Episode 432 – The Tale of Nakako, Part 2

This week: just what sort of scandal sent Nakanoin Nakako to the far end of Japan, and how did fate intervene to set her on a new course once again? And what can we learn from trying to trace a life like this through a tangle of sources which touch on it largely indirectly?


Rowley, G.G. An Imperial Concubine’s Tale: Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in 17th Century Japan.

Caddeau, Patrick, Lewis Cook, Wiebke Denecke, Michael Emmerich, Michael Jamentz, Christina Laffin, James McMullen, et al. Reading The Tale of Genji: Sources from the First Millennium. Edited by Thomas Harper and Haruo Shirane.



A satellite map of Niijima (the larger island) and Shikinejima. Even today, as tourist destinations, you get a sense of how cramped and remote a place of exile this was.
A colorized Meiji era photo of Ajiro, the harbor in Izu from which Nakako departed.
Emperor Go-Yozei, the man who sentenced Nakako to exile.
The coast of Nagatsuro (now the Nakagi district of Minamiizu), where Nakako was shipwrecked.
Nijo village in what’s now Minamiizu, where Nakako was exiled. Taken from Google maps because there are not a lot of photos out there of random villages in rural Japan, turns out.