“The Kagero Diary,” is the autobiographical recordings of a Japanese woman from the tenth century. The book is translated by Sonja Arntzen from the original. In the Introduction to his revised translation of Kagero nikki, which he called The Gossamer Years, Edward Seidensticker argued that the worst sin of a translator. Watanabe: Kagero nikki later addition, hence this passage, coming as it does immediately after the preface, can be taken as the true beginning of the diary.

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Reading this has somehow made me interested in other literature from the Heian period. Her comments form an insightful and eye-opening view of the marriage rituals of her time.


I read this book for a paper I wrote on the marriage practices of Heian Japan. Instead, it is a calm yet melancholic memoir of a woman trap This review will consist of two parts, a response to the actual material and the work of the translator. To ask other readers questions about The Gossamer Yearsplease niki up.

The Kagero Diary: A Woman’s Autobiographical Text from Tenth-century… Summary & Study Guide

In the final section of the book, the woman finally finds peace in her heart. I think that is what I enjoyed the most. I’d like to see a more modern translation, or a rendering into modern Japanese, and see what the text is like then.

Throughout the first two sections of the book, the misery that kagedo disappointing marriage has caused her is the focal point of her entries and is poignantly obvious to those who read her words some one thousand years later. The author sat and sat, brooded and brooded: The translation is by Edward Seidensticker.

The entries begin when the older Fujiwara first shows interest in the kavero woman. Sep 29, SillySuzy rated it really liked it Shelves: Although this book can be described as beautiful in regard to the prose or the poetry, this book is not just a rose coloured look at life in the Heian age for a woman married to a nobleman of the time. According to her diary, the Mother of Michitsuna devoted her life to her children, and Michitsuna later was able to attain the position of Major Counselor.


View the Lesson Plans. Historically this is of ni,ki interest and significance as it was originally a personal diary written for maybe her daughter to read.

Probably written from onwards. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan

I felt he did a marvelous job both translating the diary into English and being completely transparent with the reader when he himself encountered translation obstacles like mutilated text. She would just as soon have declined the honor. He repeatedly rode his carriage past her gate without stopping, with one of his new paramours in company, and the author cannot understand what happened to all his protestations of devotion as immortal as the moon.

The annotations of the edition I read helped a lot to understand exactly what was going on at many times. I couldn’t quite engage with her, I felt her writing was a little remote and over the top at times. This book is one of the classics of Japanese literature, which was the main reason I picked this one up. Blame who or what you will — her suffering is real, gnawing, bitter.

Life in Japan at that time was very much centered around the seasonal changes and things to do with nature and the weather. Three stars because it’s not an easy read and, despite the notes at the end, I could not follow the diary that well. Published December 15th by Tuttle Publishing first published Michitsuna no Haha c. Couldn’t put it down. Just nine months later, she gives birth to a son, Michitsuna. Born in as the daughter of a provincial governor, Fujiwara no Tomoyasuthe Mother of Michitsuna was a lower- to mid-level member of the aristocratic class.

Women are crazy, he says to the officials.

It may be a new way of printing things but, compared to those with footnote-like Notes, I found reading them more convenient by just looking down for any Note I want to know more instead of turning to the Notes section somewhere near the end. Therefore, there should definitely be No.


It’s a good thing you’re not like her, he says to his new lover. Lists with This Book. The author embarks on several. Pressed by her family into an advantageous marriage, she joined, without enthusiasm but also without repugnance, the small harem of a leading member of the most powerful family of the time.

The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan by Michitsuna no Haha

It is likely that Fujiwara no Kaneieher husband, asked the Mother of Michitsuna to create such a collection for their family. It was all extremely sad, I thought, and when someone as distant as I from the event was so deeply affected there can hardly have been a dry sleeve in the city. Although Fujiwara never changes and becomes the husband she dreamed of as a young woman, she has come to accept him and focuses her attention on her children, her spiritual life and her community.

From the three I’ve read I’ll categorize katero like this: The Actual Diary I would highly recommend anyone looking to read this book to put nikoi their 21st century expectations of writing, as this book is not full of juicy gossip or intrigue. They go on pilgrimages. Page through What kind of husband can a man so distracted be?

Feb 05, Rebecca oagero it really liked it Shelves: Fujiwara later takes up with a promiscuous woman named Omi and has a child with another woman nnikki whom he has bikki a casual affair. The fish traps stretched away into the distance, and small boats dotted the surface, now passing up and down, now crossing one another in and out, more of them than I had ever seen before. He has a child with his first wife who tries her best to win Fujiwara back.

Return to Book Page. This is a real diary.