Episode 383 – Hell Hath no Fury

Today, we’re taking a look at a fascinating literary text from 1000 years ago, the Kagero Nikki (most commonly translated as “The Gossamer Diary”). This is the life story of a woman whose name is not known to us, and her tumultuous, borderline abusive relationship with her husband — and a tale of how, ultimately, she is able to find peace.


Seidensticker, Edward. The Gossamer Years.

Watanabe, Minoru and Richard Bowring. “Style and Point of View in the Kagero Nikki.” Journal of Japanese Studies 10, No 2 (Summer, 1984)

Wakita, Haruko and Suzanne Gay. “Marriage and Property in Premodern Japan from the Perspective of Women’s History.” Journal of Japanese Studies 10, No 1 (Winter, 1984).

A fascinating essay on the depression thesis regarding Kagero Nikki.


An illustration of a scene from Kagero Nikki by the Edo period artist Yashima Gyakutei.
An illustration of the Mother of Michitsuna along with her poem from the Hyakunin Ishhu.
Fujiwara no Kaneie, as illustrated by the Edo era artist Kikuchi Yosai.
An Edo era woodcut of the Mother of Michitsuna. Her fashion in this image is far more Edo period than Heian period, but it does illustrate nicely her enduring cultural appeal.

1 thought on “Episode 383 – Hell Hath no Fury”

  1. This only makes me more hopeful that an Ogura Hyakunin Isshu episode is coming after that horribly sad story.

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