This book represents research going back a number of years. I would like to begin by expressing my thanks to Haruo Shirane, my former advisor at Columbia University, who has remained throughout the years a source of wise counsel and unfailing in his encouragement and support. In the course of several stays in Japan, my research benefited from the help of a number of scholars. I want to thank Hyōdō Hiromi for his support and generosity over the years. The inspiration that I received from his path-breaking work on Heike monogatari helped set me on the course of this study. My thanks to Saeki Shin'ichi for patiently answering countless questions and for all that I have learned from his Heike scholarship. My thanks to Komine Kazuaki for his hospitality and welcoming me into his study group. His wide-ranging research on medieval literature has been another source of inspiration. My thanks as well to Takagi Makoto for sharing his research over the years and for perceptive comments on my work. To the members of the Gunki katarimono kenkyūkai and Engyōbon chūshaku no kai, I would like to express my thanks for the opportunity to share in their discussions. Special thanks also to Herman Ooms, Abe Yasurō, Shidachi Masatomo, Shimizu Masumi, Sakura Yoshiyasu, Deguchi Hisanori, Ōhashi Naoyoshi, and Makino Atsushi.
As the manuscript went through successive revisions, I benefited from the comments of a number of readers. I would like to thank Paul Rouzer for detailed and extremely helpful comments. I would like to thank Joan Piggott for taking time to read through an earlier draft and make many useful suggestions. My thanks to Lewis Cook for encouraging words and providing helpful comments on a portion of an earlier draft. I would like to thank Stephen Bokenkamp for taking time to read through parts of the manuscript (p.x) and for pointing out errors and suggesting a number of improvements. I would also like to thank several anonymous readers who commented on versions of the manuscript, pointing out errors and offering astute advice. My thanks to Gaye Rowley, whose generosity made it possible for me to make use of Waseda's research library. My thanks to Kimura Saeko for help in checking portions of the bibliography. My thanks also to Alex Brown for assistance in obtaining copies of several articles. At the University of Southern California, I have been supported by wonderful colleagues in my department throughout the research and writing of this book. My heartfelt thanks to them all. Peter Nosco provided much needed support and guidance, Bettine Birge encouragement and wise advice, and Dominic Cheung friendship and counsel. And to Bill Noel, thanks for wise and humorous words at a great distance.
Lastly, I want to mention my family. I thank my daughter, Emily, who grew up during the years that I worked on this book, and Tomoko, who helped out in many ways. And I thank my parents, Sadie and Theodore Bialock, who have been an inspiration, and to whom this book is dedicated.
In the course of researching and writing this book, I have benefited from a number of grants. An Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities provided a year of research at Stanford University that greatly helped out during an early phase of my research. A Junior Faculty Research Grant from the University of Southern California provided valuable writing time. A Japan Foundation Fellowship allowed me to complete final revisions to the manuscript.