Ihara Saikaku ē´hä´rä sī´kä´ko͞o [key], 1642–93, Japanese writer. Saikaku began his literary career as a haikai [comic linked verse] poet, astonishing contemporaries with his skill at composing sequences of thousands of stanzas in a single sitting. Later he turned to writing ukiyozoshi, a popular prose form which in his hands was elevated to high art through the use of literary allusion, techniques borrowed from poetry, an irreverent style and keen sense of the ironic. Saikaku's highly entertaining stories were populated by merchants, rogues, misers, warriors, and amorous women such as the heroine of Koshoku ichidai onna [life of an amorous woman] who was constantly tripped up by her own lustful nature.
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