What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Komurasaki (小紫 / 濃紫) (Biographical details)

Komurasaki (小紫 / 濃紫) (literary character; Japanese; Female; 1794; c. active)

Also known as



Courtesan of Tamaya in Yoshiwara and later role in play. According to the legends surrounding the establishment of the famous Hiyoku-zuka (lover's memorial) at Meguro Fudo Shrine, Hirai Gompachi was a warrior of the Tottori fief who murdered one Honjo Suke-dayu and fled to Edo. Apprehended by the authorities, he was sentenced to death in 1679, whereupon his lover Komurasaki, a courtesan of the Miuraya house in Yoshiwara, is said to have committed suicide at his grave. Plays for the puppet and Kabuki stages based on this story are known as "Gompachi-Murasaki pieces" and this work relates to the same theme.