“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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The author does not, it is pleasant to report, go mad: In attempt to not spoil anything I will say that this is a much more vivid account of Heian Japan in comparison to Sarashina no Nikki. The annotations of the edition I read helped a lot to understand exactly what was going on at many times.

It’s like she is reflecting on the past year rather than recording events as they happen. Anyway, I’m glad to have read this. Want to Read saving…. The marriage began badly: I read it for a college class, and except for the professor and one friend, everyone thought the woman was whiny.

However, having read “The Tale of Genji,” I decided to have a go with this formidable diary because it “belongs to the same period as the celebrated Tale of Genji” and it “offers a timeless and intimate glimpse into the culture of ancient Japan.

The woman is a good mother and despite her obsession with her wayward husband, Michitsuna’s welfare is always of paramount importance to her.

Too impetuous to be satisfied as a subsidiary wife, this beautiful and unnamed noblewoman of the Heian dynasty protests the marriage system of her time in one of Japanese literature’s earliest attempts to portray difficult elements of the predominant social hierarchy. This might be interesting. Mar 21, Adam rated it liked it Shelves: Jan 08, Rage rated it it was amazing Shelves: She delivers a not so thinly veiled threat to her husband that if he does not take proper care of their son should she die first that she will avenge him from the grave.


This remarkably frank autobiographical diary and personal confession attempts to describe a difficult relationship as it reveals two tempestuous decades of the author’s unhappy marriage and her growing indignation at rival wives and mistresse Kagero Nikkitranslated here as The Gossamer Yearsbelongs to the same period as the celebrated Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikuibu.

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

The author embarks on several. It’s often looked at as a more refined time, when aristocrats conducted frequent religious ceremonies, wrote poetry about love, and Japan was at peace. I couldn’t quite engage with her, I felt her nimki was a little remote and over the top at times. And all the while, even after he and her stop speaking, he sends his robes to her house to be mended. Retrieved from ” https: Articles containing Japanese-language text.

Perhaps, she said to herself, even the story of her own dreary life, set down in a journal, might be of interest; and it might also answer a question: The woman writes about her life, with the greatest focus on her dysfunctional marriage to a man named Fujiwara Kaneie. The diary was interesting, dense and with a lot of things going on. 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 one thing which will stay with me about this book is the emotion within it. It was written in the ‘s in a world quite different from ours by not the most likeable of persons – but what she lacks in likeability she makes up for in personality. Few societies are kind to women. Seidensticker obviously buys into the idea that the kagefo is being unreasonable, at least partially, and I’m not sure how much of his commentary on her mood or the quality of her writing is based kageto comparison with other literature, and how much on her being a woman who dares to be angry with her life.

This book was a nikkki interesting experience. Published December 15th by Tuttle Publishing first published Using a combination of waka poems and prose, she conveys the life of a noblewoman during the Heian period. View all 5 comments. Since it is supposed she started writing the diary somewhere round the yearall the years before that were written down retrospectively and as such are significantly colored by her experiences with her husband.


Surprisingly, the woman feels empathy for the first wife and nikli her several messages, expressing her belief that Fujiwara is abusing both of them. Apr 15, Tina Dalton rated it really liked it Shelves: In expressing her frustration with this system, the Mother of Michitsuna provides valuable insight into the life of married couples during the Heian period.

In itself the content of the book, apart from the historical insight, wasn’t that interesting to me.

Jun 07, Judith rated it liked it Shelves: Fuji did smolder with its clouds of smoke one thousand years ago, No. The way her fluctuating emotions are described as she feels elation at receiving a visit from him to utter despair as she waits days, often months for further acknowledgement from him really touched me. Watson aka umberto rated it kageri it Shelves: And how complicated life was in Japan back then.

The evolution of the Japanese ego: ‘The Gossamer Years’

From her writings you get the impression that her life wasn’t much to envy We’ll have to wait until mid-April to learn the name of Japan’s new era The government is likely to announce the name of jagero next era in mid-April, ahead of kaggero May 1 change of the name from the current Heisei, according to informed sources.

Read more from the Study Guide. Men must love, after all, and how can she blame him if his duties keep him away, or if the direction is inauspicious, or if the weather is poor? It’s nijki to think of people in the past as fundamentally different from modern people, and in some ways they were. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

Books by Michitsuna no Haha.