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Kenko, however, displays a fascination with more earthy matters in his collection of anecdotes, advice and observations.
She lived in Japan for twenty years and is currently a visitng fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra.
'[Essays in Idleness is] a most delightful book, and one that has served as a model of Japanese style and taste since the 17th century.
The title suggests “playfulness;" Kenko write freely and playfully according to the flow of ideas in mind and emotional feelings.
During the middle ages of Japanese history, Yoshida Kenko already had a modern mind.
The book was composed of random ideas written on small pieces of paper and stuck to the wall.
After Kenko’s death, one of his friends compiled them into Tsurezuregusa.According to legend, the monk Yoshida Kenko lived in a hermitage inside a Zen temple called Jyo–Gyo Ji (modern-day Yokohama City).Kenko wrote during the Muromachi and Kamakura periods.The Tsurezuregusa was already popular in the fifteenth century, and was considered a classic from the seventeenth century onward.It is part of the curriculum in modern Japanese high schools, as well as internationally in some International Baccalaureate Diploma Program schools.When the book is read through from beginning to end, the 243 essays appear to be consecutive.This was not the way they were written, nor did Kenko intend them as a series of consecutive arguments.In 1336, the year that Kenko accomplished the 234 passages of Tsurezuregusa, Ashikaga Takauji founded the Muromachi shogunate and became the first shogun.In his youth, Kenko became an officer of guards at the Imperial palace.After the seventeenth century, Tsurezuregusa became a part of the curriculum in the Japanese educational system, and Kenko's views have held a prominent place in Japanese life ever since.Turezuregusa is one of the three representative Japanese classics, together with Hojoki by Kamo no Chomei (1212), and The Pillow Book (Makura no soshi) by Sei Shonagon(990).