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Prof. Paul Schalow (Professor of Japanese Literature, Rutgers University): Remembering Fujiwara no Yorinaga (1120-1156): Sources of memory in the post-Heian imperial court

08.12.2016 | 16:00 - 18:00

This paper addresses the ways in which Fujwara no Yorinaga (1120-1156), heir to the Fujiwara regency, is remembered in post-Heian texts from the 13th and 14th centuries. The paper’s thesis is that Yorinaga’s legacy survived on the basis of three distinct sources of memory: the institutional memory of the waning imperial court and ascendant warrior class; oral narratives recorded in collections of setsuwa; and Yorinaga’s own surviving court diary, the Taiki

Yorinaga’s death in the Hogen Disturbance of 1156 was a profound shock to the imperial court. Labeled “the dangerous minister” (aku-safu) and a criminal (zainin) for rising up against the reigning emperor Go-Shirakawa, the memory of Yorinaga continued to haunt the court for decades. According to accounts in the Heike monogatari, Yorinaga’s spirit was blamed for the turn in the Taira clan’s fortunes during the Genpei Wars from 1180-1185 and required placating. Yorinaga’s afterlife is analyzed here as a product of courtly/warrior institutional memory.

Ima monogatari is a collection of poetic biographies compiled shortly after 1239 by Fujiwara no Nobuzane. It includes a story about Yorinaga’s relationship with one of his retainers, Hata no Kimiharu. The Taiki makes it clear that the two men had a long-term sexual relationship and that Yorinaga was deeply affected by Kimiharu’s early death. The account in Ima monogatari is consistent with the diary record but adds elements of renga poetry composition in the manner of the utagatari or setsuwa genre. Here, the memory of Yorinaga is analyzed as a product of an oral story-telling tradition recorded by Nobuzane in the 13th century.

The diary of Emperor Hanazono contains a year-end entry which begins, “Following the example of Yorinaga,” and continues with a list of the titles of every text he had read that year. Clearly, Hanazono was inspired by Yorinaga’s unusual example of recording the books he had studied each year in his court diary. Thus, the paper argues that the Taiki itself was another important source of material that contributed to Yorinaga’s long afterlife in post-Heian memory.

Zeit & Ort

08.12.2016 | 16:00 - 18:00

Freie Universität Berlin
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin
Raum: K25/11