intro to japan 3 - Chris Bostick 3/30/2008 Social Critique...

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Chris Bostick Asian 211 5/7/2009 Assignment #3 Social Critique through Art and Ideology Hojoki and The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches both offer the experiences of two intellectuals in their journey of isolation from society . In Hojoki the author Kamo-no-Chomei isolates himself on the outskirts of civilization in a small hut to escape grievances he has with society . Conversely Basho, the author of the second book, has also isolated himself from society through his persistent poetic pilgrimage . Through analyzing both intellectuals, one can construe their actions of self- suffrage as a means to interpret their surroundings . Therefore, isolation from society is equated by both authors through their ability to present unbiased critiques on society and explore roots of social issues . In Hojoki , Chomei is driven to self-isolation due to his distaste of which the state of society rest in . “In much this way, with often troubled mind, I struggled on for thirty years in this unkind world .” 1 In order to escape society, he builds a simple hut on the outskirts . Furthermore, Chomei explains that in this periphery one does not have to please others, but only please themselves . 2 This presents one aspect that allows him to judge society freely without concern . Since he is an outsider he can say whatever he wants without fear of tarnishing his reputation . This allows for a truthful analysis rather than one based on the opinions of others along with one’s own . This can be fully captured through his statement, “no one here to hinder me, no one in whose eyes to feel 1 Kamo-no-Chomei, Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World (Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press, 1996), p.60. 2 Kamo-no-Chomei, Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World (Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press, 1996), p.64-65
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Chris Bostick Asian 211 5/7/2009 Assignment #3 ashamed .” 3 Being an outsider liberates him from the worries of other men and gives him complete freedom of thought . In addition, he is able to criticize society by contrasting life as an outsider to normal life . When talking about reproaching the rich he states, “I just compare my past life with the present .” 4 Through his ability to disassociate himself, Chomei is able to criticize society by contrast of his own life experiences . In comparison, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches
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intro to japan 3 - Chris Bostick 3/30/2008 Social Critique...

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