No other period in Japan’s literary history was as dominated by women as the Heian Period (794-1185). Most Japanophiles know names such as Sei Shonagon (“The Pillow Book”) or Murasaki Shikibu (“The Tale of Genji”) for their contributions to the world of literature, but Izumi Shikibu (Shikibu is a title, not a name) and Ono no Komachi should be added to that list.

Izumi, like Murasaki, was part of the court of Empress Akiko and Komachi wrote 100 years earlier. Together they charted a course that Japanese poetry would follow for centuries to come. “The Ink Dark Moon” is a collection of their poetry, which made its e-book debut on Jan. 21 — a testimony to their lasting popularity.

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