Episode 341 – The Femme Fatale

This week, we’re focusing on the story of Ono no Komachi, a mysterious poet from the 800s whose poems were used to construct a fictional persona entirely separate from who she actually was. How did this happen? Why does it matter? And what can we learn from telling the history of a made up character?


Here’s wakapoetry.net’s resources on Ono no Komachi.

Strong, Sarah. “The Making of a Femme Fatale: Ono no Komachi in the Early Medieval Commentaries.” Monumenta Nipponica 49, No 4 (Winter 1994).

Teele, Roy et al. Ono no Komachi: Poems, Stories, No Plays. 

Unfortunately it’s only in Japanese, but this is a link to a performance of Sotoba Komachi.

An elderly Ono no Komachi gazes at the moon. By the Meiji woodblock artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.
Komachi in her full beauty. By the Edo woodcut artist Utagawa Kunisada.
A scene of Sotoba Komachi, illustrated by the Edo era woodcut artist Eishokai Choki. From the British Museum.

2 thoughts on “Episode 341 – The Femme Fatale”

Comments are closed.