A Hermit's Hut as Metaphor
A new translation of the Japanese classic by Matthew Stavros
When Japan was struck by plague and natural disasters in the 13th century, a wise old man took to the hills in search of inner peace. Living in a small grass hut, isolated from the world, Kamo no Chōmei put brush to paper and wrote the poetic masterpiece Hōjōki about the transcendent power of simplicity and self-reliance. This classic work of Japanese literature reminds us that clinging to possessions, status, and social recognition only brings suffering. Hōjōki's message retains its relevance as we struggle to negotiate the twin extremes of crippling isolation and ubiquitous connectivity amidst profound social and political change. Although inspired by Buddhist ideas from another age and culture, Hōjōki is universal and timeless.
This all new translation of Hōjōki includes the Japanese original verse presented as parallel text. It is available in paperback, e-book, and on audiobook.
Matthew Stavros is an historian of early Japan at the University of Sydney and the former director of the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies.