Zokihoshishu (増基法師集)

"Zokihoshishu" is a collection of Japanese poetry in the Heian Period. Also called "Ionushi" or "Ionushi Nikki (Diary of Master of the Hermitage)." Ionushi, meaning Master of the Hermitage, is a penname of the priest Zoki.

This was a personal collection of poetry in the Heian Period, but it was also a narrative travel diary because it started with 30 poems on the journey to Kumano and ended with 50 poems of the diary in Totomi Province. In "Gunsho ruiju" (A Classified Collection of the Japanese Classics), "Zokihoshishu" was placed in the category of 'Travel' (volume no. 327).

The accurate year of completion is unknown but it is estimated that the collection had been completed by the mid-11th century at the latest based on the facts that two poems from "Zokihoshishu" were included in "Gengen shu" (a personal collection of poetry by Noin) that was completed during Eien and Kantoku era (987-1048); ten poems were selected in "GoShui wakashu" compiled and presented to the Emperor in 1086.

"Zokihoshishu" has three sections. One section is 'Kumano Kiko' (Travel to Kumano) of 30 waka (Japanese poetry) with relatively long kotobagaki (preface); and the other is 'Totomi Kiko' (Travel to Totomi) of 50 waka with short kotobagaki; and a section of 43 miscellaneous poems in the middle of these two sections.

Kumano Kiko' is a narrative travel diary in which Zoki left Iwashimizu one winter, passed Sumiyoshi and Kishu before he paid pilgrimages to major shrines in Kumano, and went back home via Ise-ji Route. The author wished to escape from the world and live as his heart leads, so he planned a travel to visit utamakura (places famed in classical Japanese poetry) and pay pilgrimages shrines without any companion, and he made poems on absence of absolutes using scenery and the nature that he encountered on the road. Like Noin and Saigyo, who were known as wandering poets, he loved to travel. Totomi Diary' was poetries made during the three-month travel from Kyoto to Hamana.

His style of poetry is simple and clear, and "Kumano Kiko" in particular has the quality worth attention as a prose literature.

Famous books of transcription and published books of "Zokihoshishu" are Katsura no Miya Text in the Archives and Mausolea Department of The Imperial Household Agency, manuscripts included in the Gunsho ruiju and Fuso shuyoshu; however, these existant books are descendants of the same source. Manuscripts included in the Gunsho ruiju contain characters indicating that these were based on 'Asho (chief councillor of state) Tameuji' true handwriting manuscript,' but the main text is severely damaged. There are many differences between poetries in "Zokihoshishu" and those selected in other poetry collections including 25 poems found in the imperial anthology, and "GoShui wakashu" includes two poems by Zoki that are not found in "Zokihoshishu", so these facts imply that there were another personal poetry collection of Zoki in addition to "Zokihoshishu."

[Original Japanese]