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Promotion of a book of Ihara Saikaku "The love cases of five women. Kōshoku gonin onna 好色五人女”

Date: 03.11.2016
Place: Jagiellonian Library, Kraków Oleandry Street 3, conference room at 5.00 p.m.
Organiser: Jagiellonian Library and Jagiellonian University Press
Promotion of a book of Ihara Saikaku "The love cases of five women. Kōshoku gonin onna 好色五人女”

Jagiellonian Library and Jagiellonian University Press invite to the promotion meeting about a book of Ihara Saikaku "Przypadki miłosne pięciu kobiet. Kōshoku gonin onna 好色五人女" ("The love cases of five women. Kōshoku gonin onna 好色五人女").


Katarzyna Sonnenberg – scientific editing  with introduction.

Each of the women in Kōshoku Gonin onna appears as unusual, incomparable beauty. Osen “surpassed the beauty of all the surrounding maidens", standing out with especially snow-ears and sensitivity of feet, which were the determinants of the ideal of feminine beauty in Saikaku times, which consisted of a round, rosy face, slightly aquiline nose, small, shaped, snow-white ears and filigree sole. Within a radius of several kilometers there was no one who could match the beauty and elegance of Osan, that was "a whole lot more beautiful than all the women admired by the young men of the day". The picture of Oshichi also aroused admiration, which was reflected in the question: "How is it possible that such a beauty walks on this earth?". Oman meanwhile, was the subject of unprecedented adoration and praise of men.


Saikaku heroines surpass the beauty of not only the modern women, but also the most significant characters known from history. Onatsu resembles the most beautiful of the courtesans in the capital: "They said to all that the very young Onatsu is not at all inferior to the beauty of the famous courtesan who lived once in Shimabara, and whose symbol was a butterfly with outspread wings."


Kōshoku Gonin onna of Ihara Saikaku is a text which belongs to the popular mainstream in the Edo period - gesaku Bungaku ("literature for the entertainment") and belongs today to the canon of Japanese literature. It is characterized by elliptical, yet allusive way of describing and richness of presented details from the life of the townspeople in seventeenth-century Japan. Scientific editing of this text, by Katarzyna Sonnenberg,PhD is based on the theoretical achievements of Japanese literary studies, but also takes into account the cultural background and the construction of the presented world and the characteristics of the narration. Literary-critical introduction fits Kōshoku Gonin onna in the wider context of the output of Ihara Saikaku, pointing to its characteristics: references to actual events, references to literature and proverbs, multi-level humour and digressive narration. Careful, accurate translation of the seventeenth-century text into Polish is equipped with the footnotes explaining the key issues affecting society, geography and language of Saikaku times. Owing to essential cognitive qualities this publication is an important contribution to the development of Japanese literature expertise in Poland, especially in the field of knowledge of Japanese literature of the Edo period, extremely important in the context of the subsequent development of narrative forms in Japan.


From review of prof. dr. hab. Romuald Huszcza

Source: Jagiellonian University Press,produkt,prodid,2806,strona,Przypadki_milosne_pieciu_kobiet,katid,262.html [dostęp: 25.10.2016]