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The Ten Foot Square Hut and Tales of the Heike: Being Two Thirteen Century Japanese Classics, the Hojoki and Selections from the Heike Monogatari (Tut Books. L) Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1973


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; New ed of 1928 ed edition (April 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804808791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804808798
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 11 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 786,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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CEASELESSLY the river flows, and yet the water is never the same, while in the still pools the shifting foam gathers and is gone, never staying for a moment. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Japanese 'Odyssey' or 'Iliad' 23 Jan 2001
By Mr. Timothy Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of *the* classic books of Japanese folk-lore.
Ten Foot Square Hut is a short(ish) philosophical piece. Personally, I found it harder to read, but I can see the value in it, and admit that it is probably my understanding that is limited rather than the piece itself.
The Tales of the Heike, on the other hand, I have to rave about. Also known as the Heike Monogatori, this epic poem is basically just an account of the great war between the Heike and Genji clans occurring in approximately the 12th Century. These two opposing clans were locked in a major war for the control of Japan, which would culminate in the destruction of one of the clans and the national dominance of the other. However, this is an account written in the Homerian style, with lyric, flowing poetry which works to heighten the whole experience.
Tales of the Heike is one of the first military tales of Japan, which is not particualrly surprising, as the war between the Heike and Genji was formative in Japan's history: it was a time when the Samurai code, Bushido, was still developing and when the Samurai tradition was still in its infancy.
This is a great book and well worth reading, both in its own right, and also for the background it provides for other works on Japanese history and for understanding the evolution of Japanese culture in feudal times.
For an interesting tale in a different medium that draws upon Tales of the Heike, check out the comic Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai, and the 'Grasscutter' storyline in particular.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A classic 27 Oct 2010
By J. D. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Ten Foot Square Hut" is an unforgettable, true, and brief memoire by a Heian-era court noble who gives up city life to live in the wooded hills outside of the city. One of his most memorable observations about Kyoto life at the time is that following fashion will exhaust you, but failing to follow fashion will make people think you're crazy. He walks away from what we might call the "rat race" of the time as well as a series of natural calamities (fires, storms and earthquakes) in Kyoto. In building his movable hut, he has chosen "like a hermit crab" a shell only as big as his basic needs.

If this sounds a bit like Thoreau, it is. Like Thoreau, the writer's a bit of a curmudgeon. Better than Thoreau, he's elegantly brief. The piece can very easily be read in one short sitting, and is enjoyable to re-visit over and over.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
hauntingly beautiful 30 Nov 2012
By Desiree Valenzuela - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've only read the first part- "The Ten Foot Square Hut"- and can't remember the last time I was so deeply affected by a short work of prose. Maybe it's because, way down inside, the author's feelings resonate with me. "Hojoki" (the Ten Foot Square Hut's Japanese title) is a stark reminder that sorrow and disappointment with the world is nothing new, and the desire to just run away from it all at times is only human. Recommended.
Five Stars 15 Oct 2014
By Larry Dieli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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