The Narrow Road to the Interior and Hojoki

  • by Matsuo Basho, Kamo no Chomei
  • Narrated by Togo Igawa
  • 2 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Japanese poetry is well-known for its clarity and concision, and The Narrow Road to the Interior and Hojoki are two of the best-loved, and most intensely Japanese, works of their kind; famous for their beautiful, delicate verse and subtle insight into the human condition. It has been said of The Narrow Road that 'it was as if the very soul of Japan had itself written it'. It takes the form of a travel diary, and traces the poet's journey from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to the northern interior. Hojoki, a much earlier work written by Chomei, a Buddhist hermit, is essentially a meditation on the transience of the world. Read by the famous classical Japanese actor Togo Igawa, the full beauty of its ancient cadences and rhythms is drawn out.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.


Audible Editor Reviews

This fine rendering of two classic Japanese tales about the contemplative life demonstrates the power and effectiveness of the Naxos method of combining classic literature and classical music. The modern translations are enriched with verse excerpts in Japanese, traditional Japanese instruments in the musical bridges, and the use of Japanese actors as narrators. "Höjöki" ("The Ten-Foot Square Hut") is the shorter and more accessible of the two works, and Togo Igawa is the more appealing of the two narrators. Takashi Sudo and his tale require more patience, and closer attention. This outstanding production is an excellent introduction to two of the staples of Japanese literature.


What the Critics Say

" Hojoki, like Virgil's Eclogues, is a poetical hymn to pastoralism. Basho's equally passionate." ( The Guardian)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Straw slippers

After hearing these two readings I feel I have to try to distill the essence of the stories into as few words as possible. Reflecting the world in a microcosm, distilling life into a haiku poem is illustrated by these two masters of the art. Hojoki's descriptions of the destructive force of the elements - fire, air and earth are terrifyingly vivid and Basho's haiku poems inspired by his travels evoke unforgettable images in one's mind. The beauty of the county conjures up the ink sketches and lyrical woodblock prints of Japanses artists like Hokusai.

It is nice to hear poems in Japanese translated and read by Togo Igawa; to sympathize with the sufferings and hardships of the journey or to feel touched by a parting gift of straw slippers from a friend on the journey.

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- Rogayah

Excellent text - hard to hear!

What a pity, that the editor should have chosen a reader with such a heavy Japanese accent, that it is virtually impossible to understand the text in English! This is hardly necessary in order to create 'ambience'...

Otherwise a great text, and I regret only having being able to hear ca two thirds of it.
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- Annika

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-08-2008
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks