Lady Daibu was a Japan
of the late 12th century.
Although not a poet of the first rank, she was considered good enough to be included in several anthologies. A collection of her waka with introductory comments composed by her called the Kenreimon-in Ukyo Daibu no Shu numbers amongst the great works in the genre of nikki (journals).
Lady Daibu's full name was Kenreimon-in Ukyo no Daibu. This means, roughly, "The unwed female of the Daibu clan who was sponsored to the court by Superintendent of the Right-Hand Half of the Capital (whose title in Japanese is the "Ukyo no Daibu") who, upon retiring from the world, took the Buddhist name Kenreimon (nun, sister)." In other words, no one knows precisely what her name was, which was not unusual in her day.
People had many names that were used differently in different circumstances.
Her father was of the Fujiwara clan, therefore she was as well. So her surname was Fujiwara. Her mother was of the Omiwa clan of court musicians. Her father, Koreyuki, taught her calligraphy and literature, while her mother Yugiri taught her the 13-string koto and singing. Based on these clues, one scholar has determined that her real name was Fujiwara no Yoshiko. But few others accept this enough to change tradition.
She entered Imperial service while probably still a teenager. This was under the last of the Taira Shogunate, which ended in the Genpei War, a civil war unprecedented to that time in history. For all the episodes of martial savagery in Japan's past, most people alive in her day at the end of the Heian era had never known violent conflict, especially among the nobility. Her Court introduction fixed in her mind that the Taira were the epitome of all the virtues. This was the Golden Age. The violence of the war had a shattering effect on the nobles, and would have affected her deeply even without losing her lover Sukemori in the war. The Minamoto Shogunate that followed, then, was to her the soiling of the Court by barbarians.
Later in life she was recalled to the Empress' court, this time with the Minamoto in charge. She of course had a new title then. When asked by the archivist how she wished to be named in the poetry collection, she replied that she wished to be known by her name in the days of the Taira.
To Lord Sadaie, the Minister of Civil Affairs,
when he asked Lady Daibu for poems to put in a collection:
Koto no ha no
moshi yo ni chiraba
mukashi no na koso
If my words, like leaves,
should scatter through the world,
would that I might leave behind
the name that was mine
in the unforgettable days of old.
Lord Sadaie's reply:
sono na o sara ni
yo ni nokosanan
If it is all the same,
let us bequeath
to worlds that are yet to come
that name from days of old,
to which your heart still clings.