Cyberspace: the Space of “Orai”?

Cyberspace: the Space of “Orai”?
--- Finding a Possibility out of the Cyberspace in the Space of "Orai"---
Masanao KATSUMATA (Nagoya City University)

Whenever I think of cyberspace today, I think of how easy it is to communicate by e-mail with anyone. And the Internet of today has developed into a multimedia website that now forms an incredibly vast window on the world. Truly, the Internet has outgrown our wildest expectations. From e-mail to website. Is it a strange development? I think this is not a strange development. Because there was a similar development in Japan: the development of “Orai-mono”. Today I would like to talk about “Orai” and “Orai-mono”. And about the art of the poet who traveled on “Orai”. His name is Matsuo Basho. And I would like to try to find a possibility of new way of identity in the Cyberspace.
The meaning of “Orai” is "go and come", "road" and “correspondence”. And it also means “Oraimono”. The literal translation of “Oraimono” is the object of “Orai”. “Oraimono” is the classical textbook for letter writing.Later all sorts of textbook came to be classified in this category. Why the textbook in Japan was called “Oraimono”? Because at first it was a collection of models of letters. It has first a style of correspondence. And it was written in the epistolary style. Japanese epistolary style is called “Sorobun”. Why “Oraimono” was written in “Sorobun”. Since it was the only common Japanese before the modern age.
1.2 The development of "Teikin Orai"
During the Kamukura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1333-1568) period many leter-wrinting books were produced. Teikin Orai (before 1350? Household-Precept Letter Writer), was one of the best-known examples of the "Oraimono" genre.
The "Teikin Orai" had made the following development. (1) At first it was a calligraphy text. (2) By writing phonetic symbols (kana) alongside Chinese characters to indicate the pronunciation, it was used as a reader. (3) By annotation its text was linked to other texts. It became a kind of commentary book. (4) The notes were illustrated. It became a book with a lot of illustrations.
1.3The Development of "Oraimono"
In the Edo period (1600-1868), use of the word "Orai" was extended to beginning textbooks in various fields, as in "Shobai Orai" (A Guide to Commerce) and "Hyakusho Orai" (A Guide for Farmers). All textbook used at "Terakoya" (village schools) were called "Oraimono". Altogether, over two thousand kinds of "Oraimono" were produced. Some were still being published at the beginning of Meiji period (1868-1912) but were soon replaced by Western-style textbook.
1.4 "Oraimono" as information booklets
"Oraimono" was mainly used as a textbook in a private elementary school. But it was also sold to the public. For example, there was "Nagoya Orai". The cover is Nagoya Castle. It is still the symbol of Nagoya City. It wrote about Nagoya Castle, the temples around the Castle, famous places of beauty and historic interest and special product in Nagoya City. The "Nagoya Orai" is an information booklet of the town of Nagoya.
"Oraimono" was an educational information booklet of not only children but also adult people. It included information of letter writing, morality, history, geography and industries. And it often included a lot of illustrations.
"Orai" (the correspondence) created "Oraimono" (a collection of model sentences for letter-writing). "Oraimono" developed form the textbook of letter-writing to the book of much information. Pupils did calligraphy of texts and read texts aloud. Notes came to have a lot of illustrations. As a result, "Oraimono" could have multimedia contents.
I think the development of “Oraimono” is very similar to the development of the Internet. And it is the normal development of communication.
Every communication begins with mutual communication. In its development, monolog or monological text became dominant But under the rule of monologue, there are dialogical voices and movement and images.
“Oraimono” linked the words and phrases to another words and phrases. It interpreted the text and linked the text to other texts. It connected the words and phrases or texts with movements, voices and images. So it set the dialogue free from the rule of monolog, as intertecuality, as multimedia. The key method of “Oraimono” is “linking” or “connecting. Internet will also bring back dialogue as hypertext.Internet will break the rule of the monological text by having contents of multimedia.
2. Matsuo Basho
Our identity used to be a monological identity. It was supported by the great story. After the fall of the great story we are searching for a new way of the identity. As an example of the way we find a poet, who traveled in space of "Orai". He was Matsuo Basho, who was a poet of a Haiku. Speaking precisely, he was a poet of "Haikai". "Haikai" was a linked series of Japanese poems composed by two or more people. "Haiku" was originally "Hokku", that is, the "starting verse" of "Haikai"
2.2 The Haikai Network
Basho was an itinerant poet who traveled the "Orai", that is, the highways and byways of Japan. By the way, why Basho could travel all over Japan? Because there was the wide network of Haikai all over Japan in Edo period. He visited a Haikai fans in the country. There he gathered several Haikai fans. They made linked verses one after another. Some one makes verse in 5-7-5 syllables. and another linked verse to it in 7-7 syllables. and the other linked verse in 7-5-7 syllables, and so on. New verse is linked to previous verses and overlaps them and slips off. Whenever new verse is linked, the poetic world of the Haikai changes. That was Haikai. Haikai was an art of collaboration. Basho was not only a poet but also a coordinator. Basho and his followers made the 7 great collections of Haikai. They made the first of the collection, “the Day of Winter” here in Nagoya.
That way of making Haikai was also the way of his trip. He visited places that are described in classical Japanese verse and literature. By linking the present reality to the world of classical literature, he created a new world of poetry.
For example,
"The summer grasses--
Of brave soldiers' dreams
The aftermath".
The "soldier" means "samurai" soldier. The glory and the fall of samurai Fujiwaras were one theme in Japanese literature. This poetry links the past world of the literature and present summer grasses. He mixed the world of literature and the real world. His new poetic world comes out of this mixed reality. In traveling he adds a new aspect to the real world. By linking the present to the past, he creates the future. So he travels in space and time
The space of "Orai" is the space of mutual communication. Basho created the new poetic world out of the “Orai” He escaped from the rule of a monolog and created the interactive subjectivity. We find the new way of identity in his work and life. The Cyberspace is the space of mutual communication, too. By linking texts and media, we create a new world. Escaping from the rule of the monolog, we can find the new way of identity in the Cyberspace.
by takumi429 | 2006-01-13 13:20 | メディア論 | Comments(0)
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