Dream of a Spring Night
by I.J. Parker
It is the year 1168; Japan is ruled by the retired emperor Go-Shirakawa and Taira Kiyomori, the regent. Against a background of growing unrest between Taira and Minamoto factions, a minor Taira vassal, Oba no Hiramoto, sells his fourteen-year-old daughter Toshiko to Go-Shirakawa in exchange for court preferment. Toshiko submits unwillingly to her father’s iron will, and is thrust unprepared into the treacherous world of concubines vying for imperial attention.
At the same time, Yamada Sadahira, son of another Taira vassal, has rejected his Samurai heritage and works as a physician among the poor of the capital. He attempts to fill his loneliness by adopting two street children, Hachiro and Sadamu. One day, called to the palace to treat one of the imperial cooks, he takes a wrong turn in the palace grounds and finds himself in the forbidden women’s quarters. The meeting between him and Toshiko begins a lifelong tale of passion and sacrifice.
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