Hōjōki

A Hermit's Hut as Metaphor

A new translation of the Japanese classic

方丈記 英和対訳

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's message is universal and timeless.


The fourth edition includes the original Japanese verse and English translation, presented as parallel text. Historical maps and annotations enhance the book’s academic value, while illustrations by Reginald Jackson add striking visual power to Chōmei’s narrative of loss and transcendence.

Matthew Stavros is an historian of early Japan at the University of Sydney and the former director of the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies.

Reginald Jackson is a professor of literature and performance at the University of Michigan, as well as a gifted illustrator and musician.

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Publisher: Vicus Lusorum

Release date: Nov 2022 (4th edition)

Companion Materials