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A line from Donald Keene's introductory text about The Tale of Genji piqued my curiosity:

We know little else about Murasaki’s early years, though her poems suggest that she fell in love at least once.

Keene goes on to talk about Murasaki Shikibu's marriage. It is clear that Murasaki Shikibu didn't like her second cousin and would-be husband Fujiwara no Nobutaka at first, so much so she accompanied her father to Echizen in order to escape the marriage. She did eventually come back to the capital and marry her cousin, but apparently her cousin was not her first love described in her own writings. So who was it? Do we know from her early work?

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    This information may be lost to history. Wikipedia says about Murasaki Shikibu's poetry collection that (s)ome (poems) appear written for a lover (...) but she may have merely followed tradition and written simple love poems. The Japanese Wikipedia article has a possibly relevant section about her marriage(s) that I unfortunately do not understand. – 0range Aug 25 '20 at 18:16
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    @0range I did read both Wiki pages. The section on that Japanese Wiki page says because of the theory Murasaki Shikibu = Fujiwara Kyoko, a name "Kaike Kyoko" that appeared in a 997 article could be her. Then she could have been married to Ki no Tokibumi before she married Nobutaka. Hmm... I thought there'd be more scholarship on it. – Eddie Kal Aug 25 '20 at 18:38
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    @gktscrk I meant "What's the story there?" Sorry, I've removed that U.S. slang word. – Eddie Kal Aug 26 '20 at 6:43
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    Did you really mean to ask for the "first" love - which would be entirely impossible to answer? The cited quote only suggests she had fallen in love (is it extrapolating from that poem where she apparently had a lover sleep over?). Her literal first love (or crush) would likely be in her early teens years, long before her works. – Semaphore Aug 26 '20 at 7:39
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    @Semaphore Your edit made my question clearer. You are right. I made a leap there. My question stemmed from the fact that several sources all allude to Murasaki Shikibu having fallen in love prior to her marriage. So I am curious if more information can be inferred from her early autobiographical poems. The poem you are referring to sounds like a great answer to my question. – Eddie Kal Aug 26 '20 at 15:10

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