Ōkagami (The Great Mirror (大鏡)) is a Japanese historical tale written in around 1119[1] by an unknown author. It covers the period 850 to 1025, the golden days of the Fujiwara family's rule. It is said to be a successor (世継物語, yotsugi monogatari) with the records of the Eiga Monogatari.[2]

In the tale, the writer listens to a conversation mainly led by a 190-year-old man, Ōyake no Yotsugi (大宅世継, literally "world-successor"), who recalls the past. A 180-year-old man, Natsuyama no Shigeki (夏山繁樹), adds comments and a young samurai puts questions to these two elders. This narrative strategy makes the story vivid and allows for the natural addition of various opinions and criticisms.

The structure is modelled after traditional Chinese history books like the Records of the Grand Historian. It consists of Preface, Stories of Emperors, Stories of Ministers, Miscellaneous Stories and Post-fin.

This and three other tales with mirror (鏡 kagami, also read kyō) in their titles are collectively called four mirrors (四鏡 shikyō).


There are two translations into English:

  • The Ōkagami: A Japanese Historical Tale, translated by Joseph K. Yamagiwa, with a foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer, London: Allen & Unwin, 1967. 488 pp.[3] Reprint Tuttle 1997[4]
  • Ōkagami: The Great Mirror: Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1027) and His Times - A Study and Translation, by Helen Craig McCullough, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980. ISBN 978-0691064192.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fukumori, Naomi (1997). "Sei Shônagon's Makura no sôshi: A Re-Visionary History". The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese. 31 (1): 1-44.
  2. ^ The Future and the Past: A Translation and Study of the Gukanshō, An Interpretative History of Japan Written in 1219, trans. Delmer M. Brown and Ichiro Ishida (University of California Press, 1979) Delmer Myers Brown, Ichirō Ishida - 1979 Page 380 "One of the variant titles for both the Eiga and the Ōkagami is "Succession Tales" (Yotsugi no monogatari) . ... The Ōkagami was also more deeply influenced than the Eiga by a growing conviction that the age of Final Law had begun in 1052."
  3. ^ The journal of Asian studies - Volume 28 1968 - Page 177 "The first is essentially the same as the introduction to his former partial translation of the Okagami in Edwin O. Reischauer and Ioseph K. Yamagiwa, Translation: from Early Iapanese Literature, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951."
  4. ^ The Ōkagami: a Japanese historical tale Tamenari Fujiwara, Yoshinobu Fujiwara Tuttle Tokyo 1977 Page 380 "The present translation of the Okagami introduces to the English reader a Japanese literary genre, the rekishi monogatari or historical tale, which has received only cursory attention in the West in spite of the fact that it possesses an interesting ..."
  5. ^ Delmer M. Brown The Cambridge History of Japan Volume 1 1993 - Page 535 "As Helen McCullough noted in the introduction to her translation of the Okagami, the authors of Heian period tales distinguished between personal qualities that had a life-affirming Japanese character — identified with such words as tamashii ..."

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