LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet. It was founded in 2005 by Hugh McGuire to provide "Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain" and the LibriVox objective is "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet". On 6 August 2016, the project completed project number 10,000. and from 2009–2017 was producing about 1,000 items per year. Most releases are in the English language, but many non-English works are available. There are multiple affiliated projects. LibriVox is affiliated with Project Gutenberg from where the project gets some of its texts, the Internet Archive that hosts their offerings. LibriVox was started in August 2005 by Montreal-based writer Hugh McGuire, who set up a blog, posed the question; the first recorded book was The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad.
The main features of the way LibriVox works have changed little since its inception, although the technology that supports it has been improved by the efforts of its volunteers with web-development skills. LibriVox is an invented word inspired by Latin words liber in its genitive form libri and vox, giving the meaning BookVoice; the word was coined because of other connotations: liber means child and free, unrestricted. As the LibriVox forum says: "We like to think LibriVox might be interpreted as'child of the voice', and'free voice'; the other link we like is'library' so you could imagine it to mean Library of Voice."There has been no decision or consensus by LibriVox founders or the community of volunteers for a single pronunciation of LibriVox. It is accepted. LibriVox is a volunteer-run, free content, Public Domain project, it has legal personality. The development of projects is managed through an Internet forum, supported by an admin team, who maintain a searchable catalogue database of completed works.
In early 2010, LibriVox ran a fundraising drive to raise $20,000 to cover hosting costs for the website of about $5,000/year and improve front- and backend usability. The target was reached in 13 days, so the fundraising ended and LibriVox suggested that supporters consider making donations to its affiliates and partners, Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive. Volunteers can choose new projects to start, either recording on their own or inviting others to join them, or they can contribute to projects that have been started by others. Once a volunteer has recorded his or her contribution, it is uploaded to the site, proof-listened by members of the LibriVox community. Finished audiobooks are available from the LibriVox website, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis files are hosted separately by the Internet Archive. Recordings are available through other means, such as iTunes, being free of copyright, they are distributed independently of LibriVox on the Internet and otherwise. LibriVox only records material, in the public domain in the United States, all LibriVox books are released with a public domain dedication.
Because of copyright restrictions, LibriVox produces recordings of only a limited number of contemporary books. These have included, for example, the 9/11 Commission Report, a work of the US Federal Government therefore in the Public Domain; the LibriVox catalogue is varied. It contains much popular classic fiction, but includes less predictable texts, such as Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and a recording of the first 500 digits of pi; the collection features poetry, religious texts and non-fiction of various kinds. In January 2009, the catalogue contained 55 percent fiction and drama, 25 percent non-fiction and 20 percent poetry. By the end of 2018, the most viewed item was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in a 2006 solo recording by John Greenman. Around 90 percent of the catalogue is recorded in English, but recordings exist in 31 languages altogether. Chinese and German are the most popular languages other than English amongst volunteers, but recordings have been made in languages including Urdu and Tagalog.
LibriVox has garnered significant interest, in particular from those interested in the promotion of volunteer-led content and alternative approaches to copyright ownership on the Internet. It has received support from the Internet Project Gutenberg. Intellectual freedom and commons proponent Mike Linksvayer described it in 2008 as "perhaps the most interesting collaborative culture project this side of Wikipedia"; the project has been featured in press around the world and has been recommended by the BBC's Click, MSNBC's The Today Show, Wired, the US PC Magazine and the UK Metro and Sunday Times newspapers. A frequent concern of listeners is the site's policy of allowing any recording to be published as long as it is understandable and faithful to the source text; this means. While some listeners may object to those books with chapters read by multiple readers, others find this to be a non-issue or a feature, though many books are narrated by a single reader. Virtual volunteering Voice acting LibriVox siteLibriVox home page and LibriVox Catalogue of Audio BooksArticlesXeni Tech story from NPR's Day to Day, "Amateur Audio Books Cat
Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning. Poetry has a long history, dating back to prehistorical times with the creation of hunting poetry in Africa, panegyric and elegiac court poetry was developed extensively throughout the history of the empires of the Nile and Volta river valleys; some of the earliest written poetry in Africa can be found among the Pyramid Texts written during the 25th century BCE, while the Epic of Sundiata is one of the most well-known examples of griot court poetry. The earliest Western Asian epic poetry, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written in Sumerian. Early poems in the Eurasian continent evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the Sanskrit Vedas, Zoroastrian Gathas, the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama and comedy.
Attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form and rhyme, emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from more objectively informative, prosaic forms of writing. Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects; the use of ambiguity, symbolism and other stylistic elements of poetic diction leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Figures of speech such as metaphor and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm; some poetry types are specific to particular cultures and genres and respond to characteristics of the language in which the poet writes. Readers accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe and Rumi may think of it as written in lines based on rhyme and regular meter.
Much modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, playing with and testing, among other things, the principle of euphony itself, sometimes altogether forgoing rhyme or set rhythm. In today's globalized world, poets adapt forms and techniques from diverse cultures and languages; some scholars believe. Others, suggest that poetry did not predate writing; the oldest surviving epic poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh, comes from the 3rd millennium BCE in Sumer, was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets and on papyrus. A tablet dating to c. 2000 BCE describes an annual rite in which the king symbolically married and mated with the goddess Inanna to ensure fertility and prosperity. An example of Egyptian epic poetry is The Story of Sinuhe. Other ancient epic poetry includes the Iliad and the Odyssey. Epic poetry, including the Odyssey, the Gathas, the Indian Vedas, appears to have been composed in poetic form as an aid to memorization and oral transmission, in prehistoric and ancient societies.
Other forms of poetry developed directly from folk songs. The earliest entries in the oldest extant collection of Chinese poetry, the Shijing, were lyrics; the efforts of ancient thinkers to determine what makes poetry distinctive as a form, what distinguishes good poetry from bad, resulted in "poetics"—the study of the aesthetics of poetry. Some ancient societies, such as China's through her Shijing, developed canons of poetic works that had ritual as well as aesthetic importance. More thinkers have struggled to find a definition that could encompass formal differences as great as those between Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi, as well as differences in content spanning Tanakh religious poetry, love poetry, rap. Classical thinkers employed classification as a way to assess the quality of poetry. Notably, the existing fragments of Aristotle's Poetics describe three genres of poetry—the epic, the comic, the tragic—and develop rules to distinguish the highest-quality poetry in each genre, based on the underlying purposes of the genre.
Aestheticians identified three major genres: epic poetry, lyric poetry, dramatic poetry, treating comedy and tragedy as subgenres of dramatic poetry. Aristotle's work was influential throughout the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age, as well as in Europe during the Renaissance. Poets and aestheticians distinguished poetry from, defined it in opposition to prose, understood as writing with a proclivity to logical explication and a linear narrative structure; this does not imply that poetry is illogical or lacks narration, but rather that poetry is an attempt to render the beautiful or sublime without the burden of engaging the logical or narrative thought process. English Romantic poet John Keats termed this escape from logic "Negative Capability"; this "romantic" approach views form as a key element of successful poetry because form is abstract and distinct from the underlying notional logic. This approach remained influential into t
Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry
The Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry are a group of Japanese poets of the Asuka and Heian periods selected by Fujiwara no Kintō as exemplars of Japanese poetic ability. The eldest surviving collection of the 36 poets' works is Nishi Honganji Sanjū-rokunin Kashu of 1113. Similar groups of Japanese poets include the Kamakura period Nyōbō Sanjūrokkasen, composed by court ladies and the Chūko Sanjūrokkasen, or Thirty-Six Heian-era Immortals of Poetry, selected by Fujiwara no Norikane; this list superseded. Sets of portraits of the group were popular in Japanese painting and woodblock prints, hung in temples. Kakinomoto no Hitomaro Ki no Tsurayuki Ōshikōchi Mitsune Lady Ise Ōtomo no Yakamochi Yamabe no Akahito Ariwara no Narihira Henjō Sosei Ki no Tomonori Sarumaru no Taifu Ono no Komachi Fujiwara no Kanesuke Fujiwara no Asatada Fujiwara no Atsutada Fujiwara no Takamitsu Minamoto no Kintada Mibu no Tadamine Saigū no Nyōgo Ōnakatomi no Yorimoto Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Minamoto no Shigeyuki Minamoto no Muneyuki Minamoto no Saneakira Fujiwara no Kiyotada Minamoto no Shitagō Fujiwara no Okikaze Kiyohara no Motosuke Sakanoue no Korenori Fujiwara no Motozane Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu Fujiwara no Nakafumi Taira no Kanemori Mibu no Tadami Kodai no Kimi Nakatsukasa Nyōbō Sanjūrokkasen, composed in the Kamakura period, refers to thirty-six female immortals of poetry: Ono no Komachi Ise Nakatsukasa Kishi Joō Ukon Fujiwara no Michitsuna no Haha Uma no Naishi Akazome Emon Izumi Shikibu Kodai no Kimi Murasaki Shikibu Koshikibu no Naishi Ise no Taifu Sei Shōnagon Daini no Sanmi Takashina no Kishi Yūshi Naishinnō-ke no Kii Sagami Shikishi Naishinnō Kunai-kyō Suō no Naishi Fujiwara no Toshinari no Musume Taikenmon'in no Horikawa Gishūmon'in no Tango Kayōmon'in no Echizen Nijō In no Sanuki Kojijū Go-Toba-in no Shimotsuke Ben no Naiji Go-Fukakusa In no Shōshōnaishi Inpumon'in no Tayū Tsuchimikado In no Kosaishō Hachijō-in Takakura Fujiwara no Chikako Shikikenmon'in no Mikushige Sōhekimon'in no Shōshō There are at least two groups of Japanese poets called New Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry: One selected by Fujiwara no Mototoshi One including poets of the Kamakura period.
