Yang Kuei-Fei Legend in Japanese Literature

Author: Graham, Masako
Year:1998
Pages:312
ISBN:0-7734-8368-3
978-0-7734-8368-2
Price:249.95
This study addresses the evolution of the Yang Kuei-fei legend, which has been told and retold in works of verse and prose. It first examines the historical Yang Kuei-fei (a renowned Chinese beauty who died tragically in 756 AD, favorite consort of the T'ang Emperor Hsüan-tsung) and her legend in China, then proceeds to a chronological analysis of accounts of her in Japanese literature: the initial and medieval phases and the Edo and modern periods. Although the study covers a period extending from the ninth century to the present, the most important features in the evolution of the legend occurred during medieval times synthesized in the early 17th century puppet play called the Yokihi monogatari (A Tale of Yang Kuei-fei), a translation of which is included. The legend in Japan evolved on two levels: the adaptation of the Chinese legend and the development of an account infused with universal values.

“. . . makes a significant contribution to Japanese studies as well as to Sino-Japanese comparative literature. . . not only demonstrates the influence of the Chinese sources on Japanese works, but also explores the various adaptations and innovations in Japanese works on Yang Kuei-fei. Tracing the different stages of adaptation, Graham demonstrates how come authors blend various accounts and create a new one, and how they adapt the source to suit their own ideological or artistic purposes. Graham’s translations of a number of Japanese sources . . . . are quite readable; these translations constitute valuable contributions to the study of Japanese and Chinese literature. her discussion covers a wide range of genres and includes history, culture, religion, and art. This book provides a useful foundation for comparative studies of the Yang Kuei-fei legend.” – Yenna Wu in The Journal of Asian Studies

"Masako Nakagawa Graham has done an excellent job of recounting the historical events, including the tumultuous rebellion of the Sogdian-Turkish general, An Lu-shan, that led to the initial development of the legend in China. Also valuable is her review of the Chinese poems, stories, plays, and novels from the T'ang through the Ch'ing periods. . . . annotated translations of primary texts in Chinese and Japanese make the growth of the Yang Kuei-fei legend readily accessible to those who are not proficient in these languages. . . . offers an instructive example of the fruitful crossing of boundaries that are both geographical and disciplinary. Although this is primarily a literary study, it also touches upon Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Tantrism, art, and other subjects. . . this is a work of humanistic scholarship that is both illuminating and pleasurable to read." - Victor H. Mair

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword, Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION
1. Yang Kuei-fei in History
2. The Yang Kuei-fei Legend in Chinese Literature
THE INITIAL JAPANESE PHASE: HEIAN PERIOD
3. The Introduction of Po Chü-i's The Song of Everlasting Sorrow to Japan
4. The Song of Everlasting Sorrow and Heian Literature
THE CREATION OF THE JAPANESE YANG KUI-FEI LEGEND IN THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD
5. The Popularization of the Yang Kuei-fei Story; The Yang Kuei-fei Story in the Taiheiki - A Translation; "Chogonka no okori" - A Translation
6. The Introduction of Historical and Fictitious Figures: Chang Yü, I-hsing, Chung K'uei, Yü-tzu chün
7. The Deification of Yang Kuei-fei
8. A Metamorphosis of the Legend - the Yokihi monogatari; The Yokihi monogatari - A Translation
THE YANG KUEI-FEI LEGEND IN LATER PERIODS
9. The Legend in the Edo and Modern Periods
Conclusion, Appendices, Bibliography, Glossary of Chinese and Japanese Terms, Index