First Advisor

Jon Holt

Term of Graduation

Summer 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Japanese


World Languages and Literatures




Japanese poetry -- History and criticism, Japanese literature -- History and criticism, Romanticism – Japan, Moon -- Poetry, Seasons – Poetry, Yosano Akiko (1878-1942). Midaregami, Yosano Akiko (1878-1942) -- Criticism and interpretation



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 87 pages)


Ever since they opened their country to the world in the late nineteenth century, the Japanese experienced drastic changes in many aspects. They rapidly absorbed Western culture with their desperate hope to modernize their country in politics, the sciences, and art. Literature was not an exception. Yosano Akiko (1878-1942), who is well known as a pivotal poet of Japanese Romanticism, absorbed this new modern sense of self and individuality and advocated the poetic expression of one's private and personal emotions.

In premodern Japan, poets had traditionally expressed their feelings through a set, limited range of classical landscapes and natural objects, which served as communal symbols Japanese poets shared across centuries. The seasons greatly occupied the attention of poets for more than a thousand years. The moon also is an important element in Japanese poetry with a set range of conventionalized poetic associations. However, by the turn of twentieth century, Yosano Akiko absorbed from the West the inspiration to express her personal feelings with her own invented moonlit landscapes, particularly ones set during spring and summer evenings. This thesis investigates what changes she made to the poetic conventions of the moon and the seasons in traditional thirty-one-syllable poetry.


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