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Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World (Rock Spring Collection of Japanese Literature) Paperback – June 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-1880656228 ISBN-10: 1880656221

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Product Details

  • Series: Rock Spring Collection of Japanese Literature
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656221
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656228
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Poet, reporter, social philosopher, monk, Kamo-no-Chomei is one of the great noble and solitary figures in all of Japanese literature, his incomparable Hojoki as relevant today as it was eight hundred years ago. Thanks to Yasuhiko Moriguchi and David Jenkins for this luminous translation and for their brilliant introduction to the ancient masterpiece." -Sam Hamill -- Review

"Presents us with insight anew into the depth, compassion, and wisdom of this exquisite classic." -New Asia Review -- -New Asia Review

Kamo-no-Chomei was tormented by the instability of the material world. All about him, things were falling apart. There was violence and natural catastrophe. The citizens of old Kyoto were in despair. As so Chomei, a Buddhist monk in 13th century Japan, left the city. He built a small hut for himself in the forested mountains. There he led a pastoral,contemplative, Buddhistic life. Still, there were doubts about whether this was the proper Way. This modern-verse translation has a message as timely and profound as anything written about the Los Angeles riots, the Kobe earthquake, or the horrors of modern war. Hojoki will raise questions, inspire discussion, and move readers with its passionate descriptions of the human condition. Hojoki is one of the wonderfully timeless books about the human experience, the meaning of life, and the proper conduct thereof. -- Midwest Book Review

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the most poetic book of prose I have ever seen. Kamo-no-Chomei starts the book with recollections of a series of disasters that struck Kyoto in the late twelfth century: fire, plague, famine, and more. The descriptions are personal and vivid. The near-poetic form of the writing puts intense feeling behind the words. Although Chomei wrote many years after the events, his grief and horror came through as very fresh.
The second part of the book describes Chomei's gradual withdrawal into solitary monasticism. The string of successively less grand homes ends in his famous 'ten square foot hut.' He was not strictly a hermit, but seemed mostly content with a small and simple kind of life. I was especially moved by his descriptions of time spent with a small boy. It brought to mind the end of Hesse's Glass Bead Game.
It would be easy to write a review longer than the work itself, so let me finish with a few words about the translation. The text is readable, elegant, and unaffected, quite an achievement for a book of this sort. The historical footnotes add real insight to the text, they are not just academic filler. It won't take long to read this book, but I promise time well spent to the thinking reader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Shea on April 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This short book has survived for nearly 800 years, and it is easy to see why. I cannot recall ever having seen the timeless pathos of the human condition portrayed more vividly, and the translation is fabulous. I also recommend the audio version narrated by Togo Igawa (available on audible.com). It isn't the best recording in the world, but I think Igawa's performance is wonderful. The Japan of 8 centuries ago seems like yesterday - or maybe tomorrow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Briggs on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The writer, a monk, describes calamities of nature - fire, earthquake - that assaulted the Kyoto area in the 1200s, with palpable sorrow and compassion, and describes his own retreat from society, in touching fashion.
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