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Art-name

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  • Japanese: 号 (gou)

A , or art-name, is a pseudonym taken on by someone when operating within a particular artistic sphere. In the Edo period, as yûgei (the amateur practice of arts purely as a hobby) became more popular, the use of expanded dramatically, with commoners, samurai, and others alike taking on names they would then use in haikai or renga circles, and in other arts. Many artists today are known more famously by their art-name than by any more official (legal) name.

While in poetry circles and certain other arts people invented their own art-names, in some other arts, such as amateur jôruri chanting, masters bestowed names ending in tayû upon those students who had earned it.

Scholar Eiko Ikegami points to the use of art-names as an important facet of the functioning of yûgei spaces as outside of the formal hierarchies, and as freer spaces functioning akin to "enclave publics," comprising between them a "public sphere" in the Tokugawa period.

References

  • Eiko Ikegami, Bonds of Civility, Cambridge University Press (2005), 145-147.
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