In the literary and artistic milieu of early modern Japan the Chinese and Japanese arts flourished side by side. Kodojin, the Old Taoist (1865-1944), was the last of these great poet-painters in Japan. Under the support of various patrons, he composed a number of Taoist-influenced Chinese and Japanese poems and did lively and delightful ink paintings, continuing the tradition of the poet-sage who devotes himself to study of the ancients, lives quietly and modestly, and creates art primarily for himself and his friends. Portraying this last representative of a tradition of gentle and refined artistry in the midst of a society that valued ecomic growth and national achievement above all, this beautifully illustrated book brings together 150 of Kodojin's Chinese poems (introduced and translated by Jonathan Chaves), more than 100 of his haiku and tanka (introduced and translated by Stephen Addiss), and many examples of his calligraphy and ink paintings. Addiss's in-depth introduction details the importance of the poet-painter tradition, outlines the life of Kodojin, and offers a critical appraisal of his work, while J.Thomas Rimer's essay puts the literary work of the Old Taoist in context.
Stephen Addiss is Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Art at the University of Richmond. His many books include The Art of Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600-1925 and How to Look at Japanese Art.Jonathan Chaves is professor and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University. He is the editor and translator of many works, including The Columbia Book of Later Chinese Poetry, and is the coauthor, with J. Thomas Rimer, of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing (Columbia 1998).J. Thomas Rimer is chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. His many works include Modern Japanese Fiction and Its Traditions: An Introduction, and he is the coauthor, with Jonathan Chaves, of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing (Columbia 1998).