The Journal of Japanese Studies

 

Abstract

JOSEPH T. SORENSEN
The Politics of Screen Poetry:
Michinaga, Sanesuke, and the Court Entrance of Shōshi

This essay examines the use by important statesman Fujiwara no Michinaga of economic and cultural clout in the 999 entrance of his daughter Shōshi into the court of Emperor Ichijō. The court entrance ceremony was part of his larger plan to elevate Shōshi, at the expense of a rival consort, in order to forge his own position among the high-ranking members at court. The uncommonly detailed historical records reveal the intricate process of commissioning, composing, selecting, and inscribing the poems for the painted screens presented at the event. The extended criticisms that Fujiwara no Sanesuke discloses in his diary, Shōyūki, underscore the unprecedented nature of the event and lay bare Michinaga’s deliberate transformation of financial and cultural resources into political gain.


Volume 38, Number 1 (Winter 2012)
© 2012 Society for Japanese Studies


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