By Shuichi Kato
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Additional info for A History of Japanese Literature: Volume 2 The Years of Isolation
Tenkai combined this unusual doctrine with the mystical practices of esoteric Buddhism. Quite how he did this remains obscure as none of his theoretical works survive, but, as he says in a letter: 'Speaking of Sannö Shintö, such a wonderful thing has never been heard of in Japan or anywhere else. ' After Ieyasu's death the discussions within the Bakufu as to what posthumous name to accord him were said to have been much influenced by Tenkai. The choice lay between the Shintö Myöjin ('Gracious deity') and the Buddhist Gongen ('Enlightened One') and it was Tenkai's view that as Toyotomi Hideyoshi had already become Myöjin, Ieyasu should become Gongen.
In Sötatsu's paintings they found not pines but grasses and flowers, not tigers but deer and, instead of dragons, waterfowl, bugaku court dancers and dassieallovers meeting at some water's edge. Sötatsu's line has a lyrieal elegance, his colours a calm strength, and his composition is such that even the violence of subjects like the gods of wind and rain is contained in an undisturbed and harmonious tension. This aesthetie owes little to the contemporary culture of the samurai and the chimin; it evokes and recreates the old aristocratie culture in a way only genius could achieve.
THE MASSES : TEARS AND LAUGHTER In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries there were two developments that were to have considerable effect on the world of the popular arts, the development of printing and the creation of officially approved brothel quarters. Both of these were to be of great significance throughout the Tokugawa period. By the turn of the century the Jesuits at Nagasaki were producing Christian literature in printed form, and in Kyöto printing with movable wood or copper type (said to have been brought from Korea by Hideyoshi) was making progress.