Gukansho (愚管抄)

"Gukansho" is a history book written by Jien, a priest of the Tendai sect, in the early Kamakura period. It comprises seven volumes. It was written around 1220 amid the rising tension between the Imperial Court and the shogunate, just before Jokyu no Ran (the Jokyu Rebellion), but subsequently it was revised.

It regarded history from the Emperor Jinmu to the Emperor Juntoku as the transition from the age of aristocracy to the age of warriors, and described it in Kana-bun (publication in kana alone) based on Mappo-shiso (the "end of the world" belief) and the idea of 'Dori (Order).'
Jien was a member of the Imperial Court, but he appreciated the government of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. Additionally, there are descriptions that show the complicated situation around Jien as a member of the Sekkan-ke regent family (摂関家), such as that he implicitly criticized his father FUJIWARA no Tadamichi for being at odds with his own father, FUJIWARA no Tadazane (the grandfather of Jien), and blamed the Konoe clan, his half-brother's clan, as opposed to praising the Kujo clan, his brother's clan.

"Gukansho" consists of three parts, each of which has a different character: volumes 1 and 2 chronicle the emperors since Jinmu, volumes 3 to 6 center on the transition of Dori together with the descriptions of history, and volume 7 is a general overview on Dori. According to Masamichi SUZUKI, a professor at Hirosaki University, the writing began with volume 3 and the Emperors' chronicle was added at the end. In volume 7 he described that everything was based on Dori and that the way to reform society should be implemented by Dori.


Nihon Koten-bungaku Taikeibon (old Taikei) (Iwanami Shoten, 1967)

Shintei Zoho Kokushi Taikeibon, "Kokon Chomon-ju and Gukansho" (Yoshikawa Kobunkan Inc., 2000) ISBN 4642003207

[Original Japanese]