Five Women Who Loved Love: Amorous Tales from 17th-Century Japan
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Five Women Who Loved Love: Amorous Tales from 17th-Century Japan

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  204 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"Five charming novellas…which have astonishing freshness, color, and warmth."—The New Yorker

First published in 1686, this collection of five novellas was an immediate bestseller in the bawdy world that was Genroku Japan, and the book's popularity has increased with age, making it today a literary classic like Boccaccio's Decameron, or the works of Rabe...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 15th 1989 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 1686)
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umberto
I found reading this five-book paperback famous for the author's witticisms, ways of looking at things in this 'Floating World', sense of humor, etc. stunningly enjoyable and this translation by Wm. Theodore de Bary classic of its genre. Accordingly, the five books (chapters) are entitled as follows:
1. The Story of Seijuro in Himeji
2. The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love
3. What the Seasons Brought the Almanac Maker
4. The Greengrocer's Daughter with a Bundle of Love
5. Gengobei, the Mountain of Love

Acc...more
Soukyan Blackwood
First two stories left little to no impression. But the three last ones are the ones who deserved the stars. And beside the simple and yet fun short little stories, there's lots of interesting facts about those-days Japan, culture, religion, traditions.
Libby
What a strange little book this one was. Perhaps the transalation from Japanese to English was tricky...but it was hard to follow any kind of plot in these stories. Once I gave up on making any sense of them I enjoyed their bizzare quirkyness.
Daniel Burton-Rose
It amuses me that deBary, the post-War apostle of Confucian Studies in the West, began his career translating the quintessential Genroku era pleasure quarters writer.
Tad Crawford
Published in 1686 in feudal Japan, these five stories form a cautionary tale about the fate of those who cross societal boundaries. What is striking about the stories is that the women are from the newly coalescing middle class. This class itself has an outlaw spirit when contrasted to the feudal mentality in which birth and rank dictate everything. Moreover, the women in these stories allow themselves to be carried by passion beyond what the narrow strictures of their culture permits. The force...more
Loren Dushku
Testo del 1686 formato da cinque storie d'amore (tra adulterio, omosessualità, infedeltà e felicità) che hanno in un certo modo influenzato la popolazione giapponese che ne ha poi tratto ballate e canzoni. Esso fa parte di un nuovo genere letterario che si venne a formare durante la così detta "Pax Tokugawa" e a cui si interessò anche la classe dei mercanti e dei samurai "disoccupati". Fulcro di queste storie sono i quartieri di piacere e le cortigiane, che essendo un rifugio per uomini in cerca...more
Karschtl
I'm not really sure what to think of this book. It was definitely interesting to read about the Japanese culture and I wonder how much has changed, e.g. if the married women still have black teeth.

The love stories/tragedies could have taken place anywhere on this world and would have had the same outcome - at least in the 17th century.

The language was of course old-fashioned, but still understandable. But it didn't enhance the reading pleasure; nevertheless it did not take me very long to finish...more
Amber Graham
I read this several years ago and don't remember a lot of details. More to come when I re-read it.
Erika Schoeps
1.5 stars.
I couldn't finish this book, but I was almost halfway through. I have never seen writing so disorganized in myself. The individual sentences are written just fine, but the separate sentences don't connect. I couldn't make any sense of the stories, but they were very original. In one story the protagonist dies and then we get a different character as the protagonist. There were original ideas and interesting settups, but the execution was horrible.
Meghan Fidler
This book was interesting while I was reading it, but honestly I remember so little from it now--aside from the fact that I was occasionally annoyed while reading it--that maybe I should read it again?
As an Anthropologist, I find this phenomenon amusing. Was the material too unfamiliar for me to identify with? Or was it the damn droll prose? Subject matter (women suffering damnation for sex never really peaks my interest)? No idea.
Jesse
I really liked this and it was nice to get back to some old Japanese cultrue; I haven't read anything about ancient Japan since "Shogun".

The stories are fast paced and easy to read, loads of insight into the culture and society of the day, sometimes humorous and often bizzare but always entertaining and enlightening.

The introduction was really helpful and I think that I'm going to add this author to my list of things to find.
Zen Cho
Punchy and amusing; also interesting for stern format of straying lovers who die or enter nunneries/monasteries. But they are sympathetic stories, even though the characters who stray from the (occasionally obscure) dictates of society must by ruthless moral logic of narrative's world be punished. There were more English translations of Saikaku's stories in the bookshop where I picked these up; wish I'd got more of them.
Leslie
I am not ashamed to admit that I read this solely for the promise of literary pr0n, and while it is salty by 17th-century standards, it is kid's stuff compared to Biblical standards. It wasn't nearly as erotic as it could have been based on everything I know about Japanese erotica, and trust me, I am *expert level.* (Should not advertise that, by the way.)
Saulius
Labai gera ir vertinga literatūrine prasme knygelė. Parašytos viduramžių Japonijoje penkios istorijos apie įsimylėjėlius ir ganėtinai gašlios. Labai smarkiai rekomenduoju bendram išsilavinimui. Knyga „nestora“, galima per vakarą perskaityti.

Be to, iš šitos knygos sužinojau, kas per augalas yra pelėvirkštis sukutis.
Julie Wang
Saikaku is probably one of my favorite authors. Edo period literature are generally pretty fun read in general, but his work really stood out for me, especially these stories. They were great dark comedies, but not lacking the pathos for these characters
Sae-chan
To love...is not supposed to be a difficult thing. So why it is? There are too many rules and regulations, schemes and grand plans, gossips and idle talks, profit and loss calculation. Love is such a wonderful thing when it is set free.
Courtney
1) The Story of Seijuro in Himeji
2) The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love
3) What the Seasons Brought the Almanac Maker
4) The Greengrocer's Daughter with a Bundle of Love
5) Gengobei, the Mountain of Love
Diane
Interesting social history of Japan in 1686. The writing style is simple. The subject explores the Japanese feudal system, crime and punishment lay in the comparative rank of the doer and the victim.
Joma
Still on it.

I find it somewhat amusing how love really drives these people crazy during their age... but then again, that was then; times are different now.

I plan to finish it.
Faith Justice
A classic of its time - five stories from medieval Japan translated into English. As much fun for it's footnotes explaining cultural references as for the actual stories.
Natasia Angel
A literary reading for fun only. To be honest, I don't really get the idea of the stories, but at the very least I'm training my imagination and get a history lesson in addition.
misty
Apr 26, 2009 misty added it
A nice, but different collection of Japanese stories.
Paula
Paula marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2014
Sarah Fivel
Sarah Fivel marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Koushik
Koushik marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2014
Gheeta
Gheeta marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2014
Cindy Jerrell
Cindy Jerrell marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2014
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Ihara Saikaku (井原 西鶴) was a Japanese poet and creator of the "floating world" genre of Japanese prose (ukiyo-zōshi).

Born the son of the wealthy merchant Hirayama Tōgo (平山藤五) in Osaka, he first studied haikai poetry under Matsunaga Teitoku, and later studied under Nishiyama Sōin of the Danrin School of poetry, which emphasized comic linked verse. Scholars have described numerous extraordinary feats...more
More about Saikaku Ihara...
Life of an Amorous Woman and Other Writings The Life of an Amorous Man The Great Mirror of Male Love This Scheming World Comrade Loves of the Samurai

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