Column by Hospital Director

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2019.08.01

The rakusho, or graffiti, of Nijo Kawara, which begins with the congeries, “That which is afoot everywhere in the Capital–nightly raids, robbery, conspiracy, mistresses, urgent tidings, and much ado about nothing,” is said to have been left on a wall near the banks of the Kamogawa River in 1335 during the Kenmu Restoration. The graffiti consists of eighty-eight verses sardonically commenting on the social upheaval of the period by listing the vices which were rampant in the times as ‘hayarimono’ or ‘things in fashion’ and ends with the wry observation, “Oh happy the day that has seen our empire united! Strange and wonderful are the things which this age has spawned; yet have I given but a tenth of all that be if the rumors of the folk of Kyoto are true.” We are left wondering what sort of person felt compelled to inscribe this mordant observation on the times…

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