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Recluse literature, and the related label "thatched hut literature" are terms coined in the twentieth century to describe works in a variety of genres, such as waka, setsuwa, and zuihitsu, by a broad array of authors of the medieval period. Saigyo, Kamo no Chomei, and Yoshida Kenko exemplify the recluse ideal while problematizing the idea and practice of isolation. By the end of the Heian period, the trope of reclusion in waka was dominated by nuns, many of whom had been imperial women at court. Chomei's language reflects the trend in recluse literature to conflate the poetic diction of the four seasons with the language and concepts of Buddhism making nature not only the great mirror of human emotion but also a manifestation of the Buddhist Dharma. Kenko came from a Shinto family of priests and diviners. Medieval recluse literature chronicles the numerous forces that pulled hermits and travelers both toward and away from the poles of the sacred.
During the Shinkokinshu era, Japanese court poetry, waka or uta emerged as a discrete literary field, with its own genres and sub-genres, along with a sense of history and ideological purpose. As the Shinkokinshu period came to an end, the Mikohidari house of Fujiwara no Teika was preeminent partly because it could claim long traditions of practice as well as scholarship in a world in which nothing was important than affiliation with the legitimizing authority of ancient traditions. Poetry in the late Kamakura period remained a kind of performance art, aired if not composed in communal gatherings where such understated scenes served as models of decorum, and subtle gradation of expression. Tameie's, Teika's son, chief ambition was to gain for his descendants a secure place in the poetic culture of the imperial court. One sign of the healthy situation of poetry in the mid fifteenth century was planning for a new imperial anthology, sponsored by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
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