Abutsuni (阿仏尼)

Abutsuni (1222 ? - May 13, 1283) was a female waka (traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) poet in the mid Kamakura period. Her name as a court lady was Ankamonin no shijo, and alternatively, Uemon no suke. Her biological father and mother are unknown. She was adopted by TAIRA no Norishige. However, there is also a view that says that she was a biological daughter, not an adopted daughter, of TAIRA no Norishige.

Brief Biography
She was serving Imperial Princess Kuniko, but because of the shock of a broken heart from her first love in her teens, she decided to enter the nunhood and became a nun. However, she continued to maintain her connection with the secular world. At the age of about 30 she became a concubine of FUJIWARA no Tameie, and she gave birth to Tamesuke Reizei. After Tameie's death, she fought against his lawful wife's son, Tameuji NIJO, over the inheritance of Hosokawa no Sho in Harima Province (present-day Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture). In 1279, she went to Kamakura in order to appeal to the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). This trip, as well as her stay in Kamakura, are noted in 'Izayoi Nikki' (The Diary of the Sixteenth Night). There is a theory that holds that she died in Kamakura before the court decision was made. There is also a theory that holds that she died after she returned to Kyoto. She participated in 'Koan Hyakushu' (One Hundred poems of the Koan Era). Also, there exist 'Ankamonin no Shijo Gohyakushu' (Five Hundred Poems of Ankamonin no Shijo) as well as 'Ankamonin no Shijo Hyakushu' (One Hundred Poems of Ankamonin no Shijo), which she dedicated to ten shrines in the Kanto region upon praying for her victory in the court case.

Her work was included in the Chokusen Wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command) after 'Shokukokin Wakashu' (Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry Continued). She had a treatise on waka poetry called 'Yoru no Tsuru' (A Night Crane). Also, 'Utatane' (Fitful Slumbers) that she wrote in her youth is a diary noting details of her broken heart.

Major works
Izayoi Nikki
Utatane (Abutsuni)
Yoru no Tsuru
Menoto no Fumi (Letter from the Wet Nurse)

[Original Japanese]