Greetings from medieval Japan!
It has only been a week since I have come here to
Japan, but I have already seen and experienced so
much of the culture of this island nation. It was
interesting to see the major differences in our
culture and that of the Japanese. Did you know that
the Japanese government is heavily influenced by
the Chinese? Japanese scholars were sent over to
China to bring back information on how the Chinese
government functioned. These scholars also
brought back knowledge on the wisdom that lies
within the teachings of Confucius. In addition to
melding the government to be more like the
Chinese government, the Japanese government
also intends to make Buddhism it’s official religion.
However, many people are reluctant to let go of the
native shinto religion.
Exploring the Arts
The arts are currently thriving here in
medieval Japan. Women could not hold
political leaders or learn chinese like men, but
they served as important contributors to the
literary arts. Lady Murasaki Shikibu, for
example, wrote Genji Monogatari , which is
considered as the world’s first novel. Japan’s
own forms of poetry (also known as waka)
are also evolving.
The literary arts aren’t the only kind of art that
is doing well. The Noh theater is a major
performance art. This art consists of masked
actors whose movements are limited. It
seems that the aristocrats who come to watch
the Noh performances already understand
the story behind each performance.