The term refers to the second: Emperor Go-Toba Emperor Tsuchimikado Emperor Juntoku Emperor Go-Saga Prince Masanari of Rokujō-no-Miya Prince Munetaka of Kamakura-no-Miya Prince Dōjonyūdō Prince Shikishi Kujō Yoshitsune Kujō Michiie Saionji Kintsune Koga Michiteru Saionji Saneuji Minamoto no Sanetomo Kujō Motoie Fujiwara no Ieyoshi Jien Gyōi Minamoto no Michitomo Fujiwara no Sadaie Hachijō-in Takakura Shunzei's Daughter Go-Toba-in Kunaikyō Sōheki Mon'in no Shōshō Fujiwara no Tameie Asukai Masatsune Fujiwara no Ietaka Fujiwara no Tomoie Fujiwara no Ariie Hamuro Mitsutoshi Fujiwara no Nobuzane Minamoto no Tomochika Fujiwara no Takasuke Minamoto no Ienaga Kamo no Chōmei Fujiwara no Hideyoshi ja:中古三十六歌仙 Rokkasen Poem Scroll of Thirty-Six Immortal Poets Arts of Japan exhibit
Ki no Tsurayuki
Ki no Tsurayuki was a Japanese author and courtier of the Heian period. He is best known as the principal compiler of the Kokin Wakashū writing its Japanese Preface, as a possible author of the Tosa Diary, although this was published anonymously. Tsurayuki was a son of Ki no Mochiyuki. In the 890s he became a poet of short poems composed in Japanese. In 905, under the order of Emperor Daigo, he was one of four poets selected to compile the Kokin Wakashū, the first imperially-sponsored anthology of waka poetry. After holding a few offices in Kyoto, he was appointed the provincial governor of Tosa Province and stayed there from 930 until 935, he was appointed the provincial governor of Suō Province, since it was recorded that he held a waka party at his home in Suo. He is well known for his waka and is counted as one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals selected by Fujiwara no Kintō, he was known as one of the editors of the Kokin Wakashū. Tsurayuki wrote one of two prefaces to Kokin Wakashū, his preface was the first critical essay on waka.
He wrote of its history from its mythological origin to his contemporary waka, which he grouped into genres, referred to some major poets and gave a bit of harsh criticism to his predecessors like Ariwara no Narihira. His waka is included in one of the important Japanese poetry anthologies, the Hyakunin Isshu, compiled in the 13th century by Fujiwara no Teika, long after Tsurayuki's death. Besides the Kokin Wakashū and its Japanese preface, Tsurayuki's major literary work was the Tosa Nikki, written using kana; the text details a trip in 935 returning to Kyoto from Tosa Province, where Tsurayuki had been the provincial governor. Tsurayuki's name is referred to in the Tale of Genji as a waka master. In this story, Emperor Uda ordered him and a number of female poets to write waka on his panels as accessories. Media related to Ki no Tsurayuki at Wikimedia Commons Works by or about Ki no Tsurayuki at Internet Archive Works by Ki no Tsurayuki at LibriVox e-texts of Tsurayuki's works at Aozora Bunko A Note on the English Translation: an example of his poem from the Hyakunin Isshu with seven different translations, Also see Primitive and Mediaeval Japanese Texts translated into English by F. V. Dickins.
