Daini no Sanmi (大弐三位)

Daini no Sanmi (ca. 999-ca. 1082) was a female poet who lived during the mid-Heian period. Her father was FUJIWARA no Nobutaka and her mother was Murasaki Shikibu. Her real name was FUJIWARA no Kataiko (also known as Kenshi). She was also called To no Sanmi, Echigo no Ben, or Ben no Menoto (nurse of Imperial Princess Teishi).


In 1001, when she was about three, she lost her father. In 1017, age about eighteen, she succeeded her mother and served FUJIWARA no Shoshi (Jotomonin), the second consort of the Emperor Ichijo. At that time, she was called Echigo no Ben after her grandfather's province of assignment, Echigo, and his official title. During this period, it is known that she had relationships with FUJIWARA no Yorimune, FUJIWARA no Sadayori, MINAMOTO no Asato, and so on. Subsequently, she was married to FUJIWARA no Kanetaka, the second son of the Chancellor (chief adviser to the Emperor) FUJIWARA no Michikane, and bore him a girl. In 1025, when Imperial Prince Chikahito (Emperor Goreizei) was born, she was appointed as his nursemaid.

By 1037, she was married again to Togu Gonnotaijo TAKASHINA no Nariakira, and in 1038 she gave birth to TAKASHINA no Tameie. In 1054, when Emperor Goreizei ascended the throne, she was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), and her husband, Nariakira, also took office as Dazai no daini (Senior Assistant Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices). Her court name, Dazai no Sanmi, was derived from her official court rank and her husband's official title.

Around this period, she composed poems at various utaawase (poetry contest) such as 'Jotomonin Kikuawase' (1028), 'Dairi Utaawase' (the palace poetry contest) (1049), and 'Imperial Princess Yushi's Utaawase' (1050). In 1078, she joined 'Dairi Goban Utaawase' on behalf of her son, Tameie, in spite of her great age, about eighty.

Her collection of poetry is "Daini no Sanmi shu" (also called To no Sanmi shu"). Her thirty-seven poems were collected for "Goshui Wakashu" (Later Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poetry). In addition, her poem, 'Near Mt. Arima, the wind blows rustling Ina's bamboo grasses. It is you who forgot me, though I still love you.' was selected for 'Ogura Hyakunin Isshu' (Ogura Anthology of One Hundred Tanka-poems by One Hundred Poets).

She is sometimes mentioned as the author of Uji jujo (The Ten Quires of Uji) of "The Tale of Genji" and "Sagoromo Monogatari" (The Tale of Sagoromo), though it is not certain whether or not this is true.

[Original Japanese]