UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rewriting Lady Nijō’s story : transformation, retelling, and replacement in modern adaptations of Towazugatari Chanez, Elsa Claire Camille


Completed around 1307, Towazugatari, the work of a Kamakura-era (1185–1333) woman known as Lady Nijō (1258–after 1306), was only rediscovered in 1938. Half court diary and half travel diary, this hybrid work covers the life story of its author from her entry to court at age fourteen to her pilgrimages throughout Japan after becoming a Buddhist nun. Unlike other works of the Heian (794–1185) or Kamakura period, Towazugatari has not enjoyed much reception or adaptation after its completion, until the twentieth century when it was uncovered. However, since its rediscovery the text has inspired a short story, four novel adaptations, a movie, a play, and four different manga adaptations. In this thesis, I focus on the four novelizations of the text, arguing that, because of its late discovery, hybrid nature, and unique content, these novel adaptations have acted as replacements of the original for non-academic audiences. I also highlight two different waves of adaptations by separating the four novels into two categories, chronologically and thematically, suggesting that the earlier works focused on retelling the story of Nijō’s life while the later adaptations create narratives around the text itself as an artifact. First, I carry out a survey and analysis of all of the non-novel adaptations in order to provide a background on which to couch my discussion of the novels. As my critical framework, I utilize Linda Hutcheon’s A Theory of Adaptation and Michael Emmerich’s idea of replacement from his The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature. I rely on close readings of the texts, secondary sources, and personal communication with some of the authors to support my argument. Next, I analyze Setouchi Harumi’s (1922–) Chūsei enjō and Sugimoto Sonoko’s (1925–2017) Shin Towazugatari. Finally, I discuss Mori Masako’s (1944–) Kewaizaka and Okuyama Kyōko’s (1966–) Koi goromo Towazugatari.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International