Title: Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan
Author: Translated by Annie Shepley Omori and Kochi Doi, Introduction by Amy Lowell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920. First edition.
Condition: Hardcover, hard cream boards with cloth spine. In very good condition for its age. Some wear on spine and corners. With several illustrations.
A collection of three translated diaries written during the latter part of the Heian Period (11th century A.D.). The original authors, Sugawara no Takasue no musume, Murasaki Shikibu, and Izumi Shikibu, were all women of the Japanese court; the latter two known also for their novels and poetry, respectively.
Introduction by Amy Lowell
I. The Sarashina Diary
II. The Diary of Murasaki Shikibu
III. The Diary of Izumi Shikibu
One wet and calm evening I was talking with Lady Saisho. The young Lord1 of the Third Rank sat with the misu2 partly rolled up. He seemed maturer than his age and was very graceful. Even in light conversation such expressions as “Fair soul is rarer than fair face” come gently to his lips, covering us with confusion. It is a mistake to treat him like a young boy. He keeps his dignity among ladies, and I saw in him a much-sought-after romantic hero when once he walked off reciting to himself:
Linger in the field where flower-maidens are blooming
And your name will be tarnished with tales of gallantry.
Some such trifle as that sometimes lingers in my mind when really interesting things are soon forgotten – why?
1 Yorimichi, the Prime Minister Fujiwara Michinaga’s son, who was then sixteen years old.
2 Misu: a thin finely woven bamboo curtain, behind which one may see but not be seen, hung before great personages and women’s apartments.