Jien (慈円, 17 May 1155 in Kyoto – 28 October 1225 in Omi) was a Japanese poet, historian, and Buddhist monk.[1]

Born17 May 1155
Died28 October 1225(1225-10-28) (aged 70)
Omi (now Shiga)
OccupationBuddhist monk
Genrehistory, poetry
SubjectJapanese history


Jien was the son Fujiwara no Tadamichi, a member of the Fujiwara clan of powerful aristocrats. He joined a Tendai monastery of the early in his life, first taking the Buddhist name Dokaei, and later changing it to Jien. He eventually rose to the rank of Daisōjō (大僧正), leader of the Tendai.

He began to study and write Japanese history, his purpose being to "enlighten people who find it hard to understand the vicissitudes of life". His masterpiece, completed around 1220, was humbly entitled, Gukanshō, which translates as Jottings of a Fool. In it he tried to analyze the facts of Japanese history. The Gukanshō held a mappo and therefore pessimistic view of his age, the Feudal Period, and claimed that it was a period of religious decline and saw the disintegration of civilization. This is the viewpoint generally held today. Jien claimed that changes in the feudal structure were necessary and defended the shōgun's claim of power.

As a poet, he was named one of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry, and was the second-best represented poet in the Shin Kokin Wakashū. He was included by Fujiwara no Teika in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sato, Hiroaki (1995). Legends of the Samurai. Overlook Duckworth. p. 151. ISBN 9781590207307.