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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 254

The Tale of Ise is a combination of poetry and prose in Japanese literature that has been interpreted by different authors throughout history. The actual author is a mystery with speculations that Ariwara no Narihira is both a character and writer of many of the poems. The timeline of Tales of Ise is written over the course of many years, following a Japanese dynasty and those of political importance, so there are many characters who are referenced briefly. I have comprised a list of notable characters below.

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Narihira is speculated to be 'the man' that is referenced throughout the story. He is written as an heroic courtier in the ninth century. Princess Ito is Narihira's mother. Prince Abo is Narihira's father. Emperor Heizei who reigned from r. 806 to 809 is the father of Prince Abo. Emperer Kanmu who reigned from r. 781 to 806 is the father of Princess Ito.

Yukihia is the eldest brother and becomes Middle Counselor in 882, as well as senior nobility. Fujiwara no Kusuko is consort to a retired Emporer Heizei and also a sibling of Narihira. Nakanari is brother to Kusuko and Narihira; he committed suicide after failing to restore Heizei to the throne.

Itaru is a famous gallant of the land who makes advances on a mourning widow. Takaiki is the future Empress of the Second Avenue who knew Narihira and is rumored to have had a romance with him before her entrance to become consort of
Emporer Siewa. Yozei is the son of Taikaki and Siewa and is the future emperor.

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