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Makura-no Soshi
The First Essay in the World, by Sei Shonagon
Date:26, Jun, 2018
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Makura-no Soshi is the first essay in the world. It was written by Sei Shonagon in Heian era. The first essay in the world was, I can say, written for her honesty.

Sei Shonagon is a lady who was alive in Heian era. We have no way to catch her true name now. Everything about her is behind a thick fog. In other words, her essay Makura-no Soshi is the only way bringing us to her.

Sei Shonagon was so clever that got envied by many around her. But she didn't care about others' jealousy. "No way to stop speaking ill of somebody" said she in the Makura-no Soshi.

She had worked as an attendant to Fujiwara-no Teishi a wife of the Emperor in the Court for several years. Teishi was also wise and beautiful as Sei Shonagon worshiped. She was sincerely honored to attend to Teishi, and Teishi also treasured her very much.

One day, Teishi's father Fujiwara-no Michitaka passed away, which brought a party of devils to the two. Teishi and Sei got to be politically persecuted. Soon, Teishi lost her mother and home, worse luck. Teishi was in a deep depression. Sei Shonagon couldn't help her, it seems. Out of discouragement, she dropped out from the Court.


She spent several days in her home, in black despair. Where's that paradise gone? Where's the graceful years gone? Where should I go? She'd just spent uninspiring days for a while.

She, one day, took delivery of 20 pieces of paper from Teishi. Paper was rare and precious at the time. Teishi gave her paper in order to cheer her up. She was pretty delighted. Though Teishi was probably also in black despair, Teishi gave her a gift.

She began to write down the precious time she'd spent with Teishi in the Court on the paper. It is said that women memorize with emotion. So she thoroughly remembered what she'd delighted in, what she'd disliked, what she'd admired. And put them down on the paper. Politely, politely.

Teishi passed away in 1001 though was still young. However, Teishi never goes anywhere as long as the writing keeps the wonderful days she'd spent with Teishi. The paradise goes nowhere as long as the writing is there in the world.

The writing got to be called as Makura-no Soshi. It is the first essay in the world, written by Sei Shonagon in Heian era. The first essay in the world was, I can say, written for her honesty.


About Makura-no Soshi

・Written by Sei Shonagon
・Established in 1001 (about)





 

Mido Kanpaku-ki
The Diary by a Man of Power in Heian era