Tsutsumi Chunagon Monogatari (堤中納言物語)

Tsutsumi Chunagon Monogatari (The Riverside Counselor's Tales) is a collection of short stories edited in the late Heian period or later in Japan. The editor is unknown. It consists of ten short story pieces, and one incomplete fragment. The pieces were written by different authors at various times. The latest piece was most likely written in the 13th century or later.

Except for "Osaka Koenu Gon Chunagon," the authors of all ten pieces and exactly when they were written are unknown.
However, "Fuyo Wakashu" (collection of Japanese poems based on fictional stories), edited in 1271, contains poetry from the same, 'Hanazakura Oru Shosho (Chusho),' 'Haizumi,' 'Hodohodo no Keso,' and 'Kaiawase.'
Therefore, the stories were certainly written before 1271.

None of the ten stories has a character called Tsutsumi Chunagon. How and why it was so titled is unknown.
According to one theory, it was called 'Tsutsumi no Monogatari' because various stories (monogatari) were wrapped (tsutsumi) so that the stories might not come apart; then it was related to a real person, Tsutsumi Chunagon (FUJIWARA no Kanesuke) and in the end became 'Tsutsumi Chunagon Monogatari.'
In addition, there are various other theories.


It consists of the following ten stories and an incomplete fragment. The order and titles of the stories may differ depending on the manuscript. Furthermore, all existing manuscripts were written in the Edo period.

Osaka Koenu Gon Chunagon

It is the only story whose author and year of writing are identified. It was written in 1055 by Koshikibu (Koshikibu no Naishi is a different person). The story was originally written for the 'Rokujosaiin Monogatari awase' (Collection of unusual stories with Japanese poems). It depicts the so-called 'Kaoru style' (indecisive style like that of Kaoru, a character of The Tale of Genji) love of a young noble.

Story line: the Chunagon (vice-councilor of state), who is a perfect young noble in every way, visits an imperial princess whom he falls for. However, in the end he hesitates to sleep with her.

Hanazakura oru shosho (Chusho)

Depending on the manuscript, the official rank of the main character may be shosho (major general), chusho (lieutenant general), or taisho (general), and the title differs accordingly.

Story line: The main character, Shosho, falls for a beautiful princess and tries to snatch her before she enters the court as an Imperial Consort bride. However, he accidentally takes the princess's grandmother.

Mushi mezuru himegimi

According to one theory, the story is based on Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state) FUJIWARA no Munesuke, called 'Hachikai no Otodo' (Beekeeper Minister of State), and his daughter.

Nausicaa of animation cartoonist Hayao MIYAZAKI's "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind" was inspired by the princess.

Story line: The princess of Azechi (inspector of the provincial government) chief councillor of state is beautiful and noble. However, even after her Mogi (coming-of-age ceremony for girls), she does not wear make up, paint her eyebrows, paint her teeth black, or write hiragana (Japanese syllabary characters). She is a strange princess who does not love pretty things but loves hairy caterpillars. A tasteful man who has entered the residence looks into the situation and reads poetry.

Kono tsuide

Story line: When incense is burned to beguile the tedium and boredom of the Empress (or court lady), Saisho no Chujo (Consultant Captain), who is a younger brother of the Empress, and nyobo (court ladies) Chunagon no kimi and Shosho no kimi, talk together about touching episodes they have heard before.


It is a short story in letter style. It is written as if the author cited the content of a letter.

Story line: A Buddhist priest wrote a long letter to borrow goods; the contents of his letter are astonishing.

Hanada no nyogo (Hanabana no nyogo)

There are various views on the title; They may be broadly classified as follows.
Whether the first word is supposed to be 'Hanada' or 'Hanabana.'
If it is 'Hanada', it means 'Hanada' (flower field) or 'Hanada' (light blue).
Whether 'Nyogo' should be considered 'court lady' or 'girl.'
Opinion is divided.

Story line: Sisters gather at one residence and talk about the landladies whom they serve. A tasteful man who has a connection with most of them looks in secretly.


It is a short story of 'Suminuri (putting black ink) tale' style seen in 'Heichugoto,' the 19th section of "Kohon Setsuwashu" (Collection of Old Tales), Kyogen (farce performed during a Noh cycle) 'Suminuri.'
The first part of the story is inspired by tales of two wives seen in the 23rd story of "Ise Monogatari" (The Tales of Ise). The last part is inspired by so-called "Suminuri Tale."

Story line: A married man is going to receive a new wife to the family. However he starts to reconsider when he sees that the first wife is grieving. One day, when he visits his new wife's place, she is in a hurry and mistakenly applies eyebrow powder on her face instead of face powder. The man is disappointed with her look and returns to his first wife.

Hodohodo no keso

Story line: Love story of three couples in various social classes: a girl and a Kodoneri Warawa (Juvenile who served Court nobles and samurai families), and a samurai and a nyobo (court lady) and a head lieutenant general and an imperial princess.


In this story, kaiawase is the original kaiawase game, collecting and competing with rare and beautiful shells; it is not the so-called Kaioi (pairing shells) known today.

Story line: Kurodo no Shosho (major general) finds out by chance that a princess and her half sister play kaiawase. He sympathizes with the princess, who had lost her mother, and takes her side by secretly bringing wonderful shells.

Omowanu kata ni tomari suru shosho

Story line: Two major generals are brothers in law, married to sisters, and are commuting husbands. By unexpected mistakes, they sleep with each other's wife.

Incomplete fragment

It is a fragment of several lines starting with 'Fuyugomoru' (Immersed winter). It may be the beginning of a story. However, whether it is just a placed fragment, inserted intentionally or added at transcription, is unknown.

[Original Japanese]