Ueda Akinari Criticism - Essay

James T. Araki (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Araki, James T. “A Critical Approach to the Ugetsu monogatari.Monumenta Nipponica 22, nos. 1-2 (1967): 49-64.

[In the following essay, Araki offers an overview of criticism of Akinari's tales and an analysis of the structural techniques the author employed in Tales of Moonlight and Rain.]


Ueda Akinari aspired to distinction as a poet and classical scholar. His reputation in Japanese literary history today, however, rests almost exclusively on his genius as a writer of short stories—particularly of the Ugetsu monogatari (Tales of the Misty Moon), a collection of nine short...

(The entire section is 8637 words.)

Leon M. Zolbrod (essay date spring 1970)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Zolbrod, Leon M. “A Comparative Approach to Tales of Moonlight and Rain.Humanities Association Bulletin 21, no. 2 (spring 1970): 48-56.

[In the following essay, Zolbrod explains the complex relationship between Tales of Moonlight and Rain and the Chinese and Japanese sources of the collection.]

Tales of Moonlight and Rain (Ugetsu monogatari) is a collection of nine Japanese stories of the supernatural. Although the preface dates from 1768, the book was not published until 1776 in Kyoto and Osaka, and the author, Ueda Akinari (1734-1809), probably completed it shortly before this time. Japanese scholars classify Moonlight and...

(The entire section is 4673 words.)

Blake Morgan Young (essay date 1972)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Young, Blake Morgan. “Introduction to ‘Hankai’: A Tale from the Harusame Monogatari by Ueda Akinari (1734-1809).” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 32 (1972): 150-68.

[In the following essay, Young discusses Akinari as a writer who remained outside contemporary literary circles, thus minimizing the influence of other writers on his work.]

Ueda Akinari (sometimes) has been called a good amateur.1 He achieved, as a novelist, the distinction to which he had aspired as a waka poet and classical scholar, and he is worthy of note as a writer of haikai and a devotee of the tea ceremony as well. Possessing a choleric and...

(The entire section is 6533 words.)

Leon M. Zolbrod (essay date 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Zolbrod, Leon M. Introduction to Ugetsu Monogatari: Tales of Moonlight and Rain: A Complete English Version of the Eighteenth-Century Japanese Collection of Tales of the Supernatural by Ueda Akinari 1734-1809, translated and edited by Leon M. Zolbrod, pp. 19-94. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974.

[In the following excerpt, Zolbrod provides an overview of Akinari's Tales of Moonlight and Rain, discussing the work's style, influences, and historical background.]


Much of the fascination with travel and the lyric beauty of place names in the tales comes from Akinari's sense of history and the passage of...

(The entire section is 18147 words.)

Donald Keene (essay date 1976)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Keene, Donald. “Fiction: Ueda Akinari (1734-1809).” In World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era, 1600-1867, pp. 371-95. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976.

[In the following excerpt, Keene praises Akinari's talent as a fiction writer and maintains that his stories are still widely read today, unlike the works of most of his contemporaries.]

During the hundred years after Saikaku's death only one writer of fiction appeared whose works are still widely read today, Ueda Akinari. He is a difficult writer to classify because his literary production extends into many genres and styles. For most people he is known only as the author of...

(The entire section is 9178 words.)

Blake Morgan Young (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Young, Blake Morgan. “The Final Years.” In Ueda Akinari, pp. 115-40. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1982.

[In the following excerpt, Young provides an overview of the composition and contents of Tales of the Spring Rain, while also discussing Akinari's literary reputation during and after his life.]

During the last years of his life—perhaps as much as the last decade—Akinari was working sporadically on his second major work of fiction, Harusame monogatari (Tales of the Spring Rain). He probably never finished it to his own satisfaction. It was read as a manuscript by a small number of admirers, but it was not...

(The entire section is 6528 words.)

Dennis Washburn (essay date spring 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Washburn, Dennis. “Ghostwriters and Literary Haunts: Subordinating Ethics to Art in Ugetsu Monogatari.Monumenta Nipponica 45, no. 1 (spring 1990): 39-74.

[In the following essay, Washburn contends that in Tales of Moonlight and Rain Akinari achieves a delicate balance between artistic considerations and elements of the supernatural.]

The collection of tales Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Rain and Moon), written by Ueda Akinari, 1734-1809, has been an acknowledged classic of Japanese literature almost from the time of its publication in 1776. The work has been praised for the beauty of its prose style, the careful way in which...

(The entire section is 17468 words.)

Susanna Fessler (essay date spring 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fessler, Susanna. “The Nature of the Kami: Ueda Akinari and Tandai Shoshin Roku.Monumenta Nipponica 51, no. 1 (spring 1996): 1-15.

[In the following excerpt, Fessler explains Akinari's philosophy on the nature of deities.]

Ueda Akinari, renowned for his fiction writing, was also a serious scholar of kokugaku, or National Learning. Of particular concern for him was the nature of the kami—their ethics (if any) and how those ethics reflected the cognitive nature of the beings themselves. In an age when the nature of the kami was being discussed by a number of kokugaku scholars, including the great Motoori Norinaga, 1730-1801, Akinari...

(The entire section is 3757 words.)

Frederick S. Frank (essay date 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Frank, Frederick S. “Ueda Akinari.” In Gothic Writers: A Critical and Bibliographical Guide, edited by Douglass H. Thomson, Jack G. Voller, and Frederick S. Frank, pp. 12-19. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

[In the following excerpt, Frank discusses Akinari's work as part of the Western Gothic tradition.]

The writings of the eighteenth-century Japanese Gothicist Ueda Akinari confirm the presence of the Gothic spirit in oriental literature. All of the traditional features of the genre are firmly embedded in Akinari's tales of terror, with a special place given to the psychological monstrosities of the dream life and the intrusion of the malicious...

(The entire section is 3082 words.)