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Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary Bilingual Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231139908
ISBN-10: 023113990X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Haruo Shirane is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture at Columbia University. His many books include Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900; Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho; and The Bridge of Dreams: A Poetics of The Tale of Genji.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Bilingual edition (March 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023113990X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231139908
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Haruo Shirane was born in Japan and grew up in the United States. He had an interest in writing fiction and started as an English literature major in college, but in his junior year, after a year in London, he turned his attention to Japanese literature. His first book was on The Tale of Genji, which is noted as the world's "first novel." The Bridge of Dreams: A Poetics of the Tale of Genji looks at both the similarities to the modern European novel and at the very distinct differences, examining the Tale of Genji in a broad social, political, and literary context. His next major book was on Matsuo Basho and haiku. Here he begins with a comparative framework, looking at the North American and European reception of Japanese haiku and then goes on to show the highly unusual manner in which this poetry emerged and the cultural base on which it stands. The most recent book, Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons, continues this trajectory, but carries it into various literary, visual, and artistic genres. He is interested in particular in the major role that nature and the four seasons has in Japanese culture.

In between these books, he has written two books on Japanese classical grammar, edited a number of anthologies of Japanese literature, and edited two volumes of essays on the issues of canonization and popularization of the Japanese classics.

Haruo Shirane is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, at Columbia University. He writes widely on Japanese literature, visual arts, and cultural history. He is particularly interested in the interaction between popular and elite cultures and the issue of cultural memory. He is the recipient of Fulbright, Japan Foundation, SSRC, NEH grants, and has been awarded the Kadokawa Genyoshi Prize, Ishida Hakyō Prize, and the Ueno Satsuki Memorial Prize on Japanese Culture.


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Format: Hardcover
This is the companion volume to the same author's Classical Japanese: A Grammar (2005). It includes a useful selection of excerpts from texts from the Nara to Meiji periods (eighth to nineteenth centuries), each accompanied by vocabulary notes, grammar notes, and a complete grammatical annotation. The texts include poetry (waka and haikai) and prose (zuihitsu, nikki, setsuwa, various types of monogatari, etc.), thus exposing students to a wide range of textual styles and providing an excellent introduction to the different forms of classical Japanese. The specific vocabulary items given in the notes for each text are complemented by those included in the classical Japanese-English Essential Dictionary at the back of the book. The Essential Dictionary, which also highlights the six hundred most frequently used words in classical Japanese, is a great resource for students, particularly beginners who might find a classical Japanese-modern Japanese dictionary difficult to use. The clear layout, thoughtful text selection, and comprehensive vocabulary and grammar notes make this an excellent textbook, one which should be of immense value not only to instructors and students of classical Japanese, but also to any reader looking to teach themselves the language.
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Format: Hardcover
This text is meant to go with Classical Japanese: A Grammar, and it does a great job of giving some great readings in Classical Japanese.
It represents each reading in the following way:
1. It gives the whole text in full with no grammar or vocabulary help. (It does give furigana)
2. Then it gives a grammar and vocabulary breakdown of individual sections of the text.
This is a very good and detailed way of looking at the passages. The grammar sections do use Japanese terminology, but by the time you use this text you should know the terms from the grammar.

The dictionary is not huge, but it is still a great start to picking up some Classical Japanese vocabulary. It has all the words in the grammar and reader, as well as some additional words.
Overall I highly recommend this text with the other two companion volumes it goes with, the grammar and answer key.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wouldn't recommend any other book for classical Japanese. Classical Japanese pronounces words differently than modern Japanese kanji, so it is essential to have good solid knowledge of modern Japanese kanji before attempting to do this book. I would recommend the book to people who have passed at least JLPT 3.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a good introduction to some classical japanese texts with a small dictionary on the side. I still would like to have some more grammatical explanations though, a version in modern japanese would be nice too.
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