Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion The Creation of the Soul of Japan

ISBN-10: 0231130570
ISBN-13: 9780231130578
Edition: 2006
Authors: Donald Keene
List price: $30.00
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Description: Yoshimasa may have been the worst shogun ever to rule Japan. He was a failure as a soldier, incompetent at dealing with state business, and dominated by his wife. But his influence on the cultural life of Japan was unparalleled. According to Donald  More...

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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 1/11/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

Yoshimasa may have been the worst shogun ever to rule Japan. He was a failure as a soldier, incompetent at dealing with state business, and dominated by his wife. But his influence on the cultural life of Japan was unparalleled. According to Donald Keene, Yoshimasa was the only shogun to leave a lasting heritage for the entire Japanese people. Today Yoshimasa is remembered primarily as the builder of the Temple of the Silver Pavilion and as the ruler at the time of the Onin War (1467--1477), after which the authority of the shogun all but disappeared. Unable to control the daimyos -- provincial military governors -- he abandoned politics and devoted himself to the quest for beauty. It was then, after Yoshimasa resigned as shogun and made his home in the mountain retreat now known as the Silver Pavilion, that his aesthetic taste came to define that of the Japanese: the no theater flourished, Japanese gardens were developed, and the tea ceremony had its origins in a small room at the Silver Pavilion. Flower arrangement, ink painting, and shoin-zukuri architecture began or became of major importance under Yoshimasa. Poets introduced their often barely literate warlord-hosts to the literary masterpieces of the past and taught them how to compose poetry. Even the most barbarous warlord came to want the trappings of culture that would enable him to feel like a civilized man. Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion gives this long-neglected but critical period in Japanese history the thorough treatment it deserves.

Donald Keene was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 18, 1922. He received a bachelor's degree in 1942, a master's degree in 1947, and a doctoral degree in 1951 from Columbia University. During World War II, he served as an intelligence officer in the Navy and worked translating for Japanese prisoners. He taught at Columbia University for 56 years and was named the Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature in 1986 and University Professor Emeritus. Keene is considered to be a "Japanologist". He has written, translated, or edited numerous books in both Japanese and English on Japanese literature and culture including The Pleasures of Japanese Literature, Essays in Idleness, So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers, Three Plays of Kobo Abe, Twenty Plays of the No Theater, and The Breaking Jewel. His awards include the Kikuchi Kan Prize of the Society for the Advancement of Japanese Culture, the Japan Foundation Prize and the Tokyo Metropolitan Prize. Soon after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Keene retired and moved to Japan with the intention of living out the remainder of his life there. He acquired Japanese citizenship, and adopted a Japanese legal name. This required him to relinquish his American citizenship, as Japan does not permit dual citizenship.

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Bibliography

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