I have a lot of work to get through, so I’m just going to point you in the direction of a most interesting discussion over at Conrad’s philosophitorium of Heidegger’s (to my mind completely loony: “Koto, then, would be the appropriating occurrence of the lightening message of grace [das Ereignis der lichtenden Botschaft der Anmut]”) interpretation of Japanese kotoba (‘language; word’ in the world inhabited by normal people), with enlightening and informed commentary by the lively and learned Matt and the equally learned literary estheticist Gawain, and Gawain’s post in response, In which he is a Japanese scholar, with further analysis of the word and his excited discovery that “the semi-divine authoress of the Pillow Book, my Sei Shonagon, the truest love of my life (see my post on her here) wrote the word kotoba as — 詞.” It’s all good stuff, and I want to know more about the putative rivalry described by Gawain’s commenter Peony:
It is essential to keep in mind that the court was dominated by an intense rivalry between 2 cousin empresses…. It was one of the most lively rivalries in all Japanese literary history and the superstar authoresses of the day were divided along Party Lines: sei shonagon on one side and murasaki shikibu, akazoe emon and my personal love, izumi shikibu on the other…. So any insult to sei shonagon functioned as a disparaging of Empress Akiko.
Gawain says “we don’t know much about the supposed rivalry between SS and Murasaki Shikibu”; Peony responds “We actually know more than that, but…” But what? Tell me more!