Free Audible Hōjōki (方丈記);Heike Monogatari (平家物語) By Kamo no Chōmei –

Readers Of Medieval Japanese Literature Have Long Been Captivated By Its Romance And Philosophy In This Volume, Two Acclaimed Thirteenth Century Classics, The Ten Foot Square Hut And Tales Of The Heike, Are Presented In Translation The Ten Foot Square Hut The Hojoki Takes Its Title From A Four And Half Mat Sized Tearoom, The Size Of The Hut In Which The Hero Of The Story, Chomei, Lives It Offers The Memorable Reflections Of This Sensitive Aristocrat Who Has Retired From A World Filled With Violent Contrasts And Cataclysms To Find Refuge In Nature And Buddhist Philosophy Chomei, A Friend Of The Moon And The Wind, Content With A Simple But Tasteful And Natural Existence, Devotes His Days To Literature And Music, Walks, And Visits Though This Narrative Was Written Years Ago, Its Message Continues To Have An Astonishing Timeliness Tales Of The Heike Selections From The Heike Monogatari Deals With The Same Period But From A Different Point Of View, Supplying The Background Of Chomei S Meditations It Is A Collection Of Episodic Stories, Written In Poetical Prose, Related To The Rise And Fall Of The Taira Clan In Twelfth Century Kyoto, One Of The Great Turning Points In Japanese History It Narrates The Events Surrounding The Gempei Wars Of , In Which An Alliance Of Clans Led By The Minamoto Drove The Once Mighty Taira And Their Allies From The Capital, Chasing Them As Far As The Southern Island Of Kyushu In An Attempt To Exterminate Every Last Member Of The Clan The Taira Leaders, Scorning Surrender In The Face Of Utter Defeat By The Minamoto Clan, Threw Themselves Into The Sea And PerishedThe Translations, By The Late Professor A L Sandler, A Distinguished Devotee Of Japan And Its Culture, Are Complemented By An Informed Introduction On The Background To These Masterpieces Of Japanese Literature

10 thoughts on “Hōjōki (方丈記);Heike Monogatari (平家物語)

  1. says:

