the dharma. In Buddhist l i t e r a t u r e , the e f f e c t of perfume or incense has long been used as a s i m i l e f o r the way v a r i o u s dharmas i n f l u e n c e each other. A w e l l known example occurs i n the Dai jo K i s h i n Ron ( /v^ J^E_ /f~= "The Awakening of F a i t h " ) where the term kunju~( ^ ) 'perfuming' or 'permeating' r e f e r s to the process whereby the i n t e r a c t i o n of cause and e f f e c t produces "the d e f i l e d s t a t e s 3 7 and the pure s t a t e [which] emerge and continue u n i n t e r r u p t e d . " As we have noted, Rohan used a great number of sources i n c r e a t i n g t h i s panorama of l i f e i n the t e n t h century. While subordinate to the c h a r a c t e r s p o r t r a y e d , the o l d books themselves are part of the l i f e - b l o o d of the work. They are g i v e n an i n f o r m a l , yet s c h o l a r l y treatment — a balance Rohan strove f o r i n a l l h i s h i s t o r i c a l n a r r a t i v e s . At one p o i n t when Jakushin i s 149 about to receive instruction on the Maka Shikan, we read: Even i f Jakushin had not yet been able to obtain the T'ang monk Kan Ran's commentary, the Zfii Guan ^ u Xing Zhuan Hong Jue, he had already lived half E i s l i f e in letters Lhansei moji no naka ni kurashite] and was so thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of sutras and .sastras [kyoron no koke no mi ni shimi-jimi to ajiwatte iru], there is no reason to suppose he would not be able to follow the text. 38 The passage serves to illustrate how closely wedded character and text are in Rohan's writing. He liked to quote a phrase from a poem by Su Shih ( 1^ 1037-1101) with the three characters for "inky" "polish," and "person" ( ^ )|| /C_ ) which refer not to a person rubbing an inkstick to produce ink, 39 but to "Ink cultivating and refining the person." Texts are compared and judged, the touchstone being their use of language, their poetry — how well they accord with the emotional tenor of the historical space Rohan is creating. A good example is the treatment of Sadamoto's experience beside the corpse of his beloved which he has refused to part from for several days. The author quotes f i r s t from the Ujishui Monogatari version: So great was his grief he could only l i e beside her talking, day and night. He was tasting her lips when a terrible odour came forth. Abhorrence, heart and tearfully he buried her. And comments: Living, she was a person, dead, a mere object. Originally, the attachment Sadamoto felt was for a person, i t was not attachment to an object. Nevertheless, the object s t i l l appeared to be a person so he was prepared to remain at her side indefinitely. Then, at some point, without thinking 150 he must have moved his mouth close to the mouth of the dead Rikiju. The simple old phrase-"was tasting her l i p s " [kuchi o sui^ tari keru ni] is really fine! 4 ^ After some discussion of the nature of Sadamoto's reaction, the author compares the Ujishui version with Kokan Shiren's ( /^L ff] &f 1278-1345) account in the Genko Shakusho ("The Genko Era History of Japanese Buddhism"). There, the kambun reads: It happened that he lost his spouse and, shameless with love, delayed the mourning rites. Due to his contemplation of the nine aspects [of decomposition of the body] a deep aversion and the desire to abandon the world arose. 41 Rohan cri t i c i z e s this manner of expression for "over reaching" ("todoki sugite") and straying from the facts. The great length of time involved in the actual practice of contemplating the nine aspects ( 7^/ H J L > kusokan) makes i t most unlikely this, in fact, occurred. He then reasserts his preference for Uji Dainagon's language: i t has far superior emotional ressonance and adheres more closely to reasonable assumptions. It is not surprising Rohan would find the language of the Ujishui Monogatari more to his liking. Accounts of Sadamoto's dramatic experience are numerous; the Konjaku Monogatari (Vol. 9 Chapter 2) for instance, has a more detailed description. The century later Ujishui, however, is a much more l y r i c a l work, in addition to being more concerned with internal motivation and development of character. Its mixture of elegant expression 151 and medieval c o l l o q u i a l i s m , use of both urban and c o u n t r i f i e d language, and a t t e n t i o n to the d e t a i l s of s t o r y l i n e f i n d a p a r a l l e l i n Rohan's own s t y l e . In p a s s i n g i t i s worth n o t i n g that the Sadamoto-Rikiju scene i n t h i s work i s s a i d to have i n s p i r e d a s i m i l a r scene i n T a n i z a k i J u n i c h i r o ' s Shosho Shigemoto no Haha ("Adjutant General 42 Shigemoto's Mother"). T a n i z a k i ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of the decomposing body i s much more g r a p h i c , t r u e l y gruesome i n f a c t . There are other s i m i l a r i t i e s : a T a n r z a k i ' s work a l s o uses poems to d e l i n e a t e c h a r a c t e r , quotes from the c l a s s i c s , and has an incense theme. (A marvelous incense compound i n a lacquer box i s proof that a would-be l o v e r i s no mere mortal.) C i t i n g Kankyo no Tomo ( /? <D "The Recluse's Companion" 12227 3a source Rohan r e f e r s to a number of times, T a n i z a k i dwells at some l e n g t h on the Buddhist m e d i t a t i o n p r a c t i c e , f u jokan ( 1E|[_> "contemplation on d e f i l e m e n t " ) . He r e l a t e s a s t o r y about a monk who was so p r o f i c i e n t at t h i s m e d i t a t i o n he c o u l d p r o j e c t h i s v i s i o n , t r a n s f e r r i n g i t to a t h i r d p a r t y . The monk demonstates to h i s s u p e r i o r by having a bowl of r i c e g r u e l t u r n i n t o a swarm of maggots before h i s eyes. His p r o d i g i o u s powers resemble those of the a r t i s t : T a n i z a k i h i m s e l f has performed s i m i l a r f e a t s f o r the reader i n works such as S h i s e i ("The T a t t o o e r " ) . 4 4 Renkanki has a lengthy anecdote d e a l i n g with t h i s idea of t r a n s f e r e n c e of m e d i t a t i v e v i s i o n s . I t i s used to i l l u s t r a t e the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Genshin and Jakushin. Rohan w r i t e s 152 that he thinks the story i s from a f a i r l y old text, possibly Kankyo no Tomo. If his r e c o l l e c t i o n turns out to be mistaken the reader i s asked to delete the reference ("kioku no machigai dattara massatsu shite morawaneba naranu ga"). This rather irreverent disclaimer i s s t y p i c a l of the stance the author takes toward the h i s t o r i c a l status of the source material. The anecdote i s i n fact not included i n Kankyo no Tomo but may be found i n the Kamakura c o l l e c t i o n of edifying Buddhist t a l e s , the Sen jusho ( f^^ £ jjL^ ) t r a d i t i o n a l l y attributed to - 45 Saigyo. Here, as throughout the work, the whole tenor and tone of the handling of h i s t o r i c a l materials suggests that the primary value of any set of signs from the past can be found i n i t s poetic, emotional q u a l i t i e s , i t s p a r t i c u l a r c o n s t e l l a t i o n of human attitudes. Putative h i s t o r i c a l o b j e c t i v i t y i s always secondary. The anecdote begins with Jakushin's v i s i t to the Eshin-in at Yokaway The temple appears quiet and deserted as he wanders through looking around. He eventually arrives at the door to a room which he thinks must contain the sought-for Genshin. Upon opening the door, before his eyes was: a vast expanse with nothing at a l l v i s i b l e . Yet i t was not actually empty. It was a l i m i t l e s s immensity l i k e a great r i v e r , a great lake 3or ocean r i p p l i n g furrow after furrow, inundating, expansive, undulating and seething, the endless mist of waves fusing with the horizon, the sparkling surface of the water flush with heaven, nothing at a l l but water. 