Agnieszka Żuławska-Umeda – assistant professor

Name: Agnieszka Żuławska-Umeda


Title: Phd (2004)

Research interest: Classical Japanese poetry, poetical prose, poetica, haikai, haibun, ways of expression in art and literaturę; interpretation, hermeneutics, the art of translation, intertextuality

I am currently pursuing research in the oral nature of Japanese literature and its resonance in the literary language of today, especially in poetical texts. It is a large thesis about the roots of ambiguity and polysemous words such as makurakotoba, kakekotoba, engo, honkadori etc, and their connotations with other texts and poets themselves. I am trying to present these roots as a dialogue between “sender” and “receiver”, writer and reader, or perhaps master and apprentice. I am currently working on this thesis not only in Japanese Studies Department, but also in the Haiku School here in Warsaw, which was established five years ago and is where we attempt to compose Polish stanzas. The character of these Polish meetings is based on traditional Japanese haiku teaching, thanks to the initial participation of the late Muramatsu Tomotsugu, a poet and literature teacher. Also known by his literary pseudonym Koka, prof. Tomotsugu (1921-2009) was an expert in 17th century Japanese prose and poetry, and published letters by Basho and Buson. He also continued the teaching traditions of the poets Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), Yosa Buson (1716-1783), Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), as well as Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959) and his apprentice Takano Sojū (1893-1976). This school of teaching is called Kuzu, which is also the name of a teaching periodical dedicated to the literature and theoretical history of haiku. One of the periodical’s editors is Mrs Seki Fukuko (Mokka), thanks to whom Polish haiku verses have been regularly published in Japanese for several years.
Despite 40 years of experience in Japanese language and literature, I am continuously surprised anew. Translating stanzas results in the translation of, not only words, but whole cultures to one another. At times, it even uncovers the spiritual roots of both.
Translating stanzas composed by Polish poets into the Japanese language (fundamentally about Japanese culture) is a balancing act. It truly leads one to the edges of the intricacies of Polish-Japanese motifs and opens previously undiscovered charms. In addition, for the benefit of the author of Polish haikus, repeated translation of their work is imperative, firstly into Japanese and then back again into Polish. Initially, it may appear that this method serves no purpose, but it can sublimely enrich one’s perceptions. What remains is a general outline of the foundations from which poetry grows in our country and in Japan. In Poland, these foundations will often be about Christianity, the Enlightenment, the Baroque and Romantic periods, the fight for the freedom of speech and human rights, and the ornaments of Art Nouveau. As experience has shown, these are all dormant within us. It may be possible to say that there is some synergy between my research and teaching haiku to Poles unfamiliar with the Japanese way of seeing nature and how they relate to other people. This synergy can be found in the hidden deeper meanings of words and how they affect us (kotodama).

Current position: Adjunct Associate Professor, Chair of Japanese Studies, Warsaw University, Dept. of Oriental Studies

I have worked in the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies since 1987, teaching Japanese poetics, kanbun, as well as literature translation. I also translate classical Japanese poetry and prose, using the method of hermeneutic interpretation and intertextuality. I have also lectured on Japanese Contemporary Literature at the PJATK in Warsaw since 2009. From 2011, I have run KUZU Haiku School events, translating to Japanese and publishing haiku verses of Polish poets for the Japanese paper Kuzu. I am a member of the Polish PEN Club. My studies on poetics and interpretation were published in various papers, on topics such as the categories of beauty as the way of poetical expression (2011), the changes in the character of Matsuo Basho’s literary texts after his return from wandering to the North of Japan (2012), the oral nature of Japanese literature (2013), Polish haiku that wanders among the motifs of Japanese culture (2014) with “Cherry Trees and Willows” Polish Haiku Anthology (2015), as well as Japanese polysemous words, ambiguity, contexts and connotations in literature (2016). I am currently working on a monograph titled Poetica of Japanese Culture.

