Izumi Shikibu Nikki (Diary of Izumi Shikibu) (和泉式部日記)
"The Izumi Shikibu Nikki" is a diary written by Izumi Shikibu, and is a notable example of women's literature in diaries.
Izumi Shikibu, whose poem is included in the Ogura Anthology of One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets, is one of the Medieval Thirty Six Immortal Poets (the thirty-six major poets selected by FUJIWARA no Norikane in the middle of the Heian period), and her diary includes many correspondence of waka (traditional Japanese poems of thirty-one syllables), reflecting her talent as one of the greatest poets of the Heian period. The many correspondence of waka is one of the unique characteristics of this work.
Although most believe this work to be written by Izumi Shikibu herself, there are others who think a different author may have created this work due to the fact that this work was once called "Izumi Shikibu Monogatari" (the Story of Izumi Shikibu), and that Izumi Shikibu is treated as a third person and referred to as the 'lady' when it is herself that is the main character and she herself is the author (according to this argument, this work is a diary-style fiction under the guise of her romantic episodes).
This work consists of one volume. It is believed that this work was written in 1008, during the one-year mourning period for Imperial Prince Atsumichi.
The story takes place during the several months between May 1003 and January 1004. It was a time when Izumi Shikibu was grieving over the death of her lover, Imperial Prince Tametaka of Danjo (the Third Prince of Emperor Reizei), who had passed away in 1002, the disownment by her father, and the cold relationship between her husband TACHIBANA no Michisada. One day, Izumi Shikibu hears from Imperial Prince Atsumichi of Sochi, who was a younger brother of Imperial Prince Tametaka and the Fourth Prince of Emperor Reizei. She begins to correspond with Prince Sochi through waka and letters, and meets him during his occasional visits, and before long, they fall deep in love with each other. In the end, Izumi Shikibu is welcomed into the Sochi residence. The characteristic features of this work are the exchanges of waka and the expression of Izumi Shikibu's honest feelings toward her lover.