Sarashina Nikki (更級日記)

"Sarashina Nikki" or "Sarashina no Nikki" (As I crossed a bridge of dreams) is a diary written by the daughter of SUGAWARA no Takasue in around the mid-Heian period. It is a memoir covering approximately forty years from 1020, when the author was thirteen, to 1059, she was around 52-years-old. It has one volume in all.

The author was the second daughter of SUGAWARA no Takasue, who was a fifth generation descendant of SUGAWARA no Michizane.

The mother of FUJIWARA no Michitsuna, the author of "Kagero Nikki" (The Gossamer Years), was her maternal aunt. Although it is counted among diary literature, in the actual form when produced it is considered to have been written at one time.

The author starts the diary from her return to Heiankyo (the present-day Kyoto city) between September and October in 1020 with her father, who had been appointed as an officer at a kokufu in Kazusa Province (the present Chiba Prefecture) in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region).

She describes her young girlhood when she had been absorbed in reading the Tale of Genji and her yearning for the world of that story, and the grim reality that she faced by the repeated deaths of her family and people close to her.

Then comes records of entering the service of Princess Yushi's household, the marriage to TACHIBANA no Toshimichi in her thirties and giving birth to her children such as Nakatoshi.

Then comes the description of her husband's relocating to a new post without taking his family, and his death from illness in the autumn of 1058.

Using a clear and simple style, she describes her inclination to Buddhism that grew deeper and deeper due to her loneliness after her children became independent in addition to the above episodes.

The title 'Sarashina' comes from the poem in the "Kokin wakashu" (Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems), 'Seeing the moon over Mt. Ubasute at the village of Sarashina, I feel disconsolate thinking how far I have traveled.'
On the contrary, in Ichihara City in Chiba Prefecture, there is a ' Sarashina street' named after the "Sarashina Nikki."

All of the existing manuscripts of the "Sarashina Nikki" are in the line of the Gyobutsubon manuscript (The Imperial Book, the property of the Imperial Household), in the hand of FUJIWARA no Sadaie. The text, which has as many as seven pages out of order due to an error in binding, and had been considered difficult to understand since the old days, was revised and edited by Nobutsuna SASAKI and Kosuke TAMAI in 1924. People have enjoyed since then, and it is regarded as one of the representative works among literature in diary form written by women in the Heian period.

[Original Japanese]