Sei Shonagon (清少納言, ~965-10??) was a Japanese author.
Sei (清) comes from the Kiyohara (清原) clan and Shonagon was a government post. Her real name is unknown.
She was a daughter of Kiyowara no Motosuke, was a Court lady at the time of Emperor Ichijo and served Empress Sadako.
Shonagon is famous through her major work, The Pillow Book (Makura no Soshi). The Pillow Book is a collection of lists, gossip, poetry, observations, complaints and anything else she found of interest during her years in the court during the Heian Period.
She is known for her rivalry with her contemporary Lady Murasaki, the author of The Tale of Genji.
There are no details about Shonagon's life after the death during childbirth of Empress Sadako in 1000, though The Pillow Book is thought to have been finished sometime between 1001 and 1010.
The article is originally from OpenHistory.