We have never met, but I have watched your adventures and read tales of your further exploits numerous times over the years, although I have stalled with the final two accounts given my Japanese is not always up for decoding political machinations. What I have learned of you from my sources shows you to be an exceptional young woman in so many ways, and I would be honored to consider you a sister, daughter, or friend. I know you must be demurring at my praises, because you cannot see how special you are. To be honest, part of what makes you so amazing is that you are truly ordinary. Because your family is noble, yet terribly poor, you learned the importance of hard work (An eight year old working in accounting at the highest-ranked pleasure house in the red light district and gaining a mentor in the powerful madam? Impressive!), and everything you have gained comes from diligence and perseverance. You prepare delightful meals, play the Chinese fiddle beautifully, and placed third in the nation on your civil service exams, because you expended time and effort, not because you were naturally or super-naturally gifted with any special abilities. To see the fruits of your labor warms my heart and makes you more real than any of the anime or manga girls I’ve loved in the past.
To me, you are a wonderful example of how a strong female character does not have to be capable of protecting herself in all situations. You are not overly strong or gifted in martial arts or swordplay; your weapons are your words, your connections (Even though your father renounced the Kou clan, your family name carries a lot of weight.), and your own willingness to challenge the accepted order of things. In a time and place where women were expected to marry, raise children, and create a world centered on the home, you chose to study for the national civil service exams, never expecting to get the opportunity to serve your country to avoid future horrible wars of succession such as the one when you were eight. When your brief stint in the Emperor’s harem not only inspired him to actually rule but moved him to revise the laws to allow women to take the exams, you didn’t hesitate; even knowing the challenges you faced, you grasped the opportunity and excelled. You knew your place was not at your liege’s side as a consort, but far afield helping his country prosper through your civil service.
Darling girl, you are far from perfect (You anger quickly, display a tender naïveté about the good nature of others, and show a painful lack of awareness about men.), but these failings only endear you to me. You are still a teenager, and real people have both strengths and weaknesses (even if you’re not precisely human, if I understand things correctly). Through the course of your stories, you grow and learn from the missteps you make, rather than insisting on doing things the same way each time.
As this letter reaches you, I know your health is failing, but, instead of dwelling on your illness, you choose to help your country through one final, great act. This strength of character is why so many of the people you meet grow to love you, as I do. Please take my adoration as a gift to sustain you (even if I suspect a miraculous recovery lies in the final pages. I need nothing in return beyond you continuing to be who you are.
Scaife Jodi yori
Kou Shuurei is the main character in the series of Japanese light novels, anime, and manga Saiunkoku Monogatari. For more information, check out the series' Wiki here.