Dream As A Butterfly And The Butterfly

Good Essays

Dreams in Japanese Tales

“Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,
And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.
Which was the real—the butterfly or the man?”
-Li Po

In these few lines from the poem “Chuang Tzu and the Butterfly”, Li Po simplifies the question raised by Chuang Tzu: Which is the true reality? Are we currently in the true reality or is the true reality in our dreams? These questions separate dreams and reality into two different concepts; however, in Japanese tales a common theme, when it comes to dreams, is the blending of these concepts. Kawai addresses this and aptly states that this blending is due to the “free interpenetration of this world and the dream world”. Dreams are the doorways between worlds/realities. Dreams can act as the door to the land of the dead, to your higher self, or even to the gods. In a dream the door way between the world we are currently in and the world of the dead opens; the dead can come through. Tales of Moonlight and Rain contains a story called “Shiramine”. In “Shiramine”, Saigyō “grew weary and began to doze” (Akinari 59). As he fell asleep the ghost of the new retired emperor, to whom Saigyō had composed a poem for, came to him and responded to his poem. After a bit of arguing, the retired emperor began telling Saigyō what happened and what will happen – in the politics he was ‘involved in’. When Saigyō returned home, he researches the information and all of what the retired emperor had said was true. (Akinari) This

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