Keifukuin Kaoku Gyokuei (慶福院花屋玉栄, 1526 – after 1602) was a Japanese writer, poet, and commentator during the Sengoku period. She is best known for Kaokushō and Gyokueishū, her commentaries on the Tale of Genji. She was the daughter of Konoe Taneie, a nobleman and poet.
Keifukuin Kaoku Gyokuei
|Notable works||Kaokushō, Gyokueishū|
|Relatives||Konoe Taneie (father), Lady Chaa (niece)|
Gyokuei was born in 1526, a daughter of Konoe Taneie. The Konoe family trafficked in manuscripts and her father was known to host renga parties. Because of the literary culture of her family, she was likely exposed to such works as the Tale of Genji. It is uncertain whether she was the daughter of Konoe Taneie who was married to the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru in 1558.
Gyokuei authored four main works in her lifetime:
- An emaki of the Tale of Genji (1554)
- A collection of 54 poems inspired by the chapters of the Tale of Genji (1589)
- Kaokushō, a four-volume commentary on the Tale of Genji (1594)
- Gyokueishū, a one-volume commentary on the Tale of Genji (1602)
Her commentaries on the Tale of Genji, which were aimed at fellow aristocratic women, differed from her contemporaries by telling readers to read Genji for pleasure. She also does not rely on quotations from Chinese classics, and writes mainly in hiragana (as opposed to kanji), suggesting that she wanted her work to be accessible to female readers. She wrote a "short text", Genji monogatari no okori, which she gave to her niece, Lady Chaa. This same text was also copied by Toyotomi Hideyoshi while he was studying the Tale of Genji.
Her commentaries on the Tale of Genji were read by many other aristocratic women and remained in circulation as manuscripts until the 20th century.
- Rowley, G. G. (2010). "The Tale of Genji: Required Reading for Aristocratic Women". In Kornicki, P. F. (ed.). The Female as Subject: Reading and Writing in Early Japan. Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan. pp. 39–58. ISBN 9781929280643.
- McCormick, Melissa (2006). "白描源氏物語絵巻と女房の視座". Egakareta Genji monogatari (PDF) (Shohan ed.). Tōkyō: Kanrin Shobō. ISBN 4877372385. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
- 中葉, 芳子 (2003). "『花屋抄』の注 態度 ー「おさなき人・女達」のためにー". 國文學. 80: 17–30. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
- Watanabe, Masako (2014). "The Samurai and Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji)". Bulletin of Detroit Institute of Arts. 88 (1–4): 69. doi:10.1086/DIA43493628. S2CID 189136616.