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Japanese Death Poems

Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death

Japanese Death Poems
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Author Yoel Hoffmann
Price JPY 5,000
ISBN 978-0-8048-3179-6
Format 127×177mm 366pages paperback
Availability out of stock
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Description

Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem" written in the very last moments of the poet's life. From passionate samurai words and meditative Zen haiku to the satirical poems of later centuries, hundreds of death poems, many with a commentary describing the circumstances of the poet's death, have been translated into English here, the great majority of them for the first time.
Zen Buddhist ideas about death are also mentioned as a preface to the collection of Chinese death poems by Zen monks that are also included. Finally, 320 poems are presented in English translation and romanized in Japanese.
The result is a moving, powerful collection whose philosophical and aesthetic profundity will give readers pause.

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