Biographical details:
1968 Start my studies at Oriental Institute, Japanese Studies, University of Warsaw

1972 My first journey to Japan

1973 My marriage with Umeda Yoshiho. Our son, Tomoho is born. Master thesis and degree (Theme: Haikai as an expression of Zen Aesthetic. Bashō, Buson, Issa.

1976 Our elder daughter, Julia is born

1981 My husband, Yoshiho’s deportation under the Martial Law in Poland (till 1989)

1984-1985 one year stay in Japan

1986 Hana, the youngest daughter is born

1987 Lecturer rank of Japanese and Korean Studies, Oriental Institute at UW.

1992 Associate Professor rank of Japanese and Korean Studies, Oriental Institute at UW.

1993 the Chair Member of Takashima Foundation.

1994. Editor secretary of „Japonica”, the Journal on Japanese Culture and Civilisation

1999. Korean Foundation Fellowship, Yonsei University, Studies of Korean Poetry.

2004. Doctoral thesis and degree. The theme: „Poetica of Matsuo Bashō’s Haikai School in 1684-1694 years”

2005. Participation with my harvest in Poetry for World Peace International Festival 10th – 19th of August, Seul – Kumgang sam, Korea

2005. Assistant Professor rank of Japanese and Korean Studies, Oriental Institute at University of Warsaw

2006-2007 Japanese Foundation Fellowship at University of Tokyo, researching on Tokugawa Period Literature.

2007.8.7 Visit to His Majesty Akihito the Emperor of Japan and Her Majesty Michiko’s Privet Residence. Conversation on history of Polish-Japanese relations and on Japanese Poetry Translation

2007.8.9~20 Walking after Matsuo Bashō’s footsteps towards Oku no Hosomichi, East North Narrows of Japan

2010.9.23~30 Official Delegate of 76th International PEN Congress in Tokyo

2012.5.4 My husband, Umeda Yoshiho’s death (1949-2012)

2014.9. Follow in footsteps of Japanese Classical Haikai Poetry Gunma – Tokyo, Matsuo Bashō’s Memorial Institute
2015.10 Exchange visitor on Indiana University, Bloomington, Department of East Asian Languages and Culture

Studies in Japan
1978-1979 Kokugakuin Daigaku, Man’yō kenkyūkai, prof. Okano Hirohiko and prof. Sakurai Mitsuru. Listening NHK Lecture “The World of Matsuo Bashō” by Ogata Tsutomu

1996- Visiting Rikkyo Uniwersity as Exchange Research Fellow

1997 Visiting Rikkyo Uniwersity as Guest Research Fellow in spite of Takashima Foundation.

2006.10 – 2007.10 Japanese Foundation Fellowship at Tokyo University, Japan.

Lectures as a visiting scholar:
2006.11.17 Ōsaka Kokusai Daigaku (Osaka International University), Pōrando no shakai to Nihon no kenkyū,

2006.11.27 Joshi Gakushūin Daigaku (Women Gakushūin University), Pōrando bungaku ni okeru haiku

2007.2.23 Academia Platonica, Kotanski kyōju nni yoru Kojiki no atarashii kaidoku hōhō,

2007.3.6 Meguro Bunka Sentā (Meguro Culture Center), Renku kenkyūkai, Shōmon renku no atarashii kaishakuhōhō

2007.7.21 Sophia Daigaku, Shakaigakkai, Sociological Society, Nihon to Pōrando to no rekishi no kyōkan de – Umeda Ryōchū no shōgai –

2009.2 – 2016.6, Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, Japanese Contemporary Literature

2009.4 Lectures for Nihon Shintō Kyōkai Japanese Shintō Association, The Role of Catholic Church in Polish Post-War History and History of Japanese Studies in Poland.

