7 pages/≈1925 words
argument (Essay Sample)
You must respond to one of the two questions below and write a total of 7 pages. You have a lot of latitude in both question choices, but you must frame the argument in an original way¡ªmake a thesis statement and solid introduction, then support it with textual evidence and careful, persuasive reasoning. *Don¡¯t just give plot summary or broad generalizations. 1. Although the word ukiyo in premodern Japan originally contained the Buddhist sense of transience and suffering of this world, in the Tokugawa period (1603-1867) it took on a new set of connotations as a floating world of pleasures as well as sorrows (contrary to our American perspective about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the premodern worldview was never free from sorrow). Using three primary texts, explore what the floating world means and how it plays out in the texts you choose to discuss. You may consider its role in noh, puppet theater, kabuki and/or haikai poetics. 2. In Wild Ivy, Hakuin describes a spiritual path toward enlightenment (satori) that depends on faith, disciplined meditation and forms of esoteric knowledge. Yet in the final third of his autobiography, he turns to Daoist forms of medicine that heal his Zen sickness and hold out the prospect of greater longevity, perhaps even immortality. It is quite a contrast with the religious extremes and violence we observed earlier in Endo Shusaku¡¯s historical novel Silence and the original sources on Christianity in Japan in the 15-16th century. Using the Zen materials (including Wild Ivy) and Silence, try to account for this difference in how religious and philosophic beliefs are seen as conflicting or harmonizing. Make sure you cite examples from the two primary texts and any secondary sources from the course that support your argument. There are plenty of key passages in the primary texts that support a range of views. Required Texts: 1. W. Theodore de Bary, Donald Keene, eds. Sources of Japanese Tradition, vol. 1 (SJT) 2. Donald Keene, ed., Anthology of Japanese Literature (AJL) 3. Donald Keene, trans. Ch¨±shingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers 4. Endo, Shusaku, Silence 5. Shirane, Haruo, ed. Early Modern Japanese Literature (EMJL) 6. Royall Tyler, trans. The Tale of Genji 7. NormanWaddell, trans. Wild Ivy: the Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin source..
Argument Although the word ¡°ukiyo¡± in pre-modern Japan originally contained the Buddhist sense of ¡°transience and suffering of this world,¡± in the Tokugawa period (1603-1867) it took on a new set of connotations as a ¡°floating world¡± of pleasures as well as sorrows (contrary to our American perspective about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the pre-modern worldview was never free from sorrow). Using three primary texts, explore what the ¡°floating world¡± means and how it plays out in the texts you choose to discuss. You may consider its role in noh, puppet theater, kabuki and/or haikai poetics (Chushingura, 1971). In Japanese history, during Buddha time the word ukiyo had a Buddhist approach and it considered human endeavors in the world. Nonetheless the word developed a different meaning in the Tokugawa period. During this time Ukiyo it was used to mean floating world and had roles in Kaibuki, noh puppet theater and or haikai poetics. The word originated from the metropolitan culture of Edo in Tokyo during the period of political and military power that was in the hands of the shoguns while the country was virtually isolated from the rest of the world. It is an art closely connected with the pleasures of theatres, restaurants, teahouses, geisha and courtesans. Many ukiyo-e prints by artists like Utamaro and Sharaku were in fact posters, advertising theatre performances and brothels, or idol portraits of popular actors and beautiful teahouse girls. But this more or less sophisticated world of urban pleasures was also animated by the traditional Japanese deep liking of nature and enormous impact on landscape painting all over the world. Tremendous developments have taken place during the floatation period. These progresses are evident in Japanese cultural developments that the populace has made in many areas of life. Indicators of these advances are traced in artistic developments which have enabled man to document periods and other important times and areas of life. The floating world is a translation of Japanese word and period called Ukiyo. In the Japanese culture, the word was used to refer to tremendous developments that came along with urbanization. The ‘floating world’ is a marked period due to the progresses that were experienced in the cultures of Japan. For instance, the word Ukiyo in premodern times has been used to classify two periods in the history of Japan. This era comprises of the Edo period which was experienced between 1620s and 1867 when a new era of Meiji began and lasted until 1912. In Japan, calm which was experienced during this time necessitated major progressive developments that took place in between 1620 and 1867. The Edo period was succeeded with Meiji, a new era that opened up Japan to the west. However, at the time of Budhha, the word Ukiyo was deceptively used to mean the ‘Sorrowful World’ that entailed sacrifice and suffering in order to ...
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