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The concept of a universal human nature suggests that American scholars and American readers of Japanese literature may interpret the elements in Japanese tanka based on emotions — and on meanings attached to natural images — that are common to all of humanity. It is hoped that readers will experience this ancient style of Japanese poetry in such a way that they are inspired to write their own tanka poems. Such is one of the purposes of A Shawl of Mist. Another purpose of this book is to share essays written to accompany and complement the tanka poems. The short essays included here provide practical thoughts based on the author’s long years of personal and professional experiences — studying, reading, teaching, thinking, and especially, cherishing each day of living — in Japan, the United States, and Guam.

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