The Clear Mirror: A Chronicle of the Japanese Court during the Kamakura Period (1185-1333)

By George W. Perkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Snow on the Central Plain
Time span: 1242-1255.Main subjects: Prosperity of Saionji house; birth and accession of Emperor Go- Fukakusa; activities of Retired Emperor Go-Saga; appointment of Go-Saga's son as shogun.Principal characters:
Go-Fukakusa, Emperor. Son of Emperor Go-Saga. Ascends throne in 1246 as successor to his father.
Go-Saga, Emperor. Son of Tsuchimikado. Reigning emperor at start of chapter.
Kintsune (Saionji). Influential husband of Minamoto Yoritomo's niece.
Sanetsune (Ichijō). Son of Michiie; becomes minister of the left and regent.
Saneuji (Saionji). Son of Kintsune. Chancellor briefly in 1246.

Quite a long time earlier, the late Chancellor Kintsune -- the father of Saneuji, whose daughter, as I have mentioned, was the current empress -- had been inspired by a dream to build a religious hall of unparalleled splendor, called the Saionji, in those same northern hills where the hero of The Tale of Genji went to seek a ritual cure for his chills and fevers. 1 Kintsune had exchanged his Matsueda estate in Owari Province for the site, which was the property of Prince Sukenaka, the head of the department of shrines. It had been a typical stretch of countryside, filled with cultivated fields and rice paddies, but he had cleared, leveled, and transformed it into an elegant park, its every aspect in perfect taste -- the densely forested hills, the vast lake, ample as a sea, and the waterfall plunging from the heights with a sound that evoked tears of emotion.

In the main hall of worship, the Saionji, there stood the central image, a representation of Amida, its dignity and sublime beauty suggesting that the Buddha must have looked much the same in his earthly manifestation. In the hall called Zenshaku-in, there was an image of Yakushi; in the Kudokuzō-in, an image of Jizō. Near the lake, there was the Myōondō; at the base of the waterfall, there was a statue of Fudō. (That statue had come to be there because the mystic king himself had walked to the spot from Settsu Province in his earthly manifestation, wearing a straw raincoat and a rain hat. I understand that the

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The Clear Mirror: A Chronicle of the Japanese Court during the Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Translator's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Figures and Tables xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Preface 27
  • Chapter One - Through Tangled Thickets 31
  • Chapter Two - the New Island Guard 46
  • Chapter Three - Mourning Attire 59
  • Chapter Four - Three Sacred Mountains 67
  • Chapter Five - Snow on the Central Plain 72
  • Chapter Six - Descending Clouds 82
  • Chapter Seven - Snow on the Northern Plain 89
  • Chapter Eight Asuka River 97
  • Chapter Nine Pillow of Grass 110
  • Chapter Ten Waves of Longevity 118
  • Chapter Eleven Ornamental Combs 136
  • Chapter Twelve Plovers by the Bay 156
  • Chapter Thirteen the Hills of Autumn 162
  • Chapter Fourteen a Farewell to Spring 174
  • Chapter Fifteen Wintry Showers 183
  • Chapter Sixteen 197
  • Chapter Seventeen the Dayflower 214
  • Reference Matter 221
  • Appendix: Title, Authorship, Date, Sources, and Texts 223
  • Notes 227
  • Glossary 267
  • Bibliography 319
  • Index 327
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