Episode 454 – That All My Dreams Might Not Prove Empty

This week: in 1940, a manuscript lost for over 600 years is recovered from the archives of the Imperial family. Within it lies the story of a fascinating woman, and her journey from imperial concubine to Buddhist nun–a journey that covers everything from high politics to the lives of common folk.


Brazell, Karen. The Confessions of Lady Nijo

Tonomura, Hitomi. “Coercive Sex in the Medieval Japanese Court: Lady Nijo’s Memoir.” Monumenta Nipponica 61, No 3 (Autumn 2006)

Kimura, Saeko. “Regenerating Narratives: The Confessions of Lady Nijo as a Story for Women’s Salvation.” Review of Japanese Culture and Society 19.


Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine outside Kyoto. As a member of the Koga family, Lady Nijo shared an uji (family god) with the Minamoto clan–the war god Hachiman. She would visit his shrines regularly.
Emperor Go-Fukakusa. We do not have any surviving images of Lady Nijo.
A map of central Kyoto. The yellow bit is the daidairi, the grounds of the imperial palace. Nijo-oji, or 2nd Avenue, runs east-west just south of it.

1 thought on “Episode 454 – That All My Dreams Might Not Prove Empty”

  1. You mentioned she empathized with a despised social class. Are you saying she talked about the burakumin in her book? What did she say?

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