Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Komo no Chōmei

(1156?-1216). Poet, critic, and essayist. Scion of the Kamo family, hereditary Shinto priests of the Kamo shrines; he lived in the troubled transitional years between the Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura (1185-1333) periods. He has come to typify the literary recluse who abandons the world for a life of refined tranquility in a small mountain hut. Chōmei defined the ideal of the literary recluse in the Hōjōki (1212; tr An Account of My Hut, 1955), a short commentary on life that has become a landmark in the Japanese literary and philosophical consciousness. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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