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OKAGAMI, The Great Mirror

OKAGAMI, The Great Mirror: Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1027) and His Times

A Study and Translation by Helen Craig McCullough
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    OKAGAMI, The Great Mirror
    Book Description:

    Presented here in a new and complete translation is the Japanese classic Okagami, an historical talc that mirrors a man's life and the times in which he lived. Dating from the late eleventh or early twelfth century, it focuses on Fujiwara Michinaga, the leading political figure in the great family that dominated the court during most of the Helan period.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5593-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-62)

    The Question of GenreFor the western reader confronted with a book calledThe Great Mirror, the question that springs to mind is, “Mirror of what?”A Mirrour for Magistrates, The Mirror of Alchemy, The Mirror of Salvation, Speculum Caritatis, The Mirrour of Mirth and Pleasant Conceits, The Mirrour of Good Manners, Speculum Historiale—those and many similarly titled medieval and Renaissance works, as well as their innumerable modern successors, have led us to expect an immense variety of possible subjects. In China, on the other hand, the mirror image is closely associated with history. Ssu-ma Ch’ien (145?-86? b.c.) said,...

  5. The Great Mirror Translation

      (pp. 65-89)

      It happened recently that I attended an enlightenment sermon at the Urin’in,¹ where I witnessed an encounter between three people of extraordinary and disturbing antiquity—two graybeards and a crone, who had, it seemed, sat down in the same place by chance. How strange that such a trio should have come together! As I stared, they laughed and exchanged glances.

      “For years now, I have been wanting to meet someone from the old days with whom to discuss what has been going on in the world, and especially to talk about the fortunes of our present Novice Excellency,”² one of...

      (pp. 90-126)

      Fuyutsugi was Minister of State Uchimaro’s third son. His mother was a daughter of Asukabe Natomaro of Senior Sixth Upper Rank. He was a senior noble for sixteen years and a minister of state for six. Because he was Emperor Montoku’s grandfather, he was posthumously granted the title of Chancellor on the Seventeenth of the Seventh Month in the third year of Kashō [850]. He is called the Kan’in Minister of State.

      This minister is said to have been the father of eleven sons, but it is hard to keep them¹ straight. I know very little about them, except that...

      (pp. 127-161)

      Morosuke was Tadahira’s second son. His mother was a daughter of Minamoto Yoshiari, the Minister of the Right. He is known as the Kujō Lord. He was a senior noble for twenty-six years and a minister of state for fourteen. It was a great pity that he died leaving one grandson who was a Crown Prince and two others who were the reigning Emperor’s fourth and fifth sons. Since he was still under sixty, he should have had a long future, and there must have been many things that he looked forward to. (Although he had lowered his voice to...

      (pp. 162-183)

      Kaneie, the Higashisanjō Minister of State, was Morosuke’s third son. He had the same mother as Koremasa. He was the uncle of Emperors Reizei and En’yū, the grandfather of Emperors Ichijō and Sanjō, and the father of the Higashisanjō Imperial Lady and of Posthumous Empress Chōshi. He was a senior noble for twenty years, a minister of state for twelve, a Regent for five, and a Chancellor for two. The period of glory during which he governed the state lasted for five years. He entered holy orders, so he has no posthumous name.

      Needless to say, Kaneie rode in a...

      (pp. 184-214)

      Michinaga is Kaneie’s fifth son. His mother was a daughter of Fujiwara Nakamasa of Junior Fourth Upper Rank, the governor of Settsu and Master of the Right Capital Office. Nakamasa was the seventh son of Middle Counselor Yamakage of Junior Second Rank.

      Michinaga is our present Novice Excellency, the father-in-law of former Emperors Ichijō and Sanjō and the grandfather of the Emperor and the Crown Prince. He became a Provisional Middle Counselor in his twenty-third year, without passing through the office of Consultant. It was in that year that Jōtōmon’in was born. On the Twenty-Seventh of the Fourth Month [of...

      (pp. 215-240)

      The attendant interrupted this remarkable dialogue. “We are learning some fascinating things,” he said. “What are your earliest memories? It would be especially interesting to hear about them. Won’t you please give us a few?”

      I have a clear recollection of the things I have seen and heard since the age of six or seven(Yotsugi said). There would be no way of proving I was telling the truth about trivial incidents, so let me speak of an important happening when I was nine.

      You all know the place where Emperor Kōkō lived while he was a Prince. My father’s...

  6. APPENDIX A. Persons and Places Mentioned in the Text
    (pp. 241-294)
  7. APPENDIX B. Translations from Other Ōkagami Textual Lines
    (pp. 295-304)
  8. APPENDIX C. Chronology of the Ōkagami Period
    (pp. 305-334)
  9. APPENDIX D. The Fujiwara Role in Japanese Court History from Kamatari to Michinaga
    (pp. 335-356)
  10. Figure 1. Heiankyō
    (pp. 357-357)
  11. Figure 2. The Greater Imperial Palace (Daidairi)
    (pp. 358-358)
  12. Figure 3. The Imperial Residential Compound (Dairi)
    (pp. 359-359)
  13. Figure 4. The Emperor’s Residence (Seiryōden)
    (pp. 360-360)
  14. List of Works Cited
    (pp. 361-366)
  15. Index
    (pp. 367-381)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 382-382)