Saibara : a study and linguistic analysis of the Heian period fūzoku song collection

Scanlon-Canegata, James William
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
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Saibara is one of several fuzoku 'folk' collections preserved as part of the Heian period court music repertoire. The collection preserves 61 songs in its two earliest extant manuscripts, Nabeshimake-bon and Tenji-bon (12 c.). As a fuzoku collection, Saibara is frequently attributed to regionality and peripheral provinces outside the capital, especially Azuma (eastern provinces). The geographic distribution of the songs reconstructed from regions and place names mentioned throughout the collection are huddled in and around the capital Heiankyō , with the largest number of songs referring to locations in the Kinai and Tōkaidō and Tōsandō regions to the northeast. Speculation based on such historical evidence is both quantitatively and qualitatively limited. In a departure from traditional studies on the collection, using linguistic analysis, this study looks at Saibara in order to shed light on the origins and historical context of the songs--through the language recorded in the text. The primary goal of this study is to give a descriptive analysis of the language of the Saibara songs. There are several imperatives that drive the research undertaken here. To begin, Saibara is a drastically understudied text in Western literary and linguistic scholarship. This is despite the collection's potential merits as an early heterogeneous collection of Heian period literature with ties to texts and historical records from as early as the ninth century. The mysterious provenance of the songs has tantalized early and modern Japanese scholars, but conjecture has yet to give way to substantial theories regarding their origins and historical context. There has been something of a renaissance in serious philological work on Saibara recently, with new studies coming out of Japan that engage the collection as a pre-modern literary work, as opposed to collection of music lyrics (gagaku) (e.g. Fujiwara 2011, Motozuka Wataru 2012). This thesis systematically looks at the writing and language of the text and, based on comparative textual evidence, asserts that the songs recorded in Saibara likely predate the oldest extant manuscripts by at least a century--and further that there is strong evidence for an established transcription system for recording these and other songs from at least the mid-late Nara period. This study's analysis is centralized around the orthography, phonology, and morphology of the text in order to illuminate the language that underlies it. In doing this, a rough dating of the (language of the) text, a better understanding of its origins, as well as the transitional linguistic period of the mid-tenth and eleventh centuries can establish a basis for setting the work within a historical context on its own merits. Thus, this thesis can be divided into two sections: the first section gives a description of the history of the collection, including perspectives on the historical context and provenance of the songs (sections 1.1-1.3, chapter 3, 5, and 7). In this part I will also be looking at extant manuscripts and recensions, as well as giving an overview of previous scholarship. Chapter six is a comparative study of Saibara and the Man'yōshū, as well as intertextuality between the Kokinshū and Nihon shoki. Chapter eight looks at distinct features of the songs, specifically hayashi kotoba. The second section is a graphemic study of the writing and description of phonology and grammar of the text. In large part, this analysis is done vis-à-vis Old Japanese and Middle Japanese, which I have used as an anchor for my analysis. This study uses primarily the four oldest extant manuscripts, Nabeshimake-bon, Tenjibon, Jinchi yōroku and Sango yōroku, with special attention to those written in man'yōgana (Nabeshimake-bon, Tenji-bon). Several other manuscripts and early studies are also used as supplementary texts and contrast is provided when relevant. When available, original manuscript facsimiles were used and typescript copies were consulted.
M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
court music, Azuma, Nabeshimake-bon, Tenji-bon
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Theses for the degree of Master of Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). East Asian Languages and Literatures (Japanese).
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