Year of Graduation
Famous Places (Meisho) in Japanese Diary Literature: the Study of “Sarashina Nikki” (11 c.) and “Izayoi Nikki” (13 c.)
The present thesis paper examines a complex question concerning the cultural notion of meisho (a name of often-visited place) that was widely spread in classical and medieval Japanese literature. Since the space category has always had a great importance in Japanese culture, the study of meisho concept as a system of "famous places" has its academic significance. In this study the special emphasize is put on the analysis of the system formation as well as on the process of gradual transition from the profane to the cultural perception of space category in Japan. During the research three main purposes of “famous places” are going to be defined. Firstly, meisho are considered to be a direct addressing to the exact geographical places as they served like the names of the local deities. Secondly, most of the meisho embody allusions to the preceding literary masterpieces of the classical age and the places images deeply rooted in the common consciousness of Japanese people. Finally, the homonymous Japanese language allows to convey concealed emotional statement by the means of the geographical names. To confirm the hypothesis about the three most important aspects of the meisho used in Japanese literature the examples from two diaries, ‘Sarashina nikki’ and ‘Izayoi nikki’, are provided. Regarded as models of travel diaries, these two works take their significant place in the context of formation and development of the "famous places" matrix related to the overall Japanese culture.