Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Subscribe & Save Gifts for Her Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Outdoor Deals on DOTD

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

The Confessions of Lady Nijo 1st Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804709309
ISBN-10: 0804709300
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$5.78 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$25.86 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
15 New from $24.14 37 Used from $5.78 1 Collectible from $42.00
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Fortune Smiles
2015 National Book Awards - Fiction Winner
Get your copy of this year's National Book Award winner for fiction, "Fortune Smiles" by Adam Johnson. Hardcover | Kindle book | See more winners
$25.86 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Confessions of Lady Nijo
  • +
  • The Taiheiki: A Chronicle of Medieval Japan (Tuttle Classics)
  • +
  • Japan to 1600: A Social and Economic History
Total price: $68.82
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews


"The recent discovery of the only surviving manuscript of The Confessions of Lady Nijo created a sensation in the world of Japanese literature, not only because this journal of a court lady was previously unknown, but because it is a literary masterpiece. It describes with extraordinary honesty and beauty the life of a woman whose lovers included emperors, statesmen, and priests. Surely there can be few comparable books in the world, and Karen Brazell's fine translation makes it a joy to read."
—Donald Keene,

"Karen Brazell's translation . . . is given in unaffected contemporary idiom and assisted by introduction and notes of just the right scope. This is the kind of work to revive that much deprived person, the general reading. . . . We owe thanks to Lady Nijo and to Karen Brazell for making available to us a fine story and fresh understanding of human life. In this translation it seems much more human that strange ever after these seven centuries and in a different cultural setting."
—Earl Miner,Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese

"A fascinating work for several reasons, among them its precise documentation of ways of life and feeling that are wholly dissimilar to the West's."
The New Yorker

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804709300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804709309
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on November 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a moving and remarkable autobiography.

First, there is the quality of the writing itself, full of beautiful short poems ('A hidden love and tears/enough to form a river-/were there a shoal of meeting/I would drown this self of mine'), comparisons ('my years had passed as quickly as a racing horse glimpsed through a crack') or metaphors ('life is more fleeting than a dream within a dream').

It confirms Lady Nijo's saying that 'the most important accomplishment for a beautiful woman is the ability to write poetry'.

Secondly, there is the extraordinary eventful itinerary of Lady Nijo emotionally as well as physically.

Emotionally, she cannot forget her father ('I shed tears of longing when I recall the care my father gave me') or her first lover at the age of 14 (the Emperor).

Physically, she gives birth before her 18th birthday to two children from different fathers and in her later life struggles for survival.

Thirdly, it gives an interesting look at court life in this period: drinking, singing, playing music, competition between the concubines and promiscuity showing general human characteristics ('She complains that I am treating you as an empress' or 'This road is too easy to be interesting').

But this book also paints aspects of commom life: the fact that many children are taken away from their parents, religious customs or prostitution.

Fourth, it gives a general impression of the importance of religion and psychology: the mighty influence of the karma principle ('I am convinced that this unbearable passion is simply the working out of some karma from the past') and the importance of dreams ('I just dreamed that I turned into a mandarin duck and entered your body').
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By K. Maxwell on March 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is set about 200 years after the events described in the diaries of Sei Shonagon and Lady Murasaki (and tale of Genji), however, this memoir reveals a world fossilised, doing it's very best to imitate the 'elegant' world shown in Lady Murasaki's masterwork Tale of Genji. What comes across is a very conservative society, and if you weren't told the dates of the events taking place you would believe they were set in the 10th or 11th century.
The writer of this memoir is a very independant and sensual woman - who took her lovers regardless of the consequences. The second half of the memoir details her travels around Japan's sacred shrines as a nun later in life. Lady Nijo constantly finds on her travels that the world outside Hein-Kyoto has changed since the days the poems she learnt at court as description of Japan's famous sights were written. Some of the old 'famous' sights have gone and she finds new ones to fill their hole.
If you've an interest in these old Japanese diaries and memoirs, this should be added to your list. It's a later, and lesser known book, but worth the effort of reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Pom on March 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
For such an intresting book its extraordinary so few people have left a review. Anyways, much of the court we see in the novel through lady nijo's eyes is truely fossilized as one reviewer said before, they even go so far as to try and copy musical concerts after those written about in Genji, and theres a great many allusions in the narrative to the tale of genji. The diary itself is extremely enjoyable to read, poigant at times, as for instance when she runs after Gofukakusa's funeral procession barefoot down the street until she loses sight of them. Other times its extremely funny, Im pretty sure Sei Shonogon mentioned the holiday where the women get slapped with sticks, the same was true with Lady Nijo, except she got revenge on the retired emperor by sectioning off the halls and setting up other ladies to keep an eye out for him, when he comes, they descend and all start whacking him with these sticks for revenge. after that there was a huge uproar withen the court that the women actually smacked royalty around. Overall Lady Nijo is very real, and very human in her writing, it makes for an intresting literary and historical read of the Kamekura age. One thing i personally enjoyed was that Lady Nijo was not as vain and condescending as Sei Shonagon, for instance when shes a travelling nun, Nijo actually speaks with commoners, ex-prostitutes, etc etc.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Nijo's autobiography is another wonderful chapter in the literature of Japanese classics. And, like all true classics, it paints a picture very much like some women of today.
The book is not organized as a story, or even as a particularly strong description of events. Instead, it's a first-hand description of moments that roused especially strong feelings, positive or negative. Nijo (not her born name, but the only name that has come down to us) wrote this book late in life, so the literal truth of events often seems layered under decades of nostalgia. The first passage, for example, takes pains to draw a teenage girl, tearful during her first nights in the emperor's bedroom. 'The lady doth protest too much' - that is about the last time we see her hesitate in accepting a man's overnight company.
After her heyday in court society, Nijo retreats and finally takes vows as a nun. She takes the robes and duties of nun in full, but her thoughts never settle into that role. I don't mean to say that she in insincere. Still, a part of her never lets go of the happy times in court. Although she carries out her religious duties, she keeps coming back for another look at the people and rites she loved. Gradually, the people from her youth move away and pass away. The court was all she knew; in the end she doesn't know even that any more. It's like the woman whose greatest day was being prom queen. Now in her forties, she lives by remembering a time and place that doesn't remember her.
Nijo conveys a pervading shallowness. She spends more time describing some outfits than the children she bears. She could have moved closer to the inner imperial circles; the retired emperor publicly acknowledged her first-born as his scion.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Confessions of Lady Nijo
This item: The Confessions of Lady Nijo
Price: $25.86
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: green formal gown, finding yourself alone