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The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period PRIZEWINNER 2015-2016 Japan-US Friendship Commission Prize

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Stephen D. MILLER, translations with Patrick DONNELLY
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In the Heian period, court waka--the most orthodox of poetic genres--became the vehicle by which Japanese writers brought their literacy and spiritual aspirations together in a new way. The shift they made from the practices of their cultural past, and the new mindset that was formed as a result of this shift, is the story of this study. The Wind from Vulture Peak addresses the history of the gradual incorporation of Buddhist concepts into Japanese waka poetry and the development among court poets of a belief in the production of that poetry as a Buddhist practice in itself. | 480 pages



  1. Introduction
  2. “Buddhistic” Waka and Buddhist Kanshi: Man’yōshū to Gosenshū
  3. Buddhist Waka in the Shūishū (1005–1007)
  4. Shakkyō-ka in the Goshūishū (1086)
  5. The Abbreviated Imperial Poetry Collections from the Insei Era—Kin’yōshū (1127) and Shikashū (ca. 1151)
  6. The “Shakkyō-ka” Book in the Senzaishū—The Creation of a Literary Mārga | Part One: Context | Part Two: Tendai Conceptions of the Buddhist Path
  7. The “Shakkyō-ka” Book in the Senzaishū: The Poems  

Bibliography | Index


  • Stephen D. MILLER is Assistant Professor of Japanese language and literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • Patrick DONNELLY is an Associate Editor of Poetry International, Director of the annual Advanced Seminar at The Frost Place, and has taught writing at Colby College, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and elsewhere.


From ECM book review

From Metamorphoses Spring 2019 27:1



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