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Asien-Orient-Institut UFSP Asien und Europa (2006–2017)

Two Haiku or One? A Close semiotic Analysis of Two Poems about Silence by Bashō

Prof. Masako Hiraga (Rikkyo University)

Guest Lecture, October 15, 2014, 14:00–15:45


Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies - Japanese Studies and URPP Asia and Europe


Room KOL F-103, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zurich


The guest lecture looks at the semiotic structure of the following two texts about silence, which are said to be the most famous works composed by the haiku master, Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694):

Furuike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto
Time-worn pond – ah! / a frog jumps in / water’s sound

Shizukasa ya / iwa ni shimiiru / semi no koe
Stillness – ah! / seeps into rocks / cicada’s voice

After giving a brief textual explanation, Prof. Hiraga will present a detailed linguistic and semiotic analysis of the rhetorical structure of the texts to illustrate (i) how the global metaphor of “SILENCE IS SOUND” connects the two texts, and (ii) how this metaphor navigates semiotic interpretations in the revising process, grammatical structure, and phonology across the texts. The analysis is aimed to illustrate that this type of semiotic approach could provide a new interpretation and explication of the interrelated haiku in question.

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