As well as having written The Tale of Genji
, Lady Murasaki Shikibu (?978-?1016) also kept a diary called Murasaki Shikibu Nikki. As with other famous journals of the day (such as The Pillow Book
or Makura no Sôshi
by Sei Shonagon
), it was not a record of day to day events but rather a gathering of personal reflections, poetry, and detailed descriptions of minuatae.
We do not know what Murasaki Shikibu’s name actually was. She was a member of the Fujiwara clan, as were a high percentage of other courtly families.
"Shikibu" refers to her father’s position as Senior Secretary in the Bureau of Ceremony (shikibu-shô) early in his court career. "Murasaki" (meaning the colour purple) comes from the name of a character in The Tale of Genji. Some Heian era sources refer to her as Tô Shikibu, "Tô" being the Sino-Japanese reading of "fuji". Some scholars think her other personal name may have been Takako, written with the character meaning "incense" plus the feminine ending -ko.
One of her poems appears in the famous collection Hyakunin Isshu, collected by Fujiwara no Teika.