Taikenmonin no Horikawa (待賢門院堀河)

Taikenmonin no Horikawa (dates of birth and death unknown) was a female poet who lived during the late Heian period. Her father was Jingi haku (a chief official in charge of matters relating to Shintoism) MINAMOTO no Akinaka. She had sisters such as Taifu no Suke and Josaimonin no Hyoe. Her name had the title of Hakujo or Hakukyojo or Hakukeijo affixed. She was one of the Thirty-six Immortal Lady Poets.

At first, she served Shirakawain's Imperial Princess Reishi (Zensaiin), being called Rokujo, and then she served the second consort of Emperor Toba, Taikenmonin FUJIWARA no Shoshi, so came to be called Horikawa. In 1142, when Taikenmonin Shoshi took the tonsure and entered the priesthood, she followed her master and became a nun. She joined 'Sessho Sadaijin Tadamichi Uta-awase (poetry contest)' and 'Nishinomiya Uta-awase,' and in 1143, she was invited by Sutokuin to compose a poem for 'Kyuan Hyaku shu' (one-hundred poem sequence of the Kyuan era). Zotoka (poetry exchanged between man and woman) which she exchanged with Saigyo still remains in existence.

Her poems were collected in the "Kinyo Wakashu" (Kinyo Collection of Japanese Poems) and other successive Chokusen Wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by the Imperial command). "A Collection of Taikenmonin no Horikawa" is her personal collection of poems. The eightieth poem in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (the Ogura Anthology of One Hundred Tanka-poems by One Hundred Poets) was composed by her.

[Original Japanese]