Daini no Sanmi

Hear about Daini no Sanmi on Episode 8B of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Daini no Sanmi
Daini no Sanmi

Daini no Sanmi

Daini no Sanmi, (大弐三位) also known as Fujiwara no Katako was a member of the Fujiwara Clan, born in 999AD. She was the daughter of Fujiwara no Nobutaka and Murasaki Shibuki.1

With Fujiwara no Kanetaka she had a daughter, and later she married Takashina no Nariaki.3

In total, 37 of her poems were included in the imperial waka anthologies1 and she also has a personal collection of poetry called the Daini no Sanmi shū.3 Her poem included in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (Poem 58) goes as follows and is a reply to Poem 709 in the Goshūishū:

Japanese text2
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
Ina no sasahara
kaze fukeba
ide soyo hito o
wasure ya wa suru
Blown down from Mount Arima
through Ina's low bamboo
the wind whispers,
'I swear of my love-
how could I forget you?'

During her life, in addition to her poetry, she was known to have acted as the wet nurse to the Emperor Go-Reizei. There are some who believe the final ten chapters of the Tale of Genji may have been written by her, however, the evidence to support this is none existent.1 Sometimes she has been credited as author of the Sagoromo Monogatari.3


1. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
2. Suzuki, H. et al. (1997) ”Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”. Tokyo: Bun’eidō.
3. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.

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