Ihara Saikaku

17th century Japanese poet

Ihara Saikaku

Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693) was a Japanese poet. At age twenty, Saikaku was a master of haikai. When his wife passed away, Saikaku became a lay monk and began traveling around Japan. His popularity grew. He passed away in 1693 at the age of fifty-one.

cover image of the book The Life Of An Amorous Woman

The Life Of An Amorous Woman

One of the great fiction writers of Japan, Ihara Saikaku (1623-93) wrote of the lowest class in the Tokugawa world––the townsmen who were rising in wealth and power but not in official status. The title story in this collection of 12 works, told by an aging beauty whose highly erotic nature is her constant undoing, ranges over all of 17th-century Japanese life. The narrator is successively wife, court lady, courtesan, priest’s concubine, mistress of a feudal lord and streetwalker. Ivan Morris, chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures of Columbia University has done a brilliant translation, an introduction, extensive notes, bibliography and two essays on social customs of the period. Illustrated.

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