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Text of "Songs to Make the Dust Dance" online

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  • Ellen Badgley
    The entire text of Songs to Make the Dust Dance: The Ryojin hisho of Twelfth-Century Japan by Yung-hee Kim is available online at
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2007
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      The entire text of "Songs to Make the Dust Dance: The Ryojin hisho of
      Twelfth-Century Japan" by Yung-hee Kim is available online at
      http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft2f59n7x0&brand=eschol. (At
      least I hope it's viewable by others on this list: I'm on my work
      computer and we have various subscriptions.)

      The "Ryojin hisho" is attributed to Emperor Go-Shirakawa in the
      1100's: it is a collection of imayo, the "pop songs" of the Heian and
      early Kamakura court (as distinct from saibara and roei, which were
      older and more formalized, in the case of roei being translations from
      Chinese poems). This book contains the original text and translations
      of each one of these songs, along with substantial background about
      their performance.

      Interestingly, women were some of the main performers of imayo: the
      asobi and kugutsu were popular entertainers and figured prominently in
      song and poetry of the day. Although they occasionally slept with
      their clients, they were not defined by this aspect of their
      profession (similar to geishas post-period). The later shirabyoshi
      added dance to their repertoires but were similar to the asobi and
      kugutsu in their singing of imayo.

      - Abe no Akirakeiko
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