Cover of: Japanese hokkus by Yoné Noguchi

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Last edited by Verbially
July 27, 2018 | History
An edition of Japanese hokkus (1920)

Japanese hokkus

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This edition was published in by The Four seas company in Boston.

Written in English

115 pages

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Cover of: Japanese hokkus
Japanese hokkus
1920, The Four seas company
in English

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Japanese hokkus

First published in 1920


THE word epigram is not right word (and there's no right word at all) for Hokku, the seventeen syllable poem of Japan, just as overcoat is not the word for our haori. "That is good," I exclaimed in spite of myself, when I found this comparison. We know that haori is more, or less, according to your attitude, than the overcoat of Western garb which rises and falls with practical service; when I say more, I mean that our Japanese haori is unlike the western overcoat, a piece of art and besides, a symbol of rite, as its usefulness appears often when it means practically nothing. If I rightly understand the word epigram, it is or at least looks to have one object, like that overcoat of practical use, to express something, a Cathay of thought or not, before itself; its beauty, if it has any, is like that of a netsuke or okimono carved in ivory or wood, decorative at the best. But what our Hokku aims at is, like the haori of silk or crepe, a usefulness of uselessness, not what it expresses but how it expresses itself spiritually; its real value is not in its physical directness but in its psychological indirectness. To use a simile, it is like a dew upon lotus leaves of green, or under maple leaves of red, which although it is nothing but a trifling drop of water, shines, glitters and sparkles now pearl-white, then amethyst-blue, again ruby-red according to the time of day and situation; better still to say, this Hokku is like a spider-thread laden with the white summer dews, swaying among the brandies of a tree like an often invisible ghost in air, on the perfect balance; that sway indeed, not the thread itself, is the beauty of our seventeen syllable poem.
Page 9, added by Verbially.) "Preface"

Japanese hokkus

This edition was published in by The Four seas company in Boston.

Edition Notes



Library of Congress
PR6027.O3 J3 1920

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July 27, 2018 Edited by Verbially Start of preface
April 28, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Linked existing covers to the work.
December 10, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page