Joben (浄弁)

Joben (date of birth unknown - around 1356?) was a poet and a Tendai sect monk who lived during the Kamakura period. His origin is unknown. He became a betto (the superior of a temple) of Shoren-in Temple under the patronage of the Cloistered Imperial Prince Sonen. Known as the father of Unkei, one of The Four Heavenly Kings of Waka, Joben is also counted among the four.

He served for maintaining the study of Nijo School's poetry, teaching family traditions as well as shohon (premised book) of the 'Kokin shu' (abbreviation for Kokin Wakashu - A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry) to his son, Unkei, and those who were from the Kyushu District such as Hidetoki AKAHASHI and Sadamune OTOMO.

His poems were collected in an Imperial anthology of poetry, 'Shoku Senzai Wakashu' (Waka Collection of a Thousand Years Continued) and succeeding Imperial Anthologies. His personal collection of poetry is 'Joben Narabini Unkei Kashu' (A Collection of Poems by Joben and Unkei).

[Original Japanese]