Inja Bungaku (literature of reclusion) (隠者文学)

Inja Bungaku (literature of reclusion) is the generic term referring to a group of literature written by Buddhist priests and recluses who chose to retire from the secular world in medieval Japan. Inja Bungaku covers a wide range of literature, including waka poetry, essays, diaries, and tales.


In the late Heian Period, the declining aristocracy and the rise of warriors and armed priests threw the nation into turmoil, and the people's anxiety nurtured the Mujokan (Buddhist concept of the impermanence of worldly things) and Mappo-shiso (belief in the "end of the world") propagated by Genshin and others. This concept of impermanence led to disgust toward this world, and drove hermits to lead solitary lives even lonelier than entering into priesthood at Buddhist temples.

Famous Inja Bungaku
Kenko YOSHIDA, "Tsurezuregusa" (Essays in Idleness)
KAMO no Chomei "Hojoki" (An Account of My Hut)

[Original Japanese]