Japanese Impressions, With a Note on Confucius...

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Book Details

Author  Paul Louis Couchoud
Publisher  Forgotten Books
Publication Date   June 25, 2012
ISBN  1451017545
Pages  178

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It is the country of design. With a single stroke the Japanese can perpetuate the attitude of an animal. What Pisanello alone created in Italy has constantly, and during centuries, been created in Japan. Our author attributes this aptitude to depict both domestic and wild animals to that sympathy for every living creature which is natural to Asiatic peoples. The Japanese believe themselves to be of the same essence as beasts. It lends them an amiable and charming quality, that they have not broken the bond which binds man to animate nature which is the whole of nature; they remain in a communion with universal life, with animals and with plants, and they have not taken refuge, with an arrogant ignorance, in the empty spaces of metaphysics. After these pages, written with profound feeling and with enchantment in their style, follows a section on the Japanese Muse, consecrated in particular to the haikaij a poem composed in a fixed form of seventeen syllables. It is thus a fragment of extreme brevity, beside which the European sonnet appears an epic. It naturally becomes imperative that these seventeen syllables should emanate from a definite emotion. In Japan the poet speaks in a universal language, the same which a countryman uses and understands. In its compactness, we are told, the haikai lays a fine touch on both the ear and the heart. Basho, the Epictetus and the Marcus Aurelius of Japan, excelled in this mode of composition which bears for us an analogy to the Greek
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)

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