A History of Japanese Literature: Volume 3: The Modern Years by Shuichi Kato

By Shuichi Kato

A brand new simplified version translated by means of Don Sanderson. the unique three-volume paintings, first released in 1979, has been revised specifically as a unmarried quantity paperback which concentrates at the improvement of eastern literature.

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14 A HISTORY OF JAPANESE LITERATURE for misfortunes encountered in this. Buddhism, at least in its popular forms, made this promise but did not discriminate so sharply as Christianity between the blessed and the damned. The West, which in Norinaga's day had been distant, was now at Japan's door. But Atsutane was of course not a convert to Christianity. His 'spiritual world' was not an entirely discrete spiritual realm as in Buddhism and Christianity; it overlapped with the phenomenal world and, although invisible, communicated with it.

This may be read as bitter irony and indeed Kazan omitted this passage and others critical of the Bakufu from the version that he eventually sent to Egawa. It is, however, the first draft that stands as one of the masterpieces of Tokugawa prose. A circle of students of Dutch Learning formed around Kazan, including Takano Choei and Ozeki San'ei as we have already mentioned. Kazan was in touch with Sakuma Shozan- he sent a picture to him in 1836 - and he also knew Kawaji Toshiakira (1801-68), a high official of the Bakufu who had a deep interest in the West, as well as Egawa Hidetatsu.

Kazan was saved from execution by the intervention of a group led by his artist friend Tsubaki Chinzan and the Confucian scholar Matsuzaki Kodo, who was by then almost seventy. 26 A HISTORY OF JAPANESE LITERATURE Kazan was sent back to Tahara and placed under house-arrest. Two years later in 1841 he killed himself. According to the short letter he left, addressed to Chinzan, his suicide was prompted by the violent reaction of some of the members of the domain which was beginning to threaten the position of the lord.

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