Friday, 5 June 2009
The Sarashina Diary is a memoir written by Lady Sarashina (as she is commonly known), a lady-in-waiting of Heian-period Japan. Her work stands out for its descriptions of her travels and pilgrimages and is unique in the literature of the period, as well as one of the first in the genre of travel writing.
The most authoritative copy of Sarashina Nikki is one produced by Fujiwara no Teika in the 13th century, some two hundred years after Lady Sarashina wrote the original. Teika copied Lady Sarashina’s work once (one of the pages shown above), but his first transcription was borrowed and lost; the manuscript he worked from was itself a second-generation copy of a lost transcription. To compound the problems, sometime in the 17th century Teika’s transcription was rebound, but the binder changed the order of the original in seven places, making the diary less valuable and more difficult for scholars to understand. In 1924, Nobutsuna Sasaki and Kōsuke Tamai, two classical literature scholars, examined the original Teika manuscript and finally discovered what had happened, leading to a reevaluation of Sarashina’s work. It is from this correctly re-ordered version that all modern versions are made.
Sourced from Fujiwara no Teika.