(impermance, transience, mutability). Originally a Buddhist term expressing the doctrine that everything that is born must die and that nothing remains unchanged. Japanese have traditionally been keenly aware of the impermanence of things, and the sense of Mujō has been a major theme in literature. Works of the medieval period (mid-12th century to the 16th century), such as the Hōjōki (The Ten-Foot-Square Hut) of Hamo no Choumei and the Heiki monogatari (The Tale of the Heike) are especially noted for this essentially Buddhist view of life. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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