2009.10. – 2010.1 PJWSTK, History of Japanese Art and Aestetics (instead of dr Beata Kubiak Ho chi)

2010.5.12. Tarabuk Books and Coffe Shop, Haiku – Lightning Like Poetry and Its History

2010.11.20. Sen Pszczoly Club, Japanese Haiku and Its Composition Rules. Talking with H.E.Amb. Henryk Lipszyc about Japanese Manga History

2010.4.18. University of Gdansk, (University of Third Age), Haiku History and its Poetica

2011.5.10. UAM, Poznań, Student’s International Japanese Studies Workshop 2011, keynote lecture on Oral Character of Japanese Literature in the Background of Great Earthquake

2011.5.11. Polish Mathematics and Physics Institute, Echoes of Great Cataclysm in Japanese Literature

2011.5.17, 24,30. Warsaw Folklore Museum, Haiku Workshops – Three Lectures: I. Historical Haiku; II. Ethics and Poetica; III. Polish Haiku
From fall of 2011 Monthly Meetings of Kuzu Polish School of Classical Haiku,

2015.10. Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), Dept. of East Asian Language and Culture, History of Japanese Studies on Warsaw University; On Methods of Polish and Japanese Haiku Interpretation

Publication Highlights

The Book of Haiku Translation, classical poetry from the 17th and 18th centuries, published by Ossolineum, 1984, and Elay, 2006, 2010

Collection of Japanese Ancient Poetry, translated by Aleksander Janta Polczynski, Wieslaw Kotanski, Remigiusz Kwiatkowski, Kamil Seyfried, Agnieszka Zulawska-Umeda, Introduction and Commentaries: A. Zulawska-Umeda, LSW, Warszawa 1984

Matsuo Basho’s Wandering Diaries Oi no Kobumi and Sarashina kikō with Commentaries by A. Zulawska-Umeda (Sen, 1994)

Anthology of Korean Poetry, Translation and Notes in cooperation with Choi Gunn Young, Introduction by Halina Ogarek-Czoj (PIW 2000)

Gorin no sho by Miyamoto Musashi, translation by A. Zulawska-Umeda, Introduction by Witold Nowakowski (Diamond Books, 2001)

The Poetica of Bashō’s School 1684-1694 (Neriton, Warsaw 2007)

Cherry Trees and Willows, Polish Classical Haiku Anthology), by19 Authors, Introduction and Edition by A. Zulawska-Umeda, English Translation by Adam Zulawski, Japanese Translation by Seki Mokka and A. Zulawska-Umeda, Japonica, Warszawa 2015

Alchemy of the Word and Image – Tradition, Deconstruction and Reconstruction, Introduction and Edition A. Zulawska-Umeda and Katarzyna Starecka, Japonica, Warszawa 2015, ISBN 978-83-942217-3-7

Master and Host. Art of Renku part I and II, Japonica, in: Japanese Studies Magazine, no. 10 and 14, Nozomi and Takashima Fundation, Warszawa 1999 and 2001

An Interpretation of Choi Chi-Won`s Poem „In Mount Gaya”, in: Catalogue of Literature Translators’ International Conference, Soul, 1999, Dec.

Asking Professor Wieslaw Kotanski about His Kojiki Translation, by Agnieszka Zulawska-Umeda, in: „Bulletin de la Société Polonaise de Linguistique”, fasc. LXI, 2005, ISSN 0032-3802

The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (Excerpts in Japanese Aesthetics), Universitas 2001

Japanese Studies at University of Warsaw – 75th Anniversary of Oriental Studies Institute, in Edition by Maciej Popko, WUW, Warszawa 2007, p. 171-179

Unyielding Scholar – in Memoriam Professor Wieslaw Kotanski, in: „Oriental Studies Magazine” no. 1-2 (216-217), PWN, Warszawa 2006

Haiku and Haibun Monthly, edited by Late Muramatsu Tomotsugu and now by Yamamoto Dojū, 2008~2016: Bashō no renku ni okeru rinriteki na hyōgen – watashi no kaishaku hōhō ni tsuite (2007) , Pōrando no oshōgatsudayori, Natsu no shikenjiki, Kōnotori, Kinō made, Pōrando no Kuzu Haiku Kai o megutte (10/2015) and Polish haiku translation in every month edition.

