This book is the result of several years of studies abroad, since I left my homeland of Italy with a degree in Japanese literature but without any knowledge of its classical language. Only the patience, generosity, and learning of many scholars and institutions both in Japan and the United States have enabled me to start pursuing the difficult journey to ancient Japan. The late Professor Carlo Caldarola of the University of Alberta ( Canada) was the beginning of it all. Professor Kuwabara Hiroshi of Tsukuba University introduced me to the classics of medieval Japan. Professors Robert E. Morrell and Thomas J. Rimer taught me at Washington University in St. Louis how to apply linguistic notions to extralinguistic questions. Discussions with Professors Martin Collcutt, Helen Hardacre, Marius B. Jansen, Earl Miner, Susan Napier, Richard Okada, and Paul Watt at Princeton University have been milestones in my life as a student. At the University of California, Los Angeles, I benefited from the knowledge of Professors Ben Befu, William R. LaFleur, Peter H. Lee, Herman Ooms, Herbert E. Plutschow, and Shirleen S. Wong, who have all been extremely generous with their time and advice.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to Professor LaFleur in particular for being an ideal adviser. Without his enlightening The Karma of Words -- and his constant presence and words of encouragement -- I would not have survived my own aesthetics of discontent. To Professors Ikeda Kiyoshi of Osaka University of Foreign Studies and Nishimoto Koji of the University of Tokyo go my warmest thanks for lightening my teaching load while in Japan and allowing me to carry out the research that has led to the present book. Professor Peter Nosco and my colleagues at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, have been extremely supportive throughout. Mrs. Mariko LaFleur, Toshie Marra, and Mihoko Miki of UCLA's Oriental Library have answered my questions with uncommon patience and knowledge. My wonderful friends Linda Chance of the University of Pennsylvania, Stephen Miller of the University of California, Los Angeles, Jackie Stone of Princeton University, and Kaoru Tamura have been generous readers, sensible to both problems of style and matter.
To the Japanese Ministry of Education, Washington University in St. Louis, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles, go my deepest gratitude for financing my entire graduate studies.
I extend my gratitude to Dr. Michael Cooper of Monumenta Nipponica,