Kamo no Chomei

“Kamo no Chomei: (1155-1216) Japanese writer. Best known for his meditative Account of My Hut (Hojoki, 1212), which vividly describes the natural and man-made disasters he witnessed in the late Heian period. Chomei was also a prominent poet and theorist in the literary circle of Fujiwara Teika (Sadaie, 1162-1241) and principal compiler of the New Collection of Ancient and Modern Times (Shokinshu, c 1205). His Anonymous Notes (Mumyosho, 1209-10) includes the best definition of the elusive aesthetic ideal of Yugen (“mystery and depth), important in the poetry of his day but also in the later Noh theater. The Kamo family were hereditary Shinto priests at the famous Kyoto shrines of that name, but in 1204, Chomei became a Tendai Buddhist monk and adopted the life of a literary recluse. His last work is a collection of anecdotes (Setsuwa) called the Collection of Religious Awakenings (Hosshinshu c 1241).”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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