This article will analyze the cultural role of art and literature in religio-political contexts during the Heian and the Kamakura Period. Discourses of death frequently made in art and literature came from the pan-religious philosophy of this critical age which was influenced by Prince Shōtoku's teachings. Thus the aesthetic development of the transitional period must be religiously, politically, and culturally examined.
Towazu-gatari was written under the great influence of Genji-monogatari. Go-Fukakusain-no-Nijō obviously modelled her romance with Ariake-no-Tsuki after the episodes of Onna-Sannomiya and Kashiwagi. The poems rendered by Onna-Sannomiya in Genji-monogatari are all about couples in love with each other. The author exquisitely integrated such poetical passion into her first-person narration to vividly express her own emotion.
Unsen-Taikyoku's dairy Hekizan-nichiroku is excellent material for a study of the social and religious conditions around the Ōnin War, but it has been seldom given due consideration. This article will focus on the monk-author's approach to the three major Chinese chronicles to reevaluate the importance of the diary. There current topics in the turbulent times such as battles and famine are interpreted especially from the historical viewpoint of Kanjo-shō. Such interest in Chinese history and literature gives a glimpse of an academic trend of the age.
Most of the manuals for the ceremonies and rituals of the Muromachi shogunate were written from the late fifteenth to the early sixteenth century. This corresponds to a shift in the way of conducting official events after the Ōnin War. More importantly, several manuals such as Chōroku-ninen-irai-mōshitsugi-ki, Jishōinden-nenchū-gyōji, and Ōdachi-ki indicate that the origin of the ceremonies can be traced to a “sanjo” hamlet in the territory of Tōji Temple.
The sense of crisis in medieval times was fundamentally derived from the religious binarism of an ideal other world and the secular world. A strong desire for salvation in nirvana accelerated anxiety about the inherent corruption and sinfulness of society. Such angst was also reflected in contemporary literary texts in which an insatiable longing for salvation appeared in the form of spiritualism such as voices from beyond.
Gozu-Tennō is generally known as a deva of epidemic prevention, but in “Kannō-ji-engi” of Asaba-shō he appears as an omnipotent God. Probably this representational change can be attributed to the esoteric philosophy of the Tentai School in which the deva is identified with Guanyin. According to “Kannō-ji-engi,” Gozu-Tennō was worshipped as the “God of Kawamae” at Kannō-ji Temple where the ritual was allegedly formed by the “kannō” or “correspondence” between the founder Ichien and the deva.
Hakuchō Masamune is generally regarded as a conservative writer. In “Jinsei-no-kōfuku” (1924), however, he so critically analyzes modern obsession with self-consciousness as to finally develop a sort of existential skepticism. Indeed, when this story was published, many young writers favorably received it precisely because they perceived the same modernist trait in the author.