Nihon no haiku to Pōrando no „haiku” – Pōrandojin no me kara mita kaishaku, honyaku hōhō (Japanese haiku and Polish “haiku” – in Polish Interpretations); Warshawa Daigaku Tōyōkenkyūjo Nihongakka ni tsuite (Japanese Studies in University of Warsaw); w: Japanese People & Language In Poland, Romania, Czech and Estonia; edited and traslated by Matsui Yoshikazu, Osaka International University, 2008, str. 60-74

Categories of Beauty as Poetical Expressions in Polish-Japanese Dictionary. Aware, Sabi, Wabi, Yūgen, in: (red.) Lexicographica Iapono-Polonica I, ed. by Jaroslaw A. Pietrow, Bartosz T. Wojciechowski, Warszawa 2011, Polish Literature Dept. Publ., UW

Issues Relating to Notes from The Hut of Delusion – Bashō’s returns from his wanderings, in Analecta Nipponica – Journal of Polish Association for Japanese Studies No. 2/2012, ed. By Alfred F. Majewicz, Polish Association for Japanese Studies, Warsaw Univ.

Oral Character of Japanese Literature, in: Two Pillars of Japanese Culture – Literature and Performance Arts, ed. By Beata Kubiak Ho-Chi, str. 23-40, WUW, Warszawa 2013, ISBN 978-83-936280-4-9

Utamakura kara Pōrando no haiku e – genbun to honyaku no bunkateki kūkan no kyōyū o motomete – (Between Polish Haiku and Its Japanese Translation – Searching the Common Space of Culture), p.. 274-284, in: Japonica Toruniensia 3, verba et imagines Iaponiae, ed. by Adam Bednarczyk, Marcelina Lesniczak, Wojciech J. Nowak, WN UMK, Torun 2014, ISBN 978-83-231-3484-8

On Alchemy of Word and Image in 17th Century Renku Composition, in: Alchemy of the Word and Image – Tradition, Deconstruction and Reconstruction, Introduction and Edition A. Zulawska-Umeda and Katarzyna Starecka, Japonica, Warszawa 2015, ISBN 978-83-942217-3-7

On semanthic contents of various poetical expresions in Japanese Literature, in: Porównania (Comparisons), 2016

Matsuo Basho. Haiku. in: The World Literature, Warszawa, 1979

Yosa Buson. Haiku (XVIII w.). W: Przegląd Orientalistyczny nr 1/117, s. 51, 1981

Nakahara Chūya (1907-1937), Poems, in: Japonica, Japanese Studies Magazine no. 1, WUW and Fundacja im. Takashimy, Warszawa 1994

Sei Shōnagon, Makura no sōshi, (exerpts). in: Japanese Aesthetics, ed. by Krystyna Wilkoszewska, Universitas, Kraków 2002

Matsuo Bashō. Oku no hosomichi, (exerpts) and Bashō, Rissai, Sora, Soran, Sukan, Tōkyū, Tōun. Kakuregaya with editorial notes in: The World Literature no. 1-2-3, Warszawa 2002

Lam Quang My. Poems, in: Contemporary Poetry, no. 33/34, Ibis, Warszawa 2003

Lam Quang My. Echo. 17 harvests, Polska Oficyna Wydawnicza, Warszawa 2004

Tadeushi Daicheru shinpu. Shinko o motomete (Requiring Faith by Tadeusz Dajczer), in cooperation with Takei Mari, Yo no hikari-sha, Tokyo 2012

Courses Recently Taught

The Art of Literature Translation

The Art of Reading Chinese Texts in Classical Japanese (kanbun kundoku)

Poetica of Japanese Literature

Japanese Classical Texts, Reading and Interpretation (Fudoki, Makura no soshi, Heike monogatari, Oku no hosomichi, kikōbun, kibyōshi)

Awards and Grants:
Takashima Foundation (1993)

Rikkyō University (1996 and 1997)

The Foundation of Korea (Yonsei University, 1999)

International Festival of World Poetry (Seoul 2005)

Japan Foundation Grant (Tokyo University 2006-2007)

