Kōji Kawamoto’s theory of Japanese poetical metre (written for sweetheart)

Dear sweetheart,

This is a summary of Kōji Kawamoto’s theory of Japanese poetic metre. I am writing it from memory (quite distant memory, in fact), so it probably contain errors or half-remembered things. As such, it’s not really a reliable source for your thesis. But you’ve seen just how hard is The Poetics of Japanese Verse to get a hold of these days; it’s not on the usual online sources, it was nowhere in the libraries of Dublin or Bochum, & on bookstores it has reached the triple digits, in the manner of academic books under late-stage capitalism. By now you can finally access a copy, like some fabled treasure, at the same place I originally found it: in the charming little library of the Japan Foundation, São Paulo chapter. But I fear that, at this point, it might be too late. Kawamoto is dense reading; I had to make two or three separate attempts, each one exhaustingly intensive, until I felt like I had digested the gist of it. And of course at this point you can’t afford to muck around with the tarpits of one-more-source. That’s why I’m writing this summary, however lacking my memory is. You can’t of course cite something like this; but maybe you can use it to guide a brief look through Kawamoto’s book, pick out some choice quotations, and use this theory in an academically responsible way.

(I will drag a bit to get to the main point—well, you know me. Skim near the bottom for the meat of the thing, i.e. how to find rhythms in Japanese poetry.)

Continue reading “Kōji Kawamoto’s theory of Japanese poetical metre (written for sweetheart)”