I. Brief introduction of Saikaku’s works & Chikamatsu Monzaemon
Ihara Saikaku was one of most famous writers and haikai poets in Edo Period. Ihara Saikaku is a haiku master in writing short haiku poems. His poems mainly revealed the natural sceneries in early stage about life of businessmen and the newly emerging commercial capital development (Rubinger, R. 1990). Since the death of his wife in 1675, he felt deeply upset and began to write erotic novels to write about winding love stories portraying some figures who can challenge the constraints of traditional federal thoughts or differences in family status to pursue love, or businessmen’s romantic affairs or some tragedies made under the stress and persecution of the federal hierarchy and traditional morality view. Chikamatsu Monzaemon is one of the most famous kabuki dramatists in the Edo Period. He had enjoyed the similar popularity with Ihara Saikaku and Matsuo Bash in the Japanese literature history. Chikamatsu Monzaemon was yearning for the time of samurai and he has good description of grand scenery of the samurai spirit (Rubinger, R. 1990). He also wrote other works to reveal the reality and observation of the decay and dirt in the businessmen’s society mainly focusing erotic incidents between people and showing his deep sympathy to the people in lust so as to illustrate the tragedies of their love being swallowed by the dirty and money-talks society.
II. Differences on the subject of love 爱情主题的不同
Ihara has strongly attacked the traditional federal forces to reveal the spirit of businessmen and also highly appraise the pure love in the world. However, his works relating to love also reveal the thoughts of transience and lust and decadent mood in erotism. His works on some level lack the correct or normal understanding of the relationship between people and principles in the society. From this perspective, Saikaku’s observations towards the subject of love tend to focus more on revealing the tragedies of love under the federal constraints (De Bary, T., & Embree, T. 1989). Saikaku’s descriptions and observations tend to be more negative and sorrowful for he has lost his wife and became upset about it. The Love Suicides at Sonezaki by Chikamatsu Monzaemon has created a new area to reveal the reality and this work has described a tragedy of young people’s pursuit of pure love being persecuted by power and the federal society. This work is more positive to show the writer’s deep sympathy on the people he wrote and he had a clear understanding and observation of the people at that time (Richie, D. 2003). Meanwhile, Chikamatsu Monzaemon also made some breakthroughs for descriptions of their society and put forward more realistic and positive remarks about their their society instead of sole description of love stories between people or the prevailing decaying lust in the society.
III. Similarities on the subject of love
Just like Ihara Saikaku, Chikamatsu Monzaemon was staying at the same period and they all have great and substantial observation and study of the subject of love in the Edo Period. The Edo Period is at a transformation period which emerged the thoughts of capitalism and a new class of businessmen has produced. The entire society had experienced drastic changes which made both these authors to sense people’ attitudes towards love have gradually changed. More people were longing for the pursuit their own pure love; however, under the constraints of the federal ruling, some of them were doomed to fail in their pursuit of love (Richie, D. 2003). Meanwhile, the whole society was full of lust and erotism and the original value had been gradually changed or broken and the society morality had also been trampled at that time. Both two writers have revealed this point in their works.