The Ippen hijiri-e (Illustrated Life of the Holy Man Ippen, 1299) by En'i is distinctive among medieval Japanese hagiographic emaki (picture handscrolls) for its use of a high, distant vantage point in each of the forty-eight scenes. This article situates the Ippen within the development of the landscape handscroll in East Asia. While the Ippen is usually understood as a biographical narative, it can also be seen as an ink landscape journey in handscroll form. A comparison between the Ippen hijiri-e, the Shōjūraigoji Six Realms paintings (before 1307), and the Yamai no sōshi (Scroll of Afflictions, 12th–13th centuries) suggests that the pulled back view also emphasizes the karmic interweaving of actions and individuals in the larger world.

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