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1906. Pp 379–391
Kyoto Kyoto City, is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is best known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. In Japanese, Kyoto was called Kyō, Miyako, or Kyō no Miyako. In the 11th century, the city was renamed Kyoto, from the Chinese calligraphic, jingdu. After the city of Edo was renamed Tokyo in 1868, the seat of the Emperor was moved there, Kyoto was for a short time known as Saikyō. Kyoto is sometimes called the thousand-year capital; the National Diet never passed any law designating a capital. Foreign spellings for the city's name have included Kioto and Meaco, utilised by Dutch cartographers. Another term used to refer to the city in the pre-modern period was Keishi, meaning "urba" or "capital". Ample archaeological evidence suggests human settlement in Kyoto began as early as the Paleolithic period, although not much published material is retained about human activity in the area before the 6th century, around which time the Shimogamo Shrine is believed to have been established.
During the 8th century, when powerful Buddhist clergy became involved in the affairs of the Imperial government, Emperor Kanmu chose to relocate the capital in order to distance it from the clerical establishment in Nara. His last choice for the site was the village of Uda, in the Kadono district of Yamashiro Province; the new city, Heian-kyō, a scaled replica of the Tang capital Chang'an, became the seat of Japan's imperial court in 794, beginning the Heian period of Japanese history. Although military rulers established their governments either in Kyoto or in other cities such as Kamakura and Edo, Kyoto remained Japan's capital until the transfer of the imperial court to Tokyo in 1869 at the time of the Imperial Restoration; the city suffered extensive destruction in the Ōnin War of 1467–1477, did not recover until the mid-16th century. During the Ōnin War, the shugo collapsed, power was divided among the military families. Battles between samurai factions spilled into the streets, came to involve the court nobility and religious factions as well.
Nobles' mansions were transformed into fortresses, deep trenches dug throughout the city for defense and as firebreaks, numerous buildings burned. The city has not seen such widespread destruction since. In the late 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi reconstructed the city by building new streets to double the number of north-south streets in central Kyoto, creating rectangle blocks superseding ancient square blocks. Hideyoshi built earthwork walls called odoi encircling the city. Teramachi Street in central Kyoto is a Buddhist temple quarter where Hideyoshi gathered temples in the city. Throughout the Edo period, the economy of the city flourished as one of three major cities in Japan, the others being Osaka and Edo; the Hamaguri rebellion of 1864 burnt down 28,000 houses in the city which showed the rebels' dissatisfaction towards the Tokugawa Shogunate. The subsequent move of the Emperor to Tokyo in 1869 weakened the economy; the modern city of Kyoto was formed on April 1, 1889. The construction of Lake Biwa Canal in 1890 was one measure taken to revive the city.
The population of the city exceeded one million in 1932. There was some consideration by the United States of targeting Kyoto with an atomic bomb at the end of World War II because, as an intellectual center of Japan, it had a population large enough to persuade the emperor to surrender. In the end, at the insistence of Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, the city was removed from the list of targets and replaced by Nagasaki; the city was spared from conventional bombing as well, although small-scale air raids did result in casualties. As a result, the Imperial City of Kyoto is one of the few Japanese cities that still have an abundance of prewar buildings, such as the traditional townhouses known as machiya. However, modernization is continually breaking down the traditional Kyoto in favor of newer architecture, such as the Kyōto Station complex. Kyoto became a city designated by government ordinance on September 1, 1956. In 1997, Kyoto hosted the conference.
Kyoto is located in a valley, part of the Yamashiro Basin, in the eastern part of the mountainous region known as the Tamba highlands. The Yamashiro Basin is surrounded on three sides by mountains known as Higashiyama and Nishiyama, with a height just above 1,000 metres above sea level; this interior positioning results in cold winters. There are three rivers in the basin, the Ujigawa to the south, the Katsuragawa to the west, the Kamogawa to the east. Kyoto City takes up 17.9% of the land in the prefecture with an area of 827.9 square kilometres. The original city was arranged in accordance with traditional Chinese feng shui following the model of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an; the Imperial Palace faced south. The streets in the modern-day wards of Nakagyō, Shimogyō, Kamigyō-ku still follow a grid pattern. Today, the main business district is located to the south of the old Imperial Palace, with the less-populated northern area retaining a fa
Tanka is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. In the time of the Man'yōshū, the term tanka was used to distinguish "short poems" from the longer chōka. In the ninth and tenth centuries, notably with the compilation of the Kokinshū, the short poem became the dominant form of poetry in Japan, the general word waka became the standard name for this form. Japanese poet and critic Masaoka Shiki revived the term tanka in the early twentieth century for his statement that waka should be renewed and modernized. Haiku is a term of his invention, used for his revision of standalone hokku, with the same idea. Tanka consist of five units with the following pattern of on: 5-7-5-7-7; the 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku, the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku. During the Kojiki and Nihonshoki periods the tanka retained a well defined form, but the history of the mutations of the tanka itself forms an important chapter in haiku history, until the modern revival of tanka began with several poets who began to publish literary magazines, gathering their friends and disciples as contributors.
