In Japan between 1770 and 1790, the craze for witty, comic verse forms such as kyōka and senryū, infected the ancient and noble tradition of poetry written in Chinese to produce kyōshi, “wild Chinese poetry.” Written in both Edo and Kyoto by poets of the lower samurai and educated townsmen classes, kyōshi ranged from silly puns and parodies of long-petrified Chinese verse forms to serious poems that used new subjects, language, and perceptions to revive the old genre, kanshi. Of the major poets, Ōta Nampo (Shokusanjin) of Edo, well-known as a master of kyōka, was equally famous for collections of witty kyōshi, while Hatanaka Tanomo (Dōmyaku Sensii) revived the Chinese “folk song style ballad” as a vehicle for descriptions of daily life in and around Kyoto. Because kyōshi was the product of a unique conjunction of literary, social, and political factors, it was almost forgotten by the beginning of the nineteenth century.

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