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Hōjōki
What Didn't Kamo-no Chōmei Look at?
Date:31, May, 2018
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
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We can find Shimogamo Shrine in the Sakyo district of Kyoto. It is very old as nobody knows when it was built there.



Shimogamo Shrine

But it is not that there's no clue. At least, the shrine was already there when born was Kamo-no Chōmei who'd written Hōjōki, a Japanese classical essay. He was born as the second son of the senior priest of the Shimogamo Shrine in 1115.

Well, I'm talking about what he was.

His golden age was guessed to be when he was a child. In his teen age, he went under and had to lose right to live in the shrine. No any social insurance at the time, he ran to his grandmother. He spent over a decade there with no job. Of course, she finally forced him out.

Kamo-no Chōmei was very trained in a tanka and some musical instruments like Biwa. He was scouted by Emperor Go-Toba and Minamoto-no Sanetomo. How about working with us? However, Kamo-no Chōmei answered "Let me take a post which I want, or no thanks." It clearly shows his difficulty. He had to give up reemployment, therefore. He felt transience of life, and began writing Hōjōki.

"The river's current never looks changing, but the water is passing moment by moment, is never the same. Where it pools, I can see countless bubbles burst and disappear. Nothing lasts forever. In this world, people and their houses are like the bubbles, always changing." said Kamo-no Chōmei at the start of the essay. He insisted that we had to give away being picky about a house. Hojo means a kind of mobile houses, four‐and‐a‐half‐mat room. His was restored, it's exhibited in the Shimogamo Shrine today.

A part of the Hojo uses a construction style of Shimogamo Shrine, however. He was after all picky about a house.

Hōjōki tightly shows how gone were people and houses for disasters and war. But it seldom does how war went on. Essay don't have what the author doesn't care about. It can be considered that he hardly got interested in anything political.

Even today, there are many who love Hōjōki. I am not mentioning about them at all. However, as long as trying to read what's not written, I guess he was concerned about nothing but nature and himself. In any times, there are some who cannot join society well. I feel kind of an affinity to him.


About Hōjōki

・Written by Kamo-no Chōmei
・Established in 1212





 

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