Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

East Asian Languages and Culture: Japanese

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Princess Gashi雅子内親王 (910-954) served as Saigū斎宮 (Imperial High Priestess) at the Ise Shrine from 931 to 936 during the reign of Emperor Suzaku朱雀天皇 (922-952; r. 930-946). She presented herself as a unique figure who exchanged poems with Fujiwara no Atsutada藤原敦忠 (906-943) before going to Ise but after her abdication she married another man named Fujiwara no Morosuke藤原師輔 (909-960), a courtier ranked lower than members in the imperial family. This study explores how Princess Gashi exemplifies the perception of love and marriage for noble women living under pre-modern political and religious traditions. Gashi’s relationships with these two men are analyzed through their poetic exchanges recorded in the two courtiers’ private waka anthologies‒Atsutada shū and Morosuke shū. The original poems are analyzed based on the usage of poetic vocabulary and contextual reading. This study demystifies Princess Gashi’s characteristics as a noble woman involved in forbidden love and discusses her love and sorrow by drawing a picture of Princess Gashi, especially her vulnerable side, in the context of the Heian marriage system and the Saiō institution.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Jamie Newhard

Committee Members

Rebecca Copeland Beata Grant


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