    SECOND REVIEW These two tales definitely reflect the impermanence of all earthly things as taught and practiced by Buddhism since 2600 years ago Therefore, mindfulness is the key as assured by this teaching in Thai I read somewhere literally translated as follows Anyone who can follow his her mind, he she will not be entrapped by the Mara s snare PREFACE Since around two weeks ago I ve enjoyed watching a YouTube series of the NHK Taiga Drama entitled Yoshitsune with English subtitles therefore, we can follow all episodes conveniently and subsequently by visiting the first one at I hope watching the series should help us better understand the story and enjoy reading the story It s a pity, for some reason, the films are not available in the meantime Reading this two story paperback including The Ten Foot Square Hut by Kamo no Chomei and Tales of the Heike by anonymous writers translated into English by Professor A L Sadler was inspiring, entertaining and action oriented, or less, due to its valor themes in which its readers can enjoy reading, following each story unique in each context some 700 years ago as part of medieval Japanese literature, that is, two of the thirteenth century classics I first came across the first story as an excerpt in an anthology compiled by Professor Donald Keene, felt impressed by this famous recluse who unimaginably but decisively decided to renounce the world and lived in a remote mountain area While staying alone in his ten foot square hut, he kept himself busy doing things appropriate to the environs there, in other words, devoting his days to literature and music, walks, and visits back cover this acclaimed genre has long been categorized as recluse literature Surprisingly, this essay like The Hojoki is only 20 pages long, a bit disappointing to me However, I think we have to make do with what he wrote and why he made such a decision, from this excerpt So I went on living in this unsympathetic world amid many difficulties for thirty years, and the various rebuffs that I met left me with a poor opinion of this fleeting life So when I arrived at the age of fifty I abandoned the world and retired, and since I had no wife and child it was by no means difficult to leave it, neither had I any rank or revenue to be a tie to hold me p 12 And how did he spend his life at the place called Toyama If I get tired of repeating the Invocation to Buddha or feel disinclined to read the Sutras, and go to sleep or sit idly, there is none to rebuke me, no companion to make me feel ashamed In the morning, as I look out at the boats on the Uji River by Okanoya I may steal a phrase from the monk Mansei and compare this fleeting life to the white foam in their wake, and association may lead me to try a few verses myself in his style Or in the evening, as I listen to the rustling of the maples in the wind the opening lines of the Lute Maiden by the great Chinese poet Po chu i naturally occur to my mind, pp 14 15 Therefore, this famous story has revealed how this great recluse pioneering his self contentment living by means of his Buddhist vows and understanding on impermanence of all things in the world and, presumably, regarding himself as a man having this fleeting life as mentioned twice in the two excerpts above Whenever I read this fleeting life, I couldn t help being reminded of another concept, that is, floating world, used as the story theme in literary works by Saikaku Tuttle, 1956 and as a novel title by Ishiguro Faber and Faber, 2001 I wondered if these two authors works have been influenced by such an advanced understanding perceived and practiced hundreds of years before.As for the second story, Tales of the Heiki, its length is about ten times as compared to the first one Last year I bought Eiji Yoshikawa s The Heiki Story 2011 at Kansai International Airport and wondered how I should read it so I decided to read the Tales first since it s written since medieval Japan and the Story first published in 1956 as a modern translation of the classic Japanese tale of love and war front cover I found reading the Story entertaining and action oriented since there are 20 illustrations to accompany some tales, for instance Illustrations Page The Ho O or Cloistered Emperor Go Shirakawa. frontispiece The Lay Priest Chancellor Taira Kiyomori. 23 A Shirabyoshi. 27 etc Moreover, each episode preceded by its title has portrayed its interesting characters or the ensuing fierce battles between the two clans, that is, the Heiki vs the Genji in which, while reading, we could help admiring those valorous soldiers This following excerpt focused on Yoshitsune s daring decision and Yoshitsura s cold blooded encouragement possibly supported by good fortune has revealed how the leaders and their troops accomplished in their god like descent at Hiyodori Pass Then Yoshitsune, looking down on the Heike position from the top of the cliff, ordered some horses to be driven down the declivity, and of these, though some missed their footing half way, and breaking their legs, fell to the bottom and were killed, three saddled horses scrambled down safely and stood, trembling in every lime, before the residence of Etchu Zenji If they have riders to guide them, said Yoshitsune, the horses will get down without damage, so let us descend, and I will show you the way and he rode over the cliff at the head of his thirty retainers, seeing which the whole force of three thousand followed on after him And the soldiers were recoiling in horror, thinking that their end had come, when Miura no Sahara Juro Yoshisura sprang forward and shouted In my part we ride down places like this any day to catch a bird the Miura would make a racecourse of this and down he went, followed by all the rest So steep was the descent that the stirrups of the hinder man struck against the helmet or armour of the one in front of him, and so dangerous did it look that they averted their eyes as they went down , and their daring seemed rather of demons than of men So they reached the bottom, and as soon as they found themselves safely down they burst forth with a mighty shout, which echoed along the cliffs so that it sounded rather like the battle cry of ten thousand men than of three pp 149 151 In conclusion, this two story book is worth reading and spending our time since we can learn how the great recluse lived in such a remote area as well as how those memorable Japanese history related episodes were written for posterity to know admiringly and wisely be aware of the law of impermanence in the world to which we all belong since ancient times till eternity.FIRST REVIEW

  2. says:

    I ordered this book for the Ten Foot Square Hut, a short reflection on home that I enjoyed Most of the book is Tales of the Heike, which surprised me Anyone interested solely in the The Ten Foot Square Hut might consider ordering Four Huts Asian Writings on Simple Life It s a series of four short reflections similar to and including the Ten Foot Square Hut In the version with the Tales however, turmoil is echoed by the softness of the Ten Foot Square Hut The two juxtaposed make for an interesting read.Tales of the Heike is composed of entertaining little stories episodes vignettes that strung together serve as historical record Many names and titles I did not recognize but this didn t diminish the experience It actually enhanced it It encouraged me to pay closer attention to the characters, what they represent and their relationships with one another Though the Tales are heavily historical, they re also extremely poetic Tragedies, triumphs and even passing moments are gently wrapped in elegant prose I was fascinated to learn the ways in which the Japanese infuse art, poetry and music into everything they do even in the heat of battle, a moment of poetic reflection was always in order That I can appreciate, especially since these stories are centuries old I plan to reread the Tales and piece together of the story.Until then, it will remain on my shelf as a rewarding and entertaining piece of literature that inspired me in many ways.

  3. says:

    There s a rewarding experience in here, but reaching it may require real work The Heike Monogatari seems to encompass history, legend, and tall tales, organized as a stream of recollections which may digress abruptly within a recollection itself One chapter or subsection may include someone who is later introduced as the lead in his or her own anecdote, as though the storyteller is clarifying or expanding upon an interesting topic.I found it a book to be studied, rather than read linearly As it progressed, of my time became consumed in consulting the index to see if a name has appeared before and in what context.

  4. says:

    I should probably have given it five stars had it been only the Ten Foot Square Hut which I have read and re read many times.

  5. says:

    Classic literature Not my thing But famous and a required read for Japanese majors.