Departmental Bulletin Paper Viewing a Myriad Leaves : Man’yō Botanical Gardens in Japan

McAuley, Thomas

1pp.1 - 16 , 2016-01-20 , Center for Advanced Tourism Studies = 北海道大学観光学高等研究センター
This paper describes a current research project examining botanical gardens in Japan which exhibit the plants referenced in the eighth century Man’yōshū poetry anthology. This anthology contains approximately 4,500 poems, of which 1,600 refer to one or more of about 160 different species of plants, making botanical references and imagery one of the most significant features of the work. Despite the chronological distance separating the Man’yōshū from the present day, there are currently thirty-seven botanical gardens throughout Japan dedicated to exhibiting the plants of the collection, accompanied by representative selections of poems. These establishments vary widely in type: some are part of larger public parks, some are attached to shrines or temples, some are attached to museums of various types, and some are independent. But, all are clearly intended to act as facilities to attract visitors to localities or institutions. They are, therefore, stimulators of literary contents tourism. By being dedicated to the objects referenced in poetry, the gardens form an unusual type of contents tourism facility which is focussed on the resources of, and stimulants for, literature, rather than the literary work itself.

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