Tracy Wilson

Show Notes: Sei Shonagon


Missed in History: Sei Shonagon
Sei Shonagon, woodcut by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

The Middle Ages: They were dirty and impoverished and disease-ridden and full of such infamous events as the Black Death and the Crusades. At least, that generalization is what you might hear if your education is mostly focused on Europe. In other parts of the world, those years were another story altogether. Today's episode looks at the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, a lady-in-waiting to an empress, and what we can glean from it about the Heian period (794-1185) in Japan.

Our listener mail is kind of special today. I'm not naming any names.

Just for funsies, here's an episode of the historical romance anime "Utakoi" about Sei Shonagon.

For more knowledge: How Geisha Work

Episode link: Sei Shonagon and the Heian Court

My research:

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