The Tale of the Lady Ochikubo dates from the last quarter of the tenth century. It is therefore one of the earliest of that long line of monogatari which are a special part of Japanese literature from the Heian Era. Ochikubo is the first novel: here for the first time is a vivid and realistic chronicle of life, related with a wealth of natural dialogue. In no story of the Heian Era are there so few poems or an absence of descriptions of the beauties of nature. The author keeps close to the human story he is chronicling. It is also the first novel to attempt any kind of characterisation. As a whole, the novel is of outstanding importance in the history of Japanese literature.
Foreword. The Tale. Book I. Book II. Book III. Book IV. Appendix I: A Few Notes on the Tale i) The Title ii) The Author iii) The Date iv) Ochikubo Monogatari and the Literature of the Heian Era. Appendix II A Short Note on the Political Organisation in the Heian Era.