Yosano Tekkan and the poets that were associated with his Myōjō magazine were one example, but that magazine was short-lived. A young high school student, Otori You, Ishikawa Takuboku contributed to Myōjō. In 1980 the New York Times published a representative work: Masaoka Shiki's poems and writing have had a more lasting influence; the magazine Hototogisu, which he founded, still publishes. In the Meiji period, Shiki claimed the situation with waka should be rectified, waka should be modernized in the same way as other things in the country, he praised the style of Man'yōshū as manly, as opposed to the style of Kokin Wakashū, the model for waka for a thousand years, which he denigrated and called feminine. He praised Minamoto no Sanetomo, the third shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate, a disciple of Fujiwara no Teika and composed waka in a style much like that in the Man'yōshū. Following Shiki's death, in the Taishō period, Mokichi Saitō and his friends began publishing a magazine, which praised the Man'yōshū.
Using their magazine they spread their influence throughout the country. Their modernization aside, in the court the old traditions still prevailed; the court continues to hold many utakai both and privately. The utakai that the Emperor holds on the first of the year is called Utakai Hajime and it is an important event for waka poets. After World War II, waka began to be considered out-of-date, but since the late 1980s it has revived under the example of contemporary poets, such as Tawara Machi. With her 1987 bestselling collection Salad Anniversary, the poet has been credited with revitalizing the tanka for modern audiences. Today there are many circles of tanka poets. Many newspapers have a weekly tanka column, there are many professional and amateur tanka poets; as a parting gesture, outgoing PM Jun'ichirō Koizumi wrote a tanka to thank his supporters. The Japanese imperial family continue to write tanka for the New Year. In ancient times, it was a custom between two writers to exchange waka instead of letters in prose.
In particular, it was common between lovers. Reflecting this custom, five of the twenty volumes of the Kokin Wakashū gathered waka for love. In the Heian period the lovers would exchange waka in the morning when lovers met at the woman's home; the exchanged waka were called Kinuginu, because it was thought the man wanted to stay with his lover and when the sun rose he had no time to put on his clothes on which he had lain instead of a mattress. Works of this period, The Pillow Book and The Tale of Genji provide us with such examples in the life of aristocrats. Murasaki Shikibu uses 795 waka in her The Tale of Genji as waka her characters made in the story; some of these are her own. Shortly and reciting waka became a part of aristocratic culture, they recited a part of appropriate waka to imply something on an occasion. Much like with tea, there were a number of rituals and events surrounding the composition and judgment of waka. There were two types of waka party that produced occasional poetry: Uta-awase.
Utakai was a party in which all participants recited them. Utakai derived from Shikai, Kanshi party and was held in occasion people gathered like seasonal party for the New Year, some celebrations for a newborn baby, a birthday, or a newly built house. Utaawase was a contest in two teams. Themes were determined and a chosen poet from each team wrote a waka for a given theme; the judge gave points to the winning team. The team which received the largest sum was the winner; the first recorded Utaawase was held in around 885. At first, Utaawase was playful and mere entertainment, but as the poetic tradition deepened and grew, it turned into a serious aesthetic contest, with more formality. Ochiai Naobumi Masaoka Shiki Yosano Akiko Ishikawa Takuboku Saitō Mokichi Itō Sachio Kitahara Hakus
Poetic diary or Nikki bungaku is a Japanese literary genre, dating back to Ki no Tsurayuki's Tosa Nikki, compiled in 935. Nikki bungaku is a genre including prominent works such as the Tosa Nikki, Kagerō Nikki, Murasaki Shikibu Nikki. While diaries began as records imitating daily logs kept by Chinese government officials and literary diaries emerged and flourished during the Heian period; the English term poetic diary was used by the Princeton University scholar/translator Earl Miner in his book, Japanese Poetic Diaries. Traditionally, composed of a series of poems held together by prose sections, the poetic diary has taken the form of a pillow book or a travel journal. Since World War II, Beat Generation writers in the United States such as Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, Philip Whalen, Joanne Kyger, as well as post-beat writers such as Andrew Schelling and Michael Rothenberg have studied and written in Western-style poetic diary form. Although scholars have found diaries dating back to the eighth century, most of those were mere records kept on daily matters of state.
At that time, Japan looked to China as a model of culture and civilization and sought to copy Chinese official government diaries. Thus, early Japanese diaries were factual, written in Chinese characters, influenced by official, male perspectives. Ki no Tsurayuki, a famed poet and author, is credited with writing the first literary diary, his Tosa Nikki, written in 935, records his journey from Tosa in Shikoku to Kyoto through the alleged perspective of a female companion. Departing from the tradition of diaries written in Chinese, Tsurayuki used vernacular Japanese characters, waka poetry, a female narrator to convey the emotional aspects of the journey; the catalyst of the nikki bungaku tradition, however, is attributed to Mother of Michitsuna and her Kagerō Nikki. In this three part diary, she details the 21-year period between her courtship with Fujiwara no Kaneie and the beginning of her son's courtship. Expressing her personal feelings and exploring her marriage and social situation, Mother of Michitsuna pioneered a new wave of courtier women's kana literature.3 Other exemplars of Heian nikki bungaku include the Izumi Shikibu Nikki attributed to Izumi Shikibu, Murasaki Shikibu’s Murasaki Shikibu Nikki, Sugawara no Takasue no Musume’s Sarashina Nikki, Sanuki no Suke’s Sanuki no Suke no Nikki.
Although there remains debate as to whether the nikki bungaku genre, with its emphasis on the diary as a literary art, continues to modern times, prominent examples of diary literature abound. The medieval period saw the rise of diaries such as Abutsu-ni’s Izayoi Nikki and travel diaries such as Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi. In the modern period, confessional diaries such as Higuchi Ichiyō's Ichiyō Nikki and Nagai Kafu's Danchōtei Nichijō have gained in importance. Nikki bungaku as a term has only been around since the early 20th century and debate continues over strict delineation. However, three major characteristics of Japanese diary literature, though exceptions abound, are "the frequent use of poems, breaking away from the daily entry as a formal device, a stylistic heightening." For example, Tsurayuki's Tosa Nikki contains fifty-seven waka. Revealing that the "events of the months and years gone by are only vague in memory, I have just written what I recall," Mother of Michitsuna reveals that nikki are not limited to a daily log of events.
On the third point, one can see a literary intent when comparing Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi with the log kept by his travel companion, Iwanami Sora. Other common observations include that diaries attempt at an "expression of the self" as opposed to a "search for the self." 5 For example, in writing her Kagero Nikki, Mother of Michitsuna claims a motive “to answer, should anyone ask, what is it like, the life of a woman married to a placed man?”4 Heian nikki in particular, according to scholar Haruo Shirane, are united in “the fact that they all depict the personal life of a historical personage.” Thematically, many diaries lay heavy emphasis on poetry. The Heian period ushered a revival of Japanese classical poetry and native vernacular writing, kana. Waka, traditional Japanese thirty-one syllable poetry, was used for purposes ranging from official proclamations and poetry contests to private matters of courtship, became crucial to success in the life of the aristocracy. Due to the importance of waka in communication, imperial waka anthologies such as the Kokinshū were compiled as poetic standards.
Nikki bungaku grew out of waka's rise in popularity. It has been speculated that the Kagerō Nikki grew out of a request to compile a family poetry collection. Literary diaries from Heian and Muromachi periods included waka, subsequent diaries were associated with poetic forms such as haikai and free verse. More than just developing from a poetic tradition, "it seems clear that poetry is conceived of as the most basic or purest literary form and that its presence alone, is enough to change a journal of one’s life into an art diary." Monogatari, or the Japanese narrative literature, nikki bungaku influenced each other. In fact, with some works having multiple names—Ise Monogatari or Zaigo Chūjō no Nikki and the Heichū Monogatari or Heichū Nikki—the line between the two genres was not always clear. In writing her Kagerō Nikki, Mother of Michitsuna starts with her motive of realism in contrast to the monogatari she has read. Despite the overt rejection of the monogatari form, one can see the influence of the genre on diary literature in terms of style and paradigm.