Principal Heian Literary Texts

Pre-Heian (Nara 710-785)

Kojiki                          712


Nihon shoki                720


Man’yoshu                  758                  Poetic Anthology "A Collection of 10,000 Leaves"


Heian Era 785-1185

Kokinshu                    905          Poetic Anthology "A Collection of Ancient and Contemporary Poems;" Preface by Ki-no-Tsurayuki


Tosa Nikki                  935          Poetic Diary written in the voice of a woman but by Ki-no-Tsurayuki


Ise Monogatari            945         Mixed Prose and Poetry featuring "headnotes" or explanatory intros


Taketori Monogatari    950       Prose, “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”


Kagero Nikki              974         "Gossamer Years," a Poetic Diary, by a woman known as the Mother of Michitsuna

Makura no Soshi              990         “The Pillow Book” of essays by Sei Shonagon


Izumi Shikibu Nikki    1004    Poetic Diary of a court lady, Izumi Shikibu


Genji Monogatari      1010    "Tale of Genji" consisting of 54 “maki” or scrolls by Murasaki  Shikibu

Sarashina Nikki          1020    Diary by a woman that mentions reading the Tale of Genji    

"I read a few volumes of Genji-monogatari and longed for the rest, but as I was still a stranger here I had no way of finding them. I was all impatience and yearning, and in my mind was always praying that I might read all the books of Genji-monogatari from the very first one."


Eiga Monogatari       1040    A historical account of the Heian Court written by a woman, Akazome Emon