Tells the story of a remarkable man who, against his will and largely against his knowledge, lived through what we now regard as the final decline of the ancient nobility in Japan
This book tells the story of a remarkable man who, against his will and largely against his knowledge, lived through what we now regard as the final decline of the ancient nobility in Japan. It is as a scholar, especially of the Tale of Genji and other texts of the classical Japanese canon, that Ichijô Kaneyoshi (1402-81) is now remembered, when he is remembered at all. Yet in his own time he was much more than that: the heir of a venerable court lineage, a poet and patron of artists and literati, a master of esoteric lore and doctrine, and a statesman and politician very much engaged in the contests and discourses of his time.
Kaneyoshi was born into an era of relative prosperity for the court. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, one of the most courtly of shoguns, was in firm control of the government, in the Kyoto area at least, and Kaneyoshi's own father was serving as imperial regent. In succeeding years, however, the court and its families were severely tested by political, economic, and social exigencies beyond their control.
Steven D. Carter is professor of Japanese and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Irvine. Among his published works are The Road to Komatsubara: A Classical Reading of the Renga Hyakuin