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Abutsu-ni

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Nun Abutsu is known as a famous poet and essayist who went to the Court to protect the illustrious poetry legacy of the Fujiwara family and her sons’ future. Her husband was Fujiwara Tameie and his father and grandfather were two of the most renowned poets in the late Heian to early Kamakura eras, Fujiwara Teika and Fujiwara Shunzei. After her husband died in 1275, she became a nun, yet she also had the goal to follow her husband’s wishes to make her son, Tamesuke, the legal heir. Her greatest obstacle was her stepson. In order to make an official claim for her son, she had to travel on the Tôkaidô from Kyoto to Kamakura. In Kamakura she wrote the poetic diary, The Waning Moon (Izayoi Nikki) as an account of this trip. It is a major classic from the Kamakura period. Nun Abutsu died while waiting for the court’s decision; twenty years later her son legally became the heir and protector of the Fujiwara poetry manuscripts.

References

  • Carter, Steven D. ed. “Medieval Japanese Writers.” Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: The Gale Group, 1999, Vol. 203, pp. 3-9. Retrieved from http://www.sonic.net/~tabine/JRWWork/Abutsu-ni.pdf.
  • Deal, William E. Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 218.
  • Laffin, Christina. “Diary of the Sixteenth Night.” in Haruo Shirane ed. Traditional Japanese Literature: And Anthology, Beginnings to 1600. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007, pp. 777-789.
  • Reischauer, Edwin and Joseph K. Yamagiwa ed. Translations from Early Japanese Literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964, pp. 1-135.
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