Kaidoki (海道記)

Kaido-ki (Travel Diary) is a traveler's journal that is thought to have been written in 1223. It describes the travels of a person named SHIRAKAWA no Wabishi from his departure from Kyoto for Kamakura on May 12, 1223; his arrival in Kamakura on May 25; the cancellation of his plan to visit Zenko-ji Temple; as well his return to Kyoto. It is one of the three great travel journals of the middle ages (the other two are "Tokankiko" (Journal of a Journey to Tokan) and "Izayoi Nikki" (Diary of the Sixteenth Night). Its author is unknown.

In the early modern period, this book was published in 1664 as "Kamo no Chomei Kaidoki" with an epilogue written by Yusai HOSOKAWA dating from 1597, and it has therefore long been thought that the author was KAMO no Chomei. The theory that the author was KAMO no Chomei is negated by the fact that there is a discrepancy between the year of his death and the writing of this book. Because the author must have been a person well versed in Chinese classics and waka poetry, there is a theory that the author was MINAMOTO no Mitsuyuki, the majority of opinion is doubtful of this view due to a discrepancy with his career. However, if it is assumed that part of this book is fictitious, it is not unreasonable that it could have been written by MINAMOTO no Mitsuyuki. Another view asserts that the author was FUJIWARA no Hideyoshi. In recent years, a theory has emerged that the author was Yukinaga; who was Shimotsuke no Kami (governor of Shimotsuke Province), Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and a brother of Muneyuki; based on descriptions that are particularly mournful of Muneyuki HAMURO, who was a victim of the Jokyu War, and express disappointment at the conflict. Yukinaga, Shimotsuke no Kami with the rank of Jugoinoge, is thought to be Shinano no Zenji Yukinaga who is considered to be the author of "Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike), so it is possible that he also wrote this book. Since none of the theories are able to decisively identify the author, there is no alternative but to state that the author is unknown and await the findings of future research.

The book is written in pianliti (a Chinese style of composition with alternating lines of four and six characters) and makes frequent use of couplets. It contains many special terms based on the ancient readings of classical Chinese. Content from "Wakan Roeishu" (lit. Collection of Chinese and Japanese Poems for Singing) and "Honcho Monzui" (anthology of waka poems and prose written in classical Chinese) as well as Buddhist terms are frequently used, and it contains ideological think that transcends the boundaries of other travel journals. It states that Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly the Kanto region) is a place well suited for spiritual awakening and ascetic practice.

It can be said that one of the author's intentions was to give a tour of utamakura (place names used in Japanese poetry) locations. In particular, it describes visits to places connected to "Ise Monogatari" (The Tales of Ise) and recollections of the ruins of Narihira. It also vividly describes the details of various picturesque places such as Mt. Fuji, the most sacred mountain in Tokaido, and the Tenchu-gawa River (Tenryu-gawa River).

[Original Japanese]