Breeze Through Bamboo: Kanshi of Ema Saikō
Ema Saiko (1787-1861) was a remarkably evocative Japanese poet, one of the few known woman writers of kanshi - poems written in classical Chinese. Kanshi, because it encompasses a wider range of subjects than tanka and haiku, and with its greater length, can offer richer, more sustained descriptions. Writing in this form, Saiko distinguished herself during the Tokugawa period, when composition in Chinese was largely a men's province. An exquisite painter as well as a skillful poet, Saiko followed in the great Chinese tradition of the literati-painter.
A leading member of three kanshi-writing groups, Saiko counted among her friends poets, scholars, painters, physicians, and other prominent people. She used kanshi as a diary, a canvas, and a mirror, weaving observations of her friends and of simple pleasures: intoxication, reading, painting, contemplation, the excitement of trips, and the joys of evening walks. Saiko's kanshi also reflected on the changes in her life - the growth and illnesses of family members, as well as her own physical decline. Organized chronologically, these poems provide an engaging portrait of an artist's life.
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anthology aslant autumn bamboo blinds boat Burton Watson call a maid calligraphy cherry blossoms China Chinese legend chrysanthemums classical Chinese cold Confucian Confucian scholar Courtesy of Etna drink eaves Edo Kanshi Edo period Ema Saiko Etna Sumiko fall flowers fragrant friends frost garden Genji green hokku Hsiang inkstone Japan Japanese Literature Kado kanshi Konishi Genzui Kuwana Kyoto Lake Biwa lamp leaves light mandarin duck Matsuo Basho metaphor Mino moon Moonflower Mount Ibuki mountain Nakamura Shin'ichiro night Nihon Ninth Month Nobunaga note for Poem Oda Nobunaga Ogaki original painting Bamboo plantain plum Rai San'yo rain Ransai River Saiko Saiko's painting Saiko's poem sake San'yo San'yo Sensei scent Seigan Shunkin snow someone spring student Suna River sweet gourd tanka thousand today's translation trees Tung-p'o verse willow wind window woman women poets writing Yabase yellow yomikudashi zekku