Biography of Jakucho Setouchi Written by Her Former SecretaryJakucho's Heart Revealed to People Close to Her
Nagao's mother is Setouchi's cousin and 11 years younger. Nagao and her family called Setouchi "Haa-chan." For eight years from 1970, they lived on different floors of the same apartment building where Setouchi had her office-cum-home in Tokyo.
Nagao began helping Setouchi when she was 14 years old. Her love for literature so impressed the writer that she was asked to find materials necessary for her writing. In 1980, she began to take on a secretary-like role, such as organizing manuscripts, and in 1987 she was officially hired as her secretary, a position she held until 2010.
The biographical novel consists mainly of recollections by Nagao's mother about when Setouchi was ordained, and Nagao's reminiscences of how she began helping her with her work and when the writer was translating the Tale of Genji into modern Japanese. According to Nagao, Setouchi said, "Honestly, I don't know why I became a priest."
The novel is filled with Setouchi's words that she dropped on a whim, and they intriguingly reveal the late writer's heart to readers.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)