Sei Shonagon and the Heian Court


1895, Kyoto, Japan --- A weeping cherry tree is in full bloom at Seiho-ike Pond near the Taihei-kaku covered bridge inside the Garden of Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. --- Image by © B.S.P.I./Corbis

Thanks to the pillow book of lady-in-waiting Sei Shonagon, we have a first-person account of court life in Heian Japan. It's part diary, part commonplace book, part essay collection, and thoroughly fascinating.

Topics in this Podcast: Asian history, sad royal childhoods, 10th century, biographies