46 Jakushin retreated a step, picked up a wooden pillow, tossed i t i n and closed the door. He then l e f t the temple and returned home. After coming out of his meditation, Genshin complained 153 of feeling some bodily pain. When Jakushin's prank was revealed on his next v i s i t , Genshin again performed the 47 water v i s u a l i z a t i o n meditation and Jakushin retrieved the object he had thrown i n . Consequently, Genshin returned to normal. I should note that my translation of the above passage cannot begin'to do justice to Rohan's description of the scene which met Jakushin's eyes when he peered into the room. In the one long sentence quoted, a l l the nouns and modifiers save two, "mist" and "heaven", are written with water r a d i c a l characters. What meets the readeris eyes scanning down the l i n e are signs for water i n i t s various forms. This use of Chinese characters i s i n keeping with Rohan's stress on the two-dimensionality of the writing system. At the same time the eye registers the st r i n g of water graphs, the ear i s f i l l e d with a whirl of dizzying sound: "manman yoyo toshite, daiga no gotoku taiko no gotoku daikai no gotoku, i i t a r i renrentari, o-otari t o - t o t a r i , kyotari f u t t a r i . . . . " Bold, vigorous use of sign and sound working i n tandem i s one of the distinguishing features of Rohan's prose. It i s apparent here even i n an h i s t o r i c a l work where he usually eschews the more c o l o r f u l f i g u r a t i v e language and r h e t o r i c a l devices of his e a r l i e r f i c t i o n . I would l i k e to consider for a moment the question of selection: why has this p a r t i c u l a r anecdote been included i n the narrative? While the number of accounts and other items of 154 documentary evidence dealing with the Genshin-Jakushin relationship i s not great, some selection i s possible. Why then this one, which seems calculated to leave a l l but the "true believer" incredulous? Anticipating the objection the author himself provides an answer. He begins by stating he would never venture to attempt an explanation for such an incident. "People of the present age must take this story as just some ridiculous l i t t l e tale.," ("tada kore mechakucha no dan to kikoeru"). He then proceeds to c i t e a number of other references to almost i d e n t i c a l incidents i n Indian, Chinese, 4 8 and Japanese sources. These references to similar accounts are not directed toward persuading the reader that an encounter such as the one described between Genshin and Jakushin was possible or plausible. Rohan i n fact remarks, "Whether or not something l i k e this story actually occurred between Eshin [Genshin] and Jakushin r e a l l y makes no difference. What does i s the fact 49 that this tale was preserved." Here again we can see that for Rohan h i s t o r i c a l "truth" i s not to be found i n any set of v e r i f i a b l e facts. It i s rather the conceptual and emotional matrix within which the imagination of writers of the past functioned that provides the key. The other examples of the water v i s u a l i z a t i o n meditation came from "a sutra," "a biography," and "a t a l e ; " from the reconditeaand r e l i g i o u s to the common province of the popular imagination. The form of the anecdote and i t s perseverance through time t e l l us more than any possible argument concerning the " h i s t o r i c a l a c t u a l i t y " of the p a r t i c u l a r event. On the immediate l e v e l of 155 the narrative, the Eshin-in encounter allows the reader to conceive of Jakushin and Genshin as intimates ("bodai no tomo"), frequently debating on the sutras, practice, and correct under-standing of doctrine. We see them "as men both of whose natures have been s i m i l a r l y drawn toward the karma of the brush and mkstone." It i s a commonplace view by now that the writing of history 51 involves the use of regulative f i c t i o n s . When we impose a plot or narrative structure on a chronology or series of past events thi s always e n t a i l s some kind of prefigurative strategy. Fragments of the past are fashioned into a whole through the medium of language. The manner i n which the pieces are joined together, the construction of a continuous narrative flow, and the imposition of meaning on h i s t o r i c a l data are a l l part of what i s e s s e n t i a l l y a poetic process. Thus the choices an h i s t o r i a n makes (consciously or otherwise) as to narrative techniques for representing the past are, to a great degree, aesthetic ones. This i s why history, u n t i l the mid-nineteenth century i n Europe, was always thought of as a " l i t e r a r y a r t . " East Asia has an even longer t r a d i t i o n of history as a l i t e r a r y art par excellence. We have been t o l d by Karl Popper that there i s no history; welhave only a wide array of h i s t o r i e s . His insight was anticipated by novelists who wrote h i s t o r i e s such as The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling or The Ordeal of Richard Feveral, A History of Father and Son. Novelists and poets have always known what historians have only recently admitted; the reason, perhaps, for Heinrich Heine's remark that the people of a nation l i k e to get t h e i r 156 history not from historians but from their poets. By the s k i l l f u l manipulation of poems that have been preserved since the tenth century Rohan taps the v i t a l pulse of the age as he develops psychological p r o f i l e s of individual poets. As Shinoda Hajime has pointed out, Rohan sought to emphasize the "physiology of Japanese poetic language" ("nihon 52 s h i t e k i gengo no s e i r i " ) . This i s the aspect of language that, l i k e an organism, builds up over time. At the heart of this physiology are the forms of c l a s s i c a l poetry: waka, renga, and haika i. The treatment accorded Akazome Emon i s an excellent example of how poems — unique, pregnant moments of the past — may be induced to y i e l d characterization and narrative flow. The problem of her paternity i s dealt with f i r s t . "Before she was even able to discern the true color of things she found herself 53 i n the midst of a heartless c o n f l i c t . " Although she was raised as the daughter of Akazome Osumi no Kami Tokimochi (/"fr-^^^R.^T ^ ^ ? - ?) the famous poet Taira no Kanemori ( j$L j__<_ ? - 9 9 0 ) claimed her as his own offspring. The court (kebiishi-cho) decided i n favor of i t s member, Tokimochi, and the mother's wishes. Considering Akazome Emon's ample poetic talent ( she i s the reputed author of Eiga Monogatari ( Jjt ^ %%• " A Tale 54 of Flowering Fortunes")) i t seems more l i k e l y than not Kanemori's claim was true. To "explain" why the mother l e f t him and took th e i r daughter, Rohan examines a number of poems and headnotes from Kanemori's 157 collected poems, the Kanemori Shu, and various anthologies such as the Gosenshu, Shinchokusenshu, and Zokusenzaishu. Among the headnotes we fi n d : To one I so long ago declared myself to. ( i i somete i t o h i s a s h i i nari keru hito n i ) Because once again not even a reply. ( henji mo sara n i seneba ) There being no response from the lady. ( onna kaeshi mo sezairikereba ) On hearing what became of a person I was so fond of not so long ago. (omoi kakete hisashiku narinuru hito no kotosama n i narinu to k i k i t e ) With agonizing bitterness. ( i t o i t a u uramite ) And of the poems c i t e d , one from the Gosenshu: The heart of an old lover Harboring a sea of rancor, Like so many reeds On the water's edge at Naniwa. Naniwa gata Migiwa no ashi no Oi no yo n i Uramite zo furu Hito no kokoro o. Another from the Zokusenzaishu: While you see only hardships In t h i s f i c k l e world of ours, On a lonely mountain ridge A soft cloud awaits the breeze. Tsuraku nomi Miyuru kimi kana Yama no ha n i Kaze matsu kumo n°55 Sadamenaki yo n i . 