"Tsure- zure" means ennui, the state of being bored and having nothing in particular to do, of being quietly lost in thought.However some interpretations say it means “idleness” or “leisure.” “Gusa” is a compound variant of the Japanese word “kusa” (grass).
In 1336, the year that Kenko accomplished the 234 passages of Tsurezuregusa, Ashikaga Takauji founded the Muromachi shogunate and became the first shogun.
In his youth, Kenko became an officer of guards at the Imperial palace.
After the seventeenth century, Tsurezuregusa became a part of the curriculum in the Japanese educational system, and Kenko's views have held a prominent place in Japanese life ever since.
Turezuregusa is one of the three representative Japanese classics, together with Hojoki by Kamo no Chomei (1212), and The Pillow Book (Makura no soshi) by Sei Shonagon(990).
The work was written in the zuihitsu ("follow-the-brush") style, a type of stream-of-consciousness writing that allowed the writer's brush to skip from one topic to the next, led only by the direction of thoughts.
Some are brief remarks of only a sentence or two; others recount a story over a few pages, often with discursive personal commentary added.
Kenko was born just two years after the second Mongol Invasion.
One year after his birth, Hojo Tokimune, regent of the Kamakura shogunate, known for defending Japan against the Mongol forces, died.
According to legend, the monk Yoshida Kenko lived in a hermitage inside a Zen temple called Jyo–Gyo Ji (modern-day Yokohama City).
Kenko wrote during the Muromachi and Kamakura periods.