In about 1307, Lady Nijo completed her memoir, The Confessions of Lady Nijo. A member of the court, she was fourteen years old when she became the concubine of Retired Emperor Go-Fukakusain, who was fifteen years her senior. After numerous love affairs, which produced several children, and provoking the displeasure of the empress, she was banished from the court at age twenty-six. Renouncing the world, she became a Buddhist nun and went on pilgrimages throughout the eastern provinces, encountering people from all walks of life, including prostitutes, or "pleasure girls," as they are called in the excerpt translated here. Lost for over six hundred years, Lady Nijo's manuscript was discovered by a Japanese scholar in the Imperial Library in 1940. ED


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