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Auntie

(author of the Gossamer Diary)

This woman was in fact related to Murasaki  in the way I have portrayed her. She and Murasaki's maternal grandmother were both daughters of Fujiwara Tomoyasu. The actual dates of her birth and death are unknown, as is her name. She is referred to in literature as "the mother of Michitsuna." It is inconceivable to me that Murasaki would not have read her work, although there is no recorded evidence that they met. My construction of the nature of their relationship is thus fictional, but, given the overlap of their ages and nature of their maternal connections, not implausible. Records indicate that she died, at the latest, in 995, perhaps in the smallpox epidemic which raged that year—a conjecture I used in my tale. Her famous work, the Kagerô Nikki (Gossamer Diary) covers the two decades between 954 and 974, when she was married to Fujiwara Kane’ie, (father of Michinaga) as one of his secondary wives. This lady was reputed to have been a great beauty. She belonged to the same provincial governor class in the lower ranks of the nobility that produced Murasaki, Sei Shônagon, and most of the great women writers of this era.

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