In Iris Fields: Remembrances and Poetry
by Abbess Kasanoin Jikun
Editors: Barbara Ruch and Katsura Michiyo
Translators: Janine Beichman (Poetry) and Beth Cary (Prose). Tankosha, Kyoto, 2009.
A-5 Hardback, ISBN 978-4-473-03569-1, 280 pp., color plates, black and white plates.
In Iris Fields is a compilation of essays and poems by an extraordinary woman of aristocratic lineage, Abbess Kasanoin Jikun (1910-2006), who shares her childhood memories, her nunhood, her passion for poetry, and delectable tales of her remarkable friends and relations, from court to convent. Full of human insights and humor, her writings bring to life a Japan long gone and reveal a history of Kyoto and Japan not to be found in textbooks.
Her Japanese essays first appeared sporadically over many years in the tea journal Wafu under the on-going title Ayamegusa Nikki (Iris Memoranda) and are published in their entirety all together here for the first time and with English translations. The poems selected for inclusion and translation come from her two published poetry collections, Ayamegusa (A Flush of Irises) and Yumegatari (Dream Tales). This bilingual edition includes many photographs that document her life.