Japan Society Book Club: The Gossamer Years. The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan by Michitsuna no Haha

The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian is the English translation of Kagerō Nikki (lit. the Mayfly Diary), a work of classical Japanese literature that falls under the genre of nikki bungaku or diary literature. Written around 974, Kagerō Nikki is considered the first extant work in Japanese prose written by a woman. The author was a court lady known only as the ‘Mother of Michitsuna’ (Michitsuna no Haha).

It focuses on the development of the author’s relationship with Fujiwara no Kaneie (“the Prince”) and how these experiences affect her. The diary entries detail events of particular emotional significance as well as the Mother of Michitsuna’s deep feelings for Kaneie. Using a combination of waka poems and prose, she conveys the life of a noblewoman during the Heian period.

Date: Monday 11 February 2019, 7.00pm
Venue: The Japan Society, 13 / 14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP

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