With the infighting between the Taira and the Minamoto, which ended up bringing Yoritomo to power (1186), a troubled era was inaugurated for the country that made it a contest, where power is the stake and weapons are cross, with rare intervals of respite, until almost the end of the century. XVI. The resulting social disorder necessarily had immediate consequences on the fate of the letters. The ruling military class, with its ideals of strength and courage, with its care aimed at war and the way to prepare for it and with its activity intended, finally, entirely to the exercise of arms, could only remain extraneous to culture, whose decline, moreover, was hastened by the frequent interruptions of relations with China and Korea, caused by the incursions of Japanese pirates on their coasts, the result, too, of the aggressive spirit of the times. The only hearths of thought, a phenomenon that is also reflected by us in the Middle Ages, remained the Buddhist convents. Buddhism, on the other hand, found, in the social conditions of the time, favorable conditions for a flourishing development. The miseries, the horrors, the continuous spectacles of blood, the sudden reversals of fortune and power, the great changes of things, in short, soon aroused in the minds a sense of bitterness and disgust for the world which directed thoughts towards the renunciation doctrines of the Buddha, whereby these ended up gaining the upper hand. conditions favorable to a flourishing development. The miseries, the horrors, the continuous spectacles of blood, the sudden reversals of fortune and power, the great changes of things, in short, soon aroused in the minds a sense of bitterness and disgust for the world which directed thoughts towards the renunciation doctrines of the Buddha, whereby these ended up gaining the upper hand. conditions favorable to a flourishing development. The miseries, the horrors, the continuous spectacles of blood, the sudden reversals of fortune and power, the great changes of things, in short, soon aroused in the minds a sense of bitterness and disgust for the world which directed thoughts towards the renunciation doctrines of the Buddha, whereby these ended up gaining the upper hand.
Literary production naturally reflects the conditions of society. Women almost completely disappear from literature, love and worldly feelings disappear as central elements, giving way to stories, largely written by religious, inspired by the great feats of arms and Buddhist theories on the brevity of things and destinies. of man.
According to BAGLIB.COM, the sec. XIV has handed down four of them: the H ō gen Monogatari, the Heiji Monogatari, the Heike Monogatari and the Gempei Seisuiki, all by unknown authors and of uncertain date. The first two narrate the wars of the Hōgen (1156-1158) and Heiji (1159) eras, fought in Kyōto for the succession to the throne. The other two, much more important, instead narrate, with a romantic and partisan spirit, the epic events fought between the Taira and the Minamoto. The Gempei Seisuiki(History of the prosperity and decadence of the Taira and Minamoto), in 48 vols., Is undoubtedly the most remarkable of all for the style, ornate and clear, and the language, very close to modern. The author often loves to adorn the various episodes with poems and introduce his own sentences into the speeches made by the generals, before each battle.
Much richer in poetic ornaments and rhetorical display, not separated from solid theological and literary erudition, is the Taiheiki (History of the great peace), written, in 41 vols., By the bonze Kojima (died about 1375), who despite its title, it offers a whole history of violence, conspiracies, intrigues, condemnations centered on the failed attempt by the emperor Go Daigo (1319-1339) to restore imperial authority.
Two fresh oases, in the desert of this monotonous production of endless tales of wars, constitute the H ō i ō ki and the Tsurezuregusa, works by zuihitsu, written by two very interesting figures of Buddhist religious: Kamo-no-Chōmei (1154-1216) and Kenkō Hōshi (1283-1350). The H ō j ō ki(Memories [of my hermit’s cell of] 10 square feet), it is a very short composition, but a real literary jewel which, due to its simple and gentle style, and its philosophical content, has formed the delight of Japanese readers of all eras. The author, after having described a series of natural calamities, of which he was an eyewitness and which convinced him of the transience of the things of the world, goes on to tell us about the pleasures of those who live in solitude having their own thoughts and memories of the past as companions. In his reflections, inspired by a profound mysticism, a delicate soul shines through and full of the poetry of nature, which is revealed through a serenity of description that often has an idyllic nature. More complex is the personality of Kenkō Hōshi, which is agitated and lives in his Tsurezuregusa(Thoughts of moments of boredom), written around 1335 and comprising 243 chapters. A good poet, a restless spirit, on whom human passions still seem to exert a certain charm, sometimes cynical and astute, sometimes fervent and devoted, Kenkō writes in a simple style, using a much purer language than that of his contemporaries.
The literature of the diarî has a notable representative in the Izayoi Nikki (Diary of the night of the 16th day), of the religious Abutsu-ni, widow of the poet Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241), composed, in 1277, during a trip to Kamakura. Sprinkled with poems and written with much sentiment, this diary shows the influence of the Tosa Nikki, and due to the style and the absence of Chinese words, it is reminiscent of the beautiful literature of the Heian era.
A separate work, the most famous of the zasshi, is the Jinn ō Sh ō t ō ki(History of the legitimate succession of the divine emperors) written, in 6 vols., By Kitabatake Chikafusa (1293-1354), around 1342, to demonstrate the legitimacy of the rights to power of the southern dynasty. A statesman rather than a historian, the author traces the history of the country from its origins to its time, but his book is so full of dissertations on politics and the art of government that it should be considered as the first attempt to apply philosophical principles to history. His patriotic attitude, inspired by a deep loyalty to the sovereign and contrary to the sacrilegious usurpation of imperial powers by the shōgun, exerted a great influence in the history of the country. Opposing the Confucian principle which places the ability to govern as a condition of the right to sovereignty,