Some basic texts for the study of classical Japanese literature

under construction.

General orientation

Kato, Shuichi. A History of Japanese Literature: The First Thousand Years. Tr. David Chibbett. New York and Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1979.

Kato, Shuichi. A History of Japanese Literature: From the Man'yoshu to Modern Times. Tr. David Chibbett. Abridged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997.

Kato, Shuichi. A History of Japanese Literature: The Years of Isolation. Tr. David Chibbett. New York, Kodansha International, 1991. [Reprint edition]

Keene, Donald. Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. [Pbk. Originally published New York: Henry Holt, 1993).

Keene, Donald. World within Walls, Japanese literature of the premodern era, 1600-1867. Columbia University Press, 1999. [Pbk. Originally published New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976.]

Miner, Earl, Hiroko Odagiri, and Robert E. Morrell. The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Rimer, J. Thomas. A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature. New York and Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1988. Revised edition, 1999.

Literary histories

Carter, Steven , ed., Medieval Japanese Writers, Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 203. Brucolli, Clark, Layman: 1999.

Konishi, Jin'ichi. A History of Japanese Literature. Volume One: The Archaic and Ancient Ages. Tr. Aileen Gatten and Nicholas Teele, ed. Earl Miner. Princeton: Princeton University Press,1984. [out of print]

Konishi, Jin'ichi. A History of Japanese Literature. Volume Two: The Early Middle Ages. Tr. Aileen Gatten and Mark Harbison, ed. Earl Miner. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986. [out of print]

major studies

Brower, Robert H., and Earl Miner. Japanese Court Poetry. Stanford Studies in the Civilizations of Eastern Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961.

Chance, Linda H. Formless in Form: Kenko, 'Tsurezuregusa,' and the Rhetoric of Japanese Fragmentary Prose. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.

Marra, Michele. The Aesthetics of Discontent. Politics and Reclusion in Medieval Japanese Literature. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 1991.

Ortolani, Benito. The Japanese Theatre: From Shamanistic Ritual to Contemporary Pluralism. Revised ed. Princeton, 1995.

Anthologies of literature in translation (see below for drama)

Bownas, Geoffrey, and Anthony Thwaite, Penguin Book of Japanese Verse. Harmondsworth, 1964.

Carter, Steven D. Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology: Stanford University Press, 1986.

Cranston, Edwin A. A Waka Anthology: Volume One: The Gem-Glistening Cup. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998. [Pbk. Hardback edition 1993.]

Keene, Donald. Anthology of Japanese literature, from the earliest era to the mid-nineteenth century. New York: Grove Press, 1960. [First edition in 1955.]

McCullough, Helen C., ed. Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990.

Miller, Stephen, ed. Partings at Dawn: An Anthology of Japanese Gay Literature (Gay Sunshine Press, 1996).

Sato, Hiroaki, and Burton Watson, eds. From the Country of Eight Islands. An Anthology of Japanese Poetry. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981.

Shirane, Haruo, ed. Early Modern Japanese Literature, 1600-1900. Columbia UP, 2004. [Pbk. Hardback ed. 2002.]

Tyler, Royall. Japanese Tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.

drama anthologies

Brandon, James R., and Samuel L. Leiter. Masterpieces of Kabuki: Eighteen Plays on Stage. U of Hawaii Press, 2004. [Taken from the four-volume series Kabuki Plays On Stage (2003): Brilliance and Bravado: 1697-1767; Villainy and Vengeance: 1773-1799; Darkness and Desire: 1804-1864; Restoration and Reform: 1872-1905.]

Brazell, Karen. Twelve Plays of the Noh and Kyogen Theaters. Cornell, 1988.

Brazell, Karen. Traditional Japanese Theater: An Anthology of Plays: Columbia University Press, 1998. Pbk. 1999.

Keene, Donald, and Royall Tyler, eds. Twenty Plays of the No Theatre. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1970.

Individual works in translation

for a much longer list, see trans page

Bowring, Richard, tr. The Diary of Lady Murasaki. Penguin Classics.

Mostow, Joshua. Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

Rimer, J. Thomas and Johathan Chaves, eds. and trans. Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing: The Wakan Roei Shu. New York, Columbia University Press, 1997.

Sato, Hiroaki, tr. Basho's Narrow Road, Spring & Autumn Passage, Narrow Road to the Interior and the Renga Sequence, A Farewell Gift to Sora, Two Works. Stone Bridge Press, 1996.

Study of classical language

Ikeda, Tadashi. Classical Japanese Grammar illustrated with texts. Tokyo: Toho Gakkai, 1975.

Komai, Akira. An Introduction to Classical Japanese. OP

McCullough, Helen Craig. Bungo manual: Selected Reference Materials for Students of Classical Japanese. East Asia Papers Number 48. Ithaca, New York: East Asia Program, 1988.

Morris, Ivan. Dictionary of Selected Forms in Classical Japanese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1965.

Yang, X. Jie. Kanaclassic: An Electronic Guide To Learning Classical Japanese Kana Writing. CD-ROM. Columbia UP, 1999.


Akira, Komai, and Thomas H. Rohlich. An Introduction to Japanese Kanbun. Nagoya: University of Nagoya Press, 1988.