Warsaw University President’s Award 2008

Kwerenda w Bibliotece Uniwersytetu Tokijskiego w ramach funduszy na Badania Statutowe 2009.11.18~2009.12.1

Award of Japan Foreign Ministry 2013.7.21 received from His Excellency the Ambassador of Japan, Yamanaka Makoto,

Exchange visitor at Indiana University, Bloomington 2015

From 1981 Polish Translators Association

From 1997 Takashima Foundation

From 1997 Polish Foundation of Japanese Studies

From 2009 Polish PEN Club member

Japanese Classical Poetry, Zlotoryja and Za no bungaku, Legnica 9-12 of March1995

Professor Stanisław Ryōchū Umeda (1900-1962), The 1st Conference of Japanese Studies at University of Warsaw

Poetica and Relations to the Nature in Japanese Tradition, Warsaw Museum of Literature

How to Translate Poetry. The International Symposium on Translation of Korean Literature – Now and Future, Seul 7-8 of November 1996

An Interpretation of Choi Chi-Won`s In Mount Gaya. 3rd Symposium on Literature of Translation at Yonsei Univ., Seul 1999

Aesthetics in Bashō’s School of Poetry, The 1st International Haiku Conference at Manggha Center of Japanese Art, Krakow 3rd-5th of October 2003

Han Young Un in memoriam. Presentation of the Poems at International Poetry Festival for World Peace. Seul – Kŭmgang-san,. 11th-15th of August 2005

Wieslaw Kotanski as a Teacher, Japanese Studies in 21st Century – Beyond Borders: Wieslaw Kotanski in Memoriam. International Conference, University of Warsaw, Dept. of Japanese and Korean Studies. 19th – 21st May 2006,

Pōrando no haiku jijō, Slav-bungakkai, Musashino Daigaku, 2007.3.31

Professor Wieslaw Kotanski and His New Method of Japanese Culture Interpretation, Conference on 75th Anniversary of Warsaw University Oriental Studies, 2007.10.18

Haikai – The Special Style of Japanese poetry and Prose, Japan Days at Lodz University, 2008.6.22
The Role of kotobagaki (Poetical Prose Foreword) in Japanese Literature of Heian Period, The Ten Centuries of Genji
Monogatari 1008-2008; The 2nd Days of Japan at University of Warsaw, 2008.10.22

To Remind Professor Wieslaw Kotanski’s Last Research, The 3rd Days of Japan at University of Warsaw, 2009.11.3~5
Issues Relating to Notes from The Hut of Delusion – Bashō’s returns from his wanderings, The 4th Days of Japan at University of Warsaw, 2010.11.6~8

The Quality of Oral Character of Japanese Literature, The 5th Days of Japan at University of Warsaw, 2011.10.13~14
On Poetical Meanings and Its Connotations in Lexicography of Japanese 17th century Renku, The 3rd Symposium of Polish-Japanese Lexicographical Studies, 2012.6.

Haiku as Sketched Beauty, The 7th Japanese Days at Lodz University, 2013.4.28

Between the Original Text and its Translation – how “Polish Haiku” wanders through Japanese Culture Toposes, Torun, Mikolaj Kopernik University, Japanese Studies – In memoriam Prof. Roman Ingarden (1920-2011), 2013.5.23~24

Japan of Heisei Period – Alienations and Returns – organisation of the 7th Days of Japan at University of Warsaw, 2013.10.14-16

Pōrando haiku jijō, Tōkyō Reikai Haikai Bungaku Kenkyūkai, Etō-ku Bashō Kinenkan, 2014.9.20

Polish Haiku History – in memoriam Ewa Tomaszewska, Her Haiku and Her Polish Haiku Anthology (Nozomi, 2000).

Translating Polish Haiku to Japanese Culture, 2nd International Haiku Conference in Manghha Center of Japanese Art and Technic, 2015, May

Talking with Professor Wieslaw Kotanski on Grammar of Japanese Poetica, International Conference of Japanese Studies: Animals in Japanese Culture and Religion, The 9th Days of Japan at the University of Warsaw, 16-18 November 2015