159 of the poetic moment. The simultaneous use of modern colloquial language, kanbun (classical Chinese), and a good measure of the idiom of classical Japanese works toward bridging the flow of time. The portrait of Akazome Emon is sketched in three panels, the f i r s t of which highlights the poetess as mother. Three poems are quoted which she is said to have composed on a v i s i t to the Sumiyoshi Shrine — where Waka no Kami ' The God of Poetry 1 is worshipped ) to pray for the recovery of her son, Takachika (Jp^- /o] ) who was on the verge of death. A l l are poignant; one, singled out by Fujiwara no Toshinari (Shunzei) ( 1114-1204) for i t s mono no aware 'sensitivity to sorrowful beauty' in his Korai Futeisho ( Q -^_fiL 4^f~ ^7 ), reads: To exchange my l i f e for his Without misgivings do I pray, Yet, oh how sad Thoughts of final parting. Kawaramu to Inoruiinochi wa Oshikarade Wakaru to omowamu ,-7 Hodo zo kanashiki. It is a poem which expresses in a very direct, unadorned manner the love of a mother for her child. The details surrounding the composition of the poem may be found in a number of medieval collections of edifying tales including the Konjaku Monogatari, Jikkinsho, Kokonchomonju, and Shasekishu. Appended to the poem in the Akazome Emon Shu is a note revealing the fact that Takachika 158 Kanemori's own sentiments reveal the defeatist, pathetic nature of his relationship with women. Rohan comments that his d i c t i o n gives us a strong sense of his being quite a b i t older than the object of his affections. Rather than analyze s p e c i f i c s the author l e t s the poems speak, then adds his observations. An authority on the waka of the period might well have objections, but the general reader encounters no reason to r e s i s t the interpretation Rohan o f f e r s . The emotional tenor of the poetry serves as the basis for his conjecture Akazome Emon was born out of a relationship her mother had with Kanemori. Moreover, i t appears to have been a spring-autumn a f f a i r , with the d i s p a r i t y i n age leading the mother to dissolve the bond and espouse Tokimochi. The way Rohan weaves his story around a c o l l o c a t i o n of poems, besides being s t r i k i n g l y appropriate for the Heian period when uta-monogatari 'poem tale s ' were the primary narrative mode, permits " f a c t " and " f i c t i o n " to mingle and merge i n a narrative stream untroubled by considerations of o b j e c t i v i t y . The poems are l i k e stepping stones through the garden of the past; the scenery — the intervening space — i s rendered by the voiceoof the narrator. As Earl Miner has noted, "Japanese poetic units are quite simply more adhesive to f i c t i o n a l — or even n o n f i c t i o n a l — strands of prose than our own discrete, autonomously conceived 56 poems. ... a court poem i s five l ines i n search of a context." An h i s t o r i c a l narration punctuated by waka has the ef f e c t of bringing together elusive past event and the emotional immediacy 160 did indeed recover from his i l l n e s s . The implication being that art — the s k i l l f u l employment of poetry i n this case — does have an effect on the ambient r e a l i t y and should be both composed and c r i t i c i z e d with this connection to d a i l y l i f e i n mind.^ 8 The second series of poems reveals Akazome Emon as sophisticated lady of the world using her talent to maneuver her family members into favored positions at court. A number of poems, for instance, were composed to a s s i s t her son's advancement. In one exchange with Michinaga replete with innuendo and punning (revolving around the image of a spring 'izumi' i n the snow — which suggests aging and coldheartedness as well as the d i s t r i c t by that name), "he received the poem, f e l t a deep sense of pi t y [aware], and consequently appointed 59 Takachika Governor of Izumi just as she had wished." Not only i s the poetess the perfect mother, she i s close to being the perfect wife as well. Herrpoetic genius and p o l i t i c a l acumen f a c i l i t a t e her husbandis a c t i v i t i e s a a t court. She offers timely advice and helps with the writing of important documents. Then, i n emphatic contrast to the way Sadamoto's wife handled her husband's a f f a i r with R i k i j u , we are given a glimpse of how Akazome Emon deals with her husband, Masahira's dalliance with another woman. The poetic record suggests Masahira had established a l i a i s o n with a priestess at an Inari 6 0 shrine near the c a p i t a l . During one of his rendezvous, Akazome sends her husband this poem: 161 No sign of you at a l l Near the pine of my abode, Were i t up amongst The v i l l a g e cedars No doubt you would come to c a l l . Waga yado no Matsu ni shirushi mo Nakarikeri Sugimura naraba Tazunekinamashi. Masahira, an accomplished poet i n a culture with a proverb which declares, "Someone who receives a poem and sends no reply w i l l be born i n darkness for seven l i f e t i m e s , " r e p l i e s : The way obscured While someone waited Along a mountain path, My thoughts i n great confusion I must have trodden too far. Hito o matsu Yamaji wakarezu Mieshikaba Omoimadou n i Fumisugi n i k e r i . The f i r s t poem contains the hint of a confident woman's wrath as Akazome reminds a wayward husband of his place.. The "sugimura" 'vil l a g e of cedars' i s a reference to the giant conifers around the shrine rendezvous and his companion there. The "mashi" ending of "tazunekinamashi" translated, "No doubt you would come to c a l l , " conveys a sense of hypothesis close to the English Conditional mood. It suggests what i s inferred i s something natural or f i t t i n g — implying here, that her husband's taste for the r u s t i c and uncultivated might well be expected. We fe e l her disdain for the woman at the shrine: her husband's lover, associated with the unrestrained cedar, i s an.unworthy r i v a l to her own graceful pine. 162 Masahira's response i s sheepish and c o n t r i t e . He plays on the word "fumisugi" which means "to tread too f a r , " and also r e c a l l s the sugi 'cedar' trees around the shrine. Rohan comments that the poem i s painful both emotionally and a e s t h e t i c a l l y : "For one of the t h i r t y - s i x sages of verse of the medieval period [chuko sanjurokkasen], the sound i s very unsure, l i k e someone 61 breaking wind." He suggests the poem i s so bad i t forces one to think i t may be a f a b r i c a t i o n of a l a t e r s t o r y t e l l e r . It i s , however, included i n the Akazome Emon Shu. The passage concludes with the observation that a firmly chastised Masahira henceforth became a d u t i f u l husband and good father. Akazome Emon i s given such detailed treatment i n Renkanki because her l i f e represents probably the best of what can be said for the secular or mundane world. A p o l a r i t y between the sacred and the secular (sei/zoku) i s established from the very outset of the narrative i n the person of Yasutane who "renders unto Caesar" i n response to the demands of his o f f i c i a l duties, but retreats to his Amida Hall for meditation and r e l i g i o u s practice whenever possible. Sadamoto undergoes a dramatic s h i f t from the mundane, one might even say profane, world into the realm of the sacred. Akazome, however, remains firmly i n her bright world of "flowering fortunes." About her successful machinations at court Rohan says, "to put i t i n the best l i g h t you would say she i s extremely adroit, negatively, you would have to say she was 62 sophisticated i n the ways of the world." One of the remarkable things about this work, and a factor i n the breadth of scope i t achieves, i s the way fundamentally inharmonious human values are encompassed within a wider view. 163 I would l i k e to conclude my remarks on Renkanki with a look at the section of the work dealing with the death of Jakushin. There are f i v e death scenes i n the narrative. With the exception of the untimely passing of Sadamoto's lover, R i k i j u , a l l involve the deaths of eminent monks (and one devout layman) and each of these follows the pattern established by Kamo no Yasutane (Jakushin) i n his "Record of Rebirths i n the Pure Land Paradise." Death and r e b i r t h i n Pure Land Buddhism (written ojo , l i t e r a l l y "go be born") i s a formulation of the universal mythos of renewal, one of the primordial affirmations of mankind. P h i l i p Wheelwright i n his study of metaphor, The Burning Fountain, expresses i t th i s way: The end of the turning wheel i s the s t i l l axis which i s the arche of i t s turning. The end of the cosmic dance i s the quietude of love beyond desire. The end of dying i s the ever renewed threshold experience of potential r e b i r t h . 63 After discussing a discrepancy i n the dates recorded for Jakushin's death, Rohan writes: Whether during the Chotoku or Choho era — i t makes no r e a l difference — Jakushin died peacefully. Not being an entrepreneur of the secular world, naturally he l e f t no imposing monuments. Even his l i t e r a r y productivity was rather limited. Counting the Imperial Edict proclaiming the change of era name at the beginning of the Eikan period and the Note of Advice r e s p e c t f u l l y submitted to the Throne i n the second year of that era while he was s t i l l a court o f f i c i a l , he l e f t only twenty written compositions, including his "Record of Rebirths i n the Pure Land Paradise." Nevertheless, there i s not the shadow of a doubt about the l i g h t cast by this man into the hearts and minds of the people of the day. This i s abundantly clear, for instance, i n the matter of Sadamoto's conversion. Then too, there i s an interesting legend 164 that has been handed down concerning Jakushin's p a s s i n g . The f i n a l moments of an o r d i n a r y Buddhist monk or layman of deep f a i t h are s a i d to be f i l l e d w i th the joy of a great r e b i r t h as the h o l y assembly comes i n g r e e t i n g amidst lavender mist and heavenly music. T h i s i s the usual way. They then move o f f to Amida's Western Paradise or the T u s i t a Heaven or some such f a r away p l a c e . T h i s i s the set p a t t e r n . The records d e a l i n g with Jakushin, however, do not end t h e r e . A f t e r he passed away a c c o r d i n g to form at N y o i r i n j i i n the e a s t e r n mountains of the c a p i t a l , someone had a dream. In t h i s dream, the Venerable Jakushin, i n order to b e n e f i t l i v i n g beings, had r e t u r n e d from the Pure Land and was once again present i n t h i s d e f i l e d world. T h i s i s unmistakably recorded i n the Jakushin Shonin Den. For someone to have taken the t r o u b l e to r e c o r d t h i s anonymous dream — even the time and p l a c e are u n s p e c i f i e d — r e l a t i n g a message from the a f t e r - l i f e i s extremely unusual. However, i n t h a t dream the Venerable Jakushin appeared and the dreamer heard him g i v e an account of h i s r e t u r n . Whether t h i s means the personi i s supposed to have encountered the r e i n c a r n a t i o n of the s a i n t or seen something l i k e the s p e c t e r of a mountain sage i s hard to determine. The account i s very obscure. J u s t what do you suppose t h i s a l l means? Why would anyone have such a dream? I t i s s a i d t h at long ago the T a o i s t wizzard Lii Tong-bin, although having p e r f e c t e d the way of the sages, d i d not j u s t ascend to Heaven and there remain, but c o n t i n u a l l y manifested h i m s e l f i n t h i s world, c a v o r t i n g i n the coarse realm of men and women of h i g h b i r t h and low, i n s t r u c t i n g and i l l u m i n a t i n g them. For c e n t u r i e s from T'ang through Sung, i n many p l a c e s , i n every d i s t r i c t , he l e f t poems and songs as w e l l as t a n g i b l e t r a c e s of h i s a c t i v i t i e s . Among the populace of Sung China b e l i e f i n him was widespread. Su Shih h i m s e l f has a p l a c e f o r Lii Tong-bin i n h i s w r i t i n g ? Even today i t i s thought t h a t i f summoned with the proper methods he w i l l appear. In our own country t h e r e _ i s the f o l k b e l i e f that the Great Buddhist Master Kobo of the n i n t h century i s s t i l l present amongst us. From time to time he appears, not to only the d e d i c a t e d a s c e t i c undergoing a u s t e r i t i e s , but even to an average person making an o r d i n a r y p i l g r i m a g e to h i s mausoleum. He i s s a i d to bestow a t e a c h i n g which causes s u f f e r i n g to be removed, plea s u r e to be a t t a i n e d , d e l u s i o n to f a l l away, and the mind to be awakened to i t s e s s e n t i a l nature. Now a l l t h i s r e a l l y goes without saying i f we j u s t c o n s i d e r the s t o r i e s of the eight-thousand comings and 165 goings of Sikyamuni himself elucidated i n the Brahmajala-sutra or some such text. Properly speaking, r e l y i n g on Amida or Maitreya or Saky amuni, chanting "munya munya" or whatver, and then passing on by oneself to a para d i s i c a l world while turning a cold shoulder to everything else, i s an extreme case of feathering one's own nest. This i s the i n c l i n a t i o n referred to i n the proverb, "Like eating confections i n the privy" — foul and stingy. Were one to enter the realm of "the marvelous f r u i t of wisdom attained," thereafter the most natural thing would be to want to render this good thing available to others, regardless of t h e i r r e l a t i o n to you. Hence the way those who have become Bodhisattvas and Buddhas s t r i v e to transform the karma of others i s the natural course of the dharma. It i s the very meaning of Bodhisattva? the meaning of Buddha. Amida's forty-eight vows, Kuan^yin's thirty-three forms, no matter what suffering entailed or bodily appearance assumed, the desire to benefit the entire world, to save and enlighten the beings i n i t — this i s the Buddha, the Bodhisattva. S i t t i n g serenely on a lotus imbibing to s u r f e i t a thousand delicacies has nothing whatsoever to do with the being of a Buddha, a Bodhi-sattva. Jakushin, from his youth, was a person whose merciful, compassionate heart extended even to beasts of burden. Upon leaving the world and entering the order, his enlightenment deepened day by day, f i n a l l y coming to the understanding that the Pure Land was much,much closer than the house v i s i b l e next door. At l a s t he arrived at the point where he had one foot i n t h i s , the other i n that world. Here, just when the Pure Land he had yearned for so much i n the past came into his grasp, he f e l t no i n c l i n a t i o n to make i t his own forever. Beyond a doubt he f e l t well up i n his heart a desire born of i t s e l f to return to this impure world and take on the karma of others. This intention must have overflowed the periphery of language and found i t s way into someone's dream and the rumors of the world. From the time when he was s t i l l c a l l e d Yasutane and empathized with the poor beasts of the road, Jakushin's self-awareness steadily expanded. How could he possibly have turned a blind eye to people agonizing i n a world replete with suffering? Indeed, even during the secular period of his l i f e his insight can already be discerned, i t s l i g h t illuminating his prose. He saw the society around him gradually become a world of anguish: on one hand was the l a v i s h flowering of the blossoms of culture i n the s u l t r y winds of luxurious extravagance, 166 on the other, the people of the country found th e i r l i v e s at an impasse, having to face the l i k e s of the violent storm of the Eiso era, the epidemic of Shoryaku, and the r i s e of brigands i n many of the provinces. How p i t i a b l e the world must have seemed to gentle-minded Jakushin. He grieved for the world and the world f e l t a profound yearning for a person such as he. This too must be the reason behind the transmission of the story of Jakushin's return to the world. Needless to say, Jakushin was not a pratyekabuddha. 4 With this passage Rohan concludes his presentation of the narrative's central figure, Jakushin, yet leaves the reader with a sense of the ongoing reverberations of his r e l i g i o u s energy. This e f f e c t i s important for establishing the l i n k i n g element i n the novel, the "hoen" or "karmic nexus of the dharma." It also emphasizes a far from t r i v i a l truth about the nature of h i s t o r i c a l materials: certain configurations remain i n the memory or conscience of a people because they s a t i s f y the needs of a given archetypal emotional complex. This i s where Jakushin joins the company of Kobo Daishi, Lii Tong-bin, and various other 65 Bodhisattvas and Immortals. What a l l have i n common i s conformation to the core mythos of Mahayana Buddhism. The heart of this pattern of basic values i s r e f l e c t e d i n Rohan's interpretation of Jakushin's resolve "to return to this impure world and take on the karma of others." When dealing with history, even i n his essays c l a s s i f i e d the writer as a r t i s t supercedes the writer as scholar. Over and above the s a t i s f a c t i o n of a perfectly argued proof, Rohan chose the pleasures of st y l e , of writing i t s e l f . Commenting on as Vstudies 11 ), i t i s clear i n Rohan's case 167 this c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , Terada Toru notes: In what are c a l l e d his textual studies ... vague theories or interpretations which enjoy general acceptance are used as strawmen, and although there i s an e f f o r t to ascertain the truth [ s h i n j i t s u ] , when Rohan actually picks up the brush and begins to form characters, the joy of composing v i t a l [kakki~ „ no aru] prose takes precedence over a r r i v a l at the putative objective. 66 In an essay on the Taoist Immortal Lii Tong-bin, Rohan once again describes how the destination of the sage becomes his next originat i o n : It i s said that Tong-bin had no desire to ascend to Heaven himself; rather, he exerted every e f f o r t to raise other sentient beings to Heaven. What extraordinary resolution! Truly was he a superior man! His great vow, his universal love, kept him i n the world of men for a long time. From T'ang through the Sung, Yuan, Ming, and Ching periods he surfaced and disappeared, <:•'-•'• entered and exited [shutsubotsu inken] countless times, transforming and leading people to salvation.67 The "shutsubotsu inken" does not of course refer to some phenomenal being ducking i n and out of r e a l i t y down through the ages. It s i g n i f i e s Lii Tong-bin's multiple appearances i n the spoken and written language, the poems, songs and dreams of people over:the centuries. This represents an "immortality" to be sure; the essential point, however, i s what this t e l l s us about the hearts of people who have kept the sage a l i v e so long. Renkanki i s one of Rohan's most successful e f f o r t s at keeping a l i v e the deep music of this t r a d i t i o n . 168 Notes 1 T. S. Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," in Selected Essays, New ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 19.50), p. 4. 2 Koda Rohan, Renkanki, in Koda Rohan Shu, in Geridai Nihon Bungaku Zenshu, Vol. 7 (Chikuma Shobo, 1973). The work was originally published in Nihon Hyoron (June and July, 1940) and is included in Rohan Zenshu (Iwanami Shoten, 1949-58), Vol. 6 Subsequent references are to the Chikuma Shobo edition, hereafter cited as RKK. 3 _ Yamamoto Kenkichi, Soseki Takuboku Rohan, (Tokyo: Bungei Shunju-sha, 1972), p. 168. 4 For the former see Rohan's last completed study, "Ongenron" ( fr] j^g. "The Metamorphosis of Sound"), Zenshu, Vol. 41. On city planning see his treatise, "Hitokuni no Shuto" ( — >0\ (T) jff " T h e Capital of a Nation"), Zenshu, Vol. 27. ^ Northrop Frye, A Study of English Romanticism, (New York: Random House, 1968), p. 122. Yamamoto, Soseki, pp. 159-218. In his chapter, "En no Shiso,'" Yamamoto notes Fukuzawa Yukichi' s (1835-1901) insistence on en: "A so-called erudite character is someone who only knows about something, he does not know the connection [en] between one thing and another. His knowledge is limited to knowing the facts in one f i e l d ; of the principle of mutual dependence he knows nothing. The essential point for scholarship [gakumon] is simply to learn the mutual interrelatedness of things [tagai ni kakawariau en o shiru ni aru nomi]. ... Someone who knew geography but not its interrelatedness, or history but not history's ramifications, would be, in effect, nothing other than a geographical or historical dictionary. If pressed for a difference, I would say a paper dictionary consumes no rice, whereas a human dictionary does." 169 It is worth noting here Yamamoto's discussion of Yamaji Aizan's ( A* \V& tX\ 1864-1917) division of Japanese historians into two general types. The spl i t between popular histories, with their emphasis on emotional response, and the aristocratic or specialist work concerned primarily with research methodology he saw as a dichotomy stemming from the time of Rai Sanyo ( 5tfl 1780-1832) who wrote the former type , and Ban Nobutomo ( $ f \% 1773-1846), a kokugakusha 'scholar of national learning' who wrote the latter type of history. According to Yamaji, himself an upholder of the old view of "history as art," i t was Arai Hakuseki ( ^jbj J^- r3 1657-1725) who achieved the most satisfactory balance between artistry and textual accuracy. Given this schema, Rohan's historical writing clearly f a l l s into the tradition of popular a r t i s t i c history initiated by Rai Sanyo. 7 Historical writing has always found a receptive audience in Japan. Meiji writers were especially fond of the historical mode; most wrote some form of historical biography, speculated in essays on the currents of Japanese history, or produced historical f i c t i o n . After the advent of naturalism, among the dominant elements of the bundan there was a drawing away from history due to<mbelief that the creation of r e a l i s t i c , l i f e - l i k e effects with historical figures was an insuperable problem. Yamamoto notes, however, that MorirOgai's Okitsu Yagoemon no Isho ("The Last Testament of Okitsu Yagoemon"), published in 1912, precipitated a great deal of historical f i c t i o n which the dominent naturalist group dismissed as "merely advanced history lectures," ignoring the fact that "readers responded with real [namanamashi] pain to the rit u a l suicides in [a work such as Ogai's] Abe Ichizoku"("The Abe Family"K(p. 179). English translations of these stories may be found in The Incident at Sakai and Other Stories, ed. by David Dilworth and J. Thomas Rimer, (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1977). A legacy of naturalism in Japanese letters has been the degrading of historical f i c t i o n to the realm of "popular writing" — an unfortunate turn,considering the strength Japanese literary arts have traditionally drawn from history. 170 8 — — Koda Aya, Chiglregumo ("Scattered Clouds"), (Shinchosha, 1956), pp. 140-141. 9 Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, (New York: Seabury Press, 1975). He w r i t e s , f o r inst a n c e , that t r a d i t i o n " i s always part of us, a model, or exemplar, a r e c o g n i t i o n of ourselves" i (p. 250) and "Understanding i s not to be thought of so much as an a c t i o n of one's s u b j e c t i v i t y , but as the p l a c i n g of oneself w i t h i n a process of t r a d i t i o n , i n which past and present are con s t a n t l y fused" (p. 258). The works on s e l f - c u l t i v a t i o n r e f e r r e d to in c l u d e : Doryokuron ( JJ "f^ "On Endeavor", 1910), Zenshu, V o l . 27; and Shuseiron ( tffy s§ " f ^ - "On P r a c t i c e and R e f l e c t i o n " , 1914), Zenshu, V o l . 28. R o y a l t i e s from these works were a primary source of income f o r Rohan i n m i d - l i f e . Doryokuron went i n t o twenty-two or three p r i n t i n g s . ^ Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the M i r r o r of Nature (Princeton: P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1980), p. 354. 1 1 Koda Rohan, "Hannya Shingyo D a i n i g i Chu" ( 36 / C H ; 1890), Zenshu, V o l . 40. .->p„ Zenshu, V o l . 6. 12 13 Y u k i t a t a k i and Renkanki are included i n Zenshu, V o l . Gacho may be found i n V o l . 4. TA _ S h i o t a n i San, Koda Rohan, (Chuokoronsha, 1977), V o l . 4, pp. 174-75. The Kamo fa m i l y c o n t r o l l e d the o f f i c i a l Bureau of Yin-Yang. That i s , they were onyoshi ( j ^ , f}r|7 ). The f a m i l y produced a long l i n e of outstanding men of l e t t e r s . Yasutane was a student of the i l l u s t r i o u s Sugawara no Fumitoki ( ''g fi 899-981). In Renkanki Fumitoki i s revealed as a person w i l l i n g to speak t r u t h to power. He i s asked d i r e c t l y by the Emperor whether he thought h i s own poem composed on the subject of "bush warblers g r e e t i n g the dawn with t h e i r song," or one by the Emperor on the same theme i s b e t t e r . Fumitoki hedges h i s answer twice but when pressed responds that h i s own poem i s superior and f l e e s the palace l e a v i n g the Emperor i n amused agreement. A simple 171 incident, the point, perhaps, being that poetry escapes the vulgar demands of the powerful. If, however, we recall this work was published in 1940 amidst strict censorship, when even the slightest affront to the Imperial House or the questioning of government conduct was severely dealt with, the inclusion of this and similar anecdotes takes on greater significance. Some passages contain considerably more flagrant criticism: Zoga's eccentricities at the palace, Yasutane's plaintives concerning the arrogance of the orich and the plight of the poor, and the attitudes attributed to Jakusho when he resolves not to return to Japan from China are a few of the more striking examples. See the chapter "Rohan no Sensokan" ("Rohan's_View of War") in Shimamura Ryoichi, Bannen no Rohan, (Keizai Oraisha, 1979), pp. 97-105. 15 -Kamo no Yasutane, "Chiteiki," Chap. 12 of Honeho Monzui in Kokushi Taikei, Vol. 29, Part 2, ed. by Maruyama Jiro (Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1965), pp. 298-300. The Honcho Monzui includes the f i r s t examples of social criticism in a Japanese o f f i c i a l anthology. The criticism is directed toward providing justification for non-participation in society. Compiled by Fujiwara no Akihira (989-1066), i t was modeled on the Chinese T'ang Wen Ts'ui (1011). For a brief discussion of the import of the work see Kato Shuichi, A History of Japanese Literature: The f i r s t Thousand Years, (London: The MacMillian Press, 1979), pp. 154-156. Yasutane's diary is a prototype for the "literature of the hermitage" (inton bungaku) genre which blossomed in later centuries. Kamo no Chomei's (1153-1216) Hojoki ("An Account of My Hut" 1212), considered one of the finest examples of the genre, borrows both-form and metaphors from the Chiteiki. The image of the hermitage as cocoon for instance. Yasutane compares his Rokujo v i l l a to the silky womb with the words: "Building a cottage for my twilight years! Ha, Just like an old silkworm making him-self a cocoon" (RKK, p. 384). 172 1 f\ — Yoshishige no Yasutane, "Nihon Ojo Gokurakuki" in Dainihon Bukkyo Zensho, Vol. 107 (Bussho Kanko-kai,1912), pp. 185-191. Shi Jia-cai,"Jing Tu Lun" in Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo, Vol 47, ed. by Takakusu Junjiro and Ono Genmyo (Daizo Shuppan Kanko-kai, 1924-32), pp. 83-104. The sixth chapter records the biographies of twenty monks and laymen who achieved rebirth in the Pure Land. ^ Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 384. The approach to history through biographical studies of related individuals used in Renkanki finds a counterpart in "prosopography," a methodology developed by Syme and Namier into a major school of English historiography. Prosopography is "a method of group biographies, not rounded biographies, but sketches of major figures or o€ rangesobf'modal, representative figures who do not receive f u l l biographical treatment." The prosopographer understands his subject as an elaborate network of particular people who, "like cells in a honeycomb, are often in contact only on a single edge." (p. 123) David Hackett Fisher, "The Braided Narrative," in The Literature of Fact, ed. by Angus Fletcher (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), pp. 109-133. See also Lawrence Stone, "Prosopography," in Daedalus, 100 (Winter 1971), pp. 46-79. —rs Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), p. 79. 19 - -Koda Rohan, Zenshu, Vol. 8. The novel was originally published in the newspaperKokkai from 1893-95. 20 Yanagida Izumi, Zadankai: Meiji Bungakushi (Iwanami Shoten, 1976), p. 106. Yanagida relates a conversation he had with Rohan in 1942 just after he finished writing his biography. Yanagida had coined the term "renkantai" ( 3 ^ "linked ring style") to describe the structure of Furyu Mijinzo. When asked how he had come upon the idea, he said that i t had occurred to him while reading about cavalry tactics in the Sung Dynasty histories. Rohan laughed and replied that there 1 is a T'ang poetic form 173 called "renkantai" in which a series of poems are linked in a sequence which always returns to the opening lines. Rohan was a great admirer of the renku ( fjffy J^J "linked verse") of the T'ang poet Han Yu ( ^ 768-824). For a long l i s t of Chinese literary works u t i l i z i n g what is also called the "linked jewel" form see Yokoyama Hiroshi, "Rekidai Renshushu," Tenri Daigaku Ho 24, No. 5 (1973). In the preface to a series of his essays, :Kagyu-an Renwa ("Linked Tales from the Snail's Hermitage")(Chuokoronsha, 1943), Rohan wrote: Linked verse is fascinating. Each verse is reciprocally linked with other lines, yet each stanza stands complete in and of i t s e l f . The meaning changes and the language varies while the continuity of affective space is maintained. This gives rise to that, and from "a" one arrives at "by. Sometimes the poem moves straight along, at other points i t branches off to the side; turning and evolving from one transition to another i t goes on and on never exhausting i t possibilities. Seri Hiroaki notes that in the structural integration of renku, which Rohan adapts to his essay form, the kakari 'connection', i f seen in Buddhist terms, may be likened to the karmic thread (innen no ito) which links one event to another and the whole chain of existence into a single ring. The relation between discrete images in a poem can be understood with reference to the concept of dependence and interdependence (soe sokan "^£J ) as developed for example in the Avatamsaka-Sutra. Seri Hiroaki, Bunmei Hihyoka toshite no Rohan3(Miraisha, 1971) pp. 99-100. 21 _ Yanagida Izumi, Koda Rohan (Chuokoronsha, 1942), pp. 181-208. 22 ~~ Allan A. Andrews, The Teachings Essential for Rebirth: A Study of Genshin's Ojoyoshu (Tokyo: Sophia University Press, 1973), p. 38. Andrews notes that Genshin's classic religious text was probably written between 984 and 985 as "manual of nembutsu devotion" for the members of the society. 2 3 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 386. 174 24 Jakusho appears to have been a devoted disciple of both Jakushin and Genshin. Rohan does not mention the fact he is known to have received instruction on the esoteric teachings (mikkyo) from Ninkai ( y@- ) at Daigo-ji after studying with Genshin. 25 - - -Genshin, "Tendaishu Gimon Nijushichi-jo," in Eshin Sozu Shu (Kyoto: Shibunkaku, 1967), Vol. 2, pp. 213-246. 26 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 404. Hokke Hachiko refers to a Buddhist service where homilies are delivered on each of the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra. The practice originated in China but became very popular in Japan during the Heian period. See Nakamura Hajime, Bukkyogo Daijiten (Tokyo Shoseki, 1975), p. 1252. 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 405. Ibid., p. 406 Ibid., p. 406. Ibid., p. 407 Ibid., p, 4071 E, Shiotani, Vol1. 4, p. 185. Yamamoto, Soseki, p. 231. During the Heian and Kamakura periods the art of incense burning was known as koawase ( ^ 'Q" ) or takimono awase ( ). The ceremony, similar in many respects to the tea ceremony, was formalized during the Muromachi period (1392-1568) and is known as "bunko" ( fjjf] .^J" ) 'listening to incense.' 3^ Shimomura, pp. 64-71. 3 6 Nakamura, p. 392. 37 Yoshito S. Hakeda, The Awakening of Faith, translation of the work attributed to Asvaghosha (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1967), p. 56. 38 39 3 8 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 386 Shimomura, p. 68. 40 -Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 398. For the Ujishui version see Ujishui Monogatari in Nihon Koten Bungaku Zenshu Vol. 28, ed.by Kobayashi Chisho (Shogakkan, 1973), p. 185. 175 4 1 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 399. Tanizaki Junichiro, Shosho Shigemoto no Haha in Nihon no Bungaku Vol. 23 (Chuokoronsha, 1972). Kankyo no Tomo is a collection of Buddhist tales attributed to either Jien (1155-1225) or Matsuo no Keisei Shonin (1188-1268). For a discussion of the work see Kubota Jun, Chusei Bungaku no Sekai (Tokyo Daigaku Shuppan-kai, 1972) pp. 119-143. 4 4 Tanizaki, Shosho, p. 450. 4 ^ Mochizuki Shinko, , Bukkyo Daijiten 2nd ed. (Sekai Seiten Kanko Kyokai, 1954), p. 758. 4 6 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 385. 4 7 This particular water meditation, known as suikan ( 7Pvl|[|_j — also called "mizu zammai" 'water samldhi' or "suirinkan" 7^^. fej^ 'water cycle meditation'), involves visualizing the internal secretions of the body as one with the essence of water, and then negating any distinction between such secretions and what is called the "perfumed ocean.'' The perfumed ocean ( ?|C ) refers to the seven inner seas surrounding Mt. Sumeru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. These seas, said to be f i l l e d with eight meritorious, efficacious waters, figure prominently in the Avatamsaka-Sutra. See Mochizuki, p. 2865. A O _ _ The f i r s t mentioned is Gakko D5ji ("Acolyte of the Moon-beams", Skt., ' Candra-prabha) whose prototype water meditation story appears in the Surangama-samldhi-Sutra, Vol. 5. This is apparently the sutra referred to in the text ("kyo ni atte wa"). The second reference is to the T'ang monk Fa Jin ( j _ ^ _ , ? - 770). A reader unfamiliar with the history of the Ritsu ("Rules," Skt., vinaya) Sect in Japan might be led to believe the anecdote wholly Chinese. However, Fa Jin was one of the fourteen monks who accompanied Ganjin (/^Ifa. %^ 688-763) to Japan in 754. Fa Jin, later abbot of the Todai-ji Tozen-in, achieved high ecclesiastic rank and le f t a considerable number of works on monastic discipline in the tradition of the Nanzan ( _U ) School, as well as commentaries on the texts of .. 176 the Hosso ( / ) Sect. He is considered the second patriarch of the Ritsu Sect in Japan. I have not been able to find Rohan's source forcthis one: the text has simply, "den ni atte," presumably one of the compendiums of biographies of eminent monks. The third reference is to the Japanese monk Shogyo Shonin ( 4^ J£- A ) • Renkanki has his second character as , a possible homophone — although the Buddhist reading is usually "go." An account of Shogyo Shonin's water meditation may be found in the Kurodani Shonin Gotoroku Daishichi Gyakushu Seppo (X-.^XA-tS %t t-2L4£ tfc, 0\ >. See Mochizuki, p.2866. This example Rohan refers to as simply, "a tale" ("hanashi"). 4 9 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 385. 5 0 Ibid., p. 385. 51 Hayden White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973) 52 -Shinoda Hajime, Sakuhin ni tsuite (Chikuma Shobo, 1971), p. 29. 5 3 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 390. ~*4 The work has been translated and thoroughly annotated by William H. and Helen Craig McCullough, A Tale of Flowering Fortunes: Annals of Japanese Aristocratic Life in the Heian Period, 2 Vols. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1980) 5 5 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 391. Earl Miner, An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968), p. 28. ^ Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 392. In Akazome Emon's individual collection the poem is as quoted. A variant which appears in the twelfth-century Shika Wakashu ( %ij ttL <ffe. Vol. 10, Zatsu ge 361) and elsewhere has: "satemo wakaremu / koto zo kanashiki" for the last two lines. The meaning is essentially the same: the variant emphasizes the inevitable sadness of separation even i f ("satemo") her prayer were answered. 177 58 In an interesting essa y, "Jojoshi no Unmei" ("The Fate of Lyricism"), Yamamoto Kenkichi argues that the intensity and beauty of early Japanese art and poetry was largely due to i t s intimacy with daily l i f e and the "deep sense of community" informing the energy of the artists. He is thinking primarily of the period of the Man'yoshu, the eighth-century "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves," but also refers to European art which flourished under the auspices of the Church. Speaking of the decline in contemporary art, he writes: "We can at least be certain that art divorced from a foundation built upon the spiritual ties and involvement in daily activities characteristic of communal bodies is a great misfortune for art and artist alike." The point with respect to Renkanki is simply that poetry was s t i l l the life-blood of Heian court society; the figures in the narrative are a l l involved in the "karma of brush and inkstone." Poetry thus provides the best access to the "deep sense of community" the narrative strives to unfold. Yamamoto Kenkichi, Koten to Gendai Bungaku ("The Classics and Modern Literature") (Shinchosha, 1965), p. 54. rendezvous; i t is not found in^any of the related accounts. Yet, he notes, i t is not a complete fabrication because the name does appear in the Akazome Emon Shu. The name, "Three Ring Mountain," f i t s the situation rather well, suggesting the "three links" in a love triangle and may even ca l l to mind the Noh play "Miwa" in which a woman who wants to know the true form of a man who v i s i t s her every evening attaches a thread to the hem of his robe and traces his t r a i l . Since the author mentions seeing the name, Miwa no Yama in the Akazome Emon Shu, he must have known, but does not note, the poem quoted is a honkadori (allusive variation on a well-known earlier poem) on an anonymous poem in the tenth-century (905) 59 „-Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 392. 60 Rohan supplies the place name,'Miwa no Yama, for the Kokinshu ( ) . The poem reads: 178 My cottage may be found At the foot of Three-Ring Mountain, When you feel a yearning Do come for a v i s i t : Cedars stand hardby the gate. Waga io wa Miwanoyamamoto Koishiku wa Toburai kimase Sugitateru kado. The mildly ribald poem is just what Akazome may have had in mind i f Rohan is correct about the circumstances of her own composition. Another candidate for honkadori is a poem, also in the Kokinshu, by Lady Ise ( ^ ? - 939), an early Heian period poetess often ranked with Ono no Komachi ( A^^f /j* f l . ca. 850), with over one hundred and eighty poems anthologized in imperial collections. Herrpoem: How long has i t been waiting 7 Three-Ring Mountain? As the years go by Can i t be there is no longer Anyone who w i l l come to call? Miwano yama Ikani machimimu Toshifutomo Tazunuru hito mo Araji to omoeba. Lady Ise's poem is said to be alluding to the anonymous poem previously quoted. See the Kokinwakashu ed. by Okumura Tsuneya, in the series: Shincho Nihon Koten Shusei (Shinchosha, 1978), Poems 780 and 982. 6 1 Koda Rohan, RKK, p. 393. 6 2 Ibid., p. 392 fi 3 Philip Wheelwright, The Burning Fountain (Bloomington: 1954), p. 364. 6 4 Koda Rohan, RKK, pp. 403-404 179 6 5 Lii Tong-bin ( j|f Jp., Ryo Dohin f 1. ca. 800?), perhaps best known in Japan for his part in the Noh play"Kantan," has been the subject of- a great deal of scholarly dispute. He is one of the Eight T'ang Immortals in the Taoist pantheon. Legend has i t he received his teaching from the Master of Han-gu Pass where Lao-Tzu is said to have written the Tao-Te Ching. There is d i f f i c u l t y , for instance, in reconciling master-disciple dates. BotheLiu Hai-chan (minister to the King of Yen 911-913) and Wang Che (1112-1170), founder of the Northern School or Golden Lotus Sect, claimed to have been disciples of Lii Tong-bin. He is the reputed author of the Tai Yi Jin Hua Zong Zhi known to western readers in Baynes' translation of Richard Wilhelm's translation, The Secret of the Golden Flower. As i f to attest to the ubiquitous presence of Lii, we might add that he is said to have "written" the preface to the 1920 Peking edition Wilhelm used for his translation. The preface was composed employing the planchette. Wilhelm goes on to mention that P. Y. Saeki identifies Lii with the "Adam" who wrote the Nestorian texts discovered at Dun-huangn (The Nestorian Movement in China, London, 1928). See Richard Wilhelm, The Secret ofcthe Golden Flower (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1962). See also, Holmes Welch, Taoism: The Parting of the Way (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966). 6 6 Terada Toru, "Rohan no Kosho," Bungaku, 46, No. 11 (1978), p. 1348 6 7 — — — Koda Rohan, "Sennin Ryo Dohin," Zenshu, Vol. 16, as cited by Terada, p. 1350. In his essay Rohan discusses the famous story "Kantan no Yume" which appears in the T'ang work known in Japan as the Chinchuki ( "ftfe^^ "|f^_, "Pillow Recollections") The story concerns a humble traveller who happens to borrow a pillow from Lii Tong-bin while staying at an inn in Handan. After his stay there he meets with good fortune, making his way up in the world and f i n a l l y achieving great wealth and position. As an old man he awakens to discover i t had a l l been a dream. He had laid his head on the borrowed pillow just a few moments — only 180 long enough for the innkeeper to b o i l some m i l l e t . Rohan wonders i f the dream belonged only to the t r a v e l l e r or to Lii as well? Or perhaps Lu's teacher Zhong L i Quan was responsible? He asks aboutcall the people i n the dream and so forth, concluding with: Why are there so many stories and poems [attributed to Lii?] Where did they a l l come from? His writings p r o l i f e r a t e ; who could possibly edit them? F i l l your basket as you please! Listen to the pillow beneath your ear! Thus are a multitude of tales born, beheld, and dissolved, providing inexhaustible fascination. As for Lii Tong-bin, we are l e f t with the impression that we have enjoyable texts from the past, but know almost nothing with any degree o f certainty about this elusive figure. 181 Conclusion Tradition is a pattern of persistence and change. The modern Japanese literary world has accentuated change over persistence. But tradition has an unavoidable centrality in human l i f e and letters: time-honoured elements have a way of always reasserting themselves. At the time of Rohan's death in 1947 Japan was entering its second major period of cultural transformation in the modern era. Defeat in the Pacific War opened the way for a tremendous influx of American influence with a corresponding loss of faith and confidence :in the indigenous cultural heritage. It was, in many ways, a situation strikingly similar to the early years of the Meiji period (1868-1912) when there was an overwhelming enthusiasm for things; Western. Rohan was born on the eve of the Meiji Restoration and thus lived through one complete cycle of modern Japanese cultural history. Almost one-hundred years ago he appeared on the scene to raise a voice of protest against the one-sided tide of cultural trans-formation. After his death, as the next cycle began, a second Rohan did not appear — with him went the last breath of the Mei j i s p i r i t , i i. This fact helps to explain why his literary legacy has remained largely untouched by contemporary scholarship and criticism. Shinoda Hajime points out a related factor: 182 You would expect this group [of readers praising Rohan] to have a better than average degree of c r i t i c a l acumen yet, when i t comes to writing on Rohan, they play up their own deficiencies and a l l we get are hymns of praise which never amount to real criticism. Rather than these awe-stricken, emotional tributes of admiration, i t is the one-sided critiques verging on ridicule such as that of Masamune Hakucho which actually have an element of c r i t i c a l insight. The well-intentioned but fruitless praise has the negative effect of intensifying the conditions which have discouraged real criticism, making i t more d i f f i c u l t to bring Rohan into the 1 animated, vibrant realm of contemporary literary discussion. Shinoda's remark is directed toward a propensity in Japanese c r i t i c a l circles to weigh biography rather heavily, a tendency which results in the refusal to divorce a text from the l i f e of it s author. To some extent, at any rate, Rohan's stature in the eyes of younger writers dissuaded c r i t i c a l debate in the years following his death. Tanizaki Junichiro, in an essay for a memorial gathering, wrote: They say that a man's value is determined when the l i d is placed on his coffin. But in the case of a colossus possessing the depth and breadth of a man like Rohan i t is d i f f i c u l t to immediately comprehend his greatness. Isn't i t only now, after a quarter of a century, that we are finally beginning to understand the eminence of Mori Ogai who died in 1922? Thus, might i t not require a few years, or decades, or perhaps even a hundred years t before we fully understand the true worth of Koda Rohan? ' Today, in an age when large, sometimes radiant bodies of literature are beginning to slip from our grasp, the question of Rohan's true worth is one we cannot afford to pretermit. In this essay we have examined three novels — only a small fraction of of his total body of writing — and have sought in them the voice of Japanese literary tradition. For this is what Rohan represents: 183 continuity with the past. His work forms a majestic bridge reaching from'the post-war era to the aesthetic and e t h i c a l s e n s i b i l i t i e s of pre-modern Japan. He developed an inimitable narrative voice which projects the authority and resonance of a verbal a r t i s t r y based on centuries of t r a d i t i o n . It i s a voice that has the ring of authenticity; i t i s an exemplary voice invoking the ideals of Japanese culture. Rohan's work i s infused with a dignity which refuses to accept or adopt the contrivances and pretensions of modern writing techniques. Antiquated perhaps, but even today, i f we stop to consider, i t i s the author's voice rather than complexities of structure or i n t r i c a c i e s of narrative technique that speaks most c l e a r l y and d i r e c t l y i n the intimate act of communication between author and reader through the medium of the text. Rohan's writing becomes a l l voice and his voice l e t s the music of t r a d i t i o n resound. It i s to be hoped that as t r a d i t i o n reasserts i t s e l f — as i t inevitable does — Rohan w i l l again be given the reading and recognition he j u s t l y deserves. 184 Notes 1 Shinoda Hajime, "Koda Rohan no tame ni II," in Sakuhin ni tsuite (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1971), pp. 47-48. 2 - -Tanizaki Junichiro, as cited by Shiotani San, Koda Rohan (Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1977), Vol. 3, p. 145. 185 Bibliography Andrews, Allan A. The Teachings Essential for Rebirth: A Study of Genshin's Ojoyoshu. Tokyo: Sophia Univ. Press, 1973. Bowring, Richard J. 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UBC Theses and Dissertations
The deep music of tradition in the works of Kōda Rohan Cleary